South Asian Muslim ancestors were idolaters!

137 Comments

An argument that emerges now and then on this website has to do with the nature of the ancestors of Indian (South Asian) Muslims. Where they Hindus? Much hinges on semantics. The term “Hindu” after all simply meant Indian in the days of yore, so by definition, they were.

On the other hand, Hindu today denotes a set of beliefs, practices, and identities, which exists at counterpoint with the confessions of Islam, sects like Jainism and Sikhism, and the dharmic world religion of Buddhism. To say that the ancestors of Muslims were Hindus may not give the correct impression due to the fact that that implies a level of fidelity to practices and beliefs which we today recognize as Hindu. Even setting aside the fact that substantial numbers may have been adherents of counter-cultural sects such as Buddhism, many of the threads of contemporary Hinduism developed in situ in the Indian subcontinent at the same time as many regions became predominantly Muslim.

And yet I think I have come to an elegant and accurate solution to this problem: those of us of Muslim origin or belief should simply admit that we were the descendants of idolators. Whether Buddhist, caste Hindu, or animistic peasant, from a Muslim perspective all these groups are idolators.

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137 Replies to “South Asian Muslim ancestors were idolaters!”

    1. Is there any non-idolator ‘religious’ person in this world?
      Muslims are strictest idolaters among all of modern religious groups because they are inseparably attached to their ‘images’.
      ‘Pagans’ keep their idols in their temples but monotheists carry them on their heads.

      Not just ‘Indic’ muslims but all of muslims’ ancestors were idolaters including prophet Mohammad’s(before he started practice of iconoclasm).
      Idolatory is most natural form of religious practice.

      On the side note the modern definitions of ‘Buddhism’ and ‘Hinduism’ are inadequate to understand differences between ancient ‘Brahmanic’ and ‘Shramanic’ traditions.
      In it’s essence both ‘Hinduism'(from which I mean ‘neo-Vedanta’-the modern dominant sect of ‘Hinduism’) is not different from ‘Buddhism’ except in their final ‘conclusions’.

      Funnily ‘neo-Vedanta’ is close to ‘Buddhism’ but actually much divorced from Vedic Brahmanism(poet sages would be appalled by ‘asceticism’ and ‘spirituality’ of modern Hindus). So modern Hindus even though give lip service to Vedas every now and then but in practice most of them are semi-Buddhists.

      For serious discussion Buddhism itself is heavily influenced by Vedic religion and other ‘Hindu’ darshanas though ‘neo-Buddhists'(political ‘Buddhists’) don’t like to discuss this part.

  1. Why do so many Muslims make such a big deal out of idol worship when they themselves pray towards a big cube of granite in the middle of a desert?

    If there’s just one god who happens to be everywhere, why should he (yes, somehow god always happens to be a ‘he’) get upset about which direction his followers worship in?

    1. We don’t worship the rock. We pray in the same direction to show the unity of the faith. The idols are objected to as they are not for the worship of the sole Abrahamic God.

          1. This means you worship a rock. Besides the rock muslims also have ‘icons’ in the form of mosques, physical copies of Quran etc and most importantly the concept of a physical heaven where a physical Allah resides. So muslims are greatest idolators on the earth because they rever physical symbols(except in human forms) and even pinnacle of their religion(the heaven) is physical where it’s alleged that they would enjoy all of physical pleasures(I don’t know how long they would be able to ‘enjoy’ these aminities though ;-))
            On the other hand Hindus have physical form only as a symbol while in spirit Hinduism is free from any form of idolatry.

          2. There is a distinction between reverence for sacred objects and spaces and worship of the same. Ask a Muslim if he or she worships anything and anyone besides Allah and they would find the question ridiculous.

          3. @Ali Chaudhary
            Lols at this Islamic ‘Logic’.

            Why do muslim automatically assume that people of other religions are ‘worshipping’ their icons and not just ‘revering them like muslism do?
            How is ‘pagan’ reverence less pure than ‘ummha’s reverence?

            It would go down to the list of ‘Thousands things muslism do to convince themseves that Islam is best religion’.

            So Hindu is inferior because he ‘worships’ the objects but not a muslim because he ‘revers’.

            Realistically speaking the muslisms have much more attachment to their ‘idols’ then the Hindus and they are more likely to show violent disposition if their ‘icons’ are ‘humiliated’ in any way.

        1. It is sunnah to do so as the Prophet did, the same with wearing a beard and eating without utensils. The rock was stolen during a sack of Mecca and went missing for 70 years. It had not impact on hajj being performed.

          Abdullah b. Sarjis reported: I saw the bald one, i. e. ‘Umar b. Khattib (Allah be pleased with him). kissing the Stone and saying: BY ALLAH. I AM KISSING WITH FULL CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE FACT THAT YOU ARE A STONE AND THAT YOU CAN NEITHER DO ANY HARM NOR GOOD; and if I had not seen Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) kissing you. I would not have kissed you. MUSLIM: Book 007, Number 2914.

          1. yes. you are muslim. so this all makes sense to you. i’m asking you see that non-muslims seem idolatry in this. so they find it curious how extreme muslim denunciations of idolatry are. this is a common psychological disjunction.

            i’m not asking you to agree it is idolatry. i’m asking you to understand why people think it might be.

      1. Also just as an aside about idol worship vs rock worship.

        There are large scale Hindu festivals (eg. Ganesh chaturthi, Durga puja) that involve the destruction of idols at the end.

        Generally they start with the creation of idols by the whole community, which can be any sort of material as long as resembles the form of the deity.

        Then there is large scale worship of the idols during the festival.

        They end with a total, mass ritual destruction of said idols.

        So even uneducated Hindus don’t actually believe the materials the idols are made up of are divine.

        1. “So even uneducated Hindus don’t actually believe the materials the idols are made up of are divine.”

          Well they sort of do, but only at a sort of ulitmate level. At the level of mere mortals and maya, a rock is just a rock and so forth.

          1. Yes. From ‘maya'(which is wrongly translated as ‘illusion’) we have been created and in return from maya we create. There is no existence(even of ‘extraordinary’ Islam) without ‘her’. Afterall humans have not been designed to make sense of the infinite which encompasses us.
            But in the absence of any intricate philosophy in their religion it’s too hard to put this fact in the mind of an Islamist as it will shatter the narrow point of view of ‘the book’.

        2. I would like to share an anecdote which signifies the nature of ‘icon’ worship in ‘Hinduism'(or atleast in neo-Vedanta).

