Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad about Islam and Religious faith. Excelent compilation.

The following is based on Srila Prabhupadas conversations:
Religion is meant for peace, not war.
Again and again God has sent His messengers to this material world to re-establish religious principles. Different messengers have revealed different scriptures in different languages accord-ing to time, place, circumstances and the intellectual capacity of the people. In this way the Vedas, Avesta, Torah, Bible and Qur'an were made available for the benefit of mankind, to bring them closer to God. Despite the different languages and different ages in which these scriptures were presented, the knowl-edge and guidance is essentially the same. That is:
1. God is one
2. Everyone is a servant of God
3. Everyone has an eternal relationship with God
4. The primary duty of everyone is Service to God
5. The goal of human life is to develop love of God.
As far as the process of each scripture is concerned, some details and rituals differ, but in essence it is all the same. Every messenger of God came to this mortal world to remind us that we should always remember God, serve God and love God. Therefore, religious principles are meant for peace and prosperity, not war. Vaishnavism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Chris-tianity and Islam are all meant for uniting people, not dividing them.
"In the vase there is a variety of flowers, and that variety helps us better appreciate the idea of flowers. That is called unity in diversity," said Srila Prabhupada. But because of misunderstanding, misinterpretation and deviation from the revealed scriptures, hundreds and hundreds of sects have already appeared, even within the same religious communities, what to speak of other communities. People quarrel, fight and kill each other under the name of reli-gion. So much degradation. There is no peace and prosperity on this earth. How can we gain the peace and prosperity that everyone is searching for? In this dark age of quarrel and hypocrisy, God has sent us His most merciful servant, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, to re-establish true religious principles and unite all the religions under the non-sectarian, nonmaterial, transcendental flag of love of God.
As a humble saint, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada never criticised any religion or any bona fide representative of any religion. Some people say Srila Prabhupada was a genius, some say a great religious teacher, some say a friend like no other, but Srila Prabhupada said: "I am simply a servant of a servant of a servant of God." By re-establishing the Absolute Truth as it was, as it is, and as it always should be without adding or subtracting anything from the way it was presented to him, he began an international movement that has already united people of all religions, nations, ages, etc.. Thanks to his compassion and struggle, souls from all walks of life: scientists, businessmen, philosophers, laborers, housewives and students are all marching under the united nations transcendental flag of love of God.
In this work we present Statements by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on Islam taken from his books, lectures and conversations. We sincerely hope it will help people develop a proper understanding of interreligious connections, "unity in diversity."

1. Islam is also Vaishnavism
Srila Prabhupada: Islam is also Vaishnavism.
Dr. Patel: Mohammedanism is not Vaishnavism.
Srila Prabhupada: No, no. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu talked with the Pathanas (Muslims). He proved that "Yourreligion is Vaishnavism." (Moraing walk. Bombay, 17/02/74)
Srila Prabhupada: Then Islam is Vaishnava dharma (religion) in a crude form like Christianity.
(Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)

In these two Statements, Srila Prabhupada explains that the Is­amic religion is also teaching how to become a servant of only one God and surrender to Him with love and devotion. One can cultivate the same knowledge in the Vaishnava religion but with more detailed information. In Vaishnavism, one can learn how to de­velop his eternal loving relationships with the Supreme Lord. Although Dr. Patel could not accept that Islam is also Vaishnavism, Srila Prabhupada explained that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in his conversation with the Pathana Muslims, proved by quoting from the Holy Qur'an that Islam is also Vaishnavism. At the end of his conversation all the Pathana Mus­lims, including the great Muslim Scholar and prince Vijuli Khan, accepted the fact that Vaishavism is a true religion teaching complete surrender to the will and desire of God, which is the meaning of Islam. Later on in 197S, in Tehran, Srila Prabhupada explained that Islam is a simplified form of the Vaishnava religion. Why? Because the Holy Prophet Muhammad taught his people according to time, place, circumstances and their intellectual level. He himself clearly said, "I received two kinds of knowledge: one of these I taught — but if I had taught them the other, it would have broken their necks." (Nadarbeg K. Mizra, Reincarnation and Islam, Madras, 1927, p. 4)
According to the Muslim tradition, a part of the "Heavenly Book" which is kept under the Throne of Allah was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad in the Arabic language. More than this, the Holy Prophet Muhammad once had miraj, or the experience of "ascending" to heaven.
And after penetrating the 7th layer of heaven, he visited the Throne of Allah and received divine knowledge from Him. This divine knowledge given by Allah to the Holy Prophet Muhammad was in three parts:

