Prominent findings from 'Agar ab bhi na jaage toh'(book by Acharya Maulana Shams Naved Usmani) and the relation of Sabians of bible and Quran to the Hindu polytheism
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About the author: Acharya Maulana Shams Naved Usmani
‘Acharya’ and ‘Maulana’ are two titles that rarely, if ever, go together. The former is a term generally reserved for Brahmin teachers of the Hindu scriptures, particularly the Vedas. ‘Maulana’ is a title of respect for an Islamic scholar. Few sholars in India, except some noted medieval Sufis, could have claimed to have mastered both the Vedas and the Quran, and the late Acharya Maulana Shams Naved Usmani was one of these rare personalities. He also had a Bachelor’s degree form one of the modern institutions- the Lucknow University.
Author of numerous books on the Hindu and Islamic scriptures, Acharya Maulana Usmani was a passionate advocate of Hindu-Muslim inter-faith dialogue, spawning a new trend in Indian Muslim literary and activist circles.
Acharya Maulana Usmani chartered a new course in Islamic literature in India, seeking a commitment to inter-faith dialogue. His spirit is the moving force behind his disciples’ pens.
Shams Naved Usmani was born in 1931 at the town of Deoband in northern India, the centre of a powerful movement of Islamic reform. His family, the Usmanis, claimed descent from the third Caliph of the Sunnis, Usman (d.35/656), and was known for the numerous scholars it had produced. He enrolled at Dar ul-Ulum at Deoband in order to train as an aalim, graduating in 1945. Later he recived a Bachelor’s degree form the Lucknow university. In 1954 he was appointed as an English teacher at the Government Oriental College, Rampur.
Following in the path of numerous Sufis before him, Acharya Maulana Usmani took an interest in the scriptures of other religions. He spent several years learning and mastering Sanskrit, the language of the Brahminical scriptures, after which he is said to have made a detailed study of the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Gita, in addition to the Bible. Like many Sufis, he came to believe that the most appropriate way to carry on the Islamic daawah in India was to express Islam in terms that the Hindus would find familiar and intelligible, and to this concern he focussed much of his attention. He gathered a number of close disciples around him, several of whom later went on to popularise his views through their own writings.
He also set up the World Organisation of Religion and Knowledge at Rampur in order to promote research on other faiths from a distinctly Islamic perspective and to launch a programme of publications. Presently, the organisation is headed by Acharya Maulana Usmani’s chief disciple, Sayyed Abdullah Tariq who is an engineer by professional training. The organization regularly organizes programs and lectures delivering the precious knowledge largly unknown to both hindus and muslims. The organization can be contacted for organizing a program in your area.
World Organisation of Religion and Knowledge,
Bazar Nasrullah Khan
Rampur, U.P, India -244901.
Main points in the book
Having been through over ten editions and translated into several Indian languages as well as English, Acharya Maulana Usmani’s book, “Agar Abhi Na Jage To” (If You Do Not Wake Up Now) is his most well known work. The meaning of the title is ' If You Do Not Wake Up Now Then' .
The part of Bhavishya puran- pratisarg parv with the description of nyooh (nooh or noah). It also has the description of the Noah's arc and the flood that came as a punishment for the disbelievers.
The figures whom Hindus revere as incarnations of Vishnu are shown to be all post-Vedic, and are said to actually have simply been holy, pious men (mahan insan) whom later Hindus have mistakenly deified. The Kaaba in Makkah is said to have been mentioned on numerous occasions in the Vedas as the house of God.
The gayatri mantra in the Yajur Veda [36:3], considered by Hindus to be the most scared verse in the text, is, an exact version of the first verse of the Qur?an, the Surah al-Fatiha. Another mantra in the Yajur Veda [40:96] is said to refer to a form of prayer (namaukti) which shall be adopted some time in the remote future, and Acharya Maulana Usmani interprets this as referring to namaz, the Persian and Urdu term for the Islamic way of worship. Acharya Maulana Usmani adds that the Islamic form of prayer (salat) is explicitly mentioned in the Gita (6:10-13) as the sashtang, or the worship that involves eight parts of the body in prostration before God.