          When Ramkrishna Paramhansa was performing ‘sadhana’ under guidence of parivrajak Totapuri(one of his guru) then he encountered a problem. Every time when he tried to enter ‘samadhi’ he couldn’t because ‘image’ of goddess Kali didn’t disappear. His mind was totally fixated on her ‘idol’. So in the end Totapuri asked him to imagine that he is slicing his beloved mother Kali’s image with the help of a sword. Only after this exercise Ramkrishna could ‘shatter’ his ‘idol’ and transcend to the state of ‘samadhi’.

    1. “south Indian Muslims and Bengali, Bihari or even UTTara praDEsh and AnDhra ( not HyDerABADi) Muslims they are not looking any different from any Indian in ethnicity.”
      “Muslims in Punjab, Kashmir, GujarAT and RAjasTAn and in Mumbai may probably look a little different because of mixed ethnicity.”-some Indian guy
      I’ve also noticed that some quora users were very seriously using the terms “muslim” and “north indian” as racial categories

    2. So Buddhists were not idolaters?
      It seems practice of widespread idolatry in India is mostly due to influence of Buddhism. Vedic gods don’t have images or temples.

  2. Middle eastern muslim ancestors were also idolaters! 😉

    no. the majority were christians and jews. muslims don’t use the term idolator for christians and jews.

    …except in the case of Bengalis,they were most probably Buddhists…not exactly idolater

    yes, they were. the early muslim historians and commentators always referred to buddhists as ‘idolators.’

    1. Gulf Arabs(at least the ones from Mecca) were idolaters…it is part of recorded history…Different Hadiths say about different idols and deities
      But yes Arab Christians also use the word “Allah” for God…and in Aramaic(the language of Jesus),a word for god is “Alaha”

      BTW at least in BD we dont consider Buddhists idolaters…i often call my “Buddhist” friend “atheist”

      1. This is hillarious because from Abrahamic point of view Hindus are also ‘atheists’. They don’t ‘believe’ in ‘one true guy in the sky’.

        Besides Buddha didn’t say anything about existence or non-existence of God because he was dealing with an intelligent, literate and spiritually mature opponents. So there was no need for him to invent imaginary stuff(which would be completely against spirit of Buddhism and philosophical Hindusim).

        1. Regardless of what the Buddha preached many (or most) contemporary Buddhists in places like Tibet, China, Japan and Viet Nam use images of Buddha or those of his mother or shrines in which such statues exist as the objects of divine veneration.
          This practice probably goes back a long time as many Buddhist structures in India attest. So you can’t really blame the invaders for calling them idolators (‘but-parast’) or their temples ‘but-khanas’.

          1. There is a Chinese belief that Buddha is a friend of the cow, which ofcourse is taken from the Hindu belief,so Buddhism was practiced in India with “Hindu characteristics” 😛

      2. Gulf Arabs(at least the ones from Mecca) were idolaters…it is part of recorded history…Different Hadiths say about different idols and deities

        no, it’s not recorded history. this what you are told as a muslim and part of traditional muslim historiography. there is a high likelihood that this is not correct, that meccans were not idolators, and that early islam occurred mostly in a mixed christian-jewish nabataean context.

        i get you think your myths are history and true. the rest of us don’t have to go along.

        1. Lol. Wtf. So you are saying that meccans were Christians?
          Many super-Christian websites often claim that “Allah” is not Abrahamic and “Allah” was initially an Arab pagan moon god…some even claim that “Allah” is devil…though their claim doesnt seem to be reasonable

          Btw mushrik means “polytheist”, not “idolater”…more precisely someone who places any non-god in the place of God…and “atheist” is someone who doesnt believe in any god

          1. Well Allah was indeed ‘pagan’ moon God. Muslims still revere/worship crescent moon which is actually a form of ‘idolatry’.

            On the sidenote from Hindu point of view(which you would most likely won’t understand or won’t try to understand) any form of worship is impossible without ‘forging’ an icon or idol. There can be no belief system without having it’s own ‘images’ and I repeat that among current major religions Islam is most stubbornly rooted into it’s ‘images’ that even it’s supposed final ‘reality’ is just an ‘image’.

          2. The crescent symbol has no theological basis. It is most probably an Ottoman invention.
            If “Allah” is not Abrahamic but pagan then Arab Christians wouldnt use the word “Allah” for god

          3. Probably for similiar reason why Turkish invaders preferred ‘Tengri’ instead of ‘Allah’.
            It’s almost impossible to create a new religion out of scratch. Besides no harm in using his name when his pagan existence has been exterminated from Bodeuin land. It’s not like modern followers of prophets would believe even if someone would present irrefutable evidence for Allah’s pre-Islamic existence.

            P.S. – I’m not insisting that Allah was definitely ‘pagan’ moon God. But I’m just musing on possible scenarios.

  3. ‘Pagans’ keep their idols in their temples but monotheists carry them on their heads.

    this is a false dichotomy. if you consider roman catholics, they actually ‘keep their idols in their temples’, since they make recourse to statuary. the eastern orthodox make icons.

    1. I guess you didn’t understand the tone of my comment. What I meant that monotheism has the tendency of getting ‘fixated’ on the ideas of their religion.

  4. Not just ‘Indic’ muslims but all of muslims’ ancestors were idolaters including prophet Mohammad’s(before he started practice of iconoclasm).

    there are multiple levels this can be taken.

    – abrahamic religionists believe that monotheism is primal. polytheism is an innovation. and monotheism again a reversion.

    – as a point of fact the first is probably wrong, and some sort of animism is primal. so yes, go far back enuf and all ‘idolaters’ (worshippers of trees and stones)

    – muhammad may not have been an idolater, and the stuff depicted in the koran and muslim early myths may not be true. there is a strong possibility that muhammad and his tribe were partially christianized and pagan tropes were utilized by the early muslims to label their enmies (the labeling of christians as ‘pagan’ happens in christendom, e.g., eastern orthodox in poland-lithuania).

    1. Abrahamics are certainly wrong here because idolatry is present in all of cultures of the world.
      Animism is more sensible religion since they worship what they can see/feel and what is actually essential for sustaining life.

      Even if this theory is true Mohammad’s ancestors would have been pagans at some point of life. Are other people related to him were also Christianised?

      1. Even if this theory is true Mohammad’s ancestors would have been pagans at some point of life. Are other people related to him were also Christianised?

        the proto-muslims probably came out of what we would call an ‘oriental christian’ milieu. that being said, this was the 6th-century, so there were other threads, including zoroastrianism and paganism (a variety of ‘astral religions).

  5. LOL, I have never been able 2 understand what the fuss with idols is really about. Being born as a Hindu, i could also not get why monotheism is considered better than polytheism.

    Have seen serious people debate all this, as if there is some actual indicators to establish all this.

