Scholars respond to the query: What is the solution for allowing Muslims and Hindus to sit together and realize their great potential for working together for greater universal peace and prosperity?

Fatwa, posted 4.22.2010, from Egypt, in:
Religious Authority: 
Muhammad Abu Laylah
Websites and Institutions: 
Islam Online

Dr. Muhammad Abu Laylah, professor of the Islamic studies and comparative religions at Al-Azhar University, stated:

As you know, when Islam went to India, Muslims showed respect to Hindu beliefs and temples and neither destroyed nor attacked any statue or icons and never burned any of their sacred books.

Also, I'd like to bring to your attention that there are shared traditions between Muslims in India and the Hindus; for example, respect of the family life, respect of the elderly, love and care of others, and being good to guests and neighbors. These and many other things are highly appreciated by Muslims and Hindus.

Moreover, Islam shows respect for other people's beliefs and it commands its followers to show respect and to honor the human race whatever the differences between Muslims and others. Islam calls for equality and mutual respect and understanding among people regardless of their religion, race, or position. Therefore, we do have an ample opportunity and common ground to meet.

As regards your note that no one tried to bridge the gab between Islam and Hinduism, I draw your attention that there are some people who are already trying to do that. For instance, Al- Bayrouni, the first Muslim scholar who learned the Hindu language after traveling to India, wrote a book about Hindu religion and tradition. The book is available in English. Al-Bayrounihas become a phenomenon in modern scholarships and regarding whom conferences and seminars are held in the West.

Finally, we'd like to stress the role of religious leaders to cooperate for the sake of reaching mutual understanding and thus maintaining peaceful coexistence among all factions of the society and thus guaranteeing prosperity for their nation.

May Allah guide you and us all to see truth as truth and to follow it and to see evil as evil and to shun it.

Moreover, Sheikh Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti, director of the Islamic Center of South Plains, Lubbock, Texas, added,

I agree with you that the essence of all faiths is to serve the common good of humankind and to strengthen relations among humans against the various interests that usually sever ties and separate people.

Although some Muslims mistakenly think that Islamic tolerance only extends to the Jews and Christians, but the way Prophet Muhammad led his life was more accommodating to people of other beliefs than that. The multi-religious society that the Prophet led in Madinah included Jews, Christians, and Magians. Also, during the expansion of Islamic civilization, Muslims lived side by side with their Hindu fellows and they enriched themselves with many aspects of Indian wisdom and civilization.