As usual after lunch I go to my afternoon prayers to a nearby mosque. But yesterday I was bit late in having my lunch and hence was late for the afternoon prayers. I reached the mosque only to see that the gates were locked. I was wondering where to go for the prayers. Then suddenly my mind said me that there is a small hall in the top floor of the nearby Mall named Forum. So I went there and had my prayers.
While I was returning I was gazing into the various show rooms in the Mall. Thought of going into Landmark just to see some books. I straight away went to the "Religion" section and started to flip a book on Islam. Within few seconds a person came near me and started telling-
"You seem to be a religious person and I feel you have some sound knowledge of Islam"
I kept mute. Then he continued asking-
"Is reciting Vande Matharam against the tenets of Islam?"
I again kept mute thinking that I saw this question somewhere. Later I realized it was a poll question asked by the Times of India newspaper. By seeing my question-marked-face he stated to behave as if he did a big mistake by asking me that question. He made a guilty face and was about to leave from that place. I interrupted him by telling-
"I am not a mufti or a person who has a sound knowledge of Islam to give Fatwas. But with the limited knowledge I have about Islam I will try to answer your question with a small Hadeeth of prophet Muhammed"
I asked him- "Do you know what Hadeeth is?" to this he replied in affirmative. So I dint had to explain him what a Hadeeth is? (To know what Hadeeth is you can check this link)
So I continued with the Hadeeth saying-
"Once the companions of Prophet Muhammed asked Prophet Muhammed that 'suppose if we happen to pass by some unknown place and suppose if the people of that place make us captive and keep their swords on our neck and tell us to say so and so is our Lord which is other than Allah what should we do?' to this Prophet replied 'to save your life you can say whatever they ask you to say'. For this again the companions asked Prophet 'if they ask us to bow in front of their deity?' to this the Prophet replied 'No, one cannot bow in front of anything or anyone except Allah - the Almighty'"
This is the end of the Hadeeth. I told him - "Hope you understood the answer to your question from this Hadeeth?" His face was giving me answers that he was doubtful. So I continued -
"Look, Vande Matharam means to 'Bow to Mother', so if someone threatens a Muslim with life and asks him to say Vande Matharam, he can say so. As I am saying it in front of you, without the intention of doing it. But if one has his free will to say or not to say then he should not say such sentence whose actions are against the tenets of Islam. And if someone says a Muslim to Bow in front of the Mother India he should not do so even if he gets killed."
After listening carefully, he thanked me saying - "Thanks for the wonderful explanation, now I know why actually you people stick to your principals. Thanks once again"
To this I told - "Your welcome brother. This isn’t the end. Since India is a Democratic country, we have our individual rights to say it or not. Nobody can force anyone in this country to SAY a particular sentence. Whether he is a Muslim or a Hindu or a Christian or even if he does not believe in God. And since India is also a Secular country these kinds of sentences cannot be issued as a Law to say in public. And one cannot say that a person is an Indian only if he recites so and so words in front of everyone. So making an issue out of nothing is also not good for anyone. Not even for our Mother India."
For this he smiled and we shook our hands we introduced ourselves and departed.