This research aims to compare Hinduism and Islam in the name of the two religions, to reveal the aspects of agreement and differences between them. We will examine first what is in Hinduism in this subject followed by what is in Islam in this regard.
The Sanskrit Name of India
One of the most famous names of the Indian peninsula in Hindi and Sanskrit is Bharat (भारत).
Bharat was son of a celebrated hero and monarch of India, son of Dushyanta and Sakuntala. Also, Bharat was son of Dasaratha and Kaikeyi (and younger brother of Rama, to whom he was very much devoted). (1)
In my conclusion, the name Bharat remained a famous name for males throughout ancient Indian history, and then the country was named after the Indian emperor Bharat who ruled it. The name Bharat as a person’s name precedes the word as a country name, because Bharat in Sanskrit means “a seeker of light” that is initially more suitable with human being than a country or place.
The word Bharat is a combination of two Sanskrit words; Bha that means knowledge and Rat (रत) means devoted. So Bharat means the one who is devoted to knowledge.
Thus, a boy child named Bharat became king of India and later it became name of the areas ruled by the king, however, Bharat is not a name of the religion. But the question is: what was the name of India before the emperor Bharat?
हिन्दू Hindu in Persian Dictionary
In general, modern Hindu thinkers and writers are not happy with their name “Hindu” and regard it a given name by their enemies and many of them even think it an insult offence to them. We would like to analyze the issue with logic and evidence, to see if their claim is true or just an illusion.
Author of Feyruz ul Lughaat says about the word Hindoo (هندو): Hindoo (هندو) is essentially a Persian masculine that refers to inhabitant of India, and from the same root-word is Hindustani (هندوستاني), and Hindi (هندي) )India) and the word refers also to mole on the cheek of a beloved, a black mole, black ponytail.”(2)
हिन्दू Hindu (from the Persian هندو) a Hindu, (more properly Hindu), Hindu-dharma, the Hindu religion and Hindu-Sthana; the country of the Hindus, Hindustan; properly restricted to the upper provinces between Benares and the Sutlej river.(3)
Those are all the meaning mentioned under the word Hindoo (هندو). And you will note with me that there is bad or insulting meaning in the dictionary, in addition, “a mole on the cheek of a beloved, or a black mole or black braid.” All these meanings are beautiful as a black mole and black braid are regarded a symbol of beauty without doubt. Moreover, Noor ul Lughaat, has mentioned the similar meaning in the meaning of Hindoo (هندو) and did not mention any abusive or insulting meaning under the word. (See: Noor ul Lughaat, by Noor ud Din, p 992, Vol.4th: Halqah Ishaat, Lucknow, under the word Hindoo (هندو). Also, Karim ul Lughat, does not mention any insulting meaning under the word.(4) I tried to search in different Urdu and Persian Dictionaries to verify the claim but I did not find any bad meaning. However, Ghiyath ul Lughat says: Hindoo (هندو) refers to one who belongs to India, and Hindoo (هندو) is only for human being who belongs to India not the things or animals belong to India. Also, the word in the dialect of the Persians means thief, robber, and slave.”(5)
There are three famous names for the Hindu religion; Sanatan Dharm (सनातन धर्म), Vedic Dharm (वैदिक धर्म), Hindu Dharm (हिन्दू धर्म).
Linguistic Analysis for Hindu Word
Hindu religion is more familiar with the Hindu religion (हिन्दू धर्म) in the world than any other name or title. This is the name that has been used for this religion since about a thousand years. Hindus (हिन्दू) are the followers of the Hindu religion. In Hindi, Hindu (हिन्दू) is used as singular and plural.
It has been said that Hindu in its linguistic origin was Sindhu and Sindhu is name for a river originally, Sindh in Pakistan now is from the same root-word, and then the people who lived on the banks of the river were named Sindhu, but the Arabs or Persians altered “S” with “H” so, the word became Hindu instead of Sindhu.(6)
The Name Hindu a Gift of Muslims to India
It was the Muslims who gave this region a unified and inclusive name. There was no conception or idea of geographical unity even we can say that present India was not one country before the arrival of Muslims. People of India throughout its history have been different in their faiths and segregated in their ethnicities and tribes. Āryāvarta (आर्यावर्त) was called especially for the people of the plains of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, not for all the inhabitants of present India, as well as Bhartvarsha, was not a general and collective name as varsham means country and Bharat was name the king thus Bhartavarsha means the country of Bharata or the country of the descendants of Bharata, son of Dushyant and Shakuntala. So, the name was only for a small area that was under the rule of Bharat and his family. The summary is to say that Sanskrit and Hindi dictionary is short to provide a general name for the present India. It was due to the nature of the population; a mixture of diverse, opposing and different elements in race, tribe, blood, philosophy, caste and religion. However, when Muslims conquered India, there became two kinds of people; conqueror and conquered, therefore, they called all conquered Hindu (the slave) and Muslims.
