CONVERSIONS OF ONCES WAY OF LIFE
RELIGIOUS CHANGES IN LAHORE
Lahore the melting pot of Punjab
There is a strange dynamism when a man decides to change his way of life and embrace that of another. The reasons for the same can be a matter of guess, but best understood as the coming in the fold of faith. In Islam, Allah tells us to use our minds for the purpose and the Quran repeats again and again for man to ‘think and ponder’. The rest is history. The first person to embrace Islam was of course Hazrat Khadija, and that was merely because she knew that the Prophet was not capable of telling anything but the truth itself.
The first person to embrace Islam in Indian region is reputed to be Cheraman Perumal Baskara Ravi Varma, who embraced Islam at the hands of the Arab traders who came here, in the life time of the Prophet himself, and built a Jamia Masjid in Kerala in the year 629 AD. A remarkable event in all circumstances. Muhammed bin Qasim never imposed Islam in Sind, but gradually the Sindhis saw the culture that was being imposed with it, and they gave their hearts and minds to the person, who did not conquer them, but actually liberated them from the tyranny of rule. The Chach-nama tells us how happy the Buddhist and the Hindus were at looking at the liberator Muhammed bin Qasim right from the start. If the heart of Ladi could be won, so could be the hearts of the fellow citizens! That is why they made a statue of Qasim in the square of their major city when he was no more. Mass conversions took place in the Ghaznavid period and the Indian region was fluxed with lakhs of Muslims in the Sultanate period. Nobody pursued the Hindus for conversion, it was an act of faith with them.
If thousands became millions, then there was something certainly going on. But we do find cases of Muslims embracing Christianity. To this day we have never heard of a Muslim embracing Hinduism, although it may have been so. The greatest conversion attempts were made by the Monks here to convert Emperor Akbar, but when he died, Akbar recited the Kalma, and that is on record. Whatever he was doing was the work of a clever politician TRICKING EVERYBODY into a false sense of being. Catrou and Manucci could tell us that Dara Shikoh died a Christian, but such calumny is a matter of shame for them, as he was buried in the mausoleum of his ancestor, Emperor Humayoun, in exactly the position of a Muslim grave. The most famous Muslim conversion was of course that of the Chaplain Abdul Masih, whose name was actually Sheikh Salih. Impressed with the Persian translation of Henry Martyn’s New Testament, he not only embraced Christianity, but became a Father himself, and was inviting people from all over Indian region to do the same. It is said that he converted about 50 Muslims and Hindus, but without a short period the whole renounced their conversion.
There was a complete record of various conversions done by the Imam of the Badshahi Mosque Lahore. A regular record was created, in which a form of conversion was given to the converted person, with the record of his old name, as well as the new one. On the back of the duplicate receipt was either the signature of the converted, or the thumb impressions, as well as a certificate of the Imam himself. Of the various record lost, the record for the year 1908 is still preserved with us. A total of 187 conversions at least in that year, with full record of them. We publish an image of a couple of these conversions. It is one of the strangest record of all times.
Today the ‘big bucks’ are in the compound of writers like Irshad Manji and Tarek Fatah, and they are doing their best to amend (to most distort) the image of Islam in the mind of their followers. With heavy backing, they will end up doing less than their plans. There is a NOOR on the face of all those who aim at right and do right. That Noor tells us all! Abu-Jahls are allowed by Allah to exist, for Allah knows that his compassion can touch anybody anytime, and Allah too believes in freedom of expression for all. Indeeed what is about Allah that cannot be praiseworthy? Nothing. Everything about him is purity of infinite dimensions.