আমরা দেখেছি একটি সমাজের জনসাধারণের পক্ষে অর্থসম্পদজনিত সমস্যার সমাধান মোটেই অসম্ভব নয়। বর্তমানে পশ্চিমের অনেক দেশেই বিভিন্ন ধরনের সমাজকল্যাণমূলক কর্মসূচি গ্রহণ করে সেই সমস্যার সমাধান করতে পেরেছে; কিন্তু সমাজে ধর্মকর্তৃক সৃষ্ট বিশৃঙ্খলা, মারামারি, সংঘাতের সমাধান আদৌ লক্ষণীয় নয়। এক ধর্ম অন্য ধর্মকেই শুধু ঘৃণা করে না, নিজেদের মধ্যেও প্রচণ্ড ঝগড়া, ফ্যাসাদ, আগ্রাসন, হত্যা, হুমকি, উন্মাদনা সৃষ্টি করে। হিন্দু, মুসলিম, খ্রিস্টান কেউই দাবি করতে পারবে না যে, তাদের মধ্যে ধর্মীয় মতানৈক্য, দলাদলি, মারামারি নেই।
যারা এই সত্যকে অস্বীকার করেন তারা অবশ্যই প্রতারক বা জ্ঞান-পাপী। ধর্মের প্রতি মোহমুক্ত হয়ে তাকালেই দেখা যায়, ধর্মকে যতটা মানবিক হিসেবে প্রচার করা হয়, আসলে তা নয়। ধর্মটা মনুষ্যত্বের নয়, কতিপয় গোষ্ঠীর-গোত্রের। ধর্ম মানুষের মাঝে একতা গড়ে তোলে না, আনে বিদ্বেষ; যা আসলে উগ্র, হিংস্র, জংলী আচরণে পর্যবসিত হয়। কোনো ধর্মই গণমানুষের সামাজিক, রাজনৈতিক, অর্থনৈতিক মুক্তির পথ দেখায়নি; শাসকগোষ্ঠীর তাবেদারি করা ছাড়া। ‘মানব মুক্তি’র যে ধর্মীয় ফর্মুলা দেয়া হয়ে থাকে তা কল্পিত, পারলৌকিক, ইহজাগতিক নয়, তাই গরীব মানুষ আরো গরীব হয় ধর্মীয় আচার-অনুষ্ঠান, নিয়ম-নীতি, কঠোরভাবে পালন ও অনুসরণ করেও; আর ধনী আরো ধনী হয়—ভণ্ডামির মধ্যে লালিত হয়ে। ধর্মের মূলে কুঠারাঘাত পড়েছে বলেই ধর্মবাদীরা মাঝেমাঝে সম্প্রদায়ে-সম্প্রদায়ে মিলে-মিশে থাকার কথা ঘোষণা করেন, শান্তিবাদী হিসেবে নিজেদের ঘোষণা করে্ন, সেটা আসলে মস্ত বড় শুভঙ্করের ফাঁকি; কারণ জগতে ধর্মের নামে, এক ধর্ম অন্য ধর্মের ওপর নিজের শ্রেষ্ঠত্ব-কর্তৃত্ব প্রতিষ্ঠিত করতে মানব সভ্যতার গোড়া থেকেই অগণিত, অসংখ্য মানুষ খুন করেছে এবং আজও সে ধারা অব্যাহত আছে। হাজার বছর ধরে টিকি, দাড়ি আর ক্রুশের বাড়াবাড়িতে সাধারণ মানুষ নাজেহাল। ফলে ধর্ম আজ মানব-সভ্যতার কলঙ্ক হয়ে দেখা দিয়েছে। হিন্দু ধর্মাবলম্বী ব্রাহ্মণ্যবাদীরা কোনো হিন্দু স্বামী মারা গেলে তার বিধবা স্ত্রীকে আগুনে পুড়িয়ে মেরে ফেলে ‘সতী’ বানা্তেন, ইংরেজ আমলে আইন করে এ ধর্মীয় বর্বর প্রথাকে রুখতে অনেক কাঠখড় পোড়াতে হয়েছে। কেইনের (Kane) ‘ধর্মশাস্ত্রের ইতিহাস’ (আট খণ্ড) গ্রন্থের ‘সতী’ বিষয়ক কয়েকটি অধ্যায়ে বেশ কিছু পরিসংখ্যান তুলে ধরেছেন। এই পরিসংখ্যান থেকে দেখা যায়, ১৮১৫ সাল থেকে ১৮১৮ সাল পর্যন্ত মাত্র তিন বছরে নারীর সতীত্ব (?) রক্ষার ধুয়া তুলে কেবলমাত্র বাংলোতেই (যা তখন বারাণসী পর্যন্ত বিস্তৃত ছিল) ২৩৬৬ জন নারীকে আগুনে পুড়িয়ে সতী বানানো হয়েছিল, যার মধ্যে কলকাতাতেই সতীদাহের সংখ্যা ১৮৪৫। আর ১৮১৫ থেকে ১৮২৮ সাল পর্যন্ত বাংলাতে ৮১৩৫ জন নারীকে আগুনে পুড়িয়ে সতী বানিয়েছিলেন ঠাকুর-পুরহিতগণ। এটা কি গণহত্যা নয়? এ কি জঘন্য-বর্বর ধর্মীয় রীতি নয়? বীভৎস ধর্মীয় রীতিনীতির প্রতি ইঙ্গীত করে Pascal বলেছেন Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. হিন্দু নারীরা কি স্বামীর মৃত্যুর পর স্বেচ্ছায় স্বামীর চিতায় ওঠে সহমরণে যেতেন? মোটেই তা নয়। ঐতিহাসিকগণ জানিয়েছেন, কয়েকটি ব্যতিক্রম ছাড়া, অধিকাংশ ক্ষেত্রেই সদ্য বিধবা নারীকে উত্তেজক পানীয় পান করিয়ে কিংবা নেশা জাতীয় দ্রব্য শুঁকিয়ে অজ্ঞান করে কিংবা অর্ধচেতন অবস্থায় স্বামীর চিতায় তুলে দেওয়া হতো। এ বিষয়ে ভারতের অন্যতম মানবতাবাদী লেখক ড. সুকুমারী ভট্টাচার্য তার ‘প্রাচীন ভারতে নারী ও সমাজ’ গ্রন্থে উল্লেখ করেন :
“সদ্যবিধবা নারী নববধূর মতো সাজে, তার শ্রেষ্ঠ পোষাক পরে, সিঁদুর, কাজল, ফুলমালা, চন্দন, আলতায় সুসজ্জিত হয়ে ধীরে ধীরে সে চিতায় ওঠে, তার স্বামীর পা দুটি বুকে আঁকড়ে ধরে কিংবা মৃতদেহকে দুই বাহুতে আলিঙ্গন করে, এইভাবে যতক্ষণ না আগুন জ্বলে সে বিভ্রান্তির সঙ্গে অপেক্ষা করে। যদি শেষ মুহূর্তে বিচলিত হয় এবং নীতিগত, দৃশ্যগতভাবে ছন্দপতন ঘটে তাই শুভাকংখীরা তাকে উত্তেজক পানীয় পান করান। এমন কি পরে যখন আগুনের লেলিহান শিখা অসহনীয় হয়ে ওঠে, পানীয়র নেশা কেটে যায়, তখন যদি সেই বিধবা বিচলিত হয়ে পড়ে, ‘সতী’র মহিমা ক্ষুণ্ন হবার ভয় দেখা দেয় তখন সেই শুভাকাংখীরাই তাকে বাঁশের লাঠি দিয়ে চেপে ধরে যদি সে চিতা থেকে নেমে আসতে চায়, প্রতিবেশী, পুরোহিত, সমাজকর্তা সকলেই অনুষ্ঠানের সাফল্যের জন্য অতিমাত্রায় সাহায্য করতে চায়। তারা গান করে, ঢাক বাজায় এতো উচ্চ জয়ধ্বনি দেয় যে সতী যা কিছু বলতে চায় সবই উচ্চনাদে ঢেকে যায়।” (প্রাচীন ভারতে নারী ও সমাজ, পৃষ্ঠা ১৪৭)।
বর্তমানকালের তথাকথিত ‘মডারেট’ হিন্দুরা স্বীকার করতে চাইবেন না, অথবা অনেকেই জানেন না তাদের ধর্মগ্রন্থে ‘স্বামী মারা গেলে বিধবাকে স্বামীর চিতায় আগুনে পুড়ে মরে সতী হওয়ার’ সুস্পষ্ট নির্দেশ রয়েছে। প্রমাণ চাই তো, দেখুন ঋগ্বেদের দশম মণ্ডলের ১৮নং সূক্তের ৭ নং শ্লোক(১০/১৮/৭) শ্লোকটির ইংরেজি হচ্ছে : Let these women, whose husbands are worthy and are living, enter the house with ghee (applied) as collyrium (to their eyes). Let these wives first step into the pyre, tearless without any affliction and well adorned. অথর্ববেদে রয়েছে, “আমরা মৃতের বধু হবার জন্য জীবিত নারীকে নীত হতে দেখেছি।” (১৮/৩/১,৩)। পরাশর সংহিতায় পাই, “মানুষের শরীরে সাড়ে তিন কোটি লোম থাকে, যে নারী মৃত্যুতেও তার স্বামীকে অনুগমন করে, সে স্বামীর সঙ্গে ৩৩ বৎসরই স্বর্গবাস করে।” (৪:২৮)। দক্ষ সংহিতার ৪:১৮-১৯নং শ্লোকে বলা হয়েছে, A sati who dies on the funeral pyre of her husband enjoys an eternal bliss in heaven. (যে সতী নারী স্বামীর মৃত্যুর পর অগ্নিতে প্রবেশ করে সে স্বর্গে পূজা পায়)। এই দক্ষ সংহিতার পরবর্তী শ্লোকে (৫:১৬০) বলা হয়েছে, “যে নারী স্বামীর চিতায় আত্মোৎসর্গ করে সে তার পিতৃকুল, স্বামীকুল উভয়কেই পবিত্র করে।” যেমন করে সাপুড়ে সাপকে তার গর্ত থেকে টেনে বার করে তেমনভাবে সতী তার স্বামীকে নরক থেকে আকর্ষণ করে এবং সুখে থাকে। ব্রহ্মপুরাণ বলে, “যদি স্বামীর প্রবাসে মৃত্যু হয়ে থাকে তবে স্ত্রীর কর্তব্য স্বামীর পাদুকা বুকে ধরে অগ্নিপ্রবেশ করা।” (প্রাচীন ভারতে নারী ও সমাজ, পৃষ্ঠা ১৪০)। মহাভারতের মৌষল পর্বে আমরা দেখি, ভগবান কৃষ্ণের মৃত্যুর পর তাঁর চার স্ত্রী রুক্কিণী, রোহিণী, ভদ্রা এবং মদিরা তাঁর চিতায় সহমৃতা হয়েছিলেন। এমন কি বসুদেবের আট পত্নীও তাঁর মৃত্যুর পরে সহমরণে গিয়েছিলেন। ব্যাসস্মৃতি বলছে, চিতায় বিধবা নারী তার স্বামীর মৃতদেহে আলিঙ্গন করবেন অথবা তার মস্তকমুণ্ডন করবেন। (২:৫৫)। ষষ্ঠশতকের বরাহমিহির তার বৃহৎসংহিতায় বলেন, “অহো নারীর প্রেম কি সুদৃঢ়, তারা স্বামীর দেহ ক্রোড়ে নিয়ে অগ্নিতে প্রবেশ করে।” (৭৪:২৩)। এ কুযুক্তি শুধু বরাহমিহির কেন, আজকের একুশ শতকের কতিপয় পুরোহিত-ঠাকুর গর্বভরে ঘোষণা করেন, “নারী তার স্বামীর প্রতি ভালোবাসার জন্যই সহমরণে যায়; এ হিন্দু নারীর বৈশিষ্ট্য, ঐতিহ্য, মমত্ব, স্বামীর প্রতি অগাধ ভালোবাসার দুর্লভ উদাহরণ।” ঠাকুর-পুরহিতের প্রচলিত ভণ্ডামিপূর্ণ বক্তব্যের স্পষ্ট জবাব দিয়েছেন ড. সুকুমারী ভট্টাচার্য; তিনি বলেন : “বৃহৎসংহিতার যুগ থেকেই সমাজ এই অতিকথা ঘোষণা করে আসছে যে নারী তার স্বামীর প্রতি ভালোবাসার জন্যই সহমরণে যায়। এই মিথ্যার অবসান হওয়া উচিৎ। যদি স্বামীর প্রতি প্রেমে এক নারী আত্মহত্যা করে তবে কেন আজ পর্যন্ত কোনো স্বামী তার স্ত্রীর চিতায় আত্মহত্যা করেনি? এ তো হতে পারে না যে আজ পর্যন্ত কোনো স্বামী তার স্ত্রীকে ভালোবাসেনি। যদি সতীদাহের ভিত্তি হতো প্রেম, তবে আমরা অবশ্যই কিছু কিছু ঘটনা দেখতে পেতাম যেখানে মৃত স্ত্রীর সঙ্গে স্বামীও সহমরণে গেছেন। কিন্তু তা হয়নি, এ বিষয়ে কোনো শাস্ত্রীয় বিধিও নেই। সুতরাং মূল ব্যাপার হল স্বামীর স্বার্থে স্ত্রীর সম্পূর্ণ আত্মবিসর্জন; আর সতীদাহ এই আজীবন নাটকেরই পঞ্চমাংকের শেষ দৃশ্য।” (দ্রষ্টব্য : প্রাচীন ভারতে নারী ও সমাজ, পৃষ্ঠা ১৪৮) হিন্দু ধর্মের বেদ-গীতা, মনুসংহিতা, উপনিষদ, রামায়ণ, মহাভারত, পুরাণপাচালি ইত্যাদির মধ্যে এতো জাতপাতের বৈষম্য, বর্ণভেদ, গোত্রবিভেদ, ধর্মভেদ, ধর্মান্ধতা, গোঁড়ামি, কুসংস্কারাচ্ছন্ন মানসিকতা, নারীর প্রতি কুসংস্কার, বিরূপ ধারণা, ভয়, ঘৃণা, জংলী আইন-কানুন একই ধর্মাবলম্বী বলে ঘোষণা করেও শূদ্র-বৈশ্যর প্রতি ব্রাহ্মণ-ক্ষত্রিয়ের শ্রেণীবিভেদের বিপুল সমাহার আর সরব উপস্থিতি ও চর্চা দেখেই হয়তো উপনিবেশিক ভারতবর্ষে বাংলার রেনেসাঁসের অন্যতম প্রাণপুরুষ বলে পরিচিত হেনরি লুই ভিভিয়ান ডিরোজিও (১৮০৯-১৮৩১) ও তাঁর অনুসারীরা Athenium নামক মাসিক পত্রিকায় সোচ্চারে ঘোষণা দিয়েছিলেন, If there is anything that we hate from the bottom of our heart, it is Hinduism.