1) The knowledge that Allah ordered the Holy Prophet Muhammad to conceal from others and keep for himself
2) The knowledge that Allah allowed him to choose whether or not to conceal or reveal to others
3) The knowledge that Allah ordered the Apostle to communicate to all members of his ummah (community). (Geo Widengren. Muhammad, the Apostle of
God, and His Ascension. Uppsala, 1955, p. 108)

In this way, the Holy Prophet Muhammad got part of the unlimited spiritual knowledge and at the same time was ordered by Allah to conceal some parts of this knowledge.

Thus from statements of the Holy Prophet and from his life, we can understand that he withheld some confidential knowledge about the Supreme Lord. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada said that Islam is simplified Vaishnavism. By these words Srila Prabhupada had no intention to discredit the Islamic religion. He actually had all respect for Islam as we will see later on. That is why he said that Islam is also Vaishnavism. But what Srila Prabhupada meant is that not all aspects of Vaishnava philosophy were revealed by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, as he himself states.

2. Islam means submission
Yoga student: In fact Muslims object to their religion being called Mohammedanism because it implies that they worship Muhammad, whereas in fact they feel that they go straight to God, to Allah, and that Muhammad simply was a messenger.
Srila Prabhupada: That's good.
Yoga student: And they call their religion Islam, which means submission.
Srila Prabhupada: That's very good.
Yoga student: The Muslim is he who submits.
(Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)
Srila Prabhupada: Religion means to surrender to God. It doesn't matter what religion you profess. It doesn't matter. But you must learn how to obey the Supreme Lord. That is religion. Religion does not mean that you stamp some stereotype religion, "I am Christian," "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim," "I am Buddhist," and then fight. That is not religion. That is fanaticism. Religion means how one has become devoted to God. That is religion.
You claim to be religious, or you claim to be Hindu or Christian or Buddhist. That's all right But do you know what is God? Oh, everyone is silent. He does not know what is God. And what is his religion? If you do not know what is God, a vague idea, that is not religion. You must know what is God. Just like to become an American citizen, it requires you to know something of the history of America. So ask an American citizen, "What are you?"
"Now, I'm American."
"Who is your president?'
"I do not know."
What is this nonsense American? Would you like to hear from him, "I do not know who is my president." Similarly, a human being professing some certain type of religion, but if you ask him, "What is God?"
Religion must be in relationship with God; any religion. But ask him, "What is God?" No answer. But religion means yato bhaktir adhoksaje — by practising it, one becomes a devotee of the Lord. That is religion, First-class religion. (Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam. 9/01/74)
Srila Prabhupada: Religion means obedience to God. Religion does not mean anything else. You can manufacture so many formulas and theses. But the real meaning is obedience to God. That is religion. Simple definition. If a man is obedient to God, it doesn't matter to which religion he belongs. He may be Christian, he may be Hindu, he may be Mussalman. It doesn't matter. Religion means obedience to God.(Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam. 12/12/73)
Here Srila Prabhupada again and again emphasised that religion means surrender to or obedience to God. Islam also means full surrender to the will of God. Many times the Holy Prophet Muhammad explained that everyone is a banda, or slave of Allah and must obey His order. We should understand our original, constitutional position as servants of God and by following His instructions we will develop our eternal loving relationship with the Supreme Lord.