Some Hindu thinkers, such as Lala Lajpat Rai (1865-1928) and other leaders of the Hindu Arya Samaj movement have tried to change the name Hindu, claiming that the name is a Persian word meaning black, and the slave which is a remnant of the slavery of the Hindus, but this movement failed in its goal.(7)
Opinions on the Name of Religion
Many people consider Hinduism different from Sanatana religion. They claim that foreigners gave them the name Hindu. However, before that its name was Sanatana Dharma. While others say that its name was Arya Dharma. Some say that its name was Vedic Religion. Scholars have different views in this regard. (8)
Even, the Hindu philosophers are different in the name; which name is more suitable. In the dispute around the name is a sign that those names are based on human conclusion or selection not direct divine dictation or revelation.
What is Sanātana (सनातन)?
We will discuss here: are Vedic and Sanantan divinely inspired and revealed names or they are just humanly concluded and invented names, we will examine whether those names are God inspired or were deduced by the human mind and this issue is a big question in this subject.
Most of the recent Hindu thinkers support Sanatan (सनातन) as the preferred name for their religion. Sanatana in Sanskrit means eternal, everlasting and timeless. Some Hindu writers referred to the Mantra of Rig-Veda to support their opinion that the name Sanatan is based on Veda. “यह पथ सनातन है। समस्त देवता और मनुष्य इसी मार्ग से पैदा हुए हैं तथा प्रगति की है। हे मनुष्यों आप अपने उत्पन्न होने की आधाररूपा अपनी माता को विनष्ट न करें।” (ऋग्वेद-3-18-1) “This path is eternal. All the Gods and the humans have been born from this path and have progressed. O humans do not destroy your mother on the basis of her birth.” (Rigveda-3-18-1)” According to some Hindu writers, Sanatan Dharma, also known as Hinduism or Vedic Religion, has a history of 1980,05310 years.
However, the Mantra of Rig-Veda never mentioned that the name of the religion is Sanatan, it only has described that the path is eternal but that does not denote clearly that Sanatan was its name. For example, if we say “Veda is Sanatan (eternal)” no one can prove that Veda’s name is eternal or Sanatan.
I think the idea is borrowed recently from the Muslim culture as the Glorious Quran mentions that the name Islam is from Allah the Almighty and the name of follower of Islam is Muslim that has been given by Allah the Almighty.
In addition, if it is timeless in its beginning and its end then the 1980,05310 years will be contradicting, the digit means the beginning since that year.
Moreover, the Hindu religion cannot be timeless in its continuation or end, because, human life is changing and it is illogical to assume that the principles that were suitable for the primitive human life will be suitable for the people in this age.
Through the above-mentioned proofs, we can conclude the following:
First: the names of Hindu religion are different and more than one. And those names are based on human conclusions.
Second: the dispute on the names of Hindu religion is a clear proof that they are not revealed, otherwise, no dispute has been arisen.
Third: Muslims have done a favor to the people of India, who gave them a comprehensive and inclusive name after they remained divided and different.
Fourth: Hindus thinkers claim that Sanatan is the name of their Hindu religion that is logically incorrect and is based on human conclusion and contradicting because it has a beginning as was claimed by the Hindu philosophers.
Fifth: According to Persian dictionaries, the word “Hindu” does not have any insulting meaning as was supposed by some Hindu writers. Hindu means slave or conquered that was a fact.
Sixth: the name Islam for the religion of Muslims is a divinely revealed name and that is subject of the following part of this study.
(1) A Sanskrit -English Dictionary, by Sir Monier Monier-Williams, Oxford University Press, Amen house, London. 1956, 1960, p. 747
(2) Feyruz ul Lughaat, under the letter haa )هاء), p. 1450, Al-Hajj, Moulawi, Firozuddin, i: Fayrouz Center, Lahore.
(3) A Sanskrit -English Dictionary, by Sir Monier Monier-Williams, Oxford University Press, Amen house, London. 1956, 1960, P. 1298.
(4) See: Karim ul Lughat, p 423.
(5) See: Ghiyath ul Lughat, by Ghiyās̲-Dīn (Muḥammad), p. 508 Vol. 2nd, I: Nizami press, Kanpur.
(6) See: In the defence of Hinduism By Nirav Chokshi.
(7) اساسات قومیت ملت اسلامیہ ہند ، راغب احسن ، کلکتہ ، ١٩٤٠،ص٥٥
(8) http://bit.ly/2Ods3fS (last accessed on 11/27/2019)