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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Before It's Too Late

What if, one day, you wake up to find the wrath of the Almighty is upon you or your house is on fire and you cannot do anything or your heart stops pumping or ... (and there are thousands of such possibilites)?

What would you do if you had spent your entire life enjoying yourself and paying not the least attention to your hereafter? What if you find out beforehand that you will be going to Hell, a place where the fire is many more times powerful and harmful than the fire of this world? What if you knew that you would not be able to transfer your punishment of Hell to others? What if you knew that your children and wealth would do you no good and that there is no way to escape the Hell fire except by good deeds? What if you knew that in Hell, you would wish to die due to the excessive pain you experience but only your skin will be replaced and your pain would not stop? What if you knew that cold water would be provided but you would only be able to drink pus or hot boiling water? What if you knew that scorpions, snakes and other deadly creatures would harm you much more than the creatures of this world? What if you knew that the curse of the Almighty was on you? What if you knew that you would be forced into the Hell fire with a horrible and forceful pushing? What if you knew that you would not want your own records of deeds to be returned to you? What if you knew the true nature of the Fire?

What if you knew that you could have escaped this punishment with some hardship in this life? What if you knew that these were not only tales of the past but lessons from which you could learn and be successful? What if you knew that you could earn a very beautiful place in Heaven by exerting yourself? What if you knew that you could have been the one drinking from the Kauthar, a river in Heaven? What if you knew that you could be of those who would be reclining on thrones? What if you knew that you could be one who would be given innumerous blessings? What if you knew about the beauty of Heaven? What if you really believed that you would be resurrected?

What would you be able to do if you found out that you could get into Heaven by believing in Allah (swt) and His last messenger? What if you followed the commands of the Almighty? What if you knew that you could earn Heaven by listening to the person who had been preaching to you and who you had been denying and abusing? What if you knew that your key to success was a small book, the Holy Quran along with the Ahadith of the Prophet (S)? What if you knew that this book would help you in both the worlds? What if you knew that it was better to understand this book rather than put it in a safe place? What if you knew that yould earn small rewards by doing dhikr in you free time just by reciting phrases that praise the Almighty? What if you knew that you could make every act of your life an ibabah (worship) by changing your intention? What if you knew that you could escape the punishment of Hell by abstaining from small acts such as listening to your music?

Would you do anything? Of course you would try but YOU WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DO ANYTHING! You would just be too late!

What if you know that you would plead, beg and do anything just to get another chance but you would not be granted your wish? Would you still lead your life the way you are leading it now? Would you turn over a new life or deny this message of truth and regret it later?



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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Atheism - Is it Possible?

CATEGORISATION OF MAJOR WORLD RELIGIONS

Religions of the world can be broadly categorized into Semitic religions and non-Semitic religions. Non-Semitic religions can be divided into Aryan religions and non-Aryan religions.

Semitic religions

Semitic religions are religions that originated among the Semites. According to the Bible, Prophet Noah (pbuh) had a son called Shem.

The descendents of Shem are known as Semites. Therefore, Semitic religions are the religions that originated among the Jews, Arabs, Assyrians, Phoenicians, etc. Major Semitic religions are Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All these religions are Prophetic religions that believe in Divine Guidance sent through prophets of God.

Non-Semitic religions

The non-Semitic religions are further subdivided into Aryan and non-Aryan religions:

Aryan Religions

Aryan religions are the religions that originated among the Aryans, a powerful group of Indo-European speaking people that spread through Iran and Northern India in the first half of the second Millenium BC (2000 to 1500 BC).

The Aryan Religions are further subdivided into Vedic and non-Vedic religions.

The Vedic Religion is given the misnomer of Hinduism or Brahminism. The non-Vedic Religions are Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc.

Almost all Aryan religions are non-Prophetic religions.

Zoroastrianism is an Aryan, non-Vedic religion, which is not associated with Hinduism. It claims to be a prophetic religion.

Non-Aryan Religions

The non-Aryan religions have diverse origins. Confucianism and Taoism are of Chinese origin while Shintoism is of Japanese origin.

Many of these non-Aryan religions do not have a concept of God. They are better referred to as ethical systems rather than as religions.

PROVING THE EXISTENCE OF ALLAH (SWT)TO AN ATHEIST

CONGRATULATING AN ATHEIST


Normally, when I meet an atheist, the first thing I like to do is to congratulate him and say, " My special congratulations to you", because most of the people who believe in God are doing blind belief - he is a Christian, because his father is a Christian; he is a Hindu, because his father is a Hindu; the majority of the people in the world are blindly following the religion of their fathers. An atheist, on the other hand, even though he may belong to a religious family, uses his intellect to deny the existence of God; what ever concept or qualities of God he may have learnt in his religion may not seem to be logical to him.

