ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Hindus, Muslims: Unique Each in Their Own Way

Though not always in harmony, Hindus and Muslims have for centuries lived together all over this country. While in some cases the people are ghettoised, and the ghettoisation within and among the various Hindu castes and outcastes has been historically and socially institutionalised, Hindus and Muslims are no strangers to each other. Yet, the two people seem to know so little about the inner working of each other. This is certainly the case with the Hindus, considering how widely known Muslim sensitivities are often offended by many gratuitous acts. For instance, since Islam forbids idolatry, a matter of universal knowledge, representations in any form claiming to be of Prophet Mohammad would not be circulated. However, this routinely happens, leading to avoidable tensions and worse. In the latest instance, publication of pictures claimed to be of Prophet Mohammad has stirred strong passions in the small Mani­puri-speaking Muslim community in Manipur.

Apart from ignorance, such offences may be perpetrated with the best of intentions. For instance, many well-meaning Hindus maintain that “fundamentally” (a favourite word) there is no difference between Islam and Hinduism; and as a working demonstration of such similarity maintain that while Hindus worship in temples, Muslims worship in mosques; that while Hindus worship Ishvar or other manifestations of Ishvar like Rama and Krishna and the innumerable other gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon, Muslims worship Allah, their god. The fact is that Muslims do not worship their one and only god in their mosque; they pray. While for the Hindus worship and prayer, the puja and the prarthana, might be one integrated process, for the Muslim worship has no place in his relationship with the almighty to whom all Muslims pray.

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