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Swami Vivekananda On ISLAM

Compiled by GM Jagtiani

E-book published by http://hinduebooks.blogspot.com/

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM

Our politicians, and even many of our religious preachers, have an axe to grind when they conveniently quote Swami Vivekananda's views, a word here, a line there, shorn out of context, by suppressing the honest views expressed by the lion of Vedanta on some burning topics of the day. A charge has been made against us by phony secular leaders that we are trying to politicise Swami Vivekananda; far from it. It is these chair-warming politicians who are twisting and torturing the texts to suit their political ends. I have therefore taken the liberty of reproducing some of the statements of Swami Vivekananda on Islam which will throw a flood of light on what he thought of the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism. If, after reading his robust views, you are going to condemn Swami Vivekananda as a rank communalist, fundamentalist and reactionary Hindu, then I can only pity your soft brain which has accumulated cobwebs of superstitions. 2

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM Swami Vivekananda spoke honestly. He said, "Tell the truth boldly, whether it hurts or not. Never pander to weakness. If truth is too much for intelligent people and sweeps them away, let them go; the sooner, the better". This booklet contains the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - as spoken by Swami Vivekananda himself. G. M. Jagtiani D 22 Self-Help Housing Society, St. Francis Road Vile Parle (W). Bombay 400 056, Phone 6120611 July 1993

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM (Quotes on ISLAM from the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda 8 Volumes) Some of the followers of certain Mohammedan sects work all their lives to have a big tomb built for them when they die. I know sects among whom as soon as a child is born, a tomb is prepared for it; that is among them the most important work a man has to do and the bigger and the finer the tomb, the belter off the man is supposed to be. (1.32) * * * * * *

According to the Jews and Mohammadens, God created man after creating the angels and everything else, and after creating man He asked the angels to come and salute him, and all did so except Iblis; so God cursed him and he became Satan. (1.142) * * * * * *

Mohammed claimed that the Angel Gabriel came to him in a cave one day and took him on the heavenly horse, Harak and he visited the heavens. 4

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM But with all that, Mohammed spoke some wonderful truths. If you read the Koran, you find the most wonderful truths mixed with superstitions. How will you explain it? That man was inspired; no doubt, but that inspiration was as it were, stumbled upon. He was not a trained Yogi, and did not know the reason of what he was doing. Think of the good Mohammed did to the world, and think of the great evil that has been done through his fanaticism! Think of the millions massacred through his teachings, mothers bereft of their children, children made orphans, whole countries destroyed, millions upon millions or people killed! (1.184) * * * * * *

People who deny the efficiency of any rationalistic investigations into religion seem to me somewhat to be contradicting themselves. For instance the Christian claims that his religion is the only true one because it was revealed to so-and-so. The Mohammaden makes the same claims for his religion. His is the only true one, because it was 5

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM revealed to so-and-so. But the Christian says to the Mohammaden, certain parts of your ethics do not seem to be right. For instance, your books say, my Mohammedan friend, that an infidel may be converted to the religion of Mohammed by force, and if he will not accept the Mohammedian religion he may be killed: and any Mohammedan who kills such an infidel will get a sure entry into heaven, whatever may have been his sins or misdeeds." The Mohammaden will retort by saying, "it is right for me to do so because my book enjoins it. It will be wrong on my part not to do so". The Christian says, "But my book does not say". The Mohammedan replies. "I do not know; I am not bound by the authority of your books; my book says, "Kill all the infidels'". How do you know which is right and which is wrong? Surely what is written in my book is right and what your book says, 'Do not kill' is wrong.." The books fighting among themselves cannot be the judges. Decidedly then we have to admit that there is something more universal than these books, something higher than all the ethical codes 6

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM that are in the world, something which can judge between the strength of inspirations of different nations. Whether we declare it boldly, clearly, or not - it is evident that here we appeal to reason. (1.368-69) * * * * * *

