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 New 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 say Manu worshipped Shiva. Very few have pointed out that there was nothing in the world and Manu worshipped Om.”
“I asked who is Om, many said ‘it is just air, it has no form, it has no color 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.
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.
“The stories he narrated, I can narrate even bigger stories than that. I would even request him (Madani) to come for a discussion with me, or even I can come to meet him in Saharanpur,” he said.
“It should be remembered that the first Jain Tirthankar was Rishabh, and his sons were Bharata and Bahubali, on whose name this country ‘Bharat’ was 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 programs and sessions of the Jamiat. Acharya Lokesh Muni has been part of several Jamiat-organized programs in the past as well.