    Ideas like “False gods”, “Ur god is Satan” etc, i get, but who came up with this whole “we are ok with all religious symbolism like Icons, images etc, but u know what these idols, this is taking it too far” and folks were like ya that makes total sense 😛

    1. “LOL, I have never been able 2 understand what the fuss with idols is really about.”
      Seems to me to be some sort of inferiority complex that developed among Hindus over the last few centuries.
      If I remember the ‘social reformers’ chapter from the NCERT history textbooks correctly, almost all of them are mentioned to have fought against idol worship (amongst other things like Sati, untouchability and the likes).

      1. I don’t know a single Hindu who is ashamed of idol worship. Your claim is extremely hillarious. Did you ever see Hindu houses and temples? Instead of this they believe that the handful Bengali ‘reformers’ who were against idol worship were either ‘British stooges’ or ‘crypto-Christians’. They are actually not that far from the mark. The contemporaneous British education was aimed towards dislodging ‘pagan’ ‘beliefs’ from the mind of the natives while monotheism of Islam was tolerated.
        Although there are many Hindu sects which have never been into ‘icon’ worship but it doesn’t mean they hold ‘idolatry’ in contempt.
        The people who ‘fought’ against idol worship had moments of their glory but they were soon replaced by ‘heathen’-‘pagan’ sympathisers. For Hindus idols are not just religion but inseparable part of their culture.
        Even though my own family doesn’t have tradition of ‘icon’ worship but we still feel genuine admiration and reagard when we see exquisitely carved Hindu gods and goddesses in old temples.

        No sane person would feel anything offensive about a piece of art which is result of brilliant craftsmanship and pristine devotion of an artist. Same way any person with decent IQ would find ideas behind complex Hindu iconography(like dancinng Shiva, long trunk of Ganesha, getup of Kali etc) facinating. Only a illiterate person who doen’t know anything besides his desert would be frightened of them.

      2. LOL Cod, chill a bit

        I actually second Prats on this, i do also vaguely remember.reading that Arya Samajist did indeed try to discourage idol worship which they saw as corruption to the Vedas. Perhaps in the 19th century it was seen as inferior thing. I dont think it was a widely held view though. Of course they failed in achieving that. (just like they couldn’t do jack about caste issues ) , since large majority of hindus just like worshiping idols.

        “Instead of this they believe that the handful Bengali ‘reformers’ who were against idol worship were either ‘British stooges’ or ‘crypto-Christians’. ”

        To the larger point Hindus from less-hindu regions (Punjab/Bengal) can never really reform anything. They just dont have the gravitas which a N-Indian hindu reformer can bring to the table. That’s why all the Roys, Vivekanada and Arya Samajist failed.

    2. LOL, I have never been able 2 understand what the fuss with idols is really about. Being born as a Hindu, i could also not get why monotheism is considered better than polytheism.

      until recently adherents of the abrahamic religions would hold idols represent true divinities. but they’re demonic ones.

      a early modern calvinist view is that they are all false and nonexistent, which actually reduced fear of idol-worship (and i think opened door to disenchantment and atheist).

      1. That’s interesting,

        I think many Hindus probably still believe that the essence of dieties does inhabit the idol after it has been ritually sanctified. I remember at one point in the 90s there were some widespread meme in India that the ganesha murtis were drinking milk.

        Now, this is sort of folk belief / superstition. This is not necessarily what sophisticated, Hindus believe.

        I see modern Hindus broadly trending towards 3 camps (not mutually exclusive) :

        1. Western (enlightenment, modernism, post-modernism) influenced – irreligious, cultural Hindus who follow a lot of western thought and models of reality.

        2. Islamic and Christian rule influenced – Hindutva types who seem to be reactionary to Islamic and Christian rule in the past.

        3. Shramana influenced – with a more sophisticated conceptualization of the divine as the illuminating aspect of consciousness, rather than a spirit or an outside entity.

        Although radically different from jewish or islamic monotheism, this primordial consciousness (nirguna brahman) is more formless and less dualistic. This is why some people claim Hinduism is “monothesitic”.

        Regardless of these trends old traditions and beliefs still persist. For eg. all of these groups are anti-caste. But caste still persists out of sheer social intertia and social dynamics in India. Without much backing from sophisticated thinkers.

          1. Well in the case of Arya Samaj, its popularity in the Punjab was a reaction to Sikhism and its rejection of the vedas as well.

            The characterization of the divine in Dharmic traditions like Sikhism and Arya Samaj as “monotheistic” is certainly a reaction to Abrahamic religions. The mass adoption of these reform movements is as well.

            Under the hood however most dharmic reform teachings still have very Indic philosophy (advaita, vishistadvaita have south indian pre-Islamic contact origins).

            (a Sikh forum discussion on this: http://www.sikhawareness.com/topic/14954-differences-in-siddhant-between-advaita-adi-shankaraharya-and-sikhi/)

          2. Arya Samaj was indeed reactionary and their interpretation of Vedas is still horror for the practicing Vedic Brahmins.
            From scholarly Hindu point of view Swami Dayanand was not very well versed in any tradition. He knew bit of Sanskrit but instead of proper learning he was more keen on starting his own sect.
            But from social Hindu point of view Dayanand was product of his time and his contributions are mostly seen in positive light.

          1. Was talking about the part about the murtis drinking milk being a folk belief. Not ritual sanctification.

            But in any event, does Mimamsa really talk about idols being inhabited by the spirts of the deities and stuff?

            Genuinely thought it was mostly non-theistic or atheist, and orthopraxic. So seems weird. Not a fan of overly ritualistic Hinduism tbh.

  6. Buddhism became a religion of idolatry and idol worship by the common era.

    No amount of denials can change this historical fact.

    All Buddhist countries worship Buddha idols as if he is a divine being or the ultimate God.

    Now the original Buddha never asked for this, but this is the difference between organised religion (Buddhism) and a monk’s personal philosophy.

    “One of al-Kashgari’s most historically significant poems, tells of the Turko-Islamic conquest of the last of the renowned Central Asian Buddhist kingdoms, the Kingdom of Khotan of the Iranian Sakas:

    Middle Turkic:
    Kelnizleyü aktımız!
    Kendler üze çıktımız!
    Furhan evin yıktımız,
    Burhan üze sıçtımız!

    Translation:
    We came down on them like a flood!
    We went out among their cities!
    We tore down the idol-temples,
    We shat on the Buddha’s head!”

    1. All Buddhist countries worship Buddha idols as if he is a divine being or the ultimate God.

      Not in Sri Lanka (and assume in other Theravada countries too) where Buddha is just a teacher. However, most people need a god, thats why almost every Buddhist Temple has some Hindu god tucked away in a corner.

      My cynical view is the Buddhist priests dont want to loose business to Hindu Temples, so they have some god in the Buddhist Temple premises.

