Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind chief Maulana Arshad Madani on Sunday stoked controversy at the Muslim body’s general session by claiming that “Om” and “Allah” were the same God worshipped by Manu, drawing objections from a prominent Jain monk who stormed off the stage along with a group of other religious leaders.
Speaking on the third and final day of the 34th general session of the Jamiat at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, the Muslim cleric, who heads the Arshad Madani faction of the outfit, said he asked the dharma gurus as to who was worshipped when there was no Shri Ram, Brahma or Shiva.
“Some stated Manu worshipped Shiva. Few pointed out that there was nothing in the world and Manu worshipped Om,” he shared.
“I asked who is Om, many said ‘it is just air, it has no form, it has no colour and it is everywhere, it made the sky and land’. I said this is what we call Allah, you call Ishwar, those speaking Persian call khuda and those speaking English call God,” Madani said.
“This means that Manu, that is Adam, used to worship one Om, that is one Allah,” he said. Manu is a term found in religious texts, referring to the first man or the progenitor of humanity.
Arshad Madani’s remarks were strongly disapproved by Jain monk Acharya Lokesh Muni who walked out of the session, accusing Madani of digressing from talking about unity to spinning a story about “Manu and Allah”.
“We only agree with living in harmony, but all these stories regarding Om, Allah, and Manu are all baseless. He (Madani) completely spoiled the environment of the session,” Muni said.
“It should be remembered that the first Jain Tirthankar was Rishabh, and his sons were Bharata and Bahubali, after who this country is named. We don’t agree with his (Madani’s) statements,” the Jain monk asserted, before leaving the stage along with a group of leaders of other religions.
Religious leaders of several religions are often invited to the programmes and sessions of the Jamiat. Acharya Lokesh Muni has been part of several Jamiat-organised programmes in the past as well.
On Friday, Mahmood Madani, who heads the other faction of the Jamiat, triggered a row by claiming that India is the “birthplace of Islam” and the oldest religion of the country. He had asserted that the country belongs to him as much as it does to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.