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Blending Sanskrit with the Quran

On the eve of this Holi, a Quran Institute in South Delhi proudly opened a Sanskrit Study Centre.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 12:21 IST
INNER VOICE | Tahir Mahmood
INNER VOICE | Tahir Mahmood

On theeve of this Holi, a Quran Institute in South Delhi proudly opened a Sanskrit Study Centre—a revolutionary step that escaped the national media’s notice. What is more stimulating is that the speakers at the inaugural function of the Centre emphasized the importance of Sanskrit for Muslims. Referring to the Islamic tradition— now unfortunately relegated to the realm of obscure beliefs—that the first Prophet on earth Hazrat Adham (Adam of the common Jewish-Christian-Islamic theology) had appeared on Indian soil, they said that Sanskrit should be regarded as the ‘father tongue’ of the Muslims.

Some of them also pointed out that the Quranic expression deen-e-qayim has a remarkably identical expression in Sanskrit—sanatana dharma—that represents the creed of so many Indians.

This indeed should be seen as the true face of Islam. An equal respect for each other’s faith and a genuine interest in all spiritual traditions was once a part of Islamic culture. This is a characteristic of Islam that has been unfortunately eclipsed by the misdeeds of a few fanatics. Bringing it to the limelight is the pressing need of the hour.

How many in today’s India know that the greatest of the great Urdu poets, Ghalib, had composed a long Persian lyric in praise of the city of Varanasi and titled it Chiragh-e-Dair (Light of the Temple)? And how many among us have heard of this highly reverential poem for Ayodhya’s Lord Ram penned by none else than Mohammad Iqbal:
Hai Ram ke wujood pe Hindostan ko naz Ahl-e-nazar samajhtey hain usko imam-e-Hind Ejaz us chiragh-e-hidayet ka hai yahi Raushan tar az saher hai zamaney mein sham-e-Hind (In the existence of Ram does India take pride The farsighted see in him India’s spiritual guide The miracle of that Light of Righteousness is here Brighter are India’s evenings than dawns elsewhere)

Now, if some Hindu religious institution undertakes to organise instruction in the true teachings of Islam it will indeed be fine service to the cause of social harmony in our country.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 12:21 IST