ইহুদিরা অগণিত খ্রিস্টান ধর্মাবলম্বীদেরকে গলা কেটে হত্যা করেছেন, আগুনে পুড়িয়েছে্ন, তা-তো ধর্মগ্রন্থেই লিখিত আছে; খ্রিস্টানরা স্বধর্মাবলম্বী-বিধর্মী অগণিত নারীদের ‘ডাইনি’ ঘোষণা দিয়ে আগুনে পুড়িয়ে হত্যা করেছেন। বাইবেলের ওল্ড টেস্টামেন্টের অন্তর্গত তৌরাত শরিফের Exodus -এর ২২:১৮ নং শ্লোকে সরাসরি বলা হয়েছে, Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live (কোনো জাদুকারিণীকে বেঁচে থাকতে দেবে না।) স্প্রেঙ্গার হিসাব দিয়েছেন, তৌরাত শরিফের এই আয়াতের উপর ভিত্তি করে নব্বই লক্ষ ভূতগ্রস্ত ব্যক্তিকে আগুনে পুড়িয়ে মারা হয়েছে। তিন থেকে চার বছরের শিশুরাও পর্যন্ত খ্রিস্টান মৌলবাদীদের নৃশংস ও বীভৎস কালো হাত থেকে রেহাই পায়নি। (দ্রষ্টব্য-The Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer) of Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger.) আসলে কেউ কোনদিন ভূতগ্রস্ত হয়নি, ভূত বলতে কোন জিনিষ কোন কালেই ছিলনা, আজও নেই। কুমারী (!) মাতা মেরির কোলে ছোট্ট, সুন্দর, শুভ্র, নিষ্পাপ যিশুর ছবি দ্বারা যেসব খ্রিস্টান মিশনারিজরা শান্তিবাদী-করুণাময় যিশুর রূপ তুলে ধরতে চান, তাদের গালে চপোটাঘাত করেছেন যিশু নিজেই :“আমি দুনিয়াতে শান্তি দিতে এসেছি এ কথা মনে করো না। আমি শান্তি দিতে আসিনি বরং আমি এসেছি মানুষের বিরুদ্ধে মানুষকে; ছেলেকে বাবার বিরুদ্ধে, মেয়েকে মায়ের বিরুদ্ধে, স্ত্রীকে শাশুড়ীর বিরুদ্ধে দাঁড় করাতে।” (মথি, ১০:৩৪-৩৫) ব্ল্যাসফেমির (ঈশ্বর নিন্দা) কারণে যে কোনো ব্যক্তিকেই পাথর ছুড়ে হত্যার নির্দেশ দেওয়া আছে এই তৌরাত শরিফের Leviticus (লেবীয়)-এর ২৪:১৬ নং শ্লোকে! বাইবেলের এসব নিষ্ঠুর, আগ্রাসী আয়াতের উপর নির্ভর করে যুগে যুগে কত যে স্বাধীন চিন্তাবিদ, লেখক, মুক্তচিন্তার অধিকারী ব্যক্তিকে নির্যাতন, বন্দীত্ব বরণ, অঙ্গচ্ছেদ, আগুনের ছেঁকা ইত্যাদির শিকার হতে হয়েছে তার কোনো ইয়াত্তা নেই। এমন কি, যে ইহুদিরা একসময় খ্রিস্টানদের উপর গণহত্যা চালিয়েছিল, সেই ইহুদিরাও খ্রিস্টানদের হাতে কম নির্যাতনের শিকার হতে হয়নি। খ্রিস্টানদের অত্যাচার, নির্যাতনের ভয়ে ইহুদিদের যাযাবরের জীবন বেছে নিতে হয়। পঞ্চম শতাব্দীতে পোপ প্রথম লিও বাইবেল সম্পর্কে ভিন্নমতপোষণকারী স্বাধীন চিন্তাবিদদের ধরে এনে মৃত্যুদণ্ড দিতেন। নবম শতাব্দীতে রোমান ক্যাথলিক চার্চ এক লক্ষ ভিন্নমতাবলম্বীকে হত্যা করে; দুই লক্ষ লোককে দেশ থেকে বিতাড়িত করে। ফ্রান্সের আবেলার পীয়রকে (১০৭৯-১১৪২) ধর্মদ্রোহিতার অভিযোগে কারাগারে নিক্ষেপ করা হয়, তাঁর পুরুষাঙ্গ কেটে ফেলা হয়, তার সব রচনা আগুনে পুড়িয়ে ফেলা হয়। ফ্লোরেন্সের স্যা ভোনা রোলা (১৪৫২-১৪৯৮) খ্রিস্টান ধর্মযাজকদের স্বেচ্ছাচারিতার বিরুদ্ধে প্রতিবাদ জানিয়ে ছিলেন, গির্জার সংস্কার দাবি করেছিলেন; এজন্য তাঁকে গ্রেফতার করে কারাগারের মধ্যে যাতা কাঁধে তুলে দিয়ে পৈশাচিক পন্থায় নির্যাতন চালানো হয়। স্পেনের মনীষী মাইকেল সারভেন্টাস খ্রিস্টানদের ‘ট্রিনিটী’ Trinity অস্বীকার করেছিলেন এবং ঈশ্বরের পুত্রের অবিনশ্বরত্বকে অবিশ্বাস করেছিলেন, যার জন্য তাঁকে খোঁটায় বেঁধে শ্বাসরোধ করে জীবন্ত পুড়িয়ে মারা হয়। যাজকতন্ত্রের নিন্দা করায় আলেকজান্ডার লেটনকে (১৫৬৮-১৬৪৯) বেত্রাঘাত করা হয়, তাঁর নাক-কান কেটে ফেলা হয়। খ্রিস্টান পোপ নবম গ্রেগরি ১২৩৩ খ্রিস্টাব্দে ধর্মীয়-বিরুদ্ধবাদীদের (বাইবেল সম্পর্কে ভিন্নমত পোষণকারী) খুঁজে বের করে তাদের ফাঁসিতে কিংবা আগুনে পুড়িয়ে হত্যার জন্য ‘ইনকুইজিশন’ বা ধর্মীয় বিচার সভার প্রবর্তন করেন। এই ইনকুইজিশনের মাধ্যমে খ্রিস্টধর্মবিরোধী যেকোনো ব্যক্তিকে নির্যাতনের প্রাতিষ্ঠানিক রূপ পায়। জ্যোতির্বিজ্ঞানী জিওরদানো ব্রুনোকে (১৫৪৮-১৬০০) ধর্মান্ধদের হাত থেকে বাঁচতে সুইজারল্যান্ড, ফ্রান্স, ইংল্যান্ডে পালিয়ে বেড়াতে হয়। অবশেষে তাঁকে গ্রেফতার করে আগুনে পুড়িয়ে হত্যা করে ধর্মান্ধের দল। বৃদ্ধ গ্যালিলিও গ্যালিলিকে অত্যাচারের শিকার হতে হয়, তাকে গির্জার সামনে নতজানু হয়ে পাদ্রীদের কাছে ক্ষমা প্রার্থনা করতে হয়। দার্শনিক স্পিনোজাকে সপ্তদশ শতাব্দীর প্রথম দিকে আমস্টারডামের সিন্যাগগ (ইহুদিদের ধর্মমন্দির) সমাজচ্যুত করে, নির্বাসন দেয়। বার্থৌলোমিউ লির্গেটকে (১৫৭৫-১৬১১) নিজের চিন্তা প্রচারের অভিযোগে আগুনে পুড়িয়ে মারা হয়; ১৬১৮ সালে স্যার ওয়াল্টার রাওয়ালকেও ধর্মবিরোধিতার কারণে হত্যা করা হয়। জানা যায়, তাকে শিরোচ্ছেদ করার পর তাঁর মাথাকে মমি করে তাঁর স্ত্রীর কাছে পাঠিয়ে দেওয়া হয়। তুলুজে লুচিলিও ভানিনিকে ১৬১৯ সালে ‘নাস্তিকতার’ অপরাধে জিহ্বা ছিড়ে ফেলা হয়, পরে আগুনে নিক্ষেপ করা হয়। মুহাম্মদ (দঃ) ও তাঁর অনুসারীগণ খ্রিস্টান ও ইহুদিদের ওপর সীমাহীন জুলুম অত্যাচার চালিয়ে, তাদের ভিটে-বাড়ি থেকে উৎখাত করে, নির্যাতন চালিয়ে, তাদের দেশ থেকে তাড়িয়ে দিয়ে, ধর্মান্তরিত করে, তাঁদের শিশু, নারী-পুরুষ, সহায়-সম্পত্তিসহ গোটা দেশ দখল করে নিয়েছিলেন; ইসলামি ইতিহাস এর গর্বিত সাক্ষী। খ্রিস্টান ধর্মের মতো ইসলামও ধর্মত্যাগী কিংবা নিরীশ্বরবাদীদের শাস্তি হিসেবে যুগ যুগ ধরে মৃত্যুদণ্ড প্রদান করে আসছে। এমন কি রোমান ক্যাথলিক চার্চ কর্তৃক ‘ইনকুইজিশন’ প্রতিষ্ঠার অনেক আগেই ইসলামি রাষ্ট্রে এই ধরনের ব্যবস্থা বহুল প্রচলিত ছিল। নবী মুহাম্মদ নিজেই ‘মুরতাদ’-‘কাফের’ এবং তাঁর বিরুদ্ধবাদীদের বিরুদ্ধে ভীষণ কঠোর ছিলেন এবং এ ধরনের প্রচুর লোককে তিনি কঠোর হস্তে দমন করেছেন কিংবা প্রাণদণ্ড দিয়েছেন। নবী মুহাম্মদের আদেশ ছিল, কোনো লোক ধর্মদ্রোহী বা ধর্মান্তরিত হলে শাস্তি হিসেবে কখনো আল্লাহর শাস্তি ‘আগুনে পুড়িয়ে হত্যা করবে না’, তবে তরবারি দিয়ে হত্যা করতে পারো। হজরত আবু হুরায়রা (রাঃ) বর্ণনা করছেন-
Allah’s Apostle sent us in a mission and said, “If you find so-and-so and so-and-so, burn both of them with fire.” When we intended to depart, Allah’s Apostle said, “I have ordered you to burn so-and-so, and it is none but Allah Who punishes with fire, so, if you find them, kill them.”(সহিহ বোখারি শরিফ, ভলিউম ৪, বুক ৫২,নম্বর ২৫৯)
কিন্তু অন্য হাদিসে প্রমান আছে,হযরত আলি কয়েকজন লোক ইসলাম ধর্ম ত্যাগ করে পুনরায় তাদের ধর্মে ফিরে গেলে, তাদেরকে জীবন্ত পুড়িয়ে মেরেছিলেন।
ইকরিমা থেকে বর্ণীত, হজরত ইবনে আব্বাসের (রাঃ) কাছে যখন সংবাদ পৌছিল যে হজরত আলী (রাঃ) কয়েকজন মানুষকে আগুনে পুড়িয়ে হত্যা করেছেন,ইবনে আব্বাস বললেন- আলীর জায়গায় আমি হলে অবশ্য তাদেরকে আগুনে পুড়িয়ে মারতাম না,তবে নিশ্চয়ই হত্যা করতাম যেহেতু নবীজীনির্দেশ দিয়েছেন ধর্মত্যাগীদেরকে হত্যা করতে। (সহিহ বোখারি শরিফ, ভলিউম ৪, বুক ৫২, নম্বর ২৬০)
অন্য একটি হাদিসে আছে-
একজন ইহুদি লোক ইসলাম ধর্ম গ্রহণ করে, কিছুদিন পর সে আবার ইহুদি ধর্মে ফিরে যায়; এ খবর শুনে নবী মুহাম্মদ হজরত মুয়াদ বিন জবলকে নির্দেশ প্রদান করেন ঐ লোকটিকে হত্যা করতে। মুয়াদ বিন জবল ঐ লোকটিকে হত্যা করতে গেলে সাহাবী আবু মুসা (রাঃ) ‘ধর্মদ্রোহী’ লোকটিকে গ্রেফতার করে হাতে-পায়ে বেড়ি পড়িয়ে নিয়ে আসেন; এরপর মুয়াদ বিন জবল ঐ লোকটিকে হত্যা করেন। (দ্রষ্টব্য : সহি বোখারি, ভলিউম ৯, বুক ৮৪, নম্বর ৫৮ এবং ভলিউম ৯,বুক ৮৯, নম্বর ২৭১)।
৭৪৩ খ্রিস্টাব্দে আব্বাসী খলিফা মেহদি ইবন মনসুর সর্বপ্রথম ‘মিহনা’(Mihna) নামের একটি ডিপার্টমেন্ট প্রতিষ্ঠা করেন; যার কাজ ছিল খোঁজে খোঁজে মুরতাদ, কাফেরদেরকে শাস্তি দেওয়া। বর্তমানযুগে সারা বিশ্বে ‘ইসলাম’ নানা কারণেই আলোচনার বিষয়; স্বীকার করতে হবে ৯/১১-এর পর এ আলোচনার গতি অনেক বৃদ্ধি পেয়েছে। ইসলামকে নতুন যুগের আলোয় পুনর্মূল্যায়ণ করা হচ্ছে। কালোপযোগী করার লক্ষ্যে সময়ের পরিবর্তনে যুগে যুগে ইহুদি, হিন্দু , খ্রিস্টান ধর্মসমূহে, কিছুটা হলেও পরিবর্তন এসেছে। মেয়েশিশু হত্যা, ডাইনি হত্যা, সতীদাহ প্রথা, বিধবা প্রথা, আজ আর নেই। গির্জায় নারী নেত্রীত্ব, সমকামী বিবাহ আজ আইনতঃ বৈধ। এমনকি আধুনিক বিজ্ঞানের সামনে মাথানত করে ধর্মযাজকেরা তাদের ধর্মগ্রন্থের ভুল স্বীকার করে নিয়েছেন এবং ক্ষমা চেয়েছেন তাদের পুর্বসূরীগণকর্তৃক অন্যায়ভাবে মানুষ হত্যার জন্যে। খ্রিস্টান জগতের ধর্মগুরু পোপ দ্বিতীয় জন পল বিগত দু’হাজার বছরে খ্রিস্টান জনগণ, শান্তি, প্রেম, মানবাধিকারের বিরুদ্ধে যেসব পাপ করেছেন, তার জন্য ঈশ্বরের মার্জনা ভিক্ষা করেছেন। কিন্তু ইসলাম ঠিক তার বিপরীত; অমানবিক, সন্ত্রাসী আদি অবস্থানে আজও অনড় অটল। জেহাদের মাধ্যমে বিধর্মীদের-অবিশ্বাসীদের হত্যা করে গোটা বিশ্বটাকে ‘দারুল-ইসলাম’ বানানোর প্রচেষ্টাকে ইসলামি বিশ্ব খুবই মর্যাদার সঙ্গে দেখে। ইসলাম অস্বীকার করে বিজ্ঞানের ধারা প্রমাণিত সত্যকে, সংস্কার-পরিবর্তন ইসলামে ক্ষমার অযোগ্য মহাপাপ।
বাংলাদেশের অত্যন্ত সুপরিচিত মনীষী, নির্ভিক নিরীশ্বরবাদী বুদ্ধিজীবী অধ্যাপক ড. আহমদ শরীফ তাঁর ‘গণতন্ত্র, সংস্কৃতি, স্বাতন্ত্র ও বিচিত্র-ভাবনা’ গ্রন্থে বলেছিলেন : “মানুষের অবচেতন-অস্পষ্ট জীবন চেতনার মূলে রয়েছে ভয়-বিস্ময়, ভক্তি-ভরসা ও কল্পনা। এতে বলতে গেলে জ্ঞান-বুদ্ধি যুক্তির ঠাঁই সংকীর্ণ ও নিতান্ত সামান্য।” বিধাতা, গড, আল্লাহ্ ভগবান বা ঈশ্বরকে চেনার জন্য আমাদের বাংলাদেশেরই ড. আহমদ শরীফের ‘গণতন্ত্র, সংস্কৃতি, স্বাতন্ত্র্য ও বিচিত্র-ভাবনা’, আরজ আলী মাতুব্বরের ‘সত্যের সন্ধানে’, মোস্তফা মীরের ‘উল্লেখ্য’, ড. হুমায়ুন আজাদের ‘আমার অবিশ্বাস’, মাহমুদ শামসুল হকের ‘নারী কোষ’,শফিকুর রহমানের ‘পার্থিব জগৎ’ ও ‘হিউম্যানিজম’—এই ক’টি বই-ই যথেষ্ট। উপরোল্লিখিত লেখকদের যুক্তি, তত্ত্ব-তথ্যবহুল লেখা বা তাদের কোনো প্রশ্নের উত্তর, তাদের দার্শনিক জিজ্ঞাসার সমাধান, ধর্মে-বিশ্বাসীরা কোনোদিন দিতে পারেন নি, বিভ্রান্তি ছড়ানো ছাড়া। ধর্ম মানুষকে-সমাজকে-জাতিকে পেছনের দিকে টানে। যে কোনো ধর্মাবলম্বীর ধার্মিক হওয়ার প্রথম ও প্রধান শর্ত হলো-স্বধর্মকে Superior শ্রেষ্ট আর অন্য ধর্মকে Inferior নিকৃষ্ট মনে করা। কোরান শরিফের ১০৯ নম্বর সুরা ‘কাফেরুনে’র শেষ আয়াত ‘লাকুম দ্বী-নুকুম ওয়ালিয়াদ্বীন’ অর্থাৎ তোমার ধর্ম তোমার,আমার ধর্ম আমার, আর বাইবেলের Love thy neighbours (প্রতিবেশীকে ভালোবাসো), হিন্দুদের ‘অতিথি নারায়ণ’-এর মতো কাল্পনিক অসাড় মিথ্যা শ্লোক-বাণী প্রত্যেক ধর্মগ্রন্থেই কম-বেশি আছে। কিন্তু আসল সত্য হচ্ছে বাস্তবে এর কোনো প্রতিফলন নেই চর্চাও নেই। ভারতে হিন্দু মৌলবাদীরা প্রত্যেক বছরই মুসলিম, খ্রিস্টানদের পাইকারিহারে হত্যা করছে, তাদের উপাসনালয় ভেঙে-গুড়িয়ে দিচ্ছে, বাংলাদেশে মুসলিমরা হিন্দুদের, আহমদিয়াদের কিংবা পাহাড়ী আদিবাসীদের উপর যেভাবে অত্যাচার, হত্যা, ধর্ষণ, পরিকল্পিত গুম-সন্ত্রাস পরিচালনা করছে। বাংলাদেশে আহমদিয়াদের সমস্ত ধর্মীয় প্রকাশনা বিএনপি-জামাতের চার দলীয় জোট সরকার ২০০৪ সালে নিষিদ্ধ ঘোষণা করেছে, পাকিস্তানে মুসলিমরা ভিন্ন ধর্মাবলম্বী খ্রিস্টানদের উপর যেসব সংঘবদ্ধ আক্রমণ পরিচালনা করছে, সেটা ডিঙিয়ে এখন শিয়া-সুন্নি-আহমদিয়া দ্বন্দ্ব, একে অপরের উপাসনালয়ে আত্মঘাতী হামলা চালিয়ে নিজেদের ঈমানের পরীক্ষা দিচ্ছে। তা দেখে যে কোনো সুস্থ-স্বাভাবিক-বিবেক, জ্ঞানসম্পন্ন মানুষের তথাকথিত পবিত্র ধর্মগুলোর শান্তিময় বাণীর উপর আস্থা রাখা অত্যন্ত কষ্টকর ও দুঃসাধ্য বটে।
[…] ২য় পর্ব […]
To MOHAMMAD AL-MURSHED,
Also check the following websites. Some of the articles or information may be poorly written. But, you will get a feel. All the information may not be 100% correct, but all the information is not 100% wrong. Some iof the websites are more well organized than others. We have to bear with it. Thanks.
Hi Al Murshed and Others,
You wanted to know how many people have been killed due to 1400 years history of islam.
This is another article by Mr. M A Khan.
Its long article, but this topic needs long discussion. THANK YOU ALL for your patience.
Islamic Terrorism – Is it a New Threat?
by MA Khan
24 Jul, 2006
In recent times, overshadowing the relative calm of the past few decades, there has been a sudden surge in violence and terrorist activities by the Islamic fanatics. Hence, there is a debate as to why Muslims did not indulge in terror and violence during the past decades and centuries. There might be some consolation in the thought that Islamic violence was not so evident during the early 20th century. However, there is also a general impression amongst both Muslims and the non-Muslims that there was never any Islamic violence and terrorism until the last 2-3 decades. One respected moderate Muslim columnist, Tanveer Jaffri, in his recent column, Terror and Terrorism in the World: The Remedy, wrote:
Obviously, in the life of Hazrat Mohammad, taking his relations with the Islam, there is no incident showing terror or terrorism. Even Hazrat Mohammad himself never fought against anyone, in his lifetime.
Presuming Mr. Jafri a good-hearted and honest person, I believe that his verdict on Prophet Muhammad’s non-involvement in any kind of violence in his life-time is his honest opinion. Not only Mr. Jafri, but most of the moderate Muslims also bear such a thought about the Prophet of Islam. Yet, such thought, even if born out of honest opinion, is thoroughly erroneous and is the result of utter ignorance. Instead of being a nonviolent person, Muhammad’s life is a testament of ceaseless raids and plundering expeditions of highway caravans and waging wars against the infidel (non-Muslims). He himself had orchestrated more than one hundred raids, plundering expeditions and wars. Even just before his death, he was in the planning of organizing an expedition, but he fell sick suddenly, from which he never recovered. By this time, he had already extirpated all the Jewish settlements around Medina by means of mass slaughter and enslavement (Banu Quraiza) and mass exile (Banu Nadir and Banu Qainuqa). He had also launched expeditions against the Jewish tribes in far-flung places, namely the prosperous Jewish settlement of Khaybar. In his death bed one of his last wishes was: “Let there be no other religion except Islam”. This wish was carried out to fruition by his immediate successors, notably Caliph Abu Bakar and Omar.
The fact is: the kind of terror and violence perpetrated by Prophet Muhammad have little or no parallel amongst the terrorism and violence of today’s Islamic terrorists. The extermination of the Jews from Medina requires another mention here. Consider the case of Muhammad’s raiding the Jewish enclave of Banu Quraiza, because they did not join the Muslim army when the Meccans attacked the Muslims in the famous battle of the Trench, which, the Quraiza tribe was allegedly obligated to do because of a covenant of mutual protection signed years earlier. The first reason of unwillingness of the Quraiza people to join the battle that Muhammad started was that the Jewish people were sick and tired of such violent activities and blood-baths, raiding and plundering expeditions and fighting wars one after another, which became the prominent feature of the Medina citizens’ life once Muslims became powerful. Secondly, the Mecca army in this battle was too powerful to ensure a decisive victory, had it not been for the trenches Muhammad had dug – thanks to idea given to Muhammad by Salman the Persian from his Persian experience of war. After a 25-day seize of the Jewish enclave the Muslims, the Quraiza tribe surrendered unconditionally and pleaded with Muhammad to let them go into exile. Instead, Muhammad decided to slaughter all the males of weapon-bearing age, around 600 to 900 in numbers, captured their women and children as slaves and took possession of their homes, properties and farms as spoils of war and distributed them amongst the Muslims who had participated in this genocide. The world is yet to witness an example of similar barbaric atrocity perpetrated by today’s Islamic terrorists, though we can be absolutely certain that today’s Islamist jihadists ardently crave to match their Prophet’s examples.
Another incidence which requires mentioning again here is Muhammad’s victorious entry into the city of Mecca, his paternal hometown. Upon his entry into the city, he destroyed all the temples and deities which his ancestors had worshipped for centuries. Soon after his invasion of Mecca, the Prophet sent his general Khalid bin Walid to destroy all the pagan temples of the neighboring tribes of Mecca. Khalid reached the Jazima tribe and asked them to say, “We are Muslims”. But they said, “We are Sabians” – whereupon Khalid slaughtered the whole tribe. The Jazima tribe people had never given any troubles to the Muslims. Is there a parallel of such utter barbarity amongst terror acts of today’s Muslim extremists? No, there isn’t. The truth is: by the end of his 22 years of religious campaign, Muhammad had depopulated the entire Southern Arabia of the infidel pagans, Jews, Christians and Sabians etc. through mass slaughter, enslavement and forced conversion and mass exile. These acts of violence, cruelty and barbarity of the Prophet have no parallel amongst violent acts of today’s Islamic terrorists. Of course, throughout the Islamic world, there are scattered incidences of violence and attacks on non-Muslims’ homes, churches and temples and incidences of raping the infidel women. But there is no incidence in which women of an entire community being captured as sex-slaves, all weapon-bearing males of a community put to summary execution or an entire village or community of the Kaffirs sent to exile.
The acts of violence and terrorism did not just disappear with the death of the Prophet but was redoubled by his immediate successors; namely, Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman et al. who were Muhammad’s closest friends. By the time of third Caliph Othman’s rule, all remaining Jews and Christians of entire Arabian peninsula were forcibly converted, expelled or slain which fulfilled Prophet’s death-bed wish that no second religion remain in the holy land of Arabia.
Immediately after Muhammad’s death, many Muslims who were forced to accept Islam wanted to leave Islam. Prophet’s first biographer, ibn Ishak writes, “When the apostle was dead, most of the Muslims thought of withdrawing from Islam and had made up their mind to do”. Many tribes rose in rejection of Islam, turned to their tribal leaders and refused to pay taxes. The immediate task of the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, was to bring these fierce and intractable tribes into submission. Under the command of fierce Khalid ibn Walid, a bitter and sanguinary battle, termed the Wars of the Apostasy (ridda) followed. The revolt was cruelly suppressed and the recalcitrant tribes were forced back to the fold of Islam.
The fanaticism and barbarity associated with these conquering expeditions need a sampling here. The kind of fierce intolerance and fanaticism being inspired by Prophet Muhammad amongst his followers have no parallel in the annals of any other religion. Under his command, his followers were ready to kill even their own fathers and brothers, if given approval by the Prophet. Prophet’s biographer Hisahm al-Kalbi notes that the son of the great hypocrite Abduallah ibn Obayi had begged for prophet’s permission to kill his own father and bring the head to the prophet. But Abdullah was an influential man and the prophet didn’t dare. According to Ibn-Ishak, in July 624, being increasingly exasperated with the Jews, the prophet ordered: “Kill any Jew whoever falls into your power.” Thereupon a Muslim convert named Muhaysa fell upon a rich Jewish merchant who happened to be on the same way and killed him, despite the fact that he belonged to his own tribe. When his elder brother, still a Jew, scolded him for killing someone of his own tribe, Muhaysa replied, “By Allah, if Muhammad commanded me to kill you also, I would have cut off your head”. So impressed was the Jewish man by his brother’s conviction to Islam that he immediately converted to Islam. The prophet’s fanatic inspiration to intolerance and violence compelled Voltaire to comment: Such conducts cannot be defended by any person, ‘unless superstition has choked all the light of reason from him.’
The violent fanaticism, inspired by the Prophet, was carried forward with ruthless zeal by his immediate followers. Khalid ibn Walid, who fought on the enemy side in the battle of Ohud but later embraced Islam, became one of the most blood-thirsty and brutal of conquerors, if judged even by the standard of his day. Yet his cruelty and rapacity were and still are greatly extolled by the Muslims, honoring him with the title of “the Sword of Allah” (Sayif Allah).
The utter barbarity of Khalid was displayed in May, 633, when he defeated the Zoroastrian Persians at the Battle of Olayis in Southern Iraq (between Hira and Basra). For two days, his soldiers rounded up the great multitude of prisoners and fugitives, who were then herded on to a dry river bed and were butchered until it became a crimson stream. The place thereafter proudly bore the title of ‘the River of Blood’. Abu Bakr, the caliph was overjoyed when the news of victory and massacre reached him.
On the barbarity of Khalid, Benjamin Walker writes:
A wine-lover and lustful debaucher, Khalid took sickly sadistic delight in beheading a defeated chieftain on the battle-field, selecting his wife (if young) or daughter and celebrating his nuptials with her on the spot soaked with the blood of the victim (father/husband of the bride). [Walker, Foundations of Islam, p. 316]
Before Muslims conquered Jerusalem, the scattered communities of Jews and pagans lived in harmony along with the Christians. When Caliph Omar conquered Jerusalem, much venerated in the Koran and a holy place in Islam, in 637 – the Jewish temples and Christian Churches were razed to the ground and widespread looting and pillaging was unleashed. The Patriarch Sophronius of Jerusalem (634-638), who witnessed spread of Islam in the Arabia and the fall of Jerusalem with his own eyes, described the Muslim invaders as “godless barbarians” who “burnt churches, destroyed monasteries, profaned the Crosses and blasphemed against Christ and the church.” The following year, thousands died of famine resulting from the destruction and pillage by the Muslim conquerors of Jerusalem. [Ibn Warraq, Why I am not a Muslim, p. 219]
The invading Muslims destroyed the main Jewish temple (Solomon Temple) and Omar laid, in its place, the foundation of the prestigious al-Aqsa mosque with his own hands. He declared a decree that Jews and Christians could practice religion only in the confines of their churches and homes. No new churches would be built, no conversion should be made, crosses should not be exhibited in their churches and no public display of their faith should be made. These rather benevolent treatments were accorded to the Jews and Christians under the privileged term of the Dhimmis (Zimmis) as accorded to the people of the Book in the Koran. Yet, repression and discrimination, attacks on pilgrims, raid and ransacking of the monasteries and the destruction of the places of worship of the non-Muslims continued.