My Muslim brothers may question me, "Zakir, why are you congratulating an atheist?" The reason that I am congratulating an atheist is because he agrees with the first part of the Shahada i.e. the Islamic Creed, ‘La ilaaha’ - meaning ‘there is no God’. So half my job is already done; now the only part left is ‘il lallah’ i.e. ‘BUT ALLAH’ which I shall do Insha Allah. With others (who are not atheists) I have to first remove from their minds the wrong concept of God they may have and then put the correct concept of one true God.


LOGICAL CONCEPT OF GOD


My first question to the atheist will be: "What is the definition of God?" For a person to say there is no God, he should know what is the meaning of God. If I hold a book and say that ‘this is a pen’, for the opposite person to say, ‘it is not a pen’, he should know what is the definition of a pen, even if he does not know nor is able to recognise or identify the object I am holding in my hand. For him to say this is not a pen, he should at least know what a pen means. Similarly for an atheist to say ‘there is no God’, he should at least know the concept of God. His concept of God would be derived from the surroundings in which he lives. The god that a large number of people worship has got human qualities - therefore he does not believe in such a god. Similarly a Muslim too does not and should not believe in such false gods.

If a non-Muslim believes that Islam is a merciless religion with something to do with terrorism; a religion which does not give rights to women; a religion which contradicts science; in his limited sense that non-Muslim is correct to reject such Islam. The problem is he has a wrong picture of Islam. Even I reject such a false picture of Islam, but at the same time, it becomes my duty as a Muslim to present the correct picture of Islam to that non-Muslim i.e. Islam is a merciful religion, it gives equal rights to the women, it is not incompatible with logic, reason and science; if I present the correct facts about Islam, that non-Muslim may Inshallah accept Islam.

Similarly the atheist rejects the false gods and the duty of every Muslim is to present the correct concept of God which he shall Insha Allah not refuse.

(You may refer to my article, ‘Concept of God in Islam’, for more details)


QUR’AN AND MODERN SCIENCE


The methods of proving the existence of God with usage of the material provided in the ‘Concept of God in Islam’ to an atheist may satisfy some but not all.

Many atheists demand a scientific proof for the existence of God. I agree that today is the age of science and technology. Let us use scientific knowledge to kill two birds with one stone, i.e. to prove the existence of God and simultaneously prove that the Qur’an is a revelation of God.

If a new object or a machine, which no one in the world has ever seen or heard of before, is shown to an atheist or any person and then a question is asked, " Who is the first person who will be able to provide details of the mechanism of this unknown object? After little bit of thinking, he will reply, ‘the creator of that object.’ Some may say ‘the producer’ while others may say ‘the manufacturer.’ What ever answer the person gives, keep it in your mind, the answer will always be either the creator, the producer, the manufacturer or some what of the same meaning, i.e. the person who has made it or created it. Don’t grapple with words, whatever answer he gives, the meaning will be same, therefore accept it.

SCIENTIFIC FACTS MENTIONED IN THE QUR’AN: for details on this subject please refer to my book, ‘THE QUR’AN AND MODERN SCIENCE – COMPATIBLE OR INCOMPATIBLE?


THEORY OF PROBABILITY


In mathematics there is a theory known as ‘Theory of Probability’. If you have two options, out of which one is right, and one is wrong, the chances that you will chose the right one is half, i.e. one out of the two will be correct. You have 50% chances of being correct. Similarly if you toss a coin the chances that your guess will be correct is 50% (1 out of 2) i.e. 1/2. If you toss a coin the second time, the chances that you will be correct in the second toss is again 50% i.e. half. But the chances that you will be correct in both the tosses is half multiplied by half (1/2 x 1/2) which is equal to 1/4 i.e. 50% of 50% which is equal to 25%. If you toss a coin the third time, chances that you will be correct all three times is (1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2) that is 1/8 or 50% of 50% of 50% that is 12½%.

A dice has got six sides. If you throw a dice and guess any number between 1 to 6, the chances that your guess will be correct is 1/6. If you throw the dice the second time, the chances that your guess will be correct in both the throws is (1/6 x 1/6) which is equal to 1/36. If you throw the dice the third time, the chances that all your three guesses are correct is (1/6 x 1/6 x 1/6) is equal to 1/216 that is less than 0.5 %.

Let us apply this theory of probability to the Qur’an, and assume that a person has guessed all the information that is mentioned in the Qur’an which was unknown at that time. Let us discuss the probability of all the guesses being simultaneously correct.