      1. Haven’t been to Sri Lanka.

        But I am visiting a Theravada country right now (Thailand) and went to some Buddhist temples.

        There are literally idols of the Buddha and also statues of some famous monks inside the temples, and people make offerings of money and stuff to the Buddha.

        Thai people also have Spirit Houses everywhere where people leave offerings of food and stuff. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_house)

        This is all severe idol worshipping from an Islamic standpoint.

        I see a lot of Phra Phikanet (Ganesh) murtis and moitfs at random places, which seem to be used mainly for good luck rather than serious worship.

        Buddhists don’t seem to have an issue with different forms of iconography

  7. Idolatry in some sense depicts the artistic skills of the people in monuments, statues ,bulidings, temples etc.
    Greek and Roman sculptures are idols of men of historic significance but the sculpting style is different from South asian or Indian style.
    Lack of idolatry means the best embroidery, calligraphy,geometric patterns design can be found in West Asia (Turan and all) and Middle -Eastern countries as well.
    There’s nothing wrong with idolatry unless you think that god resides in the idol and if an idol is destroyed you reaction shouldn’t be to attack.( This is said in modern context not to be taken in historical context)
    The problem is that idolatry comes back after a time in shapes of idols of freedom fighters, leaders, football legends etc.
    If there is an Islamic enlightenment the idolatry might emerge in middle East as well.
    Indian Muslims know (most probably ) that most of their ancestors ( greater than 95%) were Hindu converts and there shouldn’t be a problem acknowledging that fact.
    Also I don’t think that the Aryans were hardcore idolators ,they gradually become one because of the diversity of people in India.

    1. “There’s nothing wrong with idolatry unless you think that god resides in the idol”

      What is wrong with thinking that god resides in an idol ? Why is it worse than any other belief about god ?

    1. Why pre Christian i think the whole Iconoclasm controversy of the orthodox church seems pretty similar to the idolatry thing.

      1. the orthodox keep their icons flat. they don’t make ‘graven images.’ the catholics (western xtians) obviously do. iconaclasm was a feature of some oriental xtian groups who were likely influenced more by local jews (and how it came into islam and eastern orthodoxy probably).

  8. I will never be able to understand to hatered towards paganism from Abrahamic religions , especially Christianity in Europe even though the pagans were there own ancestors.

    1. “Those of us of Muslim origin were descendants of idolaters”

      This is actually not true, especially for Punjabi Arains. Arain is a prakrit corruption of “Adam”, as we descend from his original paternal haplogroup in an unbroken chain, meaning we’ve kept the primordial monotheistic religion he was first sent to Earth with via God.

      Arains migrated out of Punjab around 500 AD, settling in Syria (though some argue it was Arabia proper), where we were among the first to accept Muhammad’s message of Islam, recognizing it as the culmination of Adam’s monotheistic message.

      We then returned to the subcontinent as conquerors with Muhammad Bin Qasims army, spreading Islam to the Indus Valley region. Arains are simultaneously the first Muslims, Punjabis, and really the first people of this planet. We are the only ones who exist in any meaningful sense to be honest.

      1. I believe Muhammad was an Arain. Therefore the Arains need to start a campaign to resettle the Kaaba in Punjab. And propagate Punjabi as the original language of Islam; all copies of the Quran need to be converted from Arabic to Punjabi pronto.

        1. “Therefore the Arains need to start a campaign to resettle the Kaaba in Punjab. And propagate Punjabi as the original language of Islam; all copies of the Quran need to be converted from Arabic to Punjabi”

          Didn;t the ahmediyas took care of that 😛

      2. It’s amazing how easily you shift between universalist liberalism and Islamic-Pakistani chauvinism, with absolutely no self-awareness. I envy your peace of mind.

      3. I am not Arain. What is my relation to Adam then? You come from unbroken chain and I come from broken chain? Lol.

  9. INDTHINGS you are joking . Aren’t you ? Did i land on a trolling website.
    Man I thought I was dumb but still can’t get more dumber than you.
    Can someone please tell me he/she isn’t trolling or just poking fun because if you are then it’s alright .

  10. again, a lot of the hatred of idols makes more sense when you realize that early christians, muslims, and jews, believed in the existence of other gods. but held these gods were demons. idols were representations and gateways to demonic power.

    many christians (evangelical protestants) hold that hinduism is a demonic cult to this say. and they mean demonic literally.

  11. finally, re: origin of idolatry. aryans and other pastoralists don’t have too many idols cuz they move (though the bible records small idols for the early hebrews). in india it looks physical depictions of buddha may have been popularized by indo-greeks.

    1. There might be an idolatry cline in India among the hindus as well. The shrine building, temple centred settlements of the south, with attendant metaphysics of subjective realism, saguna brahman vs the fire worship and nirguna brahman (attributeless reality) type of stuff in the NW of the subcontinent. I wonder if the lost temple complexes of the north would have been anything like the overwrought southern gothic mega-structures we see in Tamil Nadu.

    2. ‘Aryans’ didn’t have idols because their religion works in very different way. For them fire rituals
      fulfill need of the religious ‘icons’.
      That’s why even in later period Indian artists refrained from dipicting ‘Aryan’ ‘gods’. Besides due to their abstract nature it’s almost impossible to physically represent them. Hindu inconography is actually very intricate.

  12. Ask a Muslim if he or she worships anything and anyone besides Allah and they would find the question ridiculous.

    ask a hindu if they worship stones they will find this ridiculous. but i’ve heard this joke (along with cow-shit eating) from muslims my whole life (s. asian ones). i think the muslims are being mean, but i can see where their perception comes from. hindus of an intellectual background can tell you why the things they do are totally reasonable and not the way muslims describe them.

    basically, muslims are not self-conscious of the reality that the criticisms they make of others can be thrown back at them, and their own explanations seem just like the sophistry of the kufars to the kufars.

  13. I wonder if the lost temple complexes of the north would have been anything like the overwrought southern gothic mega-structures we see in Tamil Nadu.

    exposure/interaction with islam, and later european christianity, had some influence on which movements within indian religion were salient i think.

    islam makes no sense without eastern christianity, zoroastrianism, and buddhism (i have written extensively why this is so). but similarly, much of hinduism in india may not make as much sense without understanding the nature and parameters of muslim rule (i think this is highly relevant cultural involution and passivity).

  14. my fav story about lack of self-awareness. an evangelical protestant friend in HS learned about hinduism in church (devil-worship). he wanted to talk to me about it since he knew i was hindu (look at me!). he started talking about how hindus believe that ‘gods’ (demons) are incarnated into human bodies and have experiences with humans and how insane it was.

    i looked at him, and said “jesus christ?” he got angry but stopped the conversation immediately.

    my point: what looks ridiculous in another religion is somehow taken for granted and normal in your own religion.

    roman catholics believe in the ‘real presence.’ they’re eating human meat and drinking human blood.