Since the Vedas are divinely revealed, Acharya Maulana Usmani suggests, they must certainly not have been the product of human hands, as modern scholarship insists and as some Hindus themselves believe. Rather, like all other scriptures that God has sent down to the world, they, too, must have been the word of God delivered by a particular prophet. Here, Acharya Maulana Usmani draws interesting parallels between passages from the Quran and the Vedas to suggest that the divine messenger who brought the Vedas to the Hindus was none other than Noah or Nuh, as he is referred to by Muslims.
He refers here to a saying of the Prophet Muhammad, contained in the authoritative Sahih of Bukhari, where Muhammad is quoted as having said that on the Day of Resurrection, people would gather around Prophet Noah and declare that he was the first prophet sent by God with a scripture. Noah, Usmani says, is regarded in Islamic tradition as the first rasul (messenger), bringing the first holy book (kitab), containing the first holy law, although even before him there had been many prophets. Since Muslims must believe in all the prophets of God and testify to their scriptures, Acharya Maulana Usmani says that they must also believe in Noah’s scriptures, the Vedas.
The Quran tells us that God gave David the Psalms (zabur), Moses the Torah (taurat) and Jesus the Gospel (injil), but it does not mention the name of the scripture that Noah was commissioned to preach. It does, however, refer to a people whom it calls the Sabians (al-Sabayyin), whom it includes along with Muslims, Christians and Jews as being promised God’s reward.
The verse of Quran in question is:
“Those who believe [in the Quran], and those who follow the Jewish scriptures, and the Christians and the Sabians any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve”.
Acharya Maulana Usmani notes that Muslims are not clear about who the prophet sent by God to the Sabians was, but it is obvious, he says, that they were in fact sent a prophet because all the other peoples mentioned in the above Quranic verse had prophets commissioned to preach to them. Taking recourse to Quranic commentaries by early Muslim scholars, he says that the Sabians were possibly the people of Noah and were the inhabitants of Ur in Iraq, birthplace of the prophet Abraham.
He remarks that archaeological evidence has proved that the people of Ur had close relations with the Indians living in the valley of the Indus, and this suggests that the Sabians of the Quran might actually refer to none other than the Hindus. As proof for this claim he points out to the similarities between the description given of the Sabians in the early Quranic commentaries and the actual practices of the Hindus. Thus, the Sabians, like the Hindus, are said to have confessed to be monotheists but actually practised some sort of polytheism; they offered their prayers facing Yemen, where many Hindu tribes had settled; they worshipped the angels, like the Hindus, several of whose deities are said to have actually been angels; they venerated the fire, as many Hindus do; like the Hindus, they, too, had firm faith in astronomy; and finally, they were of the Persian race, as is the case with the Indo-Aryans. In other words, the Hindus of today, Acharya Maulana Usmani claims, are having the religion having derivation from mysterious Sabians of the Quran, and are the people of prophet Noah. Sabians are also connected with the prophet Abraham as per historical evidence.
Sabians (also called Sabaeans, or Sabeans): Historical, archeological evidence and connections to present day communitites
Most scholars have seen a special connection between the term Sabians and the pagans of Harran, which was an ancient city of strategic importance and is now located at of Sanliurfa in the state of Urfa (Ancient name in ancient mesopotamia: edessa, Harran) in south eastern Turkey. The present day Mandaean community by religious beliefs, is similar to and claims relation with the pagans of Harran or Sabians.
Mandaeans is a sect found in an area south of Baghdad in Iraq and in an adjacent area of Iran. The sect presently has about 65,000 followers worldwide. Mandaeans are also known as Sabians (“baptists”).
Reference: ‘Edessa: The Blessed City’ by J. B. Segal, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1970
Not only do the Harranians retain their polytheistic beliefs, but also they now claim descent of Abraham and note Adam among their ancestors.
According to the Encarta encyclopedia, The mportant Babylonian deities, in were Marduk; Ea, the god of wisdom, spells, and incantations; Sin, the moon god, who had his main temples at Ur and Harran.
In addition to the sky gods were the netherworld deities, as well as a large variety of demons, devils, and monsters, who were a constant threat to humanity and its well-being, and a few good, angelic spirits.