At the time when the Qur’an was revealed, people thought the world was flat, there are several other options for the shape of the earth. It could be triangular, it could be quadrangular, pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal, octagonal, spherical, etc. Lets assume there are about 30 different options for the shape of the earth. The Qur’an rightly says it is spherical, if it was a guess the chances of the guess being correct is 1/30.

The light of the moon can be its own light or a reflected light. The Qur’an rightly says it is a reflected light. If it is a guess, the chances that it will be correct is 1/2 and the probability that both the guesses i.e the earth is spherical and the light of the moon is reflected light is 1/30 x 1/2 = 1/60.

Further, the Qur’an also mentions every living thing is made of water. Every living thing can be made up of either wood, stone, copper, aluminum, steel, silver, gold, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, oil, water, cement, concrete, etc. The options are say about 10,000. The Qur’an rightly says that everything is made up of water. If it is a guess, the chances that it will be correct is 1/10,000 and the probability of all the three guesses i.e. the earth is spherical, light of moon is reflected light and everything is created from water being correct is 1/30 x 1/2 x 1/10,000 = 1/60,000 which is equal to about .0017%.

The Qur’an speaks about hundreds of things that were not known to men at the time of its revelation. Only in three options the result is .0017%. I leave it upto you, to work out the probability if all the hundreds of the unknown facts were guesses, the chances of all of them being correct guesses simultaneously and there being not a single wrong guess. It is beyond human capacity to make all correct guesses without a single mistake, which itself is sufficient to prove to a logical person that the origin of the Qur’an is Divine.


CREATOR IS THE AUTHOR OF THE QUR’AN

The only logical answer to the question as to who could have mentioned all these scientific facts 1400 years ago before they were discovered, is exactly the same answer initially given by the atheist or any person, to the question who will be the first person who will be able to tell the mechanism of the unknown object. It is the ‘CREATOR’, the producer, the Manufacturer of the whole universe and its contents. In the English language He is ‘God’, or more appropriate in the Arabic language, ‘ALLAH’.

QUR’AN IS A BOOK OF SIGNS AND NOT SCIENCE


Let me remind you that the Qur’an is not a book of Science, ‘S-C-I-E-N-C-E’ but a book of Signs ‘S-I-G-N-S’ i.e. a book of ayaats. The Qur’an contains more than 6,000 ayaats, i.e. ‘signs’, out of which more than a thousand speak about Science. I am not trying to prove that the Qur’an is the word of God using scientific knowledge as a yard stick because any yardstick is supposed to be more superior than what is being checked or verified. For us Muslims the Qur’an is the Furqan i.e. criteria to judge right from wrong and the ultimate yardstick which is more superior to scientific knowledge.

But for an educated man who is an atheist, scientific knowledge is the ultimate test which he believes in. We do know that science many a times takes ‘U’ turns, therefore I have restricted the examples only to scientific facts which have sufficient proof and evidence and not scientific theories based on assumptions. Using the ultimate yardstick of the atheist, I am trying to prove to him that the Qur’an is the word of God and it contains the scientific knowledge which is his yardstick which was discovered recently, while the Qur’an was revealed 1400 year ago. At the end of the discussion, we both come to the same conclusion that God though superior to science, is not incompatible with it.


SCIENCE IS ELIMINATING MODELS OF GOD BUT NOT GOD


Francis Bacon, the famous philosopher, has rightly said that a little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God. Scientists today are eliminating models of God, but they are not eliminating God. If you translate this into Arabic, it is La illaha illal la, There is no god, (god with a small ‘g’ that is fake god) but God (with a capital ‘G’).

Surah Fussilat:

"Soon We will show them our signs in the (farthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things?"

[Al-Quran 41:53]




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The True Message of Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism is an ancient Aryan religion that originated in Persia more than 2500 years ago. Though it has relatively few adherents, less than one hundred and thirty thousand in the whole world, it is one of the oldest religions. Zoroaster was the founder of Zoroastrianism, also commonly known as Parsi-ism. It is also known as the religion of fire worshippers and Magianism.

Parsi Scriptures consist of Dasatir and Vesta or Zend-Avesta. Dasatir is further divided into two parts: Khurda Dasatir and Kalan Dasatir.

Avesta is further divided into Khurda Avesta and Kalan Avesta also known as Zend or Maha-Zend.

The religious scriptures of the Parsis are found in two languages: Pahlawi (Pahlawi script resembles the present Persian script) and Zendi. Besides these two scripts, some religious literature is found in cuneiform writing.

Some Parsis consider the Zend Avesta to be more authentic than the Dasatir while the others consider Dasatir to be more authentic.

Zend Avesta is divided into three parts:

  1. The first part contains Vendid.

  2. The second part contains Sirozahs, Yashts and Nyays.

  3. The third part contains Gathas, Yasha, Visparad, Afrinagan Gahs and miscellaneous.

DASATIR:

Dasatir means a book of ten parts: ‘Das’ meaning 'ten' and ‘tir’ meaning ‘a part’. Dasatir is also the plural of Dastur, which means law or religious code.