The barbaric tradition of atrocity set in motion by the Prophet in the form a command for incessant Jihad against the Kaffirs in the Koran, continued well into the late period of the Ottoman caliphate. Even the highly magnanimous caliphs, like Harun-ur-Rashid and his son al-Mamun were thoroughly brutal in dealing with the Jews, Christians and pagans. The great caliph al-Mamun of the golden age of Islam, who instituted the heretic rationalistic Mutazili doctrine and non-divine nature of the Koran as state policy, too, was extremely harsh when it comes to dealing with the non-Muslim subjects. Under his rule in the 9th century, the pagans of Harran had to choose between Islam and death. Such barbaric tools of forced conversion of the infidels continued well into the late Ottoman period. Tavernier, the 17th century French traveler, describes how in Anatolia “Everyday there are numerous Greeks forced to become Turks”.
Certain Western authors and historians believe that after an early onslaught of Islamic conquests lasting until about the mid-eighth century, violence subsided and relative calm and peace prevailed throughout the Islamic world for the subsequent centuries [Saunders, J.J. A History of Medieval Islam. London: Routledge, 1965; p79]. In truth, such claims of existence of centuries of peace fly in the face of it. In reality, no period of the Islamic domination did ensure a peaceful life to the non-Muslims subjects – thanks to Muslims’ Jihadi campaigns in various forms, either by the state or by the Muslim mobs. Yet, some desperate minority of Muslim rulers were tolerant towards non-Muslim subjects in defiance of the Islamic injunctions. Islamic terror, as was unleashed by the Prophet, comprised of unprovoked attack on the unwarned and unprepared infidel territories, exiling or killing the adult male prisoners, taking the females and children as captives (beautiful and young women were used in the harem as sex-slaves, children for raising as Muslims and older females for sale), looting and plundering the infidels of their valuable properties and assets, imposing Jiziyah and of course, destroying the infidels’ religious institutions. Ibn Warraq, in “Why I am not a Muslims” [p. 219-240] has listed the Islamic atrocities and violence against the infidels of various sorts which I will summarized here.
After Prophet Muhammad’s emigration from Mecca to Medina in 622, the exiling and extermination of 3 major Jewish tribes of Medina by 628, has been described above. In 630, Muhammad marched into Mecca, mercilessly captured, destroyed the most sacred pagan temple of Ka’ba and established the Islamic rule there. The pagan inhabitants were given a choice between death and Islam. To save lives, the pagans had no choice but to accept Islam. On the same day, Khalid ibn Walid’s massacre of the entire Jezima tribe for not accepting Islam has already been discussed. Khalid ibn Walid, upon command of Caliph Abu Bakr, launched the blood-letting wars of the apostasy (Ridda) to submit those, who deserted Islam immediately after Muhammad’s death, back to the faith. The utter barbarity of Khalid Ibn Walid against the defeated the Zoroastrian Persians at the Battle of Olayis in Southern Iraq in May 633, whereby he created what is famously called the River of Death has been discussed before.
After completing extermination/exiling the Jews of Medina in 628, Muhammad launched a campaign against the wealthy and prosperous Jewish community of Khaybar. He ordered his charges to destroy all the Jewish temples as they came across. Having defeated the community, he tortured the chief of tribe Kinana by setting fire on his chest to find out the whereabouts of his treasures. After extracting the location of the ensconced treasure, Kinana was beheaded, the treasures were looted, and Kinana’s wife Safiyah was rendered as his share of the booty. He married and took her to bed on the same night her husband’s dead body awaited burial on the next day. Incidentally, Safiyah’s father belonged to the Banu Quraiza tribe of Medina whom Muhammad had beheaded earlier.
In the Muslim campaign of 634, the entire region between Gaza and Caesarea was devastated and four thousand peasants, comprising of Christians, Jews and Samaritans, who were simply defending their lands, were massacred. In 637, the Victorian Muslim army’s march into Jerusalem, with Caliph Omar at the lead, and the accompanying destruction of the synagogues and burning of the churches, desecration of the Crosses and setting in the Dhimmi laws of submission to the Jews and Christians of the Holy Land have already been mentioned. In the expeditions against Mesopotamia between 635 and 643, monasteries were sacked, the monks slaughtered and Monophysite Arabs executed or forced to convert. In Elam, all the people were put to the sword and at Susa all the dignitaries suffered the same fate.
Details of conquest of Egypt starting with the capture of Alexandria by Amr Ibn Al-As in 641 comes from the “Chronicle of John” – the Bishop of Nikiu, written between 693 and 700 CE. As Amr advanced into Egypt, he captured the city of Behnesa near Fayum, and exterminated the inhabitants. Nobody was spared, irrespective of surrendered or captured, Old or Young or Women. Fayum and Aboit suffered the same fate. At Nikiu, the entire population was put to the sword. The Arabs took the inhabitants to captivity. In Armenia, the entire population of Euchaita was wiped out. Seventh century Armenian chronicles recount how the Arabs decimated the population of Assyria and forced a number of inhabitants to accept Islam and then wrought havoc in the districts of Daron, southwest of Lake Van. In 642, it was the turn of the town of Dvin to suffer. In 643, the Arabs came back with “extermination, ruin and slavery”.
It was the same ghastly spectacle in North Africa, Tripoli was pillaged in 643; Carthrage was razed to the ground and most of its inhabitants were slaughtered. Michael the Syrian describes how the first Omayyad Caliph Muawiya, who took power in 661, sacked and pillaged Cyprus and then established his domination by a “great massacre”. In the capture of Istakhar (Persia), 40,000 Iranians were slaughtered. Indeed, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Iraq, Iran and wherever Muslims have marched, were presented with the same spectacle.
In 712, Governor of Iraq, Hajjaj, ordered the conquest of Sind under the commandership of his nephew, Muhammad bin Kasim. He was instructed to “bring destruction on the unbelievers… [and] to invite and induce the infidels to accept the true creed, and belief in the unity of God… and whoever does not submit to Islam, treat him harshly, and cause injury to him till he submits.” According to Al-Biladuri, after the capturing the port of Debal, the Muslim army slaughtered the inhabitants over three days and the priests of the temples were massacred.
After the initial surge of cruelty, Kasim became more tolerant and allowed the infidels to continue their profession and religious practice. Learning about this sympathetic treatment, a furious Hajjaj sent letter condemning Kasim’s method of pardoning the infidels. It read, “… The great god says in the Koran [47:7]: “O True believers, when you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads.” The above command of the Great God is a great command and must be respected…. Henceforth, grant pardon to no one of the enemy and spare none of them..” Kasim quickly obliged to the divinely ordained command and on his capture of Brahmanabad, he invited the infidel idol-worshipers to accept Islam. On latter’s refusal, he ordered all adult males be beheaded with swords and their women and the children were captured as slaves. Eight thousands, some say 26,000, men were put to the sword. One-fifth of the captured slaves (women and children), which amounted to 20,000, amongst whom, were the daughters of Sind Chiefs along with King Dahir’s severed head, were sent to Hajjaj as the share of the states and the remainder were distributed amongst the soldiers. [Chachanama, Muhammad al-Kufi, trs Kalichbeg, I, 155; Shashi R Sharma, Caliphs and Sultans, p. 95]. The stream of captured slaves continued to flow from India to Baghdad ever since Kassim captured Sind and Hajjaj alone is said to have forwarded 60,000 slaves from India (~1/5 of total) to the caliph Walid I (705-715 CE). [Chachnama, I, 154]
In 704-705, Caliph Walid I gathered together the nobles of Armenia in the Church of St. Gregory and in the Church of Xram on the Araxis and burned them alive. The rest were crucified and their women and children were captured as slaves. The worse happened to the Armenians between 852 and 855. Over in Egypt, in 722, the surveyor Usama b. Zaid, attacked convents and churches but Caliph Hisham later asked him to leave the Christians alone. Caliph Marwan (ruled 744-750) looted and destroyed many monasteries in Egypt while fleeing the Abbasid army. In the sacking of Euphesus in 781, 7,000 Greeks were taken captives and were deported en masse.
In 853, Abbassid Caliph Mutawakil ordered all new churches to be destroyed. In 884, the convent of Kalilshu in Baghdad was destroyed. Caliph al-Mutasim, known as the Islamic hero, was a great wager of holy wars against the Christians and heretics. After the capture and pillage of Amorium in 838, there were so many captive slaves that Caliph al-Mutasim ordered them to be auctioned in batches of five and ten. During the rule of caliph al-Mamun – considered the most just Muslim ruler and harbinger of the so-called “golden age of Islam” – the pagans of Harran had to choose between Islam and death.
Ruined by the burden of imposition of Jizyah tax, the Coptic Christians of Lower Egypt revolted in 832. This revolt was ruthlessly suppressed by the Muslim rulers in which Christian villages, vineyards, gardens and Churches were burned. There were mass slaughter and those spared were deported.
In 924, the Church and convent of Mary in Damascus was plundered and burned and other churches destroyed. Further destruction occurred in Ramleh, Ascalon, Tinnis, and Egypt during the invasion of Asad ud Din Shirkuh. In the capture and sacking of Thessalonica in 903 CE, 22,000 Christian captives were divided amongst the Arab chieftains or sold into slavery.
There were massacres of the Spanish Christians in and around Seville. Al-Hakim biamr Illah gave orders that the Churches of his dominions should be destroyed. A Muslim historian records that over 30,000 churches built by the Greeks in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere were destroyed, their contents seized and sold in the markets and lands confiscated. [Tritton AS, The Caliphs and their non-Muslim Subjects. London, 1970, p. 54].
In Iran, the Zoroastrians faced frequent forced conversion, pressure to do so and persecution which lead to riots in Shiraz in 979. To escape persecution, they immigrated to India and live there even today as a respected community.
Six thousand Jews were massacred in Fez of Morocco in 1033. Hundreds of Jews were killed between 1010 and 1013 near Cordoba and other parts of Muslim Spain and an entire Jewish community of 4000 in Grenada was annihilated in 1066. Fatimid caliph Hakim’s jealous persecution of non-Muslims and Church demolition resulted in the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 1009. He also banned the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Both events acted as the major causes that ignited the Crusades.
In Kairoun (Tunisia), the Jews were persecuted and sent to exile in 1016, who later returned, only to be expelled again. In Tunis, they were forced to convert or leave. During subsequent decades, there were fierce anti-Jewish persecutions throughout Tunisia.
In 1064, the Seljuk Sultan, Alp Arslan, devastated Georgia and Armenia. Those, whom he did not take captive, were executed. [Ibn Warraq, pp. 218-238]
Eleventh century also saw the barbaric assault of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni on Hindustan starting in 1000 CE. He launched 17 plundering, looting and slave-taking expeditions to India. Abu Nasr Muhammad Utbi, Sultan Mahmud’s secretary, gloats in his official chronicle that after attacking Waihind in November 1001 CE, Mahmud’s army slaughtered 15,000 fighting men in “splendid action” before capturing 500,000 men and women as slaves. In Mahmud’s attack of Ninduna and Panjab in 1014, “slaves were so plentiful that they became very cheap and the men of respectability in their native land were degraded by becoming slaves of ordinary shop-keepers (in Ghazni)”. The extent of barbarity of Sultan Mahmud was vividly described by contemporary Muslim historians. In the attack on Thanesar, “the blood of the infidels flowed so copiously that the stream was discolored and the people were unable to drink it”. Similarly in the slaughter of Sirsawa near Saharanpur, “the Musalmans paid no regard to the booty till they had satiated themselves with the slaughter of infidels.” [Utbi, Tehrik-i-Yamini, ED, Vol II, pp 41-42, 49-50]. When Mahmud learned that the famous Hindu temple at Somnath housed a monolith brought from the temple of Ka’ba, which was destroyed by the Prophet of Islam in 630 CE, out of jealous piety, he rushed to destroy the Somnath temple. Hindus in great numbered assembled to protect their sacred temple and offered Mahmud great booty, which he ignored and according to Ibn Asir [Kamil-ut-Tawarikh], he massacred 50,000 Hindus guarding temple and destroyed it.
In the 12th century, the Almohads of North Africa spread terror wherever they went. The Jews in Yemen were given choice of death or conversion to Islam in 1165. Similar choice was given to the Jews of Aden in 1198. According to Stillman [The Jews of Arab Lands], there were forced conversions of Jews under the Almohad caliphs, al-Mumin (d 1165), Abu Yakub (d 1184) and al-Mansur (d 1199). The Christians of Grenada were deported to Morocco by the Almoravids rulers in 1126.
In the Indian front, after the scourge of Mahmud Ghazni, there was a relative calm until Turk Ghaurid Sultan Muhammad Ghauri started his attacks beginning in 1175. When he became successful in 1192 to defeat Prithviraj Chauhan, he launched a scourge of conquest of Sirsuti, Samana, Khuhram and Hansi with ruthless slaughter and a general destruction of temples and their replacement with mosques. Similar events followed in Ajmer and Delhi later on [KS Lal, Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India, p. 21].
Muhammad Ghauri’s lieutenant Qutbuddin Aibak, succeeded him to become the first Muslim Sultan in India. He dispatched Ikhtiyaruddin Bakhtiyar Khalji to the East and himself concentrated in Hindustan proper. He captured Kol (modern Aligarh) in 1194. There “those of the garrison who were wise and cute were converted to Islam, but those who stood by their ancient faith were slain with the sword.” [Hasan Nizami, Taj-ul-Maasir, E.D., H, 222]
In 1195 when Raja Bhim was attacked by Aibak, he captured 20,000 slaves.
In Aibak’s attack of Kalinjar in 1202, 50,000 slaves were captured. “The temples were converted into mosques,” writes Hasan Nizami, “and the voices of the summoners to prayer ascended to the highest heavens, and the very name of idolatry was annihilated.” Muhammad Farishtah specifically mentions that during the capture of Kalinjar “fifty thousand kaniz va ghulam, having suffered slavery, were rewarded with the honor of Islam” – which meant that enslaved captives were forced into conversion to Islam and conversion accelerated the growth of Muslim population in India.
