MAULANA WAHIDUDDIN KHAN INTERVIEW CARRIED IN NAVBHARAT TIMES 13 FEBRUARY 2021
English Transcript of the Interview
The famous scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has recently been awarded India’s second-highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, in addition to having expertise in traditional Islamic theology, has an exceptionally good knowledge of science, history and social science. He is well known for examining the Islamic principles in light of these modern subjects and presenting its interpretation in the contemporary perspective. Mohammad Shahzad talked to Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, a champion of tolerance, co-existence, and inter-religious amity. The Following is an excerpt:
Q: You have been awarded the Padma Vibhushan for spirituality. How do you see Islamic spirituality connecting with Indian spirituality?
A: The spirit of every religion is the same. The welfare of everyone, good behaviour, helping people, humanity, social work, and connection with the almighty God. This is the spirit of all religions. Although the forms of religions are different, all have the same spirit. In whatever form people accept God, they should connect with Him. The same is applicable in Sufism also. I preach and propagate these very teachings of Islam and the Quran. At a level of spirituality, all religions are the same.
Q: The element of peace is very apparent in your spiritual talk.
A: That very dream is still fresh in my mind when I saw Mahatma Gandhi. I was going somewhere, and I see him sitting alone on the road. I approach him and stand next to him. After some moment of silence, he takes out two pens from his pocket and hands them over to me. This gesture was enough for me. Obviously, the message behind offering me the pen by the greatest preacher of nonviolence was that I should continue doing the work I was engaged in. So, I passionately penned down the messages of peace of Islam and my efforts in this direction continue.
Q: What was the purpose of establishing CPS, and where do you see it today?
A: The Centre for Peace and Spirituality (CPS) was established in 2001. It has been 20 years now. Before that, I also established the Islamic Centre and Goodword Books. The purpose of all these establishments was the same. To present the true face of religion through Islamic literature and present a counter-narrative in light of Quran and Hadees to those who are damaging the image of Islam in the name of Jihad and resorting to terrorism. Also, to those who are attacking Islam due to lack of awareness. I wrote more than 200 books in this regard. I worked on easy-to-understand Quran translations in many languages. These Quran translations are being distributed from India to New Zealand - all around the world. This work is still going on. CPS has also been connected to the latest technology. The website has been developed, and books are being digitised, video recording of the lecture sessions is being done in recording studios and live streaming of such sessions. In particular, the sessions on the Quran is a big hit. Now CPS has become a globally recognised organisation.
Q: Allegations of being close to RSS and BJP have been cast upon you?
A: I was also conferred with Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana award. Nobody then accused me of being close to Congress. I do not know from where people got this information that I was among the founders of Vajpayee Himayat Committee (a committee to support Vajpayee). In this regard, let anybody show my signature, even as an ordinary member of the committee. Sitting with the committee members to discuss a certain matter and being a committee member are two separate things. Yes, it is true that I never give up the opportunity of discussion and by doing that I am following the path shown by the Prophet of Islam. It is talks and discussions which bring solutions to the biggest problems.
Q: You, much earlier, had advised Muslims to relinquish claim on Babri mosque. What do you have to say on the supreme court’s final judgement?
A: My stand in this regard had been according to the circumstances prevailing with the time. Till the Babri mosque was not demolished, my opinion was that Hindus and Muslims should agree on the status quo. This was said with reference to the Narsimha Rao government's law whereby it was stated to maintain the status of the places of worship as it was before 1947. After the demolition, I changed my opinion, and I said that now Muslims should relinquish claim in order to resolve the dispute. After the supreme court’s final judgement, I advised Muslims to accept it and move ahead thankfully with whatever they got and forget what happened in the past.
Q: You have been raising voice against triple talaq. Are you satisfied with the ban on it now?
A: According to the Quran, three divorces in one instant do not exist. The people associate it with the Caliph, Omar. But in reality, it was put it into practice by Muslim scholars of later period. In Islam, the Caliph has been given some authority to take certain administrative and executive decisions prudently. If Caliph Umar made it lawful in certain extraordinary circumstances, then it was a temporary order. How can it be permanent? People started practising it as the most prevalent procedure of divorce, and it must be stopped.
Q: What is your message to the Indian Muslims in the present time?
A: The Muslims should not see the things happening in politics through the prism of ‘Hindus and Muslims’. They should have only a national perspective and extend their contribution to the development of the nation. With this attitude, whatever will be talked against them will disappear like a rumour. Secondly, I appeal to the Muslims of the entire world that they should accept from their heart that they will not engage in any violence at all. Thus, all the problems will get resolved automatically.