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Re: The muslim connection

From: M K Sudarshan (sudarsan_at_batelco.com.bh)
Date: Tue Apr 15 1997 - 01:52:34 PDT

At 09:58 AM 4/14/97 -0500, Sri.K.Srinivas wrote:

>The other thing that only an expert in Quran can qualify is that:
>Several statements in Quoran express some of the Visitaadvaita
>concepts. Example the Supreme Soul: soul :: soul:physical body,
>Thondarukku thondu etc..
>K. Srinivasan

Being a resident of Bahrain I take an academic interest in the religion
being practised around me.

>From the little I have gathered from my many Muslim friends and co-workers
-- many of whom are devoutly religious -- I can say that at a purely
ideological level there are a lot of apparent -- I stress, apparent --
similarity of views between Islam and SriVaishnavism.

The world "Islam" itself in Arabic, they say, denotes "SURRENDER" !
SriVaishnavism's central tenet too, as we all know, is "prappathi" ie.Surrender!

Everywhere you go in the Islamic world you will find the phrase "IN THE NAME
OF ALLAH, THE MERCIFUL, THE COMPASSIONATE" being used on letter-heads,
wall-hangings and desk-top messages !

For the Muslim the idea of Godhead is associated primarily not with a
"Powerful Almighty" but with Extreme Compassion ("dayA") ! Which is why in
this religion the concepts of "Punishment" and "Evil", "perdition" and
"Hell" are not so well defined as, perhaps, in Christianity.

"Punishment" and "Evil" in Islam are dealt with in greater detail in what
are called "shariat" laws which, though a sub-set of Islam, are nevertheless
social/secular documents more than being truly "religious" speculations on
personal faith! They are a bit --- only a tiny bit --- like our own Laws of
Manu.

At a purely philosophical level the tenets of Islam too firmly emphasise "A
Great Personal God" who is Compassionate and Forgiving if anything at all !
There is comparatively very little in Islamic Faith about HELL-FIRE and
ETERNAL DAMNATION although the Religion itself, as we all know, has had many
bloody and painful chapters in its proselytizing march through the pages of
History !

>From what little I have gathered from my Muslim friends here in the Arabian
Gulf they, too, believe in something like what our Saint Tondar-adi-podi (my
own favourite "AzhwAr") has sung :

 "arivilA manisarEllAm arangam-enru azhaippar Agil
  poriyilvAzh narakam ellAm pUllEndh~ozhiyUm anrE !! (from the "tirUmAlai")

The only change Islam prefers is that for "arangan" it would rather insert
"Allah" ! Even there, both appellations have the primordial and hallowed
"akAra-shabdam" in common!
 
adiyEn,
sudarshan