The Mohammedan, who thinks that every ritual, every form, image or ceremony used by a non-Mohammedan is sinful does not think so when he comes to his own shrine, the Caaba. Every religious Mohammedan, wherever he prays, must imagine that he is standing before the Caaba. When he makes a pilgrimage there, he must kiss the black stone in the wall of the shrine. All the kisses that have been imprinted on that stone, by millions and millions of pilgrims, will stand up as witnesses for the benefit of the faithful on the last day of judgement. Then, there is the well of Zimzim. Mohammedans believe that whoever draws a little water out of that well will have his sins pardoned, and he will, after the day of

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM resurrection, have a fresh body, and live forever. (11.39) * * * * * *

They (the Mohammedans) say that it (the heaven) is a place where there are gardens, beneath which rivers run. In the desert of Arabia, water is very desirable, so the Mohammedan always conceives of his heaven as containing much water. (2.316) * * * * * *

The Mohammedan religion allows Mohammedans to kill all who are not of their religion. It is clearly staled in the Koran "Kill the infidels if they do not become Mohammadens". They must be put to fire and sword. (2.335) * * * * * *

The more selfish a man, the more immoral he is; so also with the race. That Race which is bound down to itself, has been the most cruel and the most wicked in the whole world. There has not 8

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM been a religion that has clung to this daulism more than that founded by the Prophet of Arabia, and there has not been a religion which has shed so much blood and been so cruel to other man. In the Koran there is the doctrine that a man who does not believe these teachings should be killed; it is a mercy to kill him! And the surest way to get to heaven, where there are beautiful houris and all sorts of sense-enjoyments is by killing these unbelievers. Think of the bloodshed there has been in consequence of such beliefs! (2.352-53) * * * * * *

Think of little sects, born within a few hundred years out of fallible human brains, making this arrogant claim of knowledge of the whole of God's infinite truth! Think of the arrogance of it! If it shows anything, it is this how vain human beings are. And it is no wonder that such claims have always failed, and by the mercy of the Lord, are always destined to fail. In this line the Mohammedans were the best off; every step forward was made with the sword - the Koran in 9

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM the one hand and the sword in the other; "Take the Koran, or you must die; there is no alternative!" You know from history how phenomenal was their success; for six hundred years nothing could resist them, and then there came a time when they had to cry halt. So will it be with other religions if they follow the same methods. (2.369-70) * * * * * *

Mohammedans talk of universal brotherhood, but what comes out of that in reality? Why, anybody who is not a Mohammedan will not be admitted into the brotherhood: he will more likely have his throat cut. (2.380) * * * * * *

The Mohammedans use the graves of their saints and martyrs almost in the place of images. (3.61) * * * * * *

For the Mohammedans, it is impossible to have this idea of God as a child; they will shrink from it 10

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM with a kind of horror. But the Christian and the Hindu can realise it easily because they have the baby Jesus and the baby Krishna. (3.96) * * * * * *

It is here that Indians build temples for Mohammedans and Christians; nowhere else. If you go to other countries and ask Mohammedans or people of other religions to build a temple for you, see how they will help. They will instead try to break down your temple and you too if they can. (3.114) * * * * * *

The word 'Hindu', therefore, covers not only Hindus proper, but Mohammedans, Christians. Jains and other people who live in India. (3.118) * * * * * *

It is here in India that Hindus have built and are still building churches for Christians and mosques for Mohammedans. This is the thing to do in spite of their hatred, in spite of their brutality, in spite of 11

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM their cruelty, in spite of their tyranny, and in spite of the language they are given to uttering, we will and must go on building churches for the Christians and mosques for the Mohammedans until we conquer through love, until we have demonstrated to the world that love alone is the fittest thing to survive and not hatred, that it is gentleness that has the strength to live on and to fructify, and not mere brutality and physical force. (3. 188) * * * * * *

Christianity is built upon the life of Jesus Christ, Mohammedanism upon Mohammed. Buddhism upon Buddha, Jainism upon the Jinas and so on. It naturally follows that there must be in all these religions a good deal of fight about what they call the historical evidence of these great personalities. If at any time the historical evidence about the existence of these personages in ancient times becomes weak, the whole building of the religion tumbles down and is broken to pieces. (3.249) * * * 12 * * *