I CONCEPT OF GOD IN ZOROASTRIANISM:

God in Zoroastrianism is known as ‘Ahura Mazda’. ‘Ahura’ means ‘the Lord’ or 'The Master' and ‘Mazda’ means ‘the Wise’; hence ‘Ahura Mazda’ means ‘the Wise Lord’ or ‘the Wise God’. Ahura Mazda stands for God, in a strictly monotheistic sense.

Qualities of God according to the Dasatir:

According to the Dasatir, Ahura Mazda has the following qualities:

  1. He is One.
  2. He is without an origin or end.
  3. He has no father or mother, wife or son.
  4. He is without a body or form.
  5. Nothing resembles Him.
  6. Neither the eye can behold Him, nor the power of thinking can conceive Him.
  7. He is above all that you can imagine.
  8. He is nearer to you than your own self.


Qualities of God according to Avesta

According to the Avesta, the Gathas and the Yasna give various characteristics to Ahura Mazda such as:

  1. Creator – Yasna 31:7 & 11
    Yasna 44:7
    Yasna 50:11
    Yasna 51:7

  2. Most Mighty – the Greatest
    Yasna 33:11
    Yasna 45:6

  3. Beneficent – Hudai.
    Yasna 33:11
    Yasna 48:3

  4. Bountiful – Spenta;
    Yasna 43:4,5,7,9,11,13,15
    Yasna 44:2
    Yasna 45:5
    Yasna 46:9
    Yasna 48:3

Thus, in Zoroastrianism too, we find a concept of an eternal, omnipotent God. Several verses of Yasna praise the Lord as a Bountiful Creator.

II MUHAMMED (PBUH) IN THE PARSI SCRIPTURES

  1. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Zend Avesta
    It is mentioned in Zend Avesta Farvardin Yasht chapter 28 verse 129
    (Sacred Books of the East, volume 23, Zend Avesta Part II pg. 220):

    "Whose name will be the Victorious, Soeshyant and whose name will be Astvat-ereta. He will be Soeshyant (The Beneficent one) because he will benefit the whole bodily world. He will be Astvat-ereta (he who makes the people, bodily creatures rise up) because as a bodily creature and as a living being he will stand against the destruction of the bodily (being) creatures to withstand the drug of the two footed brood, to withstand the evil done by the faithful (idolaters and the like and the errors of the Mazdaynians)".

    This Prophecy applies to no other person more perfectly than it does to Muhammad (pbuh):

    1. The Prophet was not only victorious at Fatah Makkah but was also merciful when he let go the blood thirsty opponents by saying:

      "There shall be no reproof against you this day".

    2. Soeshyant means the ‘praised one’ (refer Haisting’s Encyclopedia), which translated in Arabic means Muhammad (pbuh).
    3. Astvat-ereta is derived from the root word Astu which in Sanskrit as well as in Zend means ‘to praise’. The infinitive Sitaudan in present day Persian means praising. It can also be derived from the Persian root word istadan which would mean ‘one who makes a thing rise up’. Therefore Astvat-ereta means the one who praised, which is the exact translation of the Arabic word 'Ahmed' which is another name for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The Prophecy clearly mentions both the names of the Prophet i.e. Muhammad (pbuh) and Ahmed (pbuh).
    4. The Prophecy further says that he will benefit the whole bodily world and the Qur’an testifies this in Surah Al-Anbiya chapter 21 verse 107:

      "We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures."
      [Al-Qur'an 21:107]

  2. Sanctity of Prophet’s Companions:
    In Zend Avesta Zamyad Yasht chapter 16 verse 95 (Sacred Books of the East, volume 23 Zend Avesta Part II pg. 308):

    "And there shall his friends come forward, the friends of Astvat-ereta, who are fiend-smitting, well thinking, well-speaking, well-doing, following the good law and whose tongues have never uttered a word of falsehood."

    1. Here too Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is mentioned by name as Astvat-ereta.

    2. There is also a mention of the Prophet’s friends as companions who will be fighting the evil; pious, holy men having good moral values and always speaking the truth. This is a clear reference to the Sahabas – the prophet's companions.

  3. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Dasatir:
    The sum and substance of the prophecy mentioned in Dasatir is, that when the Zoroastrian people will forsake their religion and will become dissolute, a man will rise in Arabia, whose followers will conquer Persian and subjugate the arrogant Persians. Instead of worshipping fire in their own temples, they will turn their faces in prayer towards Kaaba of Abraham (pbuh) which will be cleared of all idols. They (the followers of the Arabian Prophet), will be a mercy unto the world. They will become masters of Persia, Madain, Tus, Balkh, the sacred places of the Zoroastrians and the neighbouring territories. Their Prophet will be an eloquent man telling miraculous things.