    1. ” what looks ridiculous in another religion is somehow taken for granted and normal in your own religion.”

      Perhaps not on top of my head, but I cant think of anything which Hindus would find weird about religious stuff done by other folks. We find every religious stuff done perfectly sane 😛

    2. e started talking about how hindus believe that ‘gods’ (demons) are incarnated into human bodies and have experiences with humans and how insane it was.

      To get Evangelical Christians pissed of you can add
      Mumbo Jumbo (Talking in tongues)
      Possession and Trances
      Tribal Dances (Jumping about, Borat did one).
      Holy Water

      roman catholics believe in the ‘real presence.’ they’re eating human meat and drinking human blood.

      True for all Christians

  15. “The need to convert people”

    This is either bad faith or ignorance on their part. Hinduism was historically a heavily proselytizing religion, first during the pre-Islamic era towards Buddhists, and most recently, in the British period when trying to “reconvert” Muslims/Sikhs/Christians to Hinduism, while also trying to convert tribals and prevent dalits from leaving Hinduism.

    Its much more face-saving to say, “we don’t want to convert people”, then, “we’ve tried to convert people and failed, so we’ve given up”.

    1. Hindus have no memory of converting Buddhists (something which only you remember) so why would they say “We tried and gave up.” ?

      They could more easily follow the example of their neighbours and start kidnapping daughters of tiresome other-religionists.

      1. As we can see from Arjun Hindus are still acutely aware of this failure and quite sensitive when its brought up.

        Hindus engage in kidnapping/rape as much (if not more) than Muslims. As per usual however, this exploitation is directed toward the lower-castes among them, rather than their non-Hindu neighbors. I don’t consider this to be more virtuous.

        1. You are (as usual) not making any sense. (I’d say “nice try” but actually it is a poor try even by your low standards.)

          By your own narrative, Hindus tried converting Buddhists and apparently succeeded spectacularly.

          Then they tried preventing dalits from leaving and again succeeded spectacularly (since all the subcontinental Muslims are sayyads and directly descended from his holiness).

          So what exactly did they fail at ? And why give up when your success rate is so good ?

        2. They succeeded against Buddhism generally but this is too far removed to offer any consolation to modern Hindus (and they don’t really try to derive anything meaningful from it). In the modern period:

          A lot of the tribals converted to Christianity. Probably most but I haven’t seen actual figures on this so I’ll be cautious. Muslims/Sikhs/Christians did not convert to Hinduism, in fact more Hindus converted to the former.

          Its true most dalits remained grudgingly as Hindus though this is only due to the most cynical religious ploy possibly of all time, which is the reservation system. Basically offering mass bribes to Dalits via employment and education subsidies so long as they don’t convert to Islam or Christianity (at which point they lose most of these benefits).

          1. So what is this “failure” to convert you speak of which was so bad Hindus gave up “converting” ?
            As usual you try pulling facts out of your posterior but not much is retrieved from there.

          2. Uh, one of the rationales of affirmative action wherever it’s done is to integrate marginalized groups into larger society. In India, Hinduism is part and parcel of that society.

            But I have a feeling that you would be attacking Hinduism if there was no reservation system anyways. Cause you’re a troll.

          3. Right but the reservation system in India was not borne out of concern for the dalits, but fear of them converting to Islam/Christianity. Whether you are reading Hindu Nationalists or Congress members in the early 1900’s, the discourse is the same.

            “Dalits will leave Hinduism because we treat them so poorly. We need to start offering them stuff so they don’t leave”. The disagreement was only about how to bribe them.

            The current reservation system India has now was opposed by pretty much everyone, but shoehorned in due to heavy pressure by Ambedekar and a few of his forward thinking colleagues who actually had genuine concern for dalits.

            I really didn’t need to write all this, as its plain that if India’s primary concern with the reservation system was uplifting the disadvantaged rather than religious bribery, it would not deny the benefits to Christian and Muslim dalits (as well as earlier denying them to Sikhs and Buddhists as well).

          4. Isn’t the bribe of reservations better than the threat of apostasy punishment? What about induced conversions by giving loans or getting students into missionary schools. My English teacher at a missionary school had converted because he needed the job badly. It was an open secret.

          5. “Right but the reservation system in India was not borne out of concern for the dalits, but fear of them converting to Islam/Christianity. Whether you are reading Hindu Nationalists or Congress members in the early 1900’s, the discourse is the same.”

            Ignorant comment.
            The right was not given to Muslims/Christians because these communities enjoy special minority education privileges under article 30(1) of the constitution. This gives minority groups special privileges to run and administer their own educational institutions that do not have reservations or need to follow the provisions of RTE.
            (Some of the provisions are especially onerous and have led to multiple majority-run schools shutting down)

            These privileges do not apply to Hindus in states where they are a minority – Punjab, JnK, north-east etc.

            This right was ASKED for by the representatives of these minority groups.
            That left Dalits as the only marginalised group without any sort of affirmative action and hence reservations.
            You can’t eat the cake and have it too.

            The list of minorities is closely guarded by the government at the behest of the current minorities. In the past, groups like Lingayats, Sindhis, Arya Samajis etc have tried to get the ‘minority’ status but have failed.

            Ideally, in a liberal democracy, the state wouldn’t be in the theological business of defining minorities and majorities. But we are far from there.

          6. Prats has lost the plot completely. Muslim/Christians having more flexibility to run their own religious schools has nothing to do with the national government subsidizing Hindu Dalits with university spots and government jobs.

            Jigar the apostasy punishment isn’t keeping Muslims in Islam though. Like if it vanished tomorrow, virtually no Muslims would leave Islam. Christian missionaries do sometimes bribe people to convert but most Christians in India did not convert in such contexts.

          7. “Prats has lost the plot completely. Muslim/Christians having more flexibility to run their own religious schools has nothing to do with the national government subsidizing Hindu Dalits with university spots and government jobs.”

            Lol. It’s got everything to do with that. It’s another matter that Muslims have not had the dynamism or foresight to use it to the full extent. Christians will be out on the streets if the laws were to be repealed.

            “Jigar the apostasy punishment isn’t keeping Muslims in Islam though. Like if it vanished tomorrow, virtually no Muslims would leave Islam. Christian missionaries do sometimes bribe people to convert but most Christians in India did not convert in such contexts.”

            Most Muslims would convert in a generation or two if Jigar went away. It’s pretty obvious. If they do not, it wouldn’t be from the fear of the state but from the fear of the fanatic neighbour who’s going to behead them for apostacy.