During Aibak’s rule of 20 Lunar years, he captured Hansi, Meerut, Delhi, Ranthambhor and Kol, which accompanied similar massacres, destruction and slave-taking. When Sultan Muizzuddin personally mounted a campaign against Hindustan, Aibak proceeded as far as Peshawar to meet him, and the two together attacked the Khokhar (Hindu) stronghold in the Koh-i-Jud or the Salt Range. The Hindus (Khokhars) fled to the highest in the mountains. They were pursued. Those that escaped the sword fled to the dense depth of the jungle; others were massacred or taken captive. The result was a great plunder and many captives sold as slaves. According to Farishtah 300 to 400 hundred thousand Khokhars were converted to Islam by Muizzuddin.
Under Aibak most of Hindustan from Delhi to Gujarat, Lakhnauti to Lahore and Bihar to Bengal were brought under the sway of the Turks. In every attack great many people were killed and large number of women and children were captured as slaves. In 1202 CE, Ikhtiyaruddin Bakhtiyar Khalji marched into Bihar and attacked the University centers at Nalanda, Vikramshila and Uddandpur. The Buddhist monks and Brahmans, identified by shaved head, taken as idolaters, were massacred and the common people were captured and enslaved. Ibn Asir says that Qutbuddin Aibak made ‘war against the provinces of Hind. He killed many, and returned with prisoners and booty.” In Banaras, according to the same author, “the slaughter of the Hindus was immense; none was spared except women and children”. Fakhr-i-Mudabbir informs us that as a result of the Turkish achievements under Muizzuddin and Aibak, even poor (Muslim) householder became owner of numerous slaves.”
After Aibak, Sultan Iltutmish (rule 1210-1236) continued with his war against the infidels and revolting territories including Ranthambhor (1226), Mandor (near Jodhpur), Gwalior and Ujjan (1234-35). According to contemporary chroniclers Minhaj Shiraj and Muhammad Farishtah, every campaign lead to general massacres of those who resisted and the women and children were taken captives and assets of the infidels were looted.
Minhaj Siraj writes that Ulugh Khan Balban’s “taking of captives and his capture of the dependents of the great Ranas cannot be recounted”. Talking of his war in Avadh against Trailokyavarman of the Chandela dynasty (Dalaki va Malaki of Minhaj), the chronicler says that “All the infidels’ wives, sons and dependents… and children… fell into the hands of the victors.” In 1253, in his campaign against Ranthambhor also, Balban enslaved many people. In 1259, in an attack on Haryana, many women and children were enslaved. Twice Balban led expeditions against Kampil, Patiali, and Bhojpur, and in the process enslaved a large number of women and children. In Katehar, he ordered a general massacre of the male population of over eight years of age and carried away women and children. In 1260 CE, Ulugh Khan Balban marched with a large force on a campaign in the region of Ranthambhor, Mewat and Siwalik. He made a proclamation that a soldier who brought a live captive would be rewarded with two silver tankahs and one who brought the head of a dead one would get one silver tankah. Soon 300-400 living and dead were brought to his presence everyday.
Like Balban, other commanders of Iltutmish, or the “Shamsia Maliks of Hind” were marching up and down the Hindustan, raiding towns and villages and enslaving people. This was the situation prevailing from Lakhnauti to Lahore and from Ajmer to Ujjain. The Hindus used to reclaim their lands after the Muslim invaders had passed through them with fire and sword, and Turkish armies used to repeat their attacks to regain control of the cities so lost. But the captives once taken became slaves and then Musalmans for ever. The exact figures of such slaves have not been mentioned and therefore cannot be computed. All that is known is that they were captured in droves.
After the Iltutmish Sultans, war against the Hindu infidels and slave-taking received further momentum under the Khaljis. Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji (1290-1296) launched ruthless attacks against Hindus in Katehar, Ranthambhor, Malwa, and Gwalior. According to Amir Khasrau [Miftah-ul-Fatuh], he sacked temples, took booty and captured slaves making a “Hell of Paradise”.
Next Sultan Alauddin Khalji, a great war maker, sent a large army to Gujarat in 1299 in which all the major towns were sacked, temples destroyed, wealth looted and large number of slaves of both sexes captured [Khwaja AM Isami, Futu-us-Salatin, p. 243 ; Ziauddin Barani, Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi, pp. 251-52].
Away from the Indian front, the Christians of Damascus were killed or sold into slavery and their Churches were burned down. Sir Steven Runciman records that Sultan Baibars had promised the safety of the garrison of Safed if they surrendered to the Muslims. When they surrendered, the Muslims fell upon the population and massacred them. At the capture of Antioch by the Muslims, “Even the Muslim Chroniclers were shocked by the carnage that followed”, says Runciman. The Jews of Marrakesh were massacred in 1232. Following this, the Jews of Morocco were persecuted, forced to convert or leave. The Jews of Tabriz were obliged to convert in 1291 CE [Ibn Warraq; p. 227]
The riots of 1321 in Cairo, in which several churches were destroyed, which in turn, set on destruction of churches throughout Egypt resulting in desecration of more than 50 churches. The Jews of Tabriz were again made to convert to Islam in 1318 CE and those of Baghdad in 1333 and 1344.
Late 14th and the early 15th centuries witnessed the horrible barbarity of Amir Tamur (aka, Tamurlane). Information about Timur comes mainly from “Zafer Nama” written during early 15th century and his own diary, Mulfuzat-i-Timuri, which are full of Koranic references in justification of his invasions, wars and mass murders and destructions. He set out on his campaign in 1399 against India solely because the Muslim rulers were, to him, too lenient towards the idolater Hindu subjects. By the time, he reached Delhi; he had gathered around 100,000 pagan captives. A few thousands artisans and clever mechanics, including builders and stone masons, were taken back to Samarkhand while the rest were massacred in a single day [Mulfuzat-i-Timuri, trs ED, III, 447]. He built victory pillars with the severed heads of the infidels. On his way out of India, he pillaged Miraj, pulled down the monuments and flayed the Hindu inhabitants alive. [Why I am Not a Muslim, ibn Warraq, p. 234-235].
In the Indian front, Sultan Allauddin Khaliji (1296-1316) continued his terrorizing massacre, slave-taking and looting mission in the early 14th century, which made him the greatest rulers of the so-called Sultanate period (c 1200-1500 CE). In the sack of reconstituted Somnath temple for a second time, Wassaf recounts that the Muslim army captured 20,000 women and children as salves. [Wassaf, Bk IV, p. 448]. In 1301 Ranthambhor was attacked and in 1303, Chittor. In the Chittor attack 30,000 people were massacred in cold blood [Khazain, Habib trs p 49], and women and children were taken captives. Similar things happened in the attack of Malwa, Sevana and Jalor (1305-1311). According to Shams Shiraj Afif in the days of the Khaljis, “the Turks, whenever they please, can seize, buy or sell any Hindu.” [Nuh Sephr, trs, in ED III, 561]. No wonder that 50,000 slave boys were engaged in his personal services and 70,000 slaves worked continuously in his buildings. Ziauddin Barani describes the continuous arrival of batches of slaves in the markets of Delhi and elsewhere.
Following the Khaljis, the Tughlaqs ascended to the Sultanate and they outstripped the notorious Khaljis in making wars against the Hindus and enslaving them. Shihabuddin Ahmed Abbas writes of Muhammad Tughlaq, “The Sultan never ceases to show the greatest zeal in making war upon the infidels… Everyday, thousands of slaves are sold at a very slow price, so great is the number of prisoners”. [Masalik-ul-Absar, E.D. III, 580]. He subjugated as far as Dwarsamudra, Malabar, Kampil, Warangal, Lakhnauti, Satgaon, Sonargaon, Nagarkat and Sambhal amongst the prominent places. [Qaraunab Turks, 96, 126, 129-30, 173]. He also ruthlessly put down 16 major rebellions. In each campaign, after defeat and massacre of the opponent, slaves were captured with gusto. The famous Muslim traveler Ibn Battutah testifies that in the defeat of Halajun rebellion (of Lahore), the capture of the women of the rebels were sent to the far-off Gwalior fort whom Battutah had seen there. [Battutah, p. 123]. The Tughlaqs would capture the Hindu slaves round the years, convert them to Muslims and on the two Eid-days, he will marry them off according to the Islamic tradition. [Battutah, p. 63].
Firoz Tughlaq, who ascended to the throne in 1351, outstripped his father and grandfather in slave-taking by all kind of methods and means, so much so that he acquired 180,000 of them. Contemporary Shams Shiraj Afif further testifies that during Firoz Tughlaq “Slaves became too numerous” and that the institution took root in every centre of the country. [Afif, pp. 267-273]. Firoz Tughloq was known to be relatively kind-hearted of the Sultans and yet according to Afif he killed 180,000 Bengalis in his expedition in Bengal and had erected a Tower of skulls [Lal, p. 73].
Amir Timur’s barbarism continued in the 15th century. In 1400, Timur devastated the country in and around Tifflis. In 1403, he returned to Tifflis to devastate the country again and destroyed the 700 large villages and minor towns, massacred the inhabitant and razed the Churches to the ground. Amir Timur thoroughly and systematically destroyed the Christians and as a result, the Nestorians and Jacobites of Mesopotamia have never recovered. At Sivas, 4,000 Christians were buried alive; at Tus, there were 10,000 victims. Historians estimate the number of dead at Saray to be 100,000; at Baghdad 90,000 and at Isfahan 70,000 [Why I am Not a Muslim, Ibn Warraq, pp. 234-235].
Over in Constantinople, Sultan Mehemet unleashed utter barbarism. When Constantinople fell to the Muslim army, the Sultan allowed his soldiers to massacre the population for three days. They poured into the city and slew every men, women and children they met in the streets [Ruchimen, The Fall of Constantinople, 1453, p. 145].
The Muslim Sultanate of India became divided into a few largely independent territories under different Muslim rulers during much of the 15th century, although the condition of the Hindus never changed. War against the Hindu community continued along with capture of slaves for selling. Then came Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, a descendent of the barbaric Amir Timur, who defeated the fanatic Sikandar Lodi in 1526 and instituted the Mogul rule (1525 – 1707) in India. Babur, an orthodox Muslim, continued the Jihadi wars against the Hindu dominated regions of India. He continued with the destruction of the Hindu temples, the prominent example is the much controversial Babri Mosque in Ayodhya. Babur’s determination to exterminate the vestiges of Hindu idolatry was explicitly narrated in his own diary before battle against Rana Sanga. Babur wrote in Jihadi zeal, “I made public the resolution to abstain from wine. My servants… dashed upon the earth, the flagons and the cups. They dashed them into pieces as God willing, soon will be dashed, the Gods of the idolaters” [Babur Nama, Vol II, p. 554-5]. Babur and his soldiers destroyed Hindu temples in many parts of the country. [Babur Nama, Vol II, p. 340]. After winning the War against Rana Sangha, Babur ordered the set-up of a Tower of slaughtered pagan heads as a trophy for the victory. Similar tower of dead pagan heads was created after the victory at Chanderi against Medini Rai [Baburnama, pp. 483-84, 596]
However, the misery and persecution of Hindu and other non-Muslims eased up a little bit after emperor Akbar came to the throne in 1656, who abolished discrimination, including Jizya, against the Hindus despite severe displeasure and protests from the Ulema and Muslims in general. However, persecution against the Hindus continued in various forms, especially his extreme eagerness and success in capturing the lands under the non-Muslim control. In the attack of Rana Pratap Singh in Rajastan; when the news of defeat of the Rajputs reached the palace, a few hundred noble women set fire on themselves to commit Jauher, in order to avoid being captured at the hands of Akbar’s lustful soldiers. Akbar accumulated a mind-boggling 5,000 women in his harem through various means.
The Jews of Yemen were forced to choose between death and conversion in 1678. In 1617 and 1622, the Jews of Persia were declared apostates and suffered a wave of forced conversion and persecution. During the reign of Shah Abbas II (1642-1666), all the Jews of Persia were forced to convert, between 1653 and 1666. Taverniar, the 17th century French traveler, records as to how in Anatolia, “Everyday there were numerous Greeks who are forced to become Turks”.
Over in Persia, the persecution of the Zoroastrians got worse in the 17th century. Persecutions included levying extra hefty taxes, frequent looting of their homes and properties, forcing them to wear distinctive clothing, prohibiting building new houses or repairing old ones.
In the Indian front, following Akbar’s death, the semblance of equality that was instituted, started a reversal by his own son Jahanghir, which further worsened under Shahjahan. Jahangir writes that 500-600 thousand people were killed during the rule of Akbar and Jahangir. However, it was all undone when Akbar’s great grandson Aurangzeb ascended throne in 1658. He instituted Islamic Sharia as the ruling principle, reintroduced Jizya and launched a Jihadi campaign of forced conversion of the non-Muslims and destruction of non-Muslim religious institutions. When the Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh went to Aurangzeb’s palace to inquire about forced conversion of the Hindus of Kashmir, he was tortured and executed in 1675. Aurangzeb’s rule saw destruction of nearly 10,000 Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples. In the campaign of 1679-1680, 123 temples were destroyed in Udaipur, 63 in Chittor, 66 in Jaipur [Ibn Warraq, p. 224]. After defeating and taking Maratha king Sambhuraj and his minister Kavikalash prisoner, their eyes were extracted, tongue were cut off and after a fortnight’s torture, their limbs were hacked one by one and thrown to the dogs (1689). [Lal, p. 75]
Persecution of the Zoroastrians continued in the 18th century so much so that their numbers “declined disastrously due to combined effects of massacres, forced conversions, and emigration” [Encyclopedia of Islam, Ed II].
The Jews of Jedda were expelled between 1770 and 1786, who flew to Yemen. In 1790, Jews were massacred in Tetuan (Morocco).
Aurangzeb’s policy of persecution and destruction of temples continued in the early 18th century until he died in 1707.
In Persia, there was forced conversion of Jews in 1839. According the Bernard Lewis, there was also forced conversion of Persian Jews in the 1840s.
In 1828, Jews of Baghdad were massacred. In 1834, a cycle of violence and pillage began against the Jews and their properties in Safed. In 1839, massacre of Jews occurred in Meshed (Iran). The survivors had to suffer forced conversion. A massacre of the Jews took place in Barfurush in 1867. In 1840, the Jews of Damascus suffered first in a series of blood libels, which spread to many cities. Other outbreaks of violence, murder and pillage of the Jews and their properties occurred in Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and the Arab countries.
Starting in the 7th century, the Armenian Christians suffered terribly in the 19th century. The Turks massacred about 250,000 Armenian Christians in 1894-1896 in a planned and methodical design. General pillage was unleashed. Villages were burned and hundreds of Churches were plundered.
The Zoroastrians faced increased persecution too, such that they were living in complete insecurity and poverty in the 19th century.
