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1.  Common Concept of God in Hinduism:
Hinduism is commonly perceived as a polytheistic
religion. Indeed, most Hindus would attest to this,
by professing belief in multiple Gods. While some
Hindus believe in the existence of three gods,
some believe in thousands of gods, and some
others in thirty three crore i.e. 330 million Gods.
However, learned Hindus, who are well versed in their
scriptures, insist that a Hindu should believe in and
worship only one God.


The major difference between the Hindu and the Muslim
perception of God is the common Hindus’ belief
in the philosophy of Pantheism. Pantheism considers
everything, living and non-living, to be Divine and Sacred.
The common Hindu, therefore, considers everything as God.
He considers the trees as God, the sun as God, the moon as God,
the monkey as God, the snake as God and even human beings
as manifestations of God!


Islam, on the contrary, exhorts man to consider himself and his surroundings
as examples of Divine Creation rather than as divinity itself. Muslims therefore
believe that everything is God’s i.e. the word ‘God’ with an apostrophe ‘s’.
In other words the Muslims believe that everything belongs to God.
The trees belong to God, the sun belongs to God, the moon belongs to God,
the monkey belongs to God, the snake belongs to God, the human beings
belong to God and everything in this universe belongs to God.
Thus the major difference between the Hindu and the Muslim beliefs is the
difference of the apostrophe ‘s’. The Hindu says everything is God.
The Muslim says everything is God’s.
2Concept of God according to Hindu Scriptures:


We can gain a better understanding of the concept of God in Hinduism
by analysing Hindu scriptures.


BHAGAVAD GITA:


The most popular amongst all the Hindu scriptures is the Bhagavad Gita.
Consider the following verse from the Gita:


"Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender
unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship
according to their own natures."
[Bhagavad Gita 7:20]


The Gita states that people who are materialistic worship demigods
i.e. ‘gods’ besides the True God.

UPANISHADS:



The Upanishads are considered sacred scriptures by the Hindus.


The following verses from the Upanishads refer to the Concept of God:


1.  "Ekam evadvitiyam"
"He is One only without a second."
[Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1]1
2.  "Na casya kascij janita na cadhipah."
"Of Him there are neither parents nor lord."
[Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:9]2
3.  "Na tasya pratima asti"
"There is no likeness of Him."
[Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19]3
4.  The following verses from the Upanishad allude to the inability of man to
imagine God in a particular form:


"Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam."


"His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye."
[Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20]4


1[The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan page 447 and 448]
[Sacred Books of the East, volume 1 ‘The Upanishads part I’ page 93]


2[The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan page 745]
[Sacred Books of the East, volume 15, ‘The Upanishads part II’ page 263.]


3[The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan page 736 & 737]
[Sacred Books of the East, volume 15, ‘The Upanishads part II’ page no 253]


4[The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan page 737]
[Sacred Books of the East, volume 15, ‘The Upanishads part II’ page no 253]


THE VEDAS
Vedas are considered the most sacred of all the Hindu scriptures. There are
four principal Vedas: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Atharvaveda.


1. Yajurveda
  The following verses from the Yajurveda echo a similar concept of God:


1. "na tasya pratima asti"
    "There is no image of Him."
    [Yajurveda 32:3]5
2. "shudhama poapvidham"
    "He is bodyless and pure."
    [Yajurveda 40:8]6
3. "Andhatama pravishanti ye asambhuti mupaste"
    "They enter darkness, those who worship the natural elements" (Air, Water, Fire, etc.).
 "They sink deeper in darkness, those who worship sambhuti."    
    [Yajurveda 40:9]7


4. Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol, etc.


   The Yajurveda contains the following prayer:
   "Lead us to the good path and remove the sin that makes us stray and wander."
   [Yajurveda 40:16]8


  5[Yajurveda by Devi Chand M.A. page 377]


  6[Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T. H. Giffith page 538]


  7[Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T. H. Giffith page 538]


  8[Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T. H. Griffith page 541]


2. Atharvaveda


The Atharvaveda praises God in Book 20, hymn 58 and verse 3:
1. "Dev maha osi"
"God is verily great"
[Atharvaveda 20:58:3]9


3. Rigveda
1.  The oldest of all the vedas is Rigveda. It is also the one considered most
sacred by the Hindus.
The Rigveda states in Book 1, hymn 164 and verse 46:  "Sages (learned Priests)
call one God by manynames."
[Rigveda 1:164:46]
2. The Rigveda gives several different attributes to Almighty God. Many of these
are mentioned in Rigveda Book 2 hymn 1.


Among the various attributes of God, one of the beautiful attributes mentioned
in the Rigveda Book II hymn 1 verse 3, is Brahma. Brahma means ‘The Creator’.
Translated into Arabic it means Khaaliq. Muslims can have no objection if
Almighty God is referred to as Khaaliq or ‘Creator’ or Brahma. However if it is said
that Brahma is Almighty God who has four heads with each head having a crown,
Muslims take strong exception to it.


Describing Almighty God in anthropomorphic terms also goes against the following
verse of Yajurveda:


"Na tasya Pratima asti"
"There is no image of Him."
[Yajurveda 32:3]


Another beautiful attribute of God mentioned in the Rigveda Book II hymn 1 verse 3
is Vishnu. Vishnu means ‘The Sustainer’. Translated into Arabic it means Rabb.
Again, Muslims can have no objection if Almighty God is referred to as Rabb or
'Sustainer' or Vishnu. But the popular image of


9[Atharveda Samhita vol 2 William Dwight Whitney page 910]


Vishnu among Hindus, is that of a God who has four arms, with one of the
right arms holding the Chakra, i.e. a discus and one of the left arms holding
a ‘conch shell’, or riding a bird or reclining on a snake couch. Muslims can never
 accept any image of God. As mentioned earlier this also goes against
Svetasvatara Upanishad Chapter 4 verse 19.


"Na tasya pratima asti"
"There is no likeness of Him"


The following verse from the Rigveda Book 8, hymn 1, verse 1 refer to the
Unity and Glory of the Supreme Being:
3.  "Ma cid anyad vi sansata sakhayo ma rishanyata"
"O friends, do not worship anybody but Him, the Divine One. Praise Him alone."
[Rigveda 8:1:1]10


4.  "Devasya samituk parishtutih"
"Verily, great is the glory of the Divine Creator."
[Rigveda 5:1:81]11


Brahma Sutra of Hinduism:


The Brahma Sutra of Hinduism is:


"Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan"


"There is only one God, not the second; not at all, not at all, not in the least bit."


Thus only a dispassionate study of the Hindu scriptures can help one understand
the concept of God in Hinduism.


0[Rigveda Samhita vol. 9, pages 2810 and 2811 by Swami Satya Prakash Sarasvati
and Satyakam Vidyalankar]


11[Rigveda Samhita vol. 6, pages 1802 and 1803 by Swami Satya Prakash Saraswati
and Satyakam Vidyalankar]


as from the sun." The Prophecy confirms:


1. The name of the Prophet as Ahmed since Ahmed is an Arabic name.
Many translators misunderstood it to be ‘Ahm at hi’ and translated the
mantra as "I alone have acquired the real wisdom of my father".
2. Prophet was given eternal law, i.e. the Shariah.
3. The Rishi was enlightened by the Shariah of Prophet Muhammad.
The Qur’an says in Surah Saba Chapter 34 verse 28 (34:28):
"We have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to men, giving them
glad tidings and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not."

About Liaqat Qazi

Student of BA in Islamic Studies at the Islamic Online University. Can be reached at @LiaqatQazi
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