People should not just put arubber stamp on themselves, "I am Christian," "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim" and then fight. This is not a religious activity but fanaticism born from ignorance. Another meaning of Islam is "peace." Islam must bring peace, not war. If someone under the name of Islam advocates war, this means he has misunderstood or misinterpreted Islam. We should not be bewildered by such unscrupulous interpreters, rather we should follow true, eternal Islam, which will bring universal peace to the world. In the beginning of his preaching, the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his followers were severely persecuted by Meccan leaders. The Holy Prophet tolerated and taught his followers to be tolerant and forgiving towards their persecutors. Later on when Meccan leaders decided to kill the Holy Prophet Muhammad, he escaped to Medina. There the number of Muslims rapidly increased, and the Meccans decided to march upon Medina and kill all the Muslims. This time the Holy Prophet got a revelation from God that sanctioned fighting and killing for the purpose of protecting religious principles. Thus it is stated in the sura "Al-Baqarah" or "The Cow" of the Holy Qur'an (2.190-193):
"Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for persecution is worse than slaughter, but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who reject faith.
But if they cease, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more persecution and the religion becomes Allah's."
Prominent Muslim scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali comments:
"War is permissible in self-defence, and under well-defined limits. When undertaken, it must be pushed with vigour, but not relentlessly, but only to restore peace and freedom for the worship of Allah. In any case, strict limits must not be transgressed: women, children, old and infirm men should not be molested, nor trees and crops cut down, nor peace withheld when the enemy comes to terms." (Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur-an, Al-Madinah, 1411H, p. 79)
This is the actual meaning of Jihad, or Holy War. If an enemy is attacking one with deadly weapons, with the intention to destroy or impede one's religious activities, one can fight and kill for the protection of religious principles. However, nowadays, many leaders are advocating war under the name of jihad. They are using religious terms to promote political ambitions. They dress themselves as religionists, but actually they are atheists. People should be very careful not to be victimised by such dishonest and misguided leaders.
So, in Medina, the Muslims were attacked many times by Meccans and despite having smaller numbers, they always emerged victorious. During these wars, the Holy Prophet Muhammad gave special orders that Muslims should not kill monks, children, women, old and helpless people. Once after battle, the Holy Prophet saw dead women on the battlefield. He became very upset and chastised his followers.
Finally, despite severe persecutions and wars, the Holy Prophet Muhammad conquered Mecca and entered the city with a huge army without shedding any blood or taking revenge upon his persecutors; instead he forgave them. This is how the Holy Prophet acted.
In conclusion, the Holy Prophet Muhammad said: "The most excellent Jihad is the uttering of truth in the presence of an unjust ruler." (Mishkat, 17)
Muslims should learn from his example and follow his instructions without deviation. Thus by following the orders of God revealed in the scriptures and surrendering unto Him, everyone will become obedient servants of God and develop their loving relationship with Him.
Once the Holy Prophet Muhammad shed light on another aspect of Jihad. He said:
"The most excellent Jihad (Holy War) is that for conquest of self."
(Abdullah Al-Mamun Al-Suhrawardy, The sayings of Muhammad, London, 1905, p. 27)
Here is a good description of Jihad. The Holy Prophet Muhammad himself explained that Jihad means fighting and conquering the impurities of consciousness. It is not that one should fight with the enemy on the outside. No. Actually, one should fight with the enemies that is inside. Who are these internal enemies? They are lust, greed and anger. These are three gates leading to hell. One should fight and conquer these enemies. Jihad may require fighting in Allah's cause, as a form of self-sacrifice. But its essence consists in:
1) true and sincere faith, which so fixes its attention on Allah, that all selfish or worldly motives seem insignificant and fade away, and
2) enthusiastic and incessant activities, involving the sacrifice of one's life, or wealth, in the service of Allah. Mere brutal fighting is opposed to the whole spirit of Jihad, while the sincere scholar's pen or the preacher's voice or the wealthy man's contributions may be the most valuable forms of Jihad. This is the inner, esoteric meaning of the term Jihad, Holy War.

