Vivekananda’s messages have over and over again misappropriated by several Hindu fundamentalist parties, who portray him as anti Muslim.
But in actual fact, Vivekananda had nothing contrary to Indian Muslims; rather he admired them and was one of the few Indians to acknowledge Islam as part of India’s heritage. His teachings of love, respect, and tolerance are for people of all faith.
According to report published in The Statesman, his respect for Islam was not only instilled in him by his family, who had a strong Islamic influence but also by his Master, Ramakrishna, who played a very important role in shaping Vivekananda’s secular ideas.
He was deeply moved by his master’s teaching about the unity of all faiths.
He also regarded the differences between the Muslim- Hindu worlds as the by-product of culture and not real.
As said by a distinguished historian, Tapan Raychaudhuri, Vivekananda never consider the Muslim rulers to be an outsider or foreigners.
He enjoyed friendships with a schoolteacher of Alwar and also with the ministers of the Nizam of Hyderabad and with an Amir in Kabul.
For Vivekananda, Muslims were a “generous race, at heart as Indian as the Hindus.”
Comparing the Muslims with the British, he was of the opinion:
“You look about India, what has the Hindu left? Wonderful temples everywhere. What has the Mohammedan left? Beautiful palaces. What has the Englishman left? Nothing but mounds of broken brandy bottles!”
In his article “On the future of Bharat,” Vivekananda wrote: “The Mohammedan rule was experienced as a liberation for the poor and downtrodden. That is how one fifth of our people became Mohammedans. To think that all these were brought by sword and fire is sheer madness.”
He believed that Indian Muslims spirit of tolerance makes them different from Muslims hailing from other nations:
“Mohammedanism in India is quite a different thing from that in any other country. It is only when Mohammedans come from other countries and preach to their co-religionists in India about living with men who are not of their faith that a Mohammedan mob is aroused and fights.”
The Prophet’s (PBUH) sublime message, which “deluged the world in the name of the Lord,” appealed to Vivekananda. He was especially impressed with the directness and simplicity of the Prophet’s (PBUH) message, which contained “no music, no paintings, ….”
Referring to the Prophet (PBUH) and his teachings, he stated:
“Mohammed – the Messenger of equality. You ask, ‘What good can there be in his religion?’ If there was no good, how could it live? The good alone lives, that alone survives… How could Mohammedanism have lived? Had there been nothing good in its teachings?”
For Vivekananda, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) exemplified equality and brotherhood of men: “Muhammad (PBUH) was the Prophet of equality; of the brotherhood of man, the brotherhood of all Mussalmans.”
In these challenging times, when the nation is leading towards religious intolerance, hatred and violence by some fanatics, Vivekananda’s secular ideas will inspire to make India a safe haven for one and all regardless of caste, creed or class.
Original story can be read at: http://www.thestatesman.com/news/opinion/vivekananda-was-an-admirer-of-islam/108717.html