Temples of the Sabians: Temples called Ziggurats are the principal form of religious edifice in ancient Mesopotamia. Ziggurats were built from the 4th millennium bc to 600 bc, constructed of mud brick and often faced with glazed brick. The most famous of the ziggurats was the temple-tower of Etemenanki (popularly associated with the Tower of Babel) at the temple of Marduk in Babylon, rebuilt by King Nabopolassar (reigned 625-605 bc) and his son Nebuchadnezzar II.
Babylon was a prominent city of Mesopotamia. In about 2200 bc it was known as the site of a temple, and during the 21st century BC it was established near the city of Ur. Babylon became an independent city-state by 1894 bc.
Geographical location and the connection with Abraham according to the Bible:
Maimonides (1135-1204), Jewish scholar from the 13th century, whose real name was Jacob ben Sheshet, also identified Hinduism with idolatry, and he attacked those Jews who learned wisdom from the Indians, because he believed it would lead to idolatry.
In the book, Guide of the Perplexed, Maimonides, argued that Hinduism is one of the only religions that has not joined Abraham's monotheistic mission. According to Maimonides, the Hindus are a remnant of the Sabians, an idolatrous religious community that used to extend across the whole earth.
Early Muslim scholars tell us that the Sabians were a religious group who lived in southern Mesopotamia (Gündüz). All evidence points to the idea that the Sabians of the Qur'an were the Mandaeans of southern Iraq (Gündüz,). We know that the Mandaeans had been living in this area since the second century of the Christian era.
Their beliefs and cults have many similarities to Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism, the adherents of which are referred to in the Qur'an as the Majus, and carry various elements from these religious traditions.
One of the major reference linkingthe religios practices Sabians with the Idol worship in India is of Shahrastani (Tāj al-Dīn Abū al-Fath Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Karīm al-Shahrastānī) (1086–1153 CE) who was an influential historian of religions and a heresiographer. His book, Kitab al–Milal wa al-Nihal is quoted in works of leading historians and comparitive religious studies.
1. The Knowledge of Life. The Origins and Early History of the Mandaeans and Their Relation to the Sabians of the Qur'an and to the Harranians, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
2. Maimonides, Moses, Guide for the Perplexed, Trans. Moses Friedlander, London: Dover Publications, 1947.
3. Shahrastānī on Indian Idol Worship:
Bruce B. Lawrence, Studia Islamica, No. 38 (1973), pp. 61-73 (article consists of 13 pages): Maisonneuve & Larose
Noah came to India to preach after surviving the flood. Acharya Maulana Usmani shows, a similar story is related by the Vedas and the Puranas of the Hindus in connection with Manu, which describe him as the rescuer from the great flood?. According to the Hindu texts, Acharya Maulana Usmani writes, Manu had two sons, from whom the rest of humanity trace their descent: Chandra or Som (moon) and Surya or Hom (sun), progenitors of the two great clans, the Chandrabansi and the Suryabansi. They are said to be identical with the Sham and Ham of the Quran and the Bible, from whom the great Semitic and Hamitic races derive their origins. Since Muslims believe Noah to have been the first prophet to be given a holy book by God, his scripture, said to be the Vedas, are to be regarded as the earliest divine texts, and the law that they lay down, the first shariah. The Quran is said to contain the same fundamental teachings as the Vedas, and is thus, Acharya Maulana Usmani claims, to be considered as the last Veda (antim veda), revealing the last shariah.
Manu and Muhammad: Tracing the Link
Although the Vedas were the first scripture to be revealed by God (adi granth), they have, Acharya Maulana Usmani says, prophesied the arrival of the one who will come to the world with the final scripture (antim granth). Who this great figure is, however, the Hindus do not seem to know. The key to this mystery Acharya Maulana Usmani locates in the term agni, which is used at several places in the Vedas, and which Hindus have ordinarily, but, mistakenly, taken to refer to fire. The instruction of the Rig Veda [3:28:6]: ‘Place the last wisdom (gyan) on the first and you shall find the secret of agni’. It has been explained by Acharya Maulana Usmani that the ‘first scripture (the Vedas) must be understood in the light of the last scripture (the Quran) in order to uncover the mystery of agni.
