Non-Muslims have raised some intellectual and philosophical questions against Islam even in the era of the Prophet (peace be upon him); i.e. during the period of the revelation of the Glorious Qur’an. And Allah (Glory to Him) in many cases answered those questions in the divine revelation directly.
The Glorious Qur’an says in this connection:
And he presents for Us an example and forgets his [own] creation. He says, “Who will give life to bones while they are disintegrated? Say, “He will give them life who produced them the first time; and He is, of all creation, Knowing.” [It is] He who made for you from the green tree, fire, and then from it you ignite. (Yasin 36:78-80)
We will refer to the circumstances, context and event of the revelation of the above-mentioned blessed verses in the following lines.
Questions against the faith of resurrection during the period of revelation
It was narrated that Ubay ibn Khalaf came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) carrying in his hand obsolete and decayed bones to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) then he smashed them by his hand scattering them in the air and then said in mocking style: “O Muhammad! Do you think that God will bring these decayed bones back to life? The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) answered: “Yes, God will cause your death then He will bring you back to life and He will admit you the hellfire.(1)
In addition, there are many examples of this kind of conversation and discussion in the Glorious Qur’an and the blessed Sunnah. Moreover, the Muslim scholars throughout the ages followed the same method and undertook the duty of refuting the questions and critique by the opponents of Islam; and explained the secrets and wisdom behind the Islamic doctrine, (Shari`ah) the law and the system of life in Islam. You can read in this subject the books of Ibn Qutaibah Ad-Dinawari (d. 889 A.D.), Ta’wil Mushkil Al-Qur’an and Ta’wil Mukhtalif Al-Hadith.
Additionally, there were hot debates and strong conversations between Muslims and Hindus in the Indian sub-continent throughout the history after the entrance of Muslims to India. And Muslim arguers and debaters raised some serious philosophical critiques and logical questions against Hinduism challenging Hindu spiritual leaders to give convincing answers to those questions. I am going to present here some of them in a brief manner stating that the challenge is still open for Hindu spiritual guides to answer the questions objectively.
Some challenging and logical questions on Hinduism
Who can answer the following questions? The answers are warmly welcomed.
1- According to Hindu religion, there are 84 thousand kinds of creation and the best creation on the earth is the human being. Then the question is: Why are the cow, elephant and dog worshipped by human beings, and the worshipped must be superior and better than the worshipper? It is a sort of philosophical contradiction.
2- There are 33 million Devi and Devta (gods) in Hinduism, who over millions of years managed to make only a few million people Hindu most of them are Hindu by their birth not by their choice. However, the Hindus were so weak in their faith that they accepted Islam and became Muslim by just simple efforts of Muslim preachers. When the Hindus were invited to Islam and became familiar with the Islamic message, they entered into the religion of Allah in multitudes. If the Hindu beliefs were stronger, better and more suitable than Islam, they would have never accepted Islam.
Prince Dara Shikoh (1615-1659 A.D.) says in his book Safinat ul Aouliya about Khajah Moinuddin Chishti (1141-1236): “Large numbers of non-Muslims were blessed with Islam by his auspicious invitation, even those who did not embrace Islam used to send to him treasures of gold coins of gold.”(2)
Why did the Hindu god create people in low caste and high caste?
3- Hindus believe that Brahma has created the people but the question is: why has he divided them into high and low, pure and impure, touchable and untouchable castes? Why did he make four castes: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras? Is this not a racial discrimination and a clear injustice by the God?
Why does Shiva sit on a lion’s skin?
4- Shiva sits on the skin of lion as his images and paintings show. The question is: how did Shiva get this skin; is it not a sort of offence against the lion? Is it not killing of an innocent animal?
5- Hindus believe that Rama is their Lord. According to Hindu scriptures, Rama waged a war against Lanka in order to free his wife Sita. Undoubtedly, this was his personal battle and for personal cause then why has he pushed the whole society into the war?
What was the contribution of this war to the wellbeing of the common people? As Ravana was the king of Lanka since a long time and his nature was evil and Rama knew all about his vice acts why did Ram not fight him before the abduction of his wife to teach him a lesson in advance? What was the benefit of this war for the society and country?
Where was the wife of Lakshmana during the exile period?
4- When Rama went to his exile for 14 years and took with him his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana who was already married and had wife, the question is: where was Urmil the wife of Laxman during the exile period?
5- If Hinduism is many thousand years old and a divine true religion, then why has it not spread outside India? Before our modern days, there was no presence of Hinduism anywhere in the world except the Indian sub-continent whilst Islam became more popular and attracted more followers than Hinduism? What is the secret behind this?
Why did Dasaratha, the father of Rama, have four wives?
6- According to the Hindu religion, if second marriage for a man is prohibited, especially when the first wife is alive; the question is: Why had Dasaratha the father of Rama four wives? What is the justification for his marriages according to the Hindu philosophy?
7- Hindu scriptures state that once Shiva chopped the neck of his son Ganesh then he cut the head of an elephant and installed it on the neck of his son Ganesh instead of his own head.
The question is: Why did Shiva order to bring another animal’s head to put on Ganesh’s body! Why so? If he had so many powers, he could easily put back his own head? Who gave him the right to harm an innocent animal? Additionally, how can an elephant’s head match with the neck of a human baby?
Why did Rama kill an innocent deer?
8- If the meat is forbidden in the Hindu religion, then why did Rama go to haunt the golden deer?
If you say that Rama killed the golden deer for its “kasturi” (deer’s navel or the substance with a persistent odor, obtained from a gland of the male musk deer situated in its back or rectal area.) for his wife Sita then the question is: is killing an animal for kasturi permissible then why is it not permissible for its meat?
9- If Rama is God, then why did he not know that Ravana’s belly button includes elixir of life until he was informed by others? Moreover, if he would not have known the elixir of life in Ravana’s belly he never would have been able to defeat him. If he could not know such simple thing then he cannot be a god.
10- According to Hinduism, Krishna is a god, but the Hindu scriptures state that Krishna watched secretly some nude women who took bath in the river. How can such a person be a god who is worshipped by Hindus?
11- What is the wisdom behind the worship of Shiva’s penis instead of his other body parts?
Why was Khujraho regarded a temple despite the sexual images?
12- Khujraho monuments have provocative and shameful sexual images, then why was the building regarded as the temple? Do the provocative and sexual images deserve worship and devotion but the question is why?
These are some simple questions that may come into the mind of any fair researcher in Hinduism. In fact, they are objective and fair questions and the Hindu brothers are requested to give reasonable answers in an objective framework. This is not a challenge, but it is a discussion that intends to seek the opinions of other religions and philosophies for a better understanding.
(1) See: Abul-Barakat `Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Mahmud An-Nasafi, Madarik At-Tanzil Wa Haqa’iq At-Taweel, Dar Al-Kalim At-Tayyib, Beirut, 1998, vol.3, 113.
(2) See: Dara Shikoh, Safinat ul Aouliya (in Persian language), Madrasah Agra Press 1853, p. 159.