What do Pakistani think of Hinduism?

Mudassir Ali
Dec 25, 2019 02:41 PM 0 Answers
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What do Pakistani think of Hinduism?

Mudassir Ali
- Dec 25, 2019 02:41 PM

All faiths are manifestations of the human experience around them.

When the Mesopotamians settled the banks of the Euphrates, they were victims to its erratic flooding and unpredictable weather that could unexpectedly kill those who lived, farmed and watered their cattle on its shores.

So the Mesopotamians assumed the Gods were cruel and capricious, their minds forever murky pools. As unknowable and mysterious as the dark waters of the Euphrates.

When the Egyptians settled the Nile, they were blessed by its seasonal floods that were easy to foresee. Floods that killed few and were easily managed, and left behind the rich dark soil of the Nile Deltas that could be used for farming and plentiful food.

So the Egyptians assumed the Gods were gentle and kind and their minds were formed on order and rules. And they had only to fulfill those orders and rules and life would be good, life would treat them well.

Chance governs all. Into this wilde Abyss,

The Womb of nature and perhaps her Grave,

Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire,

But all these in thir pregnant causes mixt

Book 2, Paradise Lost – John Milton

Islam and Hinduism are no different.

If you read the Upanishads, you can hear the slow lazy waters of the Ganges in it. The rich, game filled forests of the South. The mist and humid waters of the inner jungles, water hanging from the edges of leaves, the fires in a tiger’s eyes. You see endless fields of green, stone temples that 5 generations of your family have built over time. You feel the crevices of each stone in your fingers, the cool touch of their stairs under your feet, how the temple idols lit under the candles placed before them.

If you read the Quran, you hear the crackle of the fires lit by Bedouins in the desert night to keep warm. The swirling winds of a dust dervish. You feel the thirst in your mouth, you feel the vulnerability of life in the desert. You feel how important and urgent your social structures are, as they are the delicate artifice on which all life is built in the desert of scarcity. You feel the sting of the slap from your father for breaking a rule of the caravan. But you understand: Life is hard here. And you need to toughen up to survive. Mistakes are not easily forgiven. Not when the food is scarce and the water elusive.

The warmth of the caravan is your only assurance at life in the cold dark desert. You gaze up at the night sky, filled with wonders of the universe, in a time when no city lights hid the arms of the milky way. And you wonder at the mystery of life, what your place in the world is.

Both faiths are the manifestations of the human experiences that gave birth to them.

Each of us gives birth to our Gods that, in return, give birth to the universes that give birth to us. In the cyclical nature of consciousness defining itself.

Drink the milk of the holy mother cow, and you will be bestowed with the secret magics of the divine, according to Hindu mystics wiped out by the first invasions.

Eat the flesh of animals, balanced with a plant diet and you will maintain the pure balance between aggression and rationality, according to Punjabi Muslim scholars of the 1800s.

Our bodies, our beings, manifest the faith which itself is manifested by how the body experiences the world around it.

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow

Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,

You cannot say, or guess, for you know only

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,

And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,

And the dry stone no sound of water. Only

There is shadow under this red rock,

(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),

And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow at morning striding behind you

Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

The Wasteland, T.S. Elliot

If you feel Islam has a harsh structure or rigidity to it, it’s because the faith was borne in circumstances that required it.

When you begin with a call to reject all idols in favor of one God and the pagans drive you from your homes to starve in the outskirts of the city, die under torture, flee across the city to Christian refuges and finally to the city of Madina, you realize how lonely you are in your fight. When the thin spider’s web is all that stands between you and your hunters, in some lost cave in Arabia, you realize your life was never your own to begin with. And that all men are at the mercy of mercurial, unknowable forces that grant mercy as easily as they grant death.

When you step out of the ranks of your men, hot sand burning the skin beneath your feet, the Quraishi champion swords man, who you called brother just a year ago, challenging you to fight to the death: You wonder at your journey in life and how strange it has been and how uncertain the tides of your life are. And you hope and pray that your decisions were the right ones.

When you stand in phalanx, shoulder to shoulder, with men who share no blood or tribe with you, staring down the Meccan cavalry charging at you, you realize the meaning of brotherhood. And what it means to form a community with men who share nothing with you except your faith and your ideals.

When you stand before your Caliph as he declares war on the 2 superpowers of the world simultaneously, you realize what it means to throw yourself into the maelstrom of violence and constant war, without knowing whether you will win. Without knowing whether you would return home. Only that you took vows and if this is to be the end of your life, then so be it.

You have lived under the shadow of death your entire life, in the desert. Where the water was scarce, the food uncertain. Where mistakes meant the end of your lives. The rigid structure and rules of life in the desert are what let you survive.

You learn to give mercy where your enemies submit but to give none when they fight. Because the oasis can only quench so many thirsts. And the scarce desert can only feed so many. And so it was either us or them in war.

All the verses in the Quran are reflections of life in the desert. Where life is harsh, the living is tough and rigid rules and structure and discipline must be followed if you are to survive and if your tribe is to survive.

But all the beauties and mysteries of that life are also present in it. The poetry of suffering and hope, the magic looking up at a night sky and seeing the entirety of creation before you. Watching dust devils swirl in their frenzy in the vast emptiness of the desert, reminding you of your mortality. Mirages on the horizon, filled with the lies of water. But every once in a while, a small miracle happens. And you chance upon a sanctuary. Of cool water and shades under palm trees. Your hot skin hisses as the water hits it. You hear the laughter of your caravan and the voices speaking out in pleasure at the certainty of life, for today at least.

And you imagine this is what heaven must be like.

Only long years later, as you live in the opulence of conquered Persia, surrounded by berries, slave girls and water puddles do you forget what it felt like. The hot sand beneath your feet. The scorpions trek across fine sand. The discipline you had to endure to survive the heat. How you had to give up your food for a guest and go hungry for the night, because that was the custom of the desert.

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