Massacre of the Armenians continued in the early 20th century. In 1904 and in 1909 CE, about 30,000 Armenians were slaughtered in Adana. The most horrible mass murder of Armenians occurred in 1915, which can be rightly described as the first genocide of the 20th century. More than 1,000,000 (one million) Armenians were systematically massacred – thousands were shot to death, drowned (included Children), thrown over the cliffs and the survivors were deported or reduced to slavery – which served as the model for Hitler’s massacre of the Jews in the WW-II.
There is clear evidence of slavery persisting in Saudi Arabia and the Yemen even in the 1950s. A report in a French Magazine in the 1990s gave an estimate of 45,000 Blacks are being kidnapped by the Muslims to be sold in slavery in the Gulf states and the middle east [L Vie, no.2562, Oct 6, 1994].
Islam a legacy of incessant Jihad since it inception
To this long list of Islamic violence, we have to add another major incidence, termed ‘Dewshirme’ which was instituted by the Ottoman Sultan Orkhan in 1330. Following the Prophet’s tradition of one-fifth of the booty captured from the infidels belonging to the State, Dewshrime consisted of periodic collection of one-fifth of the Christian children over 7 years of age as the property of the state. The Christian parents, belonging to Greek aristocracy, the Serbs, Bulgarians, Armenians, and Albanians, were obligated to surrender 1/5th of their children to the state every four years. They were converted to Islam and trained as soldiers so that they can wage war against their own blood-brothers in their adulthood. Some scholars say 12,000 while other claim 8,000 children were collected every year under this scheme.
The Jihadi campaign Muhammad had initiated in the 620s until his death in 632, there was not a single period of let-up ever since until this day as accounted in the above chronology. The account of violence, persecution and massacre listed above are only a tip of the iceberg that has occurred to the non-Muslim subjects under the Muslim conquest and rule. Only the prominent events were recorded by the contemporary historians and chroniclers and royal secretaries. While there are numerous other violent incidences which the chroniclers have cited with few details and are hard to make a grasp of the extent of death, destruction and enslavement in those cases.
The Silent Persecution
Another serious form of persecution of the non-Muslims in Muslim countries has received little attention that requires mention. I will discuss it in the context of moderate Muslim countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan which will apply to minorities of all Muslim countries across the globe. The post-separation Hindu population in 1947 stood at 15% in Pakistan and 30% in Bangladesh (East Bengal until 1971). However, the current Hindu population stands at ~1% in Pakistan and ~10% in Bangladesh. On the other hand, the proportion of the Muslim population in Hindu-dominated India has increased instead.
This massive exodus of Hindu population from Pakistan and Bangladesh (East Bengal) represent a very grave and yet unnoticed and uncared for persecution of the minorities in Muslim countries. In recent time, multiple reports in news media have given accounts of how the Hindus and other minorities are being forced to convert to Islam in Pakistan. Living in the subcontinent Muslim country, I have witnessed how a Hindu person, having lands and properties next to an influential Muslim village leader, would be harassed by the latter such that the latter would be forced to sell the land to the village leader and leave the country in humiliation. He would not be allowed to sell his lands to a third party and finally have to surrender the land to the Muslim leader at highly reduced price than that on the market.
The second form of persecution that leads to exodus of Hindus is the rape of the Hindu girls and women by the Muslims in the locality. Indeed, there is a massive rape of Hindu women which is hardly reported to the media and the law agencies. Of the nearly a dozen good-looking Hindu women I have known personally from nearby quarters, about 75% of them were raped by the Muslims – which came to my knowledge from various confidential sources. Surprisingly, as I was told of these stories when I was a believing Muslim, such horrible incidences would not strike our conscience with sadness and guilt but instead would make raunchy and enjoyable pieces of gossips. The general attitude is that it is OK to rape Hindu girls or they deserve to be humiliated by Muslims.
In a conservative society of the subcontinent, the rape of a woman is seen as a great dishonor and humiliation to the victim’s party, not to the rapist. It invariably brings life-long suffering to the victim. This social constraint compels most of such rape cases being kept secret by the victims and their families and relatives if possible. In cases, where the victims seeks to report them to the law agency, there are threat of violence and death on the victim and her family members which further lead to under reporting of the rapes of the Hindu women in these countries. More importantly, a respectable father would never like to see his daughter gets raped and would like to escape the chances at any cost so long there is a means. Indeed, having been blessed with a beautiful daughter is the greatest headache of the Hindu parents in these countries, especially in the countryside. I have seen how the Hindu parents rush to marry off their daughter at an early age, when the girl is a beautiful one. In many cases, parents send their beautiful daughters to India at an early age for studies. The main purpose is to keep them out of the reach of the Muslims, where they normally get married and never return to the home country.
The other kind of the persecution is the kidnapping of the young Hindu girl by Muslim men who like them and rape, forcefully marry and convert them to Islam (http://www.hinduhumanrights.org/Pakistan/index.htm). As a growing-up Muslim, I have witnessed the general notion amongst the Muslims that if you can convert Hindu (or non-Muslim) to Islam through marriage or whatsoever means, Allah will grant paradise to you and your past seven generations in the afterlife. Hence, if there is a beautiful girl in the neighborhood, there is a general feeling amongst the young Muslim boys that it will be auspicious to somehow marry this girl and convert her to Islam to achieve a passport to paradise for your seven generations. There is no greater way to serve to your parent, grandparents and so on. This tendency often encourages Muslim youths to take recourse of kidnapping the Hindu girls they like with assistance from illegal gangs, marry them under coercion and convert them to Islam.
These constraints and difficulties keep minorities in a state of continuous mental persecution, which they can neither complain about, nor bear with. Those who have nominal means, make a journey across the border to the other side to India to secure the safer and honorable future to the subsequent generations. These kinds of silent or soft persecutions which result in such massive exodus and displacement of minority population from their ancestral home in silence to wherever they can to acquire better safety, constitutes a much graver form of persecution than the much publicized terrorism and suicide bombing.
If we consider that Hindu birthrate is similar as Muslims in Bangladesh/East Pakistan, a reduction of Hindus from 30% to 10% since 1947 means there have been an effectively displacement of massive 30 million Hindu people from Bangladesh, given current Bangladesh population stands at 150 millions. And this silent terrorizing and persecution has never received much attention nor termed terrorism, which indeed a tactical form of religious terrorism/persecution. And this kind of persecution continues in Pakistan and Bangladesh without respite and with increasing zeal.
This kind of soft terrorism occurs on the non-Muslim population in most Muslim-dominated countries. Given that Pakistan Bangladesh are considered rather moderate Muslim countries, in more fundamentalist Islamic countries, this soft-terrorism is likely to be worse. However, in every country, such persecution does not necessarily result in exodus of the non-Muslims, since there may not be countries that are willing to give shelter like India unofficially did to the Hindus of Pakistan Bangladesh.
It should be fathomed that this kind of grave and yet unnoticed and unreported soft-terrorism by Muslims continues on such massive scales even in today’s world of justice, massive media reporting, obligation for respecting human rights, equality of all citizens and pressures from a whole groups of international bodies, powerful democratic countries and rights groups. Hence, such soft-terrorism, persecution and other forms of smaller scale violence against the non-Muslim subjects have continued incessantly throughout the entire period of Islamic conquest, domination and rule. The chronological details of the Islamic violence, terrorism and persecution listed above would only form a fraction of the real total.
There should not be any doubt by now that since late 620s, the violence that was initiated by Prophet Muhammad had continued without respite ever since although there may have been some depressions along the way. There must have also been changes in the means of carrying out such terrorism and violence. However, there is one notable difference. The terrorism perpetrated by the Muslims since the early days of Islam to until the early 20th century was perpetrated by the Muslim states. Indeed, it is an obligation of the Islamic state to uphold and carry on the propagation of Islam through violence or whatsoever means as was unleashed by Prophet Muhammad as head of a nascent Islamic state. However, since those much more devastating terrorism and violence were perpetrated by the Muslims states, they are not being recognized as terrorism.
However, the state-terrorism of Islam was brought to an end mainly by the British which came to a virtual end when secular humanist Kemal Ataturk of Turkey dissolved Islamic caliphate in 1924 and introduced secularism. Although there has been a lull in the overt form of terrorism since then for several decades, the soft form of Islamic terrorism has continued as reflected in the steady decline of Hindu population in Pakistan and Bangladesh since 1947.
The development on the world stage especially after the WW-II, such as the formation of UN, various human rights bodies etc. have changed the ways, means and obligations of individual states. Thus although many Muslim countries got back their sovereignty after the WW-II from the former European colonialists, the Governments have been bounded up with all sorts of obligation and treaties that demands respectable treatment of the citizens of any states, irrespective of race, religion and color. Thus the Governments of the Muslim states are unable to re-launch the same type of overt terrorism and violence against the non-Muslims as used to be done in India in the days of bin Kasim, Sultan Mahmud, the Khaljies, the Tughlaqs and the Mughals. Hardly have the Muslim Governments failed to unleash overt terrorism to dominate and expand the Islamic religion, it has changed hands from the state-body to underground fringe groups at the gap of just 3-4 decades. The innovation and easy availability of guns, bombs, rockets, missiles and other modern weapons and Muslim terrorist groups’ ruthless usages of them have added further prominence to the present scourge of Islamic violence.
Although Islamic terrorism started a surge in the 1980s in India, there was little recognition of it as terrorism. But instead, a great part of the Eastern and Western world recognized it as independence movement by Kashmiri Muslims. It was a legitimate movement for self-determination. Then there started terrorism in Chechnya, which again much of the world recognized as legitimate independence movement by the Muslims of Chechnya.
Although there have been isolated terror attacks on Western (mainly US) targets and nationals over the last couple of decades, they have occurred mainly in overseas location, such as, in Lebanon, Yemen and Kenya etc. These terrorist acts, despite being of big impact, did not get its deserving label of Islamic terrorism until the attack of 9/11 in New York. Further uncovering of terrorist cells all across the Western world has further heightened concerns and media-hype of Islamic terrorism over the last few years.
The bottom-line is that Islamic terrorism that we see today is not a new phenomenon. It has occurred continuously since the 7th century institution of the Islamic faith. The only difference is that throughout the Islamic history, the onus of terrorizing the non-Muslims were undertaken by the Islamic states. The ferocity, destruction and violation have been of much greater scales in the Islamic rulers’ devastating attacks of innocent infidel territories and out-posts, slaughtering both military and civilian population (mainly men) in tens of thousands, enslaving their children and women in great multitude and destroying their religious institutions and forcing them to conversion. The present scourge of terrorist atrocity is virtually negligible as compared to those unleashed by the Islamic rulers on the infidels throughout the Islamic history. Just because the tentacles of Islamic terrorism have reached the Western world – it has become such a hype in the last few years post-9/11.
1. Ibn Warraq, Why I am Not a Muslim
2. KS Lal, Muslim Slave System in Medieval India
3. KS Lal, Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India
4. Shashi R Sharma, Caliphs & Sultans – Religious Ideology and Political Praxis
5. Benjamin Walker, Foundations of Islam
[KW: Islamic Terrorism Jihad, conquest, invasion, India, Allah, Koran, Quran, Mecca, Medina, Prophet Muhammad, Muhammed, Banu Nadhir, Qainuka, Quraiza, Jew, Kinana, Khaybar, Khalid Ibn-bin walid, Salman the Persian, aduallah ibn Obayi, Abu Bakr, Sword of Allah (Sayif Allah), Sind, Chachanama, bin Kassim (Kasim), Hajjaj, Patriarch Sophronius, temple mount, Jerusalem, Pact-covenant of Omar, Ibn Warraq, Othman, Harun-ur-Rashid, al-Mamun, Dhimmi, Zimmi, Hindu, Buddust, Muslim, Sultan Mahmud, Ghazni, caliph, caliphate, Tegh Bahadur Singh, Aurangzeb. Awrangzeb, Mughal emperor Akbar, Amir Tamur, Tamurlane]
THANK YOU ALL for YOUR PATIENCE.
জনাব মালিক আপনার তথ্য সমৃদ্ধ লেখাটি পড়লাম।তবে শেষের দিকে,ইসলাম প্রসঙ্গে এসে মনে হলো আপনি একটু ভারসাম্য হারিয়ে ফেলেছেন।ইসলামের ১৪০০ বছরের ইতিহাসে কতোজন মানুষকে ধর্মের কারণে হত্যা-নির্যাতন(ইহুদি-খ্রিস্টানরা যেমনটা করেছে) করা হয়েছে তার একটা সংখ্যা বলতে পারবেন?আর ইউরোপে ইহুদি -খ্রিস্টানদের বেশির ভাগ-ই এখোন নামেই ইহুদি/খ্রিস্টান,খ্রিস্টমাসে পার্টি করে এনজয় করার মধ্যেই তা সীমাবদ্ধ।ইসলাম কোথায় বিজ্ঞানের বিরোধীতা করেছে বলবেন কি?আর ইসলামিক বিশ্বের কোন নেতা সব বিধর্মীকে হত্যা করে পৃথিবীতে দারুল ইসলাম কায়েম করার ঘোষণা দিয়েছে তা ও দয়া করে জানাবেন কি?ধর্মের বালাই না রেখে যেভাবে খুশি জীবন যাপন বিদেশে(পাশ্চাত্য বিশ্বে) প্রায় সবাই করছে।নিত্য-নতুন ছেলে বা মেয়ে বন্ধু নিয়ে বিছানায় যাচ্ছে,সন্তান হচ্ছে(ইচ্ছায় বা অনিচ্ছায়)।আবার যখন খুশি পশু পাখির মতো পরস্পরকে ফেলে চলে যাচ্ছে।বুড়ো বয়সে হসপিটালের বেডে আ বাড়ির নির্জন কোণে নিঃসংগ অবস্থায় ভবলীলা সাংগ করছে।অন্যদিকে ছেলে বা মেয়ে তাঁর ছেলে বা মেয়ে বন্ধুকে নিয়ে হলিডে করতে গেছে?এই মুক্ত-মনাদের বাঁধাহীন মুক্তজীবনে ইসলাম কি বাঁধ সেঁধেছে?একজন মুসলমান তার অংগ-প্রত্যংগ দান করে যেতে পারেন অন্য একজন মানুষের উপকারার্থে এ বিষয়ে ইসলামি আলেমরা বক্তব্য দিয়েছেন।এ বিষয়ে অন্য কোনো আলেম যদি ভিন্ন মত দিয়ে থাকেন সেটি তার ব্যাপার।
@Al Murshed, and All readers.
Hi Al Murshed,
You wanted to know how many people have been killed due to 1400 years history of islam.
Read the following article.
Its long article, but this topic needs long discussion. THANK YOU ALL for your patience.