Agni, is mentioned on numerous occasions in the Hindu texts. Indeed, he says, agni is the main topic in the Vedas and several other Hindu scriptures. The Upanishads identify him with Prajapati, the lord of creatures, while the Vedas equate him with the Aryan god Indra, describing him as an intermediary between God and the first man, to whom he passes on God’s commands. Further, Acharya Maulana Usmani writes, the Vedas predict that agni, having already come to the world once, will manifest himself here once again as the leader of all humanity. The Vedas describe agni as first being formless, then assuming a physical form in this world and then, finally, going back into formlessness. He can, however, only be recognised in his physical form (dehdhari rup). Thus, in order to unravel the mystery of agni, we need to examine all the details that the Vedas provide us with of him in this physical form, when he appears among human beings.
Acharya Maulana Usmani writes that the Rig Veda [3:29:11] refers to agni in his physical form by two personal names. Firstly, as Narashams, a Sanskrit word which means the praised one, which, is also the meaning of the Arabic word Muhammad.
As further evidence, we can refers to the Atharva Veda [20:127:1-3], where it is prophesied that Narashams would be protected by God from his seventy thousand and nine enemies, would ride a camel, would have twenty female camels in his possession, besides a hundred gold coins, ten necklaces, three hundred and ten horses and ten thousand cows. This verse refers to Narashams as Mamah Rishi or the great one.
All this, Acharya Maulana Usmani asserts, points unmistakably to Muhammad. Thus, seventy thousand and nine is said to have been the population of Muhammad’s Meccan opponents; the Prophet did indeed ride a camel; he did, in fact, also own twenty milk-giving camels;
In short, Muhammad is agni, the great secret whom the Vedas have prophesied about. In fact, so clear is the Rig Veda that Muhammad is the mysterious agni, the chosen one of God, that it in fact mentions his real name on numerous occasions [RV:1:13:3; RV:1:18:9; RV:1:106:4], describing him as the recipient of the Vedic sacrific, as the household priest of heaven and as the powerful helper of those in distress. Likewise, the other Vedas are also said to refer to Muhammad, using various names such as Ahmet [Yajur Veda:31:18], Ahmad [Atharva Veda: 8:5:16] and Athmed [Atharva Veda: 20:126:14], where he is described as the mighty one who will dispel ignorance and as the guardian of all creatures.
Acharya Maulana Usmani says that Muhammad, known in the world of the angels ( alam-i malakut) as Ahmad , was the first soul to be created by God, equating him with the Hindu adi purusha. He writes that God created all the souls from the soul of Muhammad, to whom he attributed His own qualities of Most Kind (ra uf) and Most Merciful (rahim). God then used this first soul (pahli jiv atma), Ahmad, as a means (sadhan) for the manifestation of the entire cosmos, and it was he who transmitted divine knowledge from God to Adam. In other words, Ahmad was the teacher (guru, shikshak) of all the other souls. That is why the Vedas call him the agni purohit ( chief priest ).
Historical and geographical relation: Adams bridge is the name given to a famous broken piece of land linking India and Sri Lanka. Also we have the “Adams foot” which is believed to be the footprint of prophet Adam and is sacred to Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews and Buddhists and is a famous tourist location in Srilanka called “ Sri Pada” or the sacred footprint.
The image above is of Adam's foot or "Sri Pada" (Sacred footprint)
Thus, Adam is the physical father (sharirik pitamah) of Hindus and Muslims, as well as all other peoples, while Ahmad or Muhammad is the spiritual father (adhyatmik pitamah) of us all. God appointed Adam as the first human and the first prophet on earth, and the succession of prophets continued till Ahmad took on physical form and appeared in the world as Muhammad, the prophet for all humankind till eternity. The Vedas are said to testify to this, describing Narashams (whom, as we have refers to prophet Muhammad) as God’s messenger (duta) [Rig Veda: 9:92:9] and as the priest (hota) of all human beings [Rig Veda:9:98:9].
Acharya Maulana Usmani cites a hadith from the Mishkat, according to which Muhammad is said to have remarked that on the Day of Judgement, God will ask Noah if he had conveyed His message to his people. Noah will answer that he had, but his people would say that no prophet had come to them. Then, God will ask Noah if anyone could bear witness for him, and Noah would point to Muhammad and his followers. This suggests, Acharya Maulana Usmani points, that the people of Noah would convert to Islam and become followers of Muhammad.
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