Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Remembering an ‘Islamophobe’: Sir V S Naipaul

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 16 August 2022 Muslims Need To Change Themselves To Fit Into The Universality Of Humaneness ---- It's rather an uncanny coincidence that in these times when Islam is again in limelight for all the wrong reasons, V S Naipaul's 90th birthday falls on August 17 and his fourth death anniversary was commemorated on August 11. The Nobel laureate Naipaul was an avowed Islam-basher, though his second spouse Nadira was a Muslim from Bahawalpur, Pakistan. His two books ' Among the believers: An Islamic Journey ' and ' Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples, ' somewhat prove that he had a sort of condescending attitude, if not outright hatred or disguised dislike, towards Muslims, especially, the converted ones. Naipaul reminds us that "everyone not an Arab who is Muslim is a convert." Converted Muslims "develop fantasies about who and what they are; and in the Islam of converted countries there is an element of neurosis and nihilism.” Naipaul vivisected the ultra-religiosity and religious fanaticism among the converts, who he believed to be suffering from Limbo Syndrome (Na Idhar Ke, Na Udhar Ke; Adhar Mein in Hindi) and Acute Identity Crisis. He believed that this Crisis of Unbelonging made the converted Muslims so rabid and retaliatory when it comes to defending their 'new' faith (read Islam). Though what all he observed about Islam and Muslims is not correct and there's a fallacy of generalisation in many of his opinionated observations, there's no denying the fact that the neo-converts (to Islam) have extreme stubbornness and neurotic religiosity. I've also observed the same, having travelled across the globe and interacted with Muslims of all hues. I've found the 'original' Arab Muslims, though not all, to be pretty cool about their religion. I could easily discuss the bogus and interpolated verses in the Quran with them and they accepted without beating or beheading me. Many scholarly Arabs having studied at the premier western universities, have begun to question the fundamental tenets of Islam and even the somewhat shady private life of Muhammad. But it's unthinkable among the Muslims of the sub-continent and those who embraced Islam many centuries after its inception in Arab Peninsula more than 1400 years ago. All these obstinate Muslims need to change themselves to fit into the universality of humaneness. V S Naipaul once told a learned Indian Muslim writer that he had no problem with Allah or Quran. He just had a problem with the rigidity of Islamic belief system that didn't care for the universal democratic and human values and peaceful co-existence. Had he been alive today and seeing what befell his fellow writer, he would have been more assertive in reiterating the same. It's, therefore, time for all Muslims to look within and realize as to why the world suffers from Islamophobia. I'm using this irritating term just to 'please', nay pique, Muslims who're too fond of using it for those who question Islam and its ways. Please don't sever their heads or amputate their limbs. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/muslims-islamophobia/islamophobe-sir-naipaul/d/127722 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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