Dr. Alamgir Hussain has written this artcile on Fallouts of Islamic Invasion in India. Please read. Its long, but these topics need long discussion.
India: The Fallouts of Islamic Invasion and British Occupation
by Muhammad Alamgir. Hussain
26 May, 2005
A major part of the history of India is characterized by two major foreign rules: the Islamic invasion and the British occupation. The Islamic invasion started with the assault of Muhammad bin Qassim in 712 on the order of Hajjaj, the governor of what is now Iraq, and it took until 1690 for the Muslim rulers to conquer India completely. The fall of Islamic rule started with the British East India Company’s capture of Bengal in 1757, during the days of Industrial Revolution in Europe. The British rulers took almost 150 years to capture the entire sub-continent from the hands of its Muslim rulers.
Since childhood, the people of the subcontinent keep hearing stories of the British occupation of India and their 190 years of exploitative imperial rule but the stories of the Islamic invasion and centuries of Muslim domination are rarely being mentioned and discussed. This amazing policy of silence regarding the Islamic invasion of the subcontinent is interesting. And whatsoever is discussed about the Islamic rule in India is all good and dandy and often glorious. Recently, a group of people from the subcontinent have launched a call to celebrate “The Siraj-ud-Dowlah Day” which will be an occasion to glorify the sacrifice of Siraj-ud-Dowlah, the last Nawab of Bengal. He was defeated by the British mercantile mercenaries in 1757 in the battlefield of Polashi (Plassey), which marked the beginning of the British rule in India. The celebration of such an event will definitely be another opportunity to vilify the British occupation of India as well as to glorify the rule of the last Muslim Nawab in Eastern India.
In recent years, some people from the sub-continent have been daring to delve into the “other episode” of foreign invasion of India, i.e., the Islamic conquest, which hitherto has remained mostly shrouded in a policy of silence or denial and a de-facto prohibition. While the liberals and the rationalists of the subcontinent are adamant against critiquing the fallout of the Islamic conquest, they have no problem criticizing the British occupation and exploitation of India with extreme vigor. They take refuge in the tradition of silence or negation about the fallout of Islamic invasion and rule of India and yet, they are highly vocal in condemning the fallout of the British occupation. Interestingly, however, some people have recently started asking for putting the fallout of Islamic invasion and rule of India in the spotlight alongside that of the British occupation.
India, before the Islamic invasion, was one of the world’s great civilizations that matched its contemporaries, both in the East and the West, in the realms of philosophy, mathematics, and natural science. Indian mathematicians discovered the number zero and algebra (Bijganita in Sanskrit). After the Islamic invasion, these texts were translated into Arabic and Persian and were transmitted to the Islamic world and ultimately to Europe via Spain. Muslims mistakenly and unfairly take credit of these contributions to Mathematics and Science as their won. India’s sculptures were magnificent and sensual and her architectures were ornate and spellbinding. Following the Islamic invasion, many of these indigenous achievements, became part of so-called Islamic civilization.
There has been too much of talk about the “divide and rule” policy of the British Raj where British administrators had created division between Hindus and the Muslims during their rule in India. An overwhelming majority of the sub-continent people believe this policy to be the root cause of communal troubles that we witness in India today. There is a deeply entrenched belief that the concept of religious intolerance between the Hindus and the Muslims was totally absent in India until the British devised this malevolent scheme to keep the Hindus and Muslims engaged in fighting each other. Many people in the sub-continent believe that this was a clever ploy so that they (the British) could continue to rule India while the people remained divided over religious disharmony. There cannot be any bigger untruth than the assertion that religious intolerance never existed in Indian soil until the British invented it. The truth is that religious tolerance and harmony hardly ever existed in the sub-continent throughout the centuries of Islamic rule. Destruction of temples, oppression and forced conversion of the Hindus, especially around the urban areas all over India, were common phenomenon during the Islamic rule. The Bahmani sultans in central India made it a rule to kill 100,000 Hindus a year. In 1399, Teimur killed 100,000 Hindus IN A SINGLE DAY, and many more on other occasions [Negationism in India]. Even during the late period of the Islamic domination of India, Emperor Aurangzeb (rule 1658-1707) re-imposed the “religion tax or Jiziya” on the Hindus and other people of indigenous religions. Aurangzeb was a champion destroyer of Hindu temples. Amongst the famous temples he destroyed were: the Kashi Vishvanath, one of the most sacred places of Hinduism, Krishna’s birth temple in Mathura, the rebuilt Somnath temple on the coast of Gujurat, the Vishnu temple, overlooking Benares that was replaced with the Alamgir mosque (Alamgir is another name of Aurangzeb), and the Treta-ka-Thakur temple in Ayodhya. Aurangzeb’s own official chronicles have recorded mind-blowing figures of temple destruction. Aurangzeb had ordered his provincial governors to destroy all schools and temples of the pagans and to make a complete end to all pagan teachings and practices. The Aurangzeb’s chronicle sums up the temple destructions as follows:
“Hasan Ali Khan came and said that 172 temples in the area had been destroyed… His majesty went to Chittor and 63 temples were destroyed. Abu Tarab, appointed to destroy the idol-temples of Amber, reported that 66 temples had been razed to the ground..”
Aurangzeb did not stop at destroying temples only, their users were also often wiped out; even his own brother, Dara Shikoh, was executed for taking an interest in Hindu religion. The Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh was beheaded because he objected to Aurangzeb’s forced conversions. Even during the rule of Mohammad Shah after Aurangzeb’s death, Persian ruler Nadir Shah invaded of India (1738-39) and killed an estimated 200,000 people in Northern India alongside plundering and looting.
The Islamic assault on India started in the early 8th century, on the order of Hajjaj, the ruler of present-day Iraq. Starting in 712 the raiders, commanded by Muhammad bin Qasim, demolished temples, shattered sculptures, plundered palaces and killed vast numbers of men. It took three whole days to slaughter the inhabitants of the city of Debal followed by taking their women and children to slavery, including the taking of young women as sex slaves. After the initial wave of violence, however, bin Qasim tried to establish law and order in the newly-conquered lands, and to that end he even allowed some degree of religious tolerance. But upon hearing of such humane practices (contrary to the Koranic doctrine), his superior, Hajjaj from Baghdad objected, writing:
“It appears from your letter that all the rules made by you for the comfort and convenience of your men are strictly in accordance with religious law. But the way of granting pardon prescribed by the law is different from the one adopted by you, for you go on giving pardon to everybody, high or low, without any discretion between a friend and a foe. The great God says in the Koran [47.4]: “0 True believers, when you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads.” The above command of the Great God is a great command and must be respected and followed. You should not be so fond of showing mercy, as to nullify the virtue of the act. Henceforth grant pardon to no one of the enemy and spare none of them, or else all will consider you a weak-minded man.”
In a subsequent communication, Hajjaj reiterated that all able-bodied men were to be killed, and that their underage sons and daughters were to be imprisoned and retained as hostages. Muhammad bin Qasim obeyed, and on his arrival at the town of Brahminabad massacred between 6,000 and 16,000 men.
Muhammad bin Qasim’s early exploits of slaughter and destruction were revived in the early eleventh century, when Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni conquered Punjab in 17 attempts of plundering expeditions between 997-1021. Alberuni, the great Islamic scholar whom Mahmud brought to India, depicted Mahmud’s invasion of India as:
“Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and performed there wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people. Their scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate aversion toward all Moslems.”
The acts of destruction of Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries etc. by the Muslim invaders in India have no parallel in the history of any conquest. While blasting the British for their atrocities in India, French journalist and political author Francios Gautier writes,
“The British were certainly not the Muslims, whose ruthlessness and atrocities have never been equaled in India’s history. Nevertheless, they did their fair share of harm to India, which has not yet really recovered from two centuries of Raj. [“Facets of India: Ancient and Modern”].
Even very late in the Mughal rule, ruler Haider Ali [1722-1782] of Mysore used to order destruction of Hindu temples. In most incidences, after a mosque was destroyed, the remains and especially the remains of the destroyed idols were used as materials for the construction of the mosque. There have been descriptions of slaughtering the Hindu priests or the protectors of the temples as a ritual for purification of the place of idol-worship with the blood of the infidels. Such vivid descriptions of savagery mostly come from the works of the Muslim historians and writers, one of them include even the highly liberal and benevolent disciple of great Sufi dervish, Nizamuddin Awliya. A few examples of barbaric atrocities of Muslim invaders and rulers of India, recorded by the Muslim historians themselves, are listed below:
Shahab-ul-Din, King of Ghazni (1170-1206), put Prithwi Raj, King of Ajmer and Delhi, to death in cold blood. He massacred thousands of inhabitants of Ajmer who opposed him, reserving the remaining for slavery [The Kamiu-t Tawarikh, by Ibn-Asir]. Historian Hasan Nizami in his Taj-ul-Ma’sir gives the following account of Ghouri’s Lieutenant Qutbuddin Aibak’s activities:
….after the suppression of a Hindu revolt at Kol (modern day Aligarh) in 1193 AD, Aibak raised “three bastions as high as heaven with their heads, and their carcasses became food for beasts of prey. The tract was freed from idols and idol worship and the foundations of infidelism were destroyed.”
In 1194 AD Aibak destroyed 27 Hindu temples at Delhi and built the Quwwat-ul-lslam mosque with their debris. According to Nizami, Aibak “adorned it with the stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants”.
In 1195 AD the Mher tribe of Ajmer rose in revolt, and the Chaulukyas of Gujarat came to their assistance. Aibak had to invite reinforcements from Ghazni before he could meet the challenge. In 1196 AD he advanced against Anahilwar Patan, the capital of Gujarat. Nizami writes that after Raja Karan was defeated and forced to flee, “fifty thousand infidels were dispatched to hell by the sword” and “more than twenty thousand slaves, and cattle beyond all calculation fell into the hands of the victors.”
The city was sacked, its temples demolished, and its palaces plundered. On his return to Ajmer, Aibak destroyed the Sanskrit College of Visaladeva, and laid the foundations of a mosque which came to be known as ‘Adhai Din ka Jhompada’.
Conquest of Kalinjar in 1202 AD was Aibak’s crowning achievement. Nizami concludes: “The temples were converted into mosques… Fifty thousand men came under the collar of slavery and the plain became black as pitch with Hindus.”
Amir Khusru, a disciple of the great Sufi Nizamuddin Awliya and recognized to be a liberal Sufi Muslim himself, writes in his Tarikh-i-Alai:
“Here he (Malik Kafur) heard that in Bramastpuri (Chidambaram) there was a golden idol- He then determined on razing the temple to the ground- It was the holy place of the Hindus which the Malik dug up from its foundations with the greatest care, and the heads of brahmans and idolaters danced from their necks and fell to the ground at their feet, and blood flowed in torrents. The stone idols called Ling Mahadeo, which had been established a long time at the place and on which the women of the infidels rubbed their vaginas for (sexual) satisfaction, these, up to this time, the kick of the horse of Islam had not attempted to break. The Musulmans destroyed in the lings and Deo Narain fell down, and other gods who had fixed their seats there raised feet and jumped so high that at one leap they reached the fort of Lanka, and in that affright the lings themselves would have fled had they had any legs to stand on.”
The famous historian Will Durant has written in his ‘Story of Civilization’ that “the Mohammedan conquest of India was probably the bloodiest story in history”.
India, before the advent of Islamic imperialism, was not exactly a zone of complete tranquility and peace like many other parts of the world. There were plenty of wars fought by Hindu princes. Despite all these wars, the Hindus had observed some time-honored conventions sanctioned by the Sastras. The Brahmins and the Bhikshus were never molested. The cows were never killed. The temples were never touched. The chastity of women was never violated. The non-combatants were never killed or captured. A human habitation was never attacked unless it was a fort. The civil population was never plundered. War booty was an unknown item in the calculations of conquerors. The martial classes, who clashed, mostly in open spaces, had a code of honor. Sacrifice of honor for victory or material gain was deemed as worse than death.
Islamic imperialism came with a different code—the Sunnah of the Prophet. It required its warriors to fall upon the helpless civil population after a decisive victory had been won on the battlefield. It required them to sack and burn down villages and towns after the defenders had died fighting or had fled. The cows, the Brahmins, and the Bhikshus invited their special attention in mass murders of non-combatants. The temples and monasteries were their special targets in an orgy of pillage and arson. Those whom they did not kill, they captured and sold as slaves. The magnitude of the booty looted even from the bodies of the dead, was a measure of the success of a military mission. And they did all this as mujahids (holy warriors) and ghazls (kafir-killers) in the service of Allah and his Last Prophet.
It is estimated that the Islamic conquest and rule in India may have resulted in killing of an estimated 50-80 million Hindus and other indigenous religion people. Such savagery can only be compared to the one committed by the Spaniards in the South American continent. Koenraad Elst estimates that out of the population of native Continental South America of 1492, which stood at 90 million, only 32 million survived; terrible figures indeed but who talks about them today [Negationism in India]? Such a towering figure of destruction of human lives by the Muslim rulers of India may appear a suspect. However, in the war of independence of Bangladesh, the Pakistanis killed 2-3 million people in just 9 month in the age of modern civilization and the world hardly took a notice of it. Hence, it is hardly impossible that Islamic rulers might have had condemned up to 80 million indigenous people to death in a vast region in a long span of almost 1000 years in the medieval age of barbarity.
The British rulers, on the other hand, ruled India mostly following a strategy of economic exploitation, which was mainly aimed at producing revenues for funneling to Britain. This was achieved by imposing high taxes on the farmers and often forcing the latter into cultivating cash-crops (jute, cotton, tea, oil seeds) useful for the Industries in Britain but not for the Indian farmers. This had caused great hardship and suffering to the Indian farmers including famines. Religious persecution, as unleashed by the Portuguese (in Goa) and the Islamic rulers, was never a part of the British rule. Although there was an clandestine and unofficial complicity to Evangelical Missionary activities, including clandestine effort to convert the Indian soldiers. Yet there is no record of mass destruction of mosques, temples or monasteries by the British rulers or mass killing of the native people for their religions or for not converting to Christianity. Neither did the British rulers ever allowed the Hindus or the Muslims to destroy either Muslim mosques or the Hindu temples throughout the great part of their rule in India.
However, one prominent but ignored (and even often condemned by the Muslims) aspect of the British rule was the long-due empowerment of the Hindus over the Muslims after centuries of iron-handed ruling and subjugation of the indigenous Indians by the Muslims. Although they kept the critical power and positions in British hand, they did give the next level of power to the hands of the Hindus, including allotment of the Zamindari activities mostly to the Hindus. This again, was not so much unjust. Hindus got those jobs because they were more educated and efficient and with their number were more authoritative to do the job of tax collection. Muslims, on the other hand, never conformed to modernity and never took interest in modern secular education introduced by the British terming it un-Islamic and were left behind.