    This Prophecy relates to no other person but to Muhammad (pbuh).

  4. Muhammad (pbuh) will be the Last Prophet:
    It is mentioned in Bundahish chapter 30 verses 6 to 27 that Soeshyant will be the last Prophet implying that Muhammad (pbuh) will be the last Prophet. The Qur’an testifies this in Surah Ahzab.

    "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things."
    [Al-Qur'an 33:40]




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The True Message of Sikhism

Sikhism is a non-Semitic, Aryan, non-Vedic religion. It is a religion that has the sixth largest following in the world. Some consider it as an offshoot of Hinduism. It was founded by Guru Nanak at the end of the 15th century. It originated in the area of Pakistan and North West India called Punjab, meaning the land of the five rivers. Guru Nanak was born in a Kshatriya (warrior caste) Hindu family but was very strongly influenced by Islam and Muslims.

I

DEFINITION OF SIKH AND SIKHISM


The word ‘Sikh’ is derived from the word sisya meaning disciple or follower. Sikhism is a religion of ten Gurus, the first Guru being Guru Nanak and the tenth and the last being Guru Gobind Singh. The sacred book of Sikhism is Sri Guru Granth also called Adi Granth Sahib.



THE FIVE – ‘K’s

Every Sikh is supposed to keep the following five ‘K’s, which also serve to identify him as a Sikh:

  1. Kesh – uncut hair.

  2. Kanga – comb; used to keep the hair clean.

  3. Kada – metal or steel bangle; for strength and self-restraint.

  4. Kirpan – dagger; for self-defence.

  5. Kaccha – special knee length underwear or under-drawer for agility.

II

CONCEPT OF GOD IN SIKHISM:


MULMANTRA: THE FUNDAMENTAL CREED OF SIKHISM

The best definition that any Sikh can give regarding the concept of God in Sikhism is to quote the Mulmantra – the fundamental creed of Sikhism, which occurs at the beginning of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

It is mentioned in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, volume 1 Japuji, the first verse:

"There exists but one God, who is called The True, The Creator, Free from fear and hate, Immortal, Not begotten, Self-Existent, Great and Compassionate."

Sikhism is a monotheistic Religion

Sikhism enjoins its followers to practise strict monotheism. It believes in only One Supreme God who is, in the unmanifest form, called Ek Omkara.

In the manifest form He is called Omkara and has several attributes such as:

Kartar – The Creator
Akal – The Eternal
Sattanama – The Holy Name
Sahib – The Lord
Parvardigar – The Cherisher
Rahim – The Merciful
Karim – The Benevolent

He is also called Wahe Guru – the One true God.

Besides Sikhism being strictly monotheistic, it also does not believe in Avataravada – the doctrine of incarnation. Almighty God does not incarnate Himself in what is known as Avatara. Sikhism is also strongly against idol worship.


Guru Nanak was influenced by Sant Kabir

Guru Nanak was influenced by the sayings of Sant Kabir so much that several chapters of Sri Guru Granth Sahib contain couplets of Sant Kabir.

One of the famous couplets of Sant Kabir is:

"Dukh mein sumirana sabh karein
Sukh mein karein na koya
Jo sukh mein sumirana karein
To dukh kaye hoye?"

"In times of trouble, God is remembered by all
But none remembers Him during peace and happiness.
If God is remembered in good times of happiness
Why should trouble occur?"

Compare this with the following verse of the Qur’an:

"When some trouble toucheth man,
He crieth unto his Lord,
Turning to Him in repentance:
But when He bestoweth
A favour upon him
As from Himself,
(Man) doth forget what he cried
And prayed for before,
And he doth set up
Rivals unto Allah."
[Al-Qur’an 39:8]

The Sikh scriptures therefore emphasise monotheism and God-consciousness.





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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The True Message of Buddhism

Gautama Buddha was the founder of Buddhism. His original name was Siddharth (meaning one who has accomplished). He was also called Sakyamuni, i.e. the sage of the tribe of Sakya. He was born in the year 563 B.C. in the village of Lumbini near Kapila Vastu, within the present borders of Nepal.

According to legend, an astrologer foretold his father, the king, that young Gautama would give up the throne and luxury and renounce the world the day he would see four things (i) an old man, (ii) a sick man, (iii) a diseased man and (iv) a dead man. Hence, the king confined Gautama in a special palace which was provided with all worldly pleasures. He was married at the age of sixteen to Yasoddhra.