        3. When someone criticizes Islam:
          This is highly problematic, don’t you realize you’re operating within a framework of colonialism and oppression?

          When criticizing other religions:
          lol u guys got OWNED by the ummah, how pathetic

          1. This is highly problematic, don’t you realize you’re operating within a framework of colonialism and oppression?

            i think u r confusing indthings with kabir. indthings trolls and seems to enjoy shitting on the kufar, but kabir is the one who generally writes like what a stupid person thinks a smart person should write.

    2. Hinduism was historically a heavily proselytizing religion,

      in the premodern era what really generally seems to have happened is that elite support for institutions of a given religion (e.g., monasteries) dries up, at which point popular sentiment shifts/reaffiliates. this is actually the main way that christianization happened in the roman empire. paganism withered more than christianity converted aggressively. this is also how islam spread most of the time.

      so you are kind of wrong on that.

      hindu attempts to ‘reconvert’ seem to be cultural imitation of the methods pioneered by catholics and later protestant evangelicals. i don’t see why people are so hostile to their attempts.

      1. Nah I’ll pushback a bit on this.

        We have a ton of accounts from both Buddhists and Hindus about the two groups travelling around India challenging each other debates, with ultimatums of, “if I win this entire town converts to my religion”. Entire sects in Hinduism rose and fell to better sharpen the sword of the Brahman in his debates with Buddhists. That’s active proselytizing, not state-support drying up and Buddhism passively fading away. I also don’t know why Arjun is playing dumb about this as this is triumphantly boasted about by modern Hindus.

        I’m indifferent to the modern attempts at “reconverting” non-Hindus as they’ve largely been so hapless there’s not much to worry about. I just think its silly to pretend this didn’t happen, when it was arguably THE strongest proselytizing movement in Asia during the early 20th century.

  16. oh that way, lol

    i was thinking more on the lines of worshiping stuff , like hindus worship everything and they would not find folks worshiping any random stuff weird

  17. Razib, do you think Bengal was ever Hindu. It seems like they were animistic peasants that converted to Buddhism during Ashoka reign, perhaps had some influence from the Sena Dynasty but mostly influenced by the Buddhist Pala. Did Hinduism ever ‘touch’ Bengal?

    1. Razib, do you think Bengal was ever Hindu. It seems like they were animistic peasants that converted to Buddhism during Ashoka reign, perhaps had some influence from the Sena Dynasty but mostly influenced by the Buddhist Pala. Did Hinduism ever ‘touch’ Bengal?

      this is a complex question. i think there are two dimensions

      1) geography. clearly the further west you go the more touched by proto-hindu caste structure the society was.

      2) the class aspect. there are archaeological evidences of hindu temples and brahmin lands far east into bengal very early on, but how penetrative was ‘caste hindu’ society in these lands? we know that a massive admixture of tibeto-burman like ppl occurred around 500 AD. the ahoms show these could be hinduized, but the arrival of muslims around 1200 AD may have disrupted assimilation and integration.

      i think in eastern bengal one might say much of the population never really became caste hindus, and were eventually brought into nominal islam, and only became world-normative islam in the past few centuries (my family in part spread world-normative hanafi shariah in its rural lands in comilla and noakhali among peasants who were muslim in name but highly superstitious in the past few centuries). the beginnings of caste hindu society was strong in the west that it absorbed the muslim shock, and developed its own innovations and adaptations (e.g., gauda vashnaivism occurred under muslim rule, but became influential, even converting some muslims).

      there is also another aspect: the peasants worshipping stones and local godlings would be called “hindu” by the mullahs. that is, when muslim critics speak of hinduism they’re not just talking advaita and all the astika traditions, which go back to the vedas. they’re talking about superstitious idolatry in toto, and that includes peasant animism.

      when my mother talks about how her great- (or great-great?) grandfather, a well known sufi saint around homna, spread islam, he will say “they were like hindus.” by this, she doesn’t mean that these people did puja to brahmins. they were basically just pagans and their understanding of islam was a thin veneer on peasant animism.

  18. The aversion to idol worship is a manifestation of weird monotheistic insecurity, could never get my head around it. I mean belief in any supernatural agent is illogical in some sense, one might as well get creative while doing it.
    Historically, barring the Abrahamics, would it be fair to say that idolatry is the default mode of worship of most world cultures in the pre-modern eras?

  19. “Hindus engage in kidnapping/rape as much (if not more) than Muslims. As per usual however, this exploitation is directed toward the lower-castes among them, rather than their non-Hindu neighbors. I don’t consider this to be more virtuous.”

    No evidence

    1. The literature and reporting on the horrific rates of kidnapping and rape in India (nearly always involving caste-dynamics) dwarfs that of Pakistani-rape issues (which should not be minimized btw).

  20. We have a ton of accounts from both Buddhists and Hindus about the two groups travelling around India challenging each other debates, with ultimatums of, “if I win this entire town converts to my religion”. Entire sects in Hinduism rose and fell to better sharpen the sword of the Brahman in his debates with Buddhists. That’s active proselytizing,

    very few ppl lived in ‘towns.’ you confuse urban literate culture, which we remember, for the vast majority of society, which was detached from this. this is one reason it took until the edge of modernity for many peasants in india and europe to actually affiliate with the ‘high religion’ in a substantive way.

    basically, all the religious *professionals* exaggerate their pull, impact, and effect until very recently (in the 17th-century you got to the stage where societies resisted change and reject the monarch; not before).

  21. BTW Razib , what is the history of Kabba? Like do we have information on how it came to be, or if someone made it? And when? Is it referenced in pre islamic literature?

    Is it unique structure because of being a granite structure in middle of desert. Any good book or podcast which sheds light on that

  22. BTW Razib , what is the history of Kabba? Like do we have information on how it came to be, or if someone made it? And when? Is it referenced in pre islamic literature?

    i don’t know about this. for obvious reasons there isn’t much excavation of the early history of islam from a non-muslim perspective 😉

    i assume it was appropriate and co-option of some pagan culti site by christians or muslims. i lean toward the positon that islam arose in the northern arabian fringe, and NOT in the hejaz. but my confidence in this is weak, and i suspect all profferred models have huge holes.

    1. “for obvious reasons there isn’t much excavation of the early history of islam”

      LOL, for a moment i thought u were taking about the excavation of the site 😛

  23. Historically, barring the Abrahamics, would it be fair to say that idolatry is the default mode of worship of most world cultures in the pre-modern eras?

    i think you need a complex stratified society. idols, like pottery, requires production. subsistsance HG couldn’t practice it. also, lots of societies worship cthonic deities. trees, rivers, stones, etc.

    the production of images you see in forms of hinduism, some forms of buddhism (tibetan), and roman catholicism, seem at one end of the extreme. small wood or stone idols and amulets are common. ancient near eastern societies created massive statues of their gods, but these were to showcase the power and strength of the society, as opposed to objections of devotion (personal devotionalism may be a late development).