It should be recognized that the Hindus and other indigenous people were the rightful owner of India both in terms of their number and in being the indigenous people, and the power, if not shared, should have been at the hands of the Hindus. The British Raj did a good deed towards the empowerment of the Hindu over the Muslims after centuries of subjugation and brutal suppression by the Muslim rulers.
The much hyped up “divide and rule” policy of the British has been consumed voraciously by the Hindus and the Muslims, the progressive and the obscurantist, and the liberals and the zealots alike. Yes, in the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the Hindus did not participate as vigorously as did the Muslims. Why should they, anyway? Muslim rulers were still ruling some good parts of India. Was it going to be a wise a decision for the Hindus to join hand with the Muslims to drive away the British and establish the Nawabi and Mughal rule once again? They were definitely more privileged under the British Raj than they were under the Muslim rulers. The slavery of the Muslims once again was not a better choice, and the Hindus did just the right thing. The British rulers might have had exploited the huge chasm that existed between the Hindus and Muslims as a result of immense atrocities on the majority indigenous religion people and of massive destruction of their religious institutions by the Muslim invaders all throughout the Islamic domination of India.
Only at the fag-end of the British rule in India, the Hindu-Muslim tension flared up in a dangerous way. There has been a lot of talks and condemnations of the British role in creating Hindu-Muslim divide – yet the contribution of the British rulers in this Hindu-Muslim tension and in the resulting riots in the run-up to independence of India has not been clearly established. What we know for sure is the fact that, as Britain was counting days to end her imperial rule in India, the Muslims started a vigorous campaign for a separate state fearing that they may have to be under the majority Hindu rule in an independent and democratic India. They could never really forsake their pride of subjugating and persecuting the Hindus for centuries. That was why they needed a separate state. As this religious zealotry of the Muslims got strength, there arose the nationalistic Hindu zealotry, and that led to the much of the tension and blood-bath between the Hindus and the Muslims.
And what else the Hindus could do? Muslims came to India as barbaric invaders and ruled for centuries. In the process, Muslim rulers mercilessly oppressed and even killed the indigenous people in great numbers, looted their properties, destroyed their religious institutions and symbols, took them as slaves and raped their women. Now, when British are about to leave they wanted to divide their country as well. That was the perfect ground for giving rise to religious zealotry amongst the Hindus, and for the first time in the history of the Indian subcontinent, the Hindus, as a religious identity, raised their heads as a militant force to deter the instigatory Islamic zealots from dividing their country. The world witnessed what happened as a result of that. Let us point fingers to the right place instead of blaming the British for everything that happened around the Hindu-Muslim tensions and riots in the run to the independence. It is important to sort out the facts from the hypes and lies. It is time that we bury the hypes and lies in which our intellectuals and the commoners have indulged in for too long.
Yet, the British Raj had its own share of cruelty, whatever may be the magnitude. The bulk of the cruelty, that the British inflicted, was during the event of Sepoy Mutiny or the first war of independence in 1857. Surely, the British atrocity in the Sepoy Mutiny was gory. But atrocities were committed by both sides involved in that war. It should be understood that in the 1857 war, the British became more vindictive and cruel only after the Cawnpore (Kanpur) episode when Nana Sahib betrayed and some 210 women and children in his custody were butchered with knives and hatchets into pieces and thrown down a well. This cold-blooded murder of the innocent women and children enraged the British, including the public in Britain, so much so, that every captured rebel soldier, guilty or not, was ordered to be hanged or blow them from the mouth of cannons if facilities existed. The latter was a traditional practice used by the Muslim rulers which the British rulers had banned considering barbaric but they reintroduced it following the Cawnpore incidence. Thus, although the British committed brutality in putting down the Sepoy Mutiny, it never affected the non-combatants and the innocent women and children as was the case with Islamic brutality in India.
It should also be understood that major cause of discontent that lead to the Sepoy Mutiny, was all the good things the British Raj did in India, including the abolition of child marriage, Sati Daha and female infanticide and hunting down the deadly Thuggee cult (a cult of Kali who used to do robbery and strangulation to death of their victims, mainly travelers). Even the much-prided Indian Railway system, which started operating in the early 1850s preceding the Sepoy mutiny, was also a cause of discontent, since it was seen as a demon introduced by the British for keeping the Indians subjugated.
Another salient point that must be understood is: despite being largely an economically exploitative and often suppressive, the British Raj instituted a system of educational and cultural intellectualism that allowed the blooming of all the literary and scientific achievements, which the people of the sub-continent are proud of today and would continue to be proud of for a long time to come. Those Nobel laureates, the great literary giants like Tagore, Nazrul and Allama Iqbal and the other famous scientists of the subcontinents, including Professor Abdus Salam, were groomed by an educational and intellectual culture which was instituted solely by the stewardship of the British rulers. This glorious phase of intellectuality in India has largely died off, since the British have left. The Dhaka University, once known as the “Oxford of the East”, has now lost all its prestige as an eminent educational institution with severely fallen standard in every discipline of studies. The Qaide-e-Azam University of Pakistan, which was a vibrant campus for intellectual exercise and science education, has become nothing but a University of theological interest. So is the case with the famous Muslim-administered Aligarh University in India.
India, on the other hand, since the British have left, although has maintained some good standard in education and science, yet has failed to keep up with the pace of progress and advancement in the international stage. It may be long wait before we will see another Nobel laureate emerges from the Land of Tagore, the Chandra Shekhars, Hargobind Khorana and Abdus Salam. Nor will we see very often the likes of genius scientists like Jagadish Chandra Bosu, Satyan Bose and Prafulla Chandra Roy et al. to emerge from India. Even the latest Nobel laureate from the subcontinent, Prof. Amartya Sen, was groomed in the educational environment left by the British Raj in the forties and early fifties. The great reformers of tradition and culture of the Indian society, namely Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Bidyasagar, were also the product of intellectual and educational culture created by the British.
Furthermore, the British should be credited for the admirable railway and road communication systems in India. They instituted the modern legal and judicial systems in India. And of course, the much prided democracy – the largest democracy in the world – is also what the British left behind. One must ask the question: what would have been the situation in India if the British did not come and Islamic rulers had continued to rule India? Witnessing what is going on in the world vis–vis Islamic world, one thing that can be said for sure is that the Muslims would still be ruling India with an iron-hand. Satis would probably have still been burned and child marriage would have been widespread, since it is compatible with Islam. Education system would be characterized by the madrasas. Indeed, India had a very high standard in education and science in pre-Islamic India. But the Muslim invaders and rulers destroyed all schools and educational institutions and converted them into madrasas. As a result, India did not make any notable contribution in these areas throughout the centuries of Islamic rule. And given how the minorities are being treated in the Muslim countries and what happened to the Hindus in Bangladesh (~33% in 1947 to ~10% now) and Pakistan (~15% upon 1947 independence to ~1% now), one can be certain that Hindus would still have been doing the slavery and experiencing subjugation under the Muslims if the British never stepped onto India.
One may rise objections that such brutal and potentially explosive facts should not be spoken about lest it causes religious tensions. For this particular reason the modern historians of India, mostly from the leftist background, are probably indulging in the policy of silence, avoidance or cover-up about the Islamic atrocity in India. Yet, those who agree to the atrocities of the Muslim conquerors attempt to lighten the air by offering lame excuses such as temple destruction by the Muslim rulers were not because of hatred against the Hindus but for plundering the valuables and wealth kept there. But it is a fact that the Hindus hardly ever used to keep their valuable assets in temples. Neither does that explain as to why tens of thousands of Hindus were slaughtered on many occasions. Yet those Islamic historians, who chronicled the Islamic atrocities often under the patronage of many rulers and sometimes by the rulers themselves, never cited any such reason for the destruction of temples. Plundering the wealth kept in a temple does not require razing down the temples either. Such apologetic excuses also do not explain why mosques had to be build at the sites of many famous temples after their destruction. In fact, Indian Geological Survey has identified hundreds of mosques across India that used materials for construction from destroyed temples. A Geological Investigation team has recently confirmed the presence of structures of temple beneath the very controversial Babri mosque of Ayodhya.
Yet, it could the preferable for some people to negate the Islamic atrocities in India or maintain silence about them hoping that such a policy would maintain a semblance of harmony and peace between the Hindu and Muslim communities. Although this appears a sensible idea, yet at the same time such policy negates the recognition of such a gigantic sacrifice by our forefathers of the Indian subcontinent. If we fail to recognize this gravest of tragedy in the recorded history of India, it will be a terrible injustice to those who had to sacrifice their lives in such a tragic manner. Yet, recognition of a tragedy has always borne fruit, whilst failure to do so has resulted in repetition of the same. For the same reason, the secular patriotic Bangladeshis and freedom fighters are so eager to have the tragedy and sacrifice of Bengalis in 1971 war of independence recognized by the perpetrators (Pakistan) and by the world. For the same reason, we have the Holocaust/WWII museums in Israel, New York and Germany. Japan have recognized and apologized for the atrocities they committed in the World War II recently after 60 years of negation. Germany and Italy has recognized and apologized for their atrocities during the WWII time and again. And this recognition is not only meant for justice and recognition of those who had fallen in the said tragedies but also for preventing such tragedies from repeating in future.
Recognition of the fallout of Islamic invasion of India may be argued against fearing that it may ignite explosive violence. Yet for the sake of justice and recognition of the tragic sacrifice of our forefathers, the modern world must be able to recognize and apologize for what happened in the aftermath of Islamic occupation of India. So should the world recognize the victims of any other tragedy, be it the fallout of British occupation of India or of the barbaric Spanish crusade in the South America or of the barbaric Christian atrocities in the so-called Holy Land! If the recognition and condemnation of the British atrocities in India is not a problem, there should not be problem in recognizing and condemning fallout about of Islamic invasion. In stead, recognition of the latter tragedy becomes a moral responsibility for the sake of fairness and justice. One may argue that recognition of the tragedies of WWII and the construction of WWII and Holocaust Museums may cause tension and violence between the Neo-Nazis/White Supremacists and the Jews and for that reason, we should keep away from doing such things and maintain silence about those tragedies. Same could be said about the Bangladesh independence struggles of 1971 fearing that it would cause trouble and tension between Bangladeshi and Pakistanis. Yet, WWII memorials and Holocaust museums are being created not only as recognition of sacrifices of the fallen but also in the hope that they will act as reminders as well as deterrents for such tragedies from repeating in the future. By this parity of reasons, whether it is the tragedies of burning of millions of Satis in India, or burning millions of so-called witches by the Clergy in Europe, or the massacre of millions by Genghis Khan or the tragic fallout of the Islamic conquest in India – they should be recognized as wrongs, they should be recognized and memorials should be built not only as a symbol and gesture of honoring the sacrifice of the fallen but also as a reminder to the current and future generations so that such terrible tragedies never happen again.
There is a strong argument that talking about such forgotten tragedies may ignite the victims, namely the Hindus in India, into violent actions. Yet, these are the fact recorded proudly by the Islamic historians and rulers of India and available in original form in libraries around the world and a section of the Hindus in India are becoming aware of these tragic facts and a section of those informed Hindus are forming those radical Hindu organizations such as RSS, Kar Sevaks and VHP etc. who are seeking revenge by trying to rebuild their destroyed temples at the site of now-standing mosques. Why these people are turning violent once they get to learn about those hushed-up tragedies? It should also be recognized that highly educated and rich Hindus, such as members of the VHP, are funding these militant Hindu organizations. But why? The answer is simple. Those atrocities were terrible and heart-rending and when Hindus suddenly get to find out what has happened to their ancestors centuries ago, they feel shocked, they feel indignation against Muslims and they want revenge in whatsoever way that might be.
However, recognition of those terrible tragedies that fell on the Hindus of India after Islamic invasion and during the Islamic rule is likely to go a long way in pacifying indignant section of Hindus. An apology would advance that cause immensely. Being grown up as a Muslim, I know there is a good deal of angst amongst Muslims against the Hindus because of the Hindu Zamindars’ oppressive and harsh activities in the days of the British rule. But the harshness caused by the Hindu Zamindars to Muslims is ignorable if compared to what happened to the Hindus in the days of Islamic invasion and rule of India. The Zamindars were harsh on the Hindu subjects as well – thanks to the British. However if Muslims can recognize the atrocities caused by the Islamic invaders and rulers on the Hindus, their own indignation against the Hindus vis-à-vis the Zamindari activities would surely be reduced, which can help strengthen relationship between both communities. Yet the facts about the Islamic atrocities, unrivalled in the history of India, are coming out into the public domain anyway – thanks to the historical details left by the Muslims historians and rulers themselves. The sooner the people of India and the Muslims in particular take steps to recognize those terrible atrocities to honor the victims, the better it is for harmonious relationship between the Hindus and Muslims living there.
1. Rewriting Indian History by Francois Gautier
2. Story of Civilization by Will Durant
3. Negationism in India: Concealing the record of Islam by Koenraad Elst
4. History of India
5. Facets of India: Ancient and Modern
6. Indian Rebellion of 1857, Wikipedia
THANK YOU ALL for your patience. Its long article.
আকাশ মালিক আগে লিখে সব শেষ করুক। আমি ইবুক হিসবে রেখে দেবো মুক্তমনায়।
চোখে আঙ্গুল দিয়ে দেখানো, এই কঠিন যুক্তি গুলোও গোড়া ধার্মিকদের কোন পরিবর্তন করানো যাবেনা। কারন তারা তো এসব ভালো করেই জানেই। সামাজিক স্টেটাস ও ব্যক্তিগত স্বার্থ হাসিলের জন্যই আমার ধারনা তারা এইসব লজিককে পাত্তা না দিয়ে ধর্মীয় কুযুক্তিগুলোকে কাজে লাগিয়ে অপকর্ম করেও মনে মনে কোন অনুসুচনায় ভোগেনা।
তবে আপনার অসাধারন এই লেখাগুলো নতুন প্রজন্মকে যে আলোর পথ দেখাচ্ছে তাতে কোন সন্দেহ নাই।
একটি অনুরোধ, আপনার প্রত্যেকটি নতুন লেখার সাথে যদি পুরাতন লেখার লিংক গুলি থাকে তবে আগ্রহি পাঠকেরা লেখাগুলোকে খোজে পেতে সুবিধা হবে। অভিজিত রায় সম্ভবত আপনার একটি লেখায় পুর্বের আর্টিকেল গুলোর লিংক দিয়েছিল।
ইসলামের জন্ম, বিকশ ও প্রাসাদ ষড়যন্ত্রের ছয় পর্বের লিংকগুলো ক্রমানুসারেঃ
আর বোকার স্বর্গের প্রথম পর্বের লিংক হচ্ছেঃ