Setting the record straight

April 2015

By Jamuna Rangachari

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is a name synonymous with a liberal, moderate and tolerant interpretation of Islam. In this interview he demolishes many of the interpretations that have tarnished it in present times, says Jamuna Rangachari


Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is a renowned Islamic scholar whose life mission is to promote humanism and truth as the true message of Islam.

Internationally recognized for his contributions to world peace, he has received, among others, the Demiurgus Peace International Award, the Padma Bhushan, the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavna Award and the National Citizen’s Award. A recent book, The 500 Most Influential Muslims of 2009, by Georgetown University, Washington DC, has named him “Islam’s spiritual ambassador to the world.”

With his long white beard and noble countenance, he reminded me of Rabindranath Tagore. What impressed me more that his numerous credentials and awards when I met him, was his ability to connect with everyone. I saw him interacting with, and answering the queries of everyone, especially the young. Once again, I was reminded of spiritual greats who have always understood that the spirit of the young must be given the right direction so that their energy and drive is not misused. He gave me his magazine, Spirit of Islam, and also made me a complimentary subscriber. Through my interaction and his writings, I could see that he was completely abreast of current events, and trying his best to correct the distorted image of Islam that has overtaken the religion the world over, even among the believers.

After completing the interview, I read his magazine, Spirit of Islam. Among his many writings, I resonated deeply with his analogy of Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha as the true symbol of jihad which achieved something remarkable through non-violence. I hope and pray that everyone listens to his sane and humane voice, and attempts to imbibe the true spirit of Islam. Excerpts from the interview

What is the role of religion and faith in today’s world?

Religion is basically a spiritual discipline. The sole target of religion is to develop a person spiritually. A spiritual person is one who is able to live with a positive mind and is duty-conscious rather than rights-conscious. Such a person is free of greed and hate, and is capable of assessing things objectively. He is one who possesses a predictable character.
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