3. God sends His messengers
Srila Prabhupada: When our constitutional position or dharma has deteriorated due to the contaminations of matter, the Lord Himself comes as an incarnation or sends some of His confidential servitors. Lord Jesus Christ called himself the "son of God," and so he is a representative of the Supreme. Similarly, Muhammad identified himself as a servant of the Supreme Lord.
Thus whenever there is a discrepancy in our constitutional position, the Supreme Lord either comes Himself or sends His representative to inform us of the real position of the living entity. (On the Way to Krishna, Ch. 2)

Here Srila Prabhupada explains the universal law of the Supreme Lord. Whenever religious principles deteriorated to the influence of the illusory material energy, God sent some of His confidential servants like Jesus Christ or Hazrat Muhammad to inform people of their real position as eternal servitors of God. In this way, Moses and Jesus were sent to Jews and Hazrat Muhammad to Arabs to re-establish the eternal religious principles that everyone is a servant of God and should serve Him with love and devotion. Each messenger of God accepts the authority of the previous messengers and scriptures.
The Holy Qur'an (2.285) expresses this principle in the following way:
"The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believes in Allah, His angels, His books and His messengers. 'We make no distinction (they say) between any of His messengers.'"
The prominent Muslim scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali comments:
"It is not for us to make any distinction between one and another of Allah's Messengers: we must honour them all equally, though we know that Allah in His wisdom sent them with different kinds of missions and gave them different degrees of rank." (Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur-an, Al-Madinah, 1411 H, p. 132)
Thus the Holy Qur'an accepts all previous scriptures and messengers. It is explained here that the messengers of God accept the Supreme Lord, His angels (who are administrating material affairs), scriptures (sent by God through His different representatives) and all of God's other messengers. They never discriminate between any of His messengers, which means that they never say, 'This messenger is better than another," or "We accept this messenger but do not care about that one." Thus we should understand that God sends His messengers or representatives to different nations to preach the Absolute Truth according to time, place and circumstances.
The Holy Qur'an (12.2) explains this point in the following verse of sura "Yusuf," or "Joseph":
"We (Allah) have revealed it, a Lecture (Qur'an) in Arabic, that you (Muhammad) may understand."
Allah explained here that He revealed the Qur'an in Arabic so that the Holy Prophet Muhammad may understand it and convey it to other Arabs. Allah, time after time, reveals His eternal message to different prophets in the appropriate language. Although the linguistic expressions and terms are different, the essential knowledge is the same:
1) God is one
2) Everyone is the servant of God
3) We must serve and love God
4) And to do so, we must chant His holy name.

This is the universal message of God contained in all scriptures.
Furthermore it is stated in the sura "Al-Baqarah," or "The Cow" of the Holy Qur'an (2.253):
"Those Messengers we endowed with gifts, some above others: to some of them Allah spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour)."
Thus, different gifts and different modes of procedure were given to Allah's messengers through the different ages, and perhaps their degrees are also different. According to the supreme plan of the Lord, different personalities appear in different parts of the world to deliver the eternal message of God to the nations.
In the Tafsire Kassaf(Jild 3, Chapter 60) 4th Khalifoi Islam, son-in-law of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Hazrat Ali said:
"Allah-Taala sent one black coloured nabi (one who delivers the message of God) whose name is not mentioned in the Qur'an." (Tafsire Madarek, Juj 2, Egypt, p. 65)
In the sura "Al-Baqarah," or 'The Cow" of the Holy Qur'an (2.136), we find the following verse:
"Say you: 'We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, to the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) the Prophets from their Lord: we make no difference between one and another of them: and we submit to Allah.'"
Here we have the creed of Islam — to believe in:

1) the one universal God
2) the message that has come to us through the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the signs (ayats) interpreted by him
3) the messages delivered by other prophets in the past. These are mentioned in three groups:

(1) Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes; of these Abraham apparently had a scripture
(2) Moses and Jesus, who each left a scripture
(3) other scriptures, prophets, or messengers of God, not specifically mentioned in the Holy Qur'an. Their message in essence was one, and that is the basis of Islam.
In the Tarikhe Hatndan, Chapter Babul Kaf, the Holy Prophet Muhammad mentioned one divine personality who descended in India. He described his colour and gave his name. These are the words of the Holy Prophet Muhammad:
"In India one black coloured nabi advented and his name was Kahan."
In the opinion of the prominent Muslim scholar Alhaz Ahmad Tofic, the person mentioned by the Holy Prophet Muhammad in the Tarikhe Hatndan is Krishna, who appeared in India 5,000 years ago, whose colour was blackish and who delivered to mankind the message of God, famously known as the Bhagavad-gita.
Another interesting piece of evidence was given by one of the close associates of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, namely Ab'uhurairah. According to Ab'uhurairah, the Holy Prophet of Islam said:
"Certainly God will send to my sect at the end of every hundred years, a person who will renew my religion." (Mishcat-ul-Masabih, Calcutta, 1809, p. 62)
One example of such renewal is recorded in a very exciting conversation about the Holy Qur'an between Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Abdullah Pathana about 500 years ago. In this conversation the Hidden Treasure of Al-Qur'an was again revealed to mankind. (Anyone interested can read The Hidden Treasure of Al-Qur'an by Dr. Akif Manaf J.)