At the age of 29 after the birth of his first son, Gautama on the same day saw an old man, a sick man, a diseased man and a dead man. The impact of the dark side of life made him renounce the world that same night and he left his wife and son and became a penniless wanderer.

He studied and practised Hindu discipline initally, and later, Jainism. For several years he observed rigorous fasting along with extreme self-mortification. On realising that tormenting his body did not bring him closer to true wisdom, he resumed eating normally and abandoned asceticism.

At the age of 35, one evening as he sat beneath a giant fig tree (Bodh tree), he felt that he had found the solution to his problem and felt that he had attained enlightenment. Thus, he came to be known as ‘Gautama’, ‘The Buddha’, or 'The Enlightened One'.

Later, he spent 45 years in preaching the truth that he felt he had discovered. He travelled from city to city bare-footed, clean-headed, with nothing more on his self than his saffron robe, walking stick and begging bowl. He died at the age of 80 in the year 483 BC.

Buddhism is divided into two sects viz. Hinayana and Mahayana.


I
BUDDHIST SCRIPTURES:


Historical criticism has proved that the original teachings of Buddha can never be known. It seems that Gautama Buddha’s teachings were memorized by his disciples. After Buddha’s death a council was held at Rajagaha so that the words of Buddha could be recited and agreed upon. There were differences of opinion and conflicting memories in the council. Opinion of Kayshapa and Ananda who were prominent disciples of Buddha were given preference. A hundred years later, a second council at Vesali was held. Only after 400 years, after the death of Buddha were his teachings and doctrines written down. Little attention was paid regarding its authenticity, genuineness and purity.

Buddhist Scriptures can be divided into Pali and Sanskrit Literature:


A.

Pali Literature
:


The Pali literature was monopolized by the Hinayana sect of Buddhism.

Tri Pitaka

The most important of all Buddhist scriptures is the TRI-PITAKA which is in Pali text. It is supposed to be the earliest recorded Buddhist literature which was written in the 1st Century B.C.

The TRI-PITAKA or Three Baskets of law is composed of 3 books:


1.

Vinaya Pitaka
: ‘Rules of Conduct’
his is a boTok of discipline and mainly deals with rules of the order.

2.

Sutta Pitaka
: ‘Discourses’
It is a collection of sermons and discourses of Gautama Buddha and the incidents in his life. It is the most important Pitaka and consists of five divisions known as Nikayas. Dhammapada is the most famous Pali literature and contains aphorisms and short statements covering the truth.

3.

Abhidhamma
: ‘Analysis of Doctrine’
This third basket contains meta physical doctrines and is known as Buddhist meta physicals. It is an analytical and logical elaboration of the first two pitakas. It contains analysis and exposition of Buddhist doctrine.

B.

Sanskrit Literature
:
Sanskrit literature was preferred by the Mahayana. Sanskrit literature has not been reduced to a collection or in Cannon like the Pali literature. Thus much of the original Sanskrit literature has been lost. Some were translated into other languages like Chinese and are now being re-translated into Sanskrit.

1.

Maha vastu
: ‘Sublime Story’
Mahavastu
is the most famous work in Sanskrit which has been restored from its Chinese translation. It consists of voluminous collection of legendary stories.
2.

Lalitavistara

Lalitavistara
is one of the holiest of the Sanskrit literature. It belongs to the first century C.E., 500 years after the death of Buddha. It contains the miracles which the superstition loving people have attributed to Buddha.
II

TEACHINGS OF BUDDHA:

A.

Noble Truths
:


T
he principal teachings of Gautama Buddha can be summarised in what the Buddhists call the ‘Four Noble Truths’:

First – There is suffering and misery in life .

Second – The cause of this suffering and misery is desire.

Third – Suffering and misery can be removed by removing desire.

Fourth – Desire can be removed by following the Eight Fold Path.


B.

The Noble Eight Fold Path
:


(i) Right Views

(ii) Right Thoughts

(iii) Right Speech

(iv) Right Actions

(v) Right Livelihood

(vi) Right Efforts

(vii) Right Mindfulness

(viii) Right Meditation


C.

Nirvana:

Nirvana'
literally means "blowing out" or "extinction". According to Buddhism, this is the ultimate goal of life and can be described in various words. It is a cessation of all sorrows, which can be achieved by removing desire by following the Eight Fold Path.
III
PHILOSOPHY OF BUDDHISM IS SELF – CONTRADICTORY:


As mentioned earlier, the main teachings of Buddhism are summarised in the Four Noble Truths:

(i) There is suffering and misery in life.

(ii) The cause of suffering and misery is desire.

(iii) Suffering and misery can be removed by removing desire.

(iv) Desire can be removed by following the Eight Fold Path.