  24. Purely a psychological analysis in the Jungian framework – the Abrahamic aversion to idol worship originates from the concept of “individuality” that a sculptor infuses into her image of the Gods. All resource-scarce regions have a strong sense of the tribe. One man cannot beat the desert….it requires strong team playing (a ship also has a strong discipline regimen because the sea is well…a kind of desert). There cannot be mavericks making their own rules and frameworks. Therefore that one man (pun intended) is elevated into a “Obey Me and you shall be rewarded” kind of persona. Visual imagery is always subject to evolution and incremental innovation…witness the “Ironman” evolution over 40 years…therefore the practitioners in the desert strongly eschewed idols since they posed a existential threat to the societal stability. This got strengthened over the years by the Darwinian principle of strong teams/tribes surviving and carrying forward their “One Man¨ by eliminating other tribes who preferentially were weakened by their individual choices. Jung always felt that the concept of Satan represented the imprecise and foetal ¨individuation drive” that exists in every human being. There are also published psychological studies that establish a strong correlation between toy figurines – animals, heroes – (idols, if you may) and a child’s ambition development.

  25. no commenter has addressed the central proposition of razib’s post –

    “And yet I think I have come to an elegant and accurate solution to this problem: those of us of Muslim origin or belief should simply admit that we were the descendants of idolators.

    @razib – this distinction between idolatry and hinduism is not necessary, and even erroneous. hinduism is a religion which is not static. it is continuously evolving since the days of IVC and Indo-aryan civilization. now, this is generally true of other religions like islam and christianity too, but it is just more true for hinduism. unlike abrahamic religions, there was no day-zero of the hindu religion when the religion was in its pristine, unadulterated form. for the hindus their religion has always existed since pre-history. this is why hindus are wont to call their religon “satanata dharma” (eternal religion).

    hinduism is an aggregate of all the practices that developed, most of them in-situ, in both temporal and spacial dimensions, within what can be generally considered the cultural boundaries of india. (minus of course the practices which recognizably belong to abrahamic religons). hinduism doesn’t have a central core that certifies or invalidates new entrants to this aggregate as hindu or non-hindu. the aggregate swallows in the components, (the so called famously assimilative nature of hinduism), but the components themselves change the aggregate in the process.

    one problem of calling some practices just idolatry is that idolatry is not a religion per-se. it poses an immediate question that idolatry of what religion? and if idolatrous practices were not hindu, then what religion were they? and as far as hinuds go, animism practiced within the cultural boundaries of india, or philosophical traditions like buddhism or jainism were all hindu traditions. they were all parts of the aggregate that we call hinduism.

  26. “there is a strong possibility that muhammad and his tribe were partially christianized ”

    “i lean toward the positon that islam arose in the northern arabian fringe, and NOT in the hejaz”

    @razib

    I believe you have hinted about these theories in many posts, but never elaborated. i guess we need a detailed post on these propositions.

    these assertions obviously fly in the face of conventional wisdom. i have read enough of hadith literature, and it never gives any indications that hejazi arabs were anything but pagans. (some tribes like ghassanids were christians, but they lived far to the north of mecca). whether quraysh, madinan arabs or bedouins, they are all uniformly depicted as pagans in islamic literature.

  27. What do Muslims find more offensive? Making a statue of allah and praying to it or making a statue of allah and pissing on it?

    Same question to Hindus but replace allah with, say, shiva.

    PS: I recently met shree rishee yogee who explained the health benefits and carbon footprints of hinduism to mee.

    I’m now jagpatee jagneshee,
    the allee of Hindu philosophee,
    carbon conscious hindostanee
    sanatan saviour gentoos épée.

    1. One of the greatest spiritual masters of the 1700s and 1800s–Trailanga Swami–regularly use to piss over the main Shiva Lingum of Kashi Vishwanath temple in Banaras. This deity and temple is one of the oldest and most important in the world.

      The Brahmins of Kashi Vishwanath temple looked on when Trailanga Swami pissed on the major deity and cleaned up the piss after he left.

      Sometimes pissing on major deities, shiva lingums and idols is part of the eastern ethos.

      1. Well Trailanga Swami was technically in ‘Paramahamsa’ state so he didn’t had much awareness of functions of his body(he used to roam naked in the streets of the Varanasi). This doesn’t give barbaric Mar-unmatta Malechhas any freedom to wash their crimes.

        Any regular Hindu who is not in ‘Paramhamsa’ state would be lynched if he would even imagine to do anything of this nature.

  28. these assertions obviously fly in the face of conventional wisdom. i have read enough of hadith literature, and it never gives any indications that hejazi arabs were anything but pagans. (some tribes like ghassanids were christians, but they lived far to the north of mecca). whether quraysh, madinan arabs or bedouins, they are all uniformly depicted as pagans in islamic literature.

    more precisely, they fly in the face of *muslim wisdom*. basically nonmuslims take muslim accounts at face value. but they don’t do this for christians!

    western christians routinely refer to ‘pagans’ in eastern europe, when we end up finding out actually these ‘pagans’ were orthodox christians. so you can’t take assertions of institutional paganism seriously all the time cuz people are unreliable narrators.

    the hadith literature is mostly a function of after 750 AD. hundreds of years after the ‘pagan’ period in arabia.

    like jesus, i think muhammad is based on a historical figure. but i don’t think islam arose in the way muslims assert it arose. there is a big literature on this sort of revisionism. basically what we call islam snapped into place around 700 AD, but a lot of stuff developed after 750 AD and the abbassids.

    the whole culture of hadith dates to after 750 AD and the influx of turanian culture into islam.

    1. but why would the hadith writers feel the need of suppressing the christian traditions of muhammad’s tribe, and emphasize the pagan aspects? if at all, highlighting the partially christian roots of muhammad’s clan would have helped muslims to win over christians more quickly.

      christian characters do pop up in muhammad’s story (his wife maria, a cousin of khadija called warqah etc). they are usually shown in positive light. i am sure if more members of quraysh were christians, it would have reflected in the writings.

      in fact muhammad wouldn’t have faced so much opposition in mecca were his tribe partially christianized. it would have helped him win over the quraysh to his region quickly (islam would have been see as the natural progression of christianity). all the battles that quraysh fought with muhammad were in the name of their pagan gods.

      anyway, it will be interesting to read some of this revisionist
      literature. do paste the links you have some.