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM How is it possible that one person as Mohammed or Buddha or Christ can be taken up as the one type for the whole world, nay, that the whole of morality, ethics, spirituality and religion can, be true only from the sanction of that one person, and one person alone? (3.250) * * * * * *

Wave after wave of barbarian conquest has rolled over this devoted land of ours. "Allah Ho Akbar!" has rent the skies for hundreds of years, and no Hindu knew what moment would be his last. This is the most suffering and the most subjugated of all the historic lands in the world. Yet we still stand practically the same race, ready to face difficulties again and again if necessary; and not only so, of late there have been signs that we are not only strong, but ready to go out, for the sign of life is expansion. (3.369-70) * * * * * *

Ignorant persons ... not only deny the right of every other man to interpret the universe 13

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM according to his own light, but dare to say that others are entirely wrong, and they alone are right. If they are opposed, they begin to fight. They say that they will kill any man who does not believe as they believe, just as the Mohammadens do. (4.52) * * * * * *

The (Hindu) code (of war) laid down was that they must not usurp anybody's country; and when a man was beaten, he must be sent back to his country with due regard to his position. The Mohammedan conqueror treated the Hindu kings differently, and when they got them once, they destroyed them without remorse. (4.93-94) * * * * * *

The Mohammedans from the beginning stood against any idol worship. They would have nothing to do with worshipping the Prophets or the Messengers or paying any homage to them; but practically instead of one Prophet, thousands upon thousands of saints are being worshipped. (4.121) * * * 14 * * *

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM Now, some Mohammedans are the crudest in this respect, and the most sectarian. Their watchword is; "There is one God, and Mohammed is His Prophet". Everything beyond that not only is bad, but must be destroyed forthwith; at a moment's notice, every man or woman, who does not exactly believe in that, must be killed: everything that does not belong to this worship must be immediately broken; every book that teaches anything else must be burnt. From the Pacific to the Atlantic, for five hundred years, blood ran all over the world. That is Mohammedanism! (4.126) * * * * * *

Wave after wave had flooded the land, breaking and crushing everything for hundreds of years. The sword had flashed, and Victory unto Allah had rent the skies of India, hut these floods subsided, leaving the national ideals unchanged. (4. 159) * * * 15 * * *

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM the horrible idea prevailing among some Christians and Mohammedans that the heathens are the lawful victims of their swords and all the horrors that have followed and are following it still. (4.270) * * * * * *

Of course, we had to stop advancing during the Mohammedan tyranny, for then it was not a question of progress but of life and death. (4.373) * * * * * *

The Prophet Mohammed himself was dead against the priestly class in any shape and tried his best for the total destruction of this power by formulating rules and injunctions to that effect. Under the Mussulman rule, the king himself was the supreme priest; he was the chief guide in religious matters; and when he became the emperor, he cherished the hope of being the paramount leader in all matters over the whole Mussulman world. To the Mussulman, the Jews or the Christians are not object of extreme detestation; 16

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM they are at the worst, men of little faith; but not so the Hindu. According to him the Hindu is idolatrous, the hateful Kafir. Hence in this life he deserves to be butchered and in the next, eternal hell is in store for him. The utmost the Mussulman kings could do as a favour to the (Hindu) priestly class - the spiritual guides of these Kafirs - was to allow them somehow to pass their life silently and wait for the last moment. This was again sometimes considered too much kindness. If the religious ardour of any king was a little more uncommon, there would immediately follow arrangements for a great Yajna by way of Kafirslaughter. (4.446) * * * * * *

You know that the Hindu religion never persecutes. It is the land where all sects may live in peace and amity. The Mohammadens brought murder and slaughter in their train, but until their arrival peace prevailed. (5.190) * * * 17 * * *

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM In India the Mohammadens were the first who ever took the sword. (5.197) * * * * * *

Again, the vast majority of Hindu perverts to Islam and Christianity are perverts by the sword, or the descendants of these. (5.233) * * * * * *

What real music we have lies in Kirtana and Dhrupada: the rest has been spoiled by being modulated according to the Islamic methods. The Mohammadens took up the different Ragas and Raginis after coming into India. But they put such a stamp of their own colouring on the art of Tappa songs that all the science in music was destroyed. (5.362) * * * * * *

Our music had been improved steadily. But when the Mohammedans came, they took possession of it in such a way that the tree of music could grow no further. (5.363) 18

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM The wave of Mohammedan conquest, which had swallowed the whole earth, had to fall back before India. (5.528) * * * * * *

It is a curious phenomenon that there never was a religion started in this world with more antagonism (to the worship of forms) than Mohammedanism. The Mohammadens can have neither painting, nor sculpture, nor music. That would lead to formalism. The priest never faces his audience. If he did that would make a distinction. This way there is none. And yet it was not two centuries after the Prophet's death before saint worship (developed). (6.60) The friars of the orders founded by Ramananda, Kabir, Dadu, Chaitanya or Nanak were all agreed to preaching the equality of man, however differing from each either in philosophy. Their energy was for the most part spent in checking the rapid conquest of Islam among the masses, and they had very little left to give birth to new thoughts and aspirations. Though evidently 19

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM successful in their purpose of keeping the masses within the fold of the old religion, and tempering the fanaticism of the Mohammedans, they were mere apologists struggling to obtain permission to live. (6.165-66) * * * * * *

The city of Lucknow is astir with the festivities of the Mohurrum. The gorgeous decorations and illumination in the principal mosque, the Imambara knows no bounds. Lucknow is the capital of the Shias, and wailings in the name of the illustrious Hassan and Hussain rend the skies today. Who was there whose heart was not touched by the lamentation and beating of breasts that took place on this mournful occassion? Among this crowd of spectators were two Rajput gentlemen who had come from a far-off village to see the festival The Thakurs had crossed the gate and were about to enter the mosque, when the guard interrupted them. Upon inquiring into the reasons, he answered "Look here, this giant figure that you see standing by the 20

Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM doorway, you must give it five kicks first, and then you can go in". "Whose is the statue, pray?" "It is the statue of the nefarious Yejid who killed the illustrious Hassan and Hussain a thousand years ago. Therefore is this crying and this mourning". The guard thought that after this elaborate explanation the statue of Yejid was sure to merit ten kicks instead of five. But mysterious are the workings of Karma, and everything was sadly misunderstood. The Thakurs reverentially put their scarfs round their neck, and prostrated and rolled themselves at the feet of the statue of Yejid praying with faltering accents; "What is the use of going in anymore? What other gods can be seen? Brave Yejid! Thou alone art the true God. Thou hast thrashed the rascals so well that they are weeping till now!" (6. 193-94) * * * * * *


Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM Even in the case of such a liberal religion as that of Mohammed. I have found in Dacca that the Shias and Sunnis go to Loggerheads with each other. (6. 469) * * * * * *

Hashshashin has become our word "assassin"1 because an old sect of Mohammedanism killed non-believers as a part of its creed. (7.40) * * * * * *

Mohammed found that Christianity was straying out from the Semitic fold and his teachings were to show that Christianity ought to be a Semitic religion, that it should hold to one God. The Aryan idea that "I and my Father are one" disgusted and terrified him. (7. 100)

Editor's Note: Hashshashin was the name of a military and religious order existing in Syria in the 11th century and notorious for the number of secret murders committed by its members in obedience to the will of their chief. The literal meaning Of the word is "Hashish-eater" and was applied to the order because of their habitual use of this special drug to fortify the murders for their task.


Swami Vivekananda on ISLAM Before the time of Mohammed, It was the custom to circumambulate round the Caaba temple in a state of nudity; since his time they have to wrap round a cloth. It is for this reason that our Mohammedans unloose the strings of their trousers, and let their cloth hang down to the feet. (7.38) * * * * * *

The Mohammedans used the greatest violence. (8. 217) * * * * * *