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Mowlana Sultan Muhammed Shah: The Devoted Champion Of Islam

Publication Type  Article
Year of Publication  Submitted
Authors  Anonymous
Original Publication  Read and Know
Volume  Vol.I
Issue  No.7
Publisher  Shia Ismaili Association for Tanzania
Key Words  Champion; Sultan; Muhammad; Times


Mowlana Sultan Muhammed Shah: The Devoted Champion Of Islam

When "The Times", London, made some unfair allegations against Islam and the Muslims in a leading article in October 1951, Mowlana Sultan Muhammed Shah sent a spirited reply to the newspaper, which was published in its issue of November 6, 1951. He explained that it was because of the spirit of tolerance of Islam that even the smallest Christian and Jewish minorities survived and kept all their doctrines during the thousand years of Muslim rule.

In His letter to The Times, He said: "In your leading article of October 22, 1951, you have stated that 'in the Muslim countries the violent reaction against the West is exaggerated by an intolerant religion which teaches the duty of shunning foreign influences'. This sweeping generalization not only against Muslims but against their faith and Islam itself is both untrue and unfair, and, indeed, shows a lamentable dearth of knowledge regarding Islam and its legal and religious principles, even among leading writers of the leading journals of the West.

"Even a little knowledge of Islam will show that its religion is not only tolerant of other faiths, but most respectful, and indeed fully accepts the divine inspiration of all theistic faiths that came before Islam. It does not only teach tolerance to its followers, but goes a step further and enjoins on them all to create the godly quality of Hilm, That is, tolerance, forbearance, patience, calmness and forgiveness. It is due to the spirit of tolerance of Islam that even the smallest Christian and Jewish minorities survived and kept all their doctrines during the thousand years of Muslim rule. Nothing like what happened to Muslims in Spain after the Christian conquest has ever happened to a non-Muslim faith in any Islamic dominion.

"How can Europeans be so ignorant as to have forgotten that in the first century of Islam the Kalifas ordered that all that was best in Greek and Roman cultures should be assimilated; that not only the philosophy, medicine, and science of Greece but its poetry and drama were carefully translated into Arabic and were generally sought not only by the learned but also by the pious?

"In fact, in the interest of the universal unification of mankind the Quran ignores the minor differences and says: 'Come, let us unite to what is common to us all", which obviously encourages Muslims to assimilate ideas and even customs from others.

"If there has been violent reaction against the West in some of the Muslim countries, the reason is to be found in the attitude and behavior of the Westerners, their ignorance and want of respect for the faith and the culture of Islam, of which the reference to that faith in your leading article is a typical and usual example.

"If the West wants better relationship with the Muslims, the solution lies in their own hands, and this can be done only if they change their mental attitude and cultivate better understanding of Muslims' material needs and loyal recognition of the high quality of Their national culture and the purity of their faith."

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Mr. Mushir Husain Kidwai records an incident in the League of Nations which throws illuminating light on the unbounded love of Mowlana Sultan Muhammad Shah for Islam.

In a gathering of internationalists, proud of their material concepts of life and setting small store by religion, the illustrious and devoted champion of Islam had stood up to say that He was proud to belong to the glorious brotherhood of Islam.

Says Mr. Kidwai: "In the League of Nations, in the presence of so many learned persons who claimed to represent nations scattered all over the world but whose mentality was mostly materialistic, stood up a man - a responsible, thoroughly educated, well experienced, well traveled, well polished man, a gentleman, a noble man, respected by all and he proclaimed at the top of his voice that he was proud to belong to the glorious brotherhood of Islam. It was indeed thrilling. The occasion when it was made was thrilling. What a slap it was in the face of those cowards who felt shy at the name of Islam .The Aga Khan's words raised the prestige of Islam in an assembly which was almost prejudiced against it. "I was overjoyed. I am a man hard to bow before anybody - not even before a King. But I would gladly bow before a man who spoke from his heart those thrilling words".

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