      1. Muhammad’s revelation is more impressive if he came out of a background of paganism. It deflects from accusations that Islam is just a deviant form of Christianity, shoring up the argument that it came directly from God.

        For similar reasons, Muslim apologists sometimes emphasize Muhammad’s supposed illiteracy.


  29. “the peasants worshipping stones and local godlings would be called “hindu” by the mullahs. that is, when muslim critics speak of hinduism they’re not just talking advaita and all the astika traditions, which go back to the vedas. they’re talking about superstitious idolatry in toto, and that includes peasant animism.”

    the mullahs were right! these practices were hindu practices, because if these practices were not hiindu, what religion did they belong to? did the animist peasants have another name for their religion?

    a lot of difficulties in the minds of people of non-hindu background arise because they try to define the undefinable. they try to understand hinduism from the lens of their own confessional religions. that is why they constantly try to figure out what are the core tenets of hinduism, or what are the canonical texts of hinduism. it is a futile exercise, because their no standard, core hinduism. it is for a good reason that constitution of indian republic chose NOT to define hinduism.

    as some readers must be aware, the dubious honor of having the world’s bloodiest animal sacrifice festival belongs to hindus (the famous gadhimai fair of nepal). to some of the strictly vegetarian vaishnavite hindus of gujarat and rajasthan, who even shun garlic and onions as food for not being pure enough, the festival is cringe worthy to the extreme. yet even these strict vegetarians will not call gadhimai worship beyond the pale of hinduism.

    even to this day, masses of hindus, especially if they come from rural and peasant caste background, remain blissfully ignorant if their practices fall under the ambit of astika traditions or advaitvad traditions, or any other fancy philosophical school. their religion is essentially limited to worshiping their kul-devata (family deity), and occasional worship of mainstream hindu gods like shiva or krishna. and yet their religion is not sharply different from brahamanical hinduism of upper castes, because these upper castes, including brahmins, share the veneration of these local deities with peasant castes. some of the brahmins castes in my region have kul-devatas like gogaji or khetlaji (local folk heroes who got elevated to the status of gods), whom they venerate much more than classical hindu gods. so you see, folks practices and “high” hinduism seamlessly blend into each other.

    i can write swathes of text more on this, but i hope my point is clear.

    1. scorpion_eater:

      ” because these upper castes, including brahmins, share the veneration of these local deities with peasant castes. some of the brahmins castes in my region have kul-devatas like gogaji or khetlaji (local folk heroes who got elevated to the status of gods)….”

      beep beep. You have been positively identified as a Marwari 🙂 Now, please share more about your “background” (region, community etc..)

      I didn’t grow up in the old country but we are only generation removed from there and visited often (including opening the ancestral house and staying for a few weeks) so definitely heard of Khetlaji and some of the rituals around it..Add to the list, Ramdev Peer, who seems like more of a lower caste deity (folk hero –> deity) but even in my Jain family on extreme occasions invoked and prayed to (and vowed to) to the extent that I have heard of him, and visited his thaan..

      Did you once you mention that you were doing some ancestral genetic analysis? Share your email please..

      1. yes, i do come from rajasthan, though not exactly a marwari. i belong to another caste. i don’t live in rajasthan any more, but i stay connected. i usually visit my ancestral village every couple of years.

  30. Few years ago, I read an interesting book author by J.T.F Jordens “Dayānanda Sarasvatī, his life and ideas” you can find a scanned copy of the book in internet archive:https://archive.org/details/dli.bengal.10689.12980/page/n13/mode/2up

    In his research work, Jordens demonstrate founder of Arya samaj Dayanandas concepts of monotheistic worship developed not form any external influence rather it has strong local roots and influence from Gujrat local tradition. It’s a fascinating reading Dear RAZIB KHAN bhai my English writing is not up to the mark, however, I think if you read the book and post a summary review it will generate a lot of discussion in this online forum.

  31. Of course most South Asian Muslims are descended from converts from Hinduism. This doesn’t seem to be a particularly controversial point.

    As far as I can see, the comments on this post are mostly full of people arguing that their religion is better than the other. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between Hindu supremacists and Islamic supremacists. Whether people choose to worship idols or not is their personal choice and really has no impact on how anyone else worships. In any case, most people simply follow the religion they happen to be brought up in.

    1. Nope most of comments are about futility of prejudice against ‘idol’ worship specially when every religion has it’s own set of holy ‘icons’.

      There is huge difference between Islamic supremacists and ‘Hindu supremacists’.

      1. People are free to worship whatever they want. I think debates about which religion is better than the other are inherently pointless. Especially since in most cases people don’t choose their religion.

        Your comments on this thread reveal a pattern of anti-Islamic bigotry.

        1. ‘Islamophobia’ is used as a shield to protect Islam from any form of criticism. Instead of providing valid arguments in response to my commemts you’ve just belittled me by terming me as ‘anti-Islamic bigot’.

          1. Don’t again !

            If you want to call me ‘bigot’ then you’ve to supplement your statement with convincing reasons.

          2. Your comments in this thread provide enough evidence of an animus against Islam.

            Again, if being called out on your bigotry offends you then perhaps try not to engage in bigoted behavior.

            Feel free to have the last word. I’m not going to waste any more time on people like you.

          3. Dismissal from your part just proves that you didn’t have any point to begin with. If you think that providing critique(all in good faith) of Islamic ideology is ‘anti-Islamic bigotry’ then it can’t be helped. No religion can ever be above wellbeing of humanity specially when religions become root cause of the conflicts.

          4. I don’t believe you were providing good faith critique of Islam. Rather you were simply engaging in an argument about why your religion of Hinduism and practice of idol worship is better than Abrahamic monotheism. I’m not interested in discussions about which religion is better than another, especially since our “choice” of religion is mostly arbitrary and simply an accident of birth.

            But if you need an example of why the tone of your comments reflects an animus against Islam, here it is:

            “Same way any person with decent IQ would find ideas behind complex Hindu iconography(like dancinng Shiva, long trunk of Ganesha, getup of Kali etc) facinating. Only a illiterate person who doen’t know anything besides his desert would be frightened of them.”

            Referring to Muslims as “illiterates” who “don’t know anything besides [their] desert” comes across as rude and condescending. Perhaps some people just aren’t moved by idols of the Nataraja while being able to appreciate them as artworks.

            Maybe you should introspect about why you come across as rude and bigoted if it is not your intention to come across as such.

        2. . Especially since in most cases people don’t choose their religion.

          minor note: south asians of all religions (including converts to xtianity!) are always shocked when i point out that depending on how your ‘count’ it 25-50% of americans change their religion within their lifetime. the fraction for subcontinental people is closer to 1%.

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