Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Interfaith Dialogue | Al-Risala January 1988

Writing in the latter part of the nineteenth century, the renowned Hindu scholar, Swami Vivekananda, had this to say about Islam:

“For our own motherland a junction of the great two systems, Hinduism and Islam – Vedanta brain and Islam body – is the only hope. I see in my mind’s eye the future perfect India arising out of this chaos and strife, glorious and invincible, with Vedanta brain and Islam body.”

– Letters of Swami Vivekananda, p. 463

And here is a more recent impression of Islam, that of Mr. Shailendranath Ghosh:

“The true interests of the Muslims can be served much better by defining their goal in harmoniously constructive term rather than in a spirit of separatist negativism. To be better Muslims and more prosperous would be a laudable goal. My Muslim brethren need to know that I, a Hindu, am interested in the affairs of the Muslims for many reasons. I had hoped that the Indian Muslims, after their chastening experience of 1947, could turn to another road – to find a separate identity for themselves by being ahead of others in creativity and thus be the harbinger of a new Indian Renaissance. It has happened many times in history that a creative minority has sparked the rebirth of a whole nation.”

The Hindustan Times, April 4, 1986

There is a sizeable proportion, indeed, a majority of Hindus in India who have a positive and favourable impression of Muslims, two notable examples of which have been cited above. Those so impressed by the sublime teachings of Islam–particularly the Islamic concept of the oneness of God and the equality of man – sincerely wish that these Islamic values could be more widely disseminated in the land, for, without them, there can be no progress in the true sense of the word. What they await is a Muslim upsurge to fulfil this creative role in society, for they know full well that Muslims have in generous measure the potential to live up to such expectations. It is the Muslims who possess the sole authentic, unaltered edition of God’s teachings and the universal message they contain.

Were the Muslims to perform this historic role, they would indubitably establish for themselves a place of honour in modern society. But for this to happen, one all-important condition must be fulfilled: they have to raise themselves above the unfavourable – albeit temporary – circumstances in which they find themselves. This would entail the burying of their grudges and the overlooking of all kinds of injustices. The moment they do so, they will be in a position to play the positive role both in India and throughout the world that history has awaited across the centuries.

This will mean sacrifice on their part – what the Quran calls Sabr, or patience. The patient in this world are those destined, according to the law of God, to become leaders of nations.

As the Quran puts it:

“We appointed leaders from among them, guiding by Our command when they were steadfast and when they had firm faith in Our signs…” (32: 24).