Another incident involving Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took place when the Muslim King of Bengal, Ala' uddin Saiyad Hussain Shah (1498-1511), heard of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's influence in attracting innumerable people. He said: "Such a person, who is followed by so many people without giving them charity, must be a prophet. I can surely understand this fact."
Then Hussain Shah ordered the magistrate: "Do not disturb this prophet out of jealousy. Let him do as he wills wherever he likes."
Later, in private, the King inquired from his minister, Dabir Khas, about this personality, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Dabir Khas replied: "This prophet always desires your good fortune. By his grace, all your business is successful. By his blessings, you will attain victory everywhere. Why are you questioning me? Better that you question your own mind. Because you are the King of the people, you are the representative of the Supreme. Therefore you can understand this better than me."
The King said: "I consider Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to be a divine personality. There is no doubt about it." (Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-Lila, Chapter 1, Texts 168-180)

4. Parampara — Disciplic succession
Srila Prabhupada: If Muhammad is the servant of God and Jesus Christ is the son of God, then where is the break of the disciplic succession. After all the disciplic succession is beginning from God, so how do you find that there is no disciplic succession? If the original tree has branches, twigs and leaves and they are in touch with the original tree, it is all right. The test is whether the line is in touch with the Supreme — that is all.
Although Muhammad and Jesus Christ appeared in the Kali Yuga (the present age of quarrel and hypocrisy) their instruction is as it is because the persons to whom they had to speak could not understand any more and they find it difficult to understand even that much. (Letter 19/07/70)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains the very important con-ception of parampara from the Vedic literatures. Parampara means disciplic succession, or chain of self-realised souls who convey spiritual knowledge without adulteration. The absolute knowledge descends through generations of spiritual masters and disciples. The topmost disciples become preceptors and pass on the teachings to their disciples. Parampara, or disciplic succession begins from God. The Holy Prophet Muhammad received knowledge of God through the archangel Gabriel; therefore he is in the line of disciplic succession.
According to tradition, it was the practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad to retire from his family to a desert cave for meditation for one month every year. His place of retreat was Hira, a desert hill not far from Mecca, and his chosen month was Ramazan (December), the month of heat. It was there, one night towards the end of his stay, that the first revelation came to him when he was forty years old. This happened on the seventeenth day of Ramazan month (22nd of December, 610). That date is since named Al-Gadir, "Night of Power".
Hazrat Muhammad was asleep when he heard a voice calling him. When he opened his eyes, he saw a bright dazzling light and fell unconscious. When he regained consciousness, he saw an angel in the likeness of a man, carrying a written document enveloped in precious silk. The angel said, "Read!" He replied, "I cannot read." Indeed he was illiterate.
The angel placed the document on his chest. Hazrat Muhammad felt as if a mountain had fallen upon him and thought that he would die of suffocation. Then the angel lifted the document and repeated, "Read!" He replied, "I cannot read" but again the angel pressed him even stronger than before. A third time the angel commanded in a more terrible voice, "Read!"
"What have I to read?'
The angel said:
"Read: In the name of your Lord Who created,
Created man from a clot.
Read: Your Lord is Most Bountiful,
Who taught by the pen,
Taught man that which he knew not."
(The Qur'an 96.1-5)
Hazrat Muhammad submissively repeated the words, and they remained "as if inscribed in his heart." He went out of the cave, onto the hillside, and heard the same awe-inspiring voice say, "O Muhammad! You are Allah's messenger, and I am Gabriel." Then he raised