This Philosophy of Buddhism is self-contradictory or self-defeating because the third truth says ‘suffering and misery can be removed by removing desire’ and the fourth truth says that 'desire can be removed by following the Eight Fold Path'.

Now, for any person to follow Buddhism he should first have the desire to follow the Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path. The Third great Noble Truth says that desire should be removed. Once you remove desire, how can we follow the Fourth Noble truth i.e. follow the Eight Fold Path unless we have a desire to follow the Eight Fold Path. In short desire can only be removed by having a desire to follow the Eight Fold Path. If you do not follow the Eight Fold Path, desire cannot be removed. It is self contradicting as well as self-defeating to say that desire will only be removed by continuously having a desire.


IV

CONCEPT OF GOD


Buddha was silent about the existence or non-existence of God. It may be that since India was drowned in idol worship and anthropomorphism that a sudden step to monotheism would have been drastic and hence Buddha may have chosen to remain silent on the issue of God. He did not deny the existence of God. Buddha was once asked by a disciple whether God exists? He refused to reply. When pressed, he said that if you are suffering from a stomach ache would you concentrate on relieving the pain or studying the prescription of the physician. "It is not my business or yours to find out whether there is God – our business is to remove the sufferings of the world".

Buddhism provided Dhamma or the ‘impersonal law’ in place of God. However this could not satisfy the craving of human beings and the religion of self-help had to be converted into a religion of promise and hope. The Hinayana sect could not hold out any promise of external help to the people. The Mahayana sect taught that Buddha’s watchful and compassionate eyes are on all miserable beings, thus making a God out of Buddha. Many scholars consider the evolution of God within Buddhism as an effect of Hinduism.

Many Buddhists adopted the local god and thus the religion of ‘No-God’ was transformed into the religion of ‘Many-Gods’ – big and small, strong and weak and male and female. The ‘Man-God’ appears on earth in human form and incarnates from time to time. Buddha was against the caste-system prevalent in the Hindu society.


V

MUHAMMAD (PBUH) IN BUDDHIST SCRIPTURES:

1.

Buddha prophesised the advent of a Maitreya:

A)


Almost all Buddhist books contain this prophecy. It is in Chakkavatti Sinhnad Suttanta D. III, 76:

"There will arise in the world a Buddha named Maitreya (the benevolent one) a holy one, a supreme one, an enlightened one, endowed with wisdom in conduct, auspicious, knowing the universe:

"What he has realized by his own supernatural knowledge he will publish to this universe. He will preach his religion, glorious in its origin, glorious at its climax, glorious at the goal, in the spirit and the letter. He will proclaim a religious life, wholly perfect and thoroughly pure; even as I now preach my religion and a like life do proclaim. He will keep up the society of monks numbering many thousands, even as now I keep up a society of monks numbering many hundreds".


B)

According to Sacred Books of the East volume 35 pg. 225:


"It is said that I am not an only Buddha upon whom the leadership and order is dependent. After me another Buddha maitreya of such and such virtues will come. I am now the leader of hundreds, he will be the leader of thousands."


C)


According to the Gospel of Buddha by Carus pg. 217 and 218 (From Ceylon sources):

"Ananda said to the Blessed One, ‘Who shall teach us when thou art gone?'

And the Blessed one replied, 'I am not the first Buddha who came upon the earth nor shall I be the last. In due time another Buddha will arise in the world, a holy one, a supremely enlightened one, endowed with wisdom in conduct, auspicious, knowing the universe, an incomparable leader of men, a master of angels and mortals. He will reveal to you the same eternal truths, which I have taught you. He will preach his religion, glorious in its origin, glorious at the climax and glorious at the goal. He will proclaim a religious life, wholly perfect and pure such as I now proclaim. His disciples will number many thousands while mine number many hundreds.'

Ananda said, 'How shall we know him?'

The Blessed one replied, 'He will be known as Maitreya'."


(i)


The Sanskrit word ‘Maitreya’ or its equivalent in PaliMetteyya’ means loving, compassionate, merciful and benevolent. It also means kindness and friendliness, sympathy, etc. One Arabic word which is equivalent to all these words is ‘Rahmat’. In Surah Al-Anbiya:

"We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures."
[Al-Qur’an 21:107]

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was called the merciful, which is ‘Maitri’.


(ii)

The words Mercy and Merciful are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an no less than 409 times.

(iii)

Every chapter of the Glorious Qur’an, except Chapter 9, i.e. Surah Taubah begins with the beautiful formula, 'Bismillah Hir-Rahman Nir-Rahim', which means 'In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful'.

(iv)
The Word Muhammad is also spelt as ‘Mahamet’ or ‘Mahomet’ and in various other ways in different languages. The word ‘Maho’ or ‘Maha’ in Pali and Sanskrit mean Great and Illustrious and ‘Metta’ means mercy. Therefore ‘Mahomet’ means ‘Great Mercy’.

2.

Buddha’s doctrine was Esoteric and Exoteric:


According to Sacred Books of the East, volume 11, pg. 36 Maha-Parinibbana Sutta chapter 2 verse 32:

"I have preached the truth without making any distinction between exoteric and esoteric doctrine, for in respect of truths, Ananda, the Tathagata has no such thing as the closed fist of a teacher, who keeps something back".

Muhammad (pbuh) on the commandment of Almighty God delivered the message and doctrine without making any distinction between esoteric and exoteric. The Qur'an was recited in public in the days of the Prophet and is being done so till date. The Prophet had strictly forbidden the Muslims from hiding the doctrine


3.
Devoted Servitors of the Buddhas:


According to Sacred Books of the East volume 11 pg. 97 Maha-Parinibbana Sutta Chapter 5 verse 36:

"Then the Blessed one addressed the brethren, and said, ‘Whosoever, brethren have been Arahat-Buddhas through the long ages of the past, they were servitors just as devoted to those Blessed ones as Ananda has been to me. And whosoever brethren shall be the Arahat-Buddhas of the future, there shall be servitors as devoted to those Blessed ones as Ananda has been to me’."

The Servitor of Buddha was Ananda. Muhammad (pbuh) also had a servitor by the name Anas (r.a.) who was the son of Malik. Anas (r.a...) was presented to the Prophet by his parents. Anas (r.a...) relates: "My mother said to him, 'Oh Messenger of God, here is your little servant'." Further Anas relates, "I served him from the time I was 8 years old and the Prophet called me his son and his little beloved". Anas (r.a...) stayed by the Prophet in peace and in war, in safety as well as in danger till the end of his life.


i)
Anas (r.a.), even though he was only 11 years old stayed beside the Prophet during the battle of Uhud where the Prophet’s life was in great danger.

ii)


Even during the battle of Honain when the Prophet was surrounded by the enemies who were archers, Anas (r.a...) who was only 16 years old stood by the Prophet.

Anas (R) can surely be compared with Ananda who stood by Gautam Buddha when the mad elephant approached him.


4.

Six Criteria for Identifying Buddha:


According to the Gospel of Buddha by Carus pg. 214:

"The Blessed one said, ‘There are two occasions on which a Tathagata’s appearance becomes clear and exceedingly bright. In the night Ananda, in which a Tathagata attains to the supreme and perfect insight, and in the night in which he passes finally away in that ultra passing which leaves nothing whatever of his earthly existence to remain.’ "

According to Gautam Buddha, following are the six criteria for identifying a Buddha.


i)

A Buddha attains supreme and perfect insight at night-time.

ii)

On the occasion of his complete enlightenment he looks exceedingly bright

iii)

A Buddha dies a natural death.

iv)

He dies at night-time.

v)
He looks exceedingly bright before his death.

vi)

After his death a Buddha ceases to exist on earth.

i)

Muhammad (pbuh) attained supreme insight and Prophethood at night-time.

According to Surah Dukhan:

"By the books that makes thing clear – We sent it down during a blessed night."
[Al-Qur'an 44:2-3]

According to Surah Al-Qadar:

"We have indeed revealed this (message) in the night of power."
[Al-Qur'an 97:1]


ii)

Muhammad (pbuh) instantly felt his understanding illumined with celestial light.

iii)

Muhammad (pbuh) died a natural death.

iv)
According to Ayesha (r.a.), Muhammad (pbuh) expired at night-time. When he was dying there was no oil in the lamp and his wife Ayesha (r.a.) had to borrow oil for the lamp.

v)
According to Anas (r.a.), Muhammad (pbuh) looked exceedingly bright in the night of his death.

vi)

After the burial of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) he was never seen again in his bodily form on this earth.

5.


Buddhas are only Preachers:


According to Dhammapada, Sacred Books of East volume 10 pg., 67:

"The Jathagatas (Buddhas) are only Preachers."
The Qur’an says in Surah Ghashiya:
"Therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish. Thou art not one to manage (men's) affairs."
[Al-Qur'an 88:21-22]


6.

Identification of Maitreya by Buddha:


According to Dhammapada, Mattaya Sutta, 151:

"The promised one will be:

i) Compassionate for the whole creation

ii) A messenger of peace, a peace-maker

iii) The most successful in the world.


The Maitreya as a Preacher of morals will be:

i) Truthful

ii) Self-respecting

iii) Gentle and noble

iv) Not proud

v) As a king to creatures

vi) An example to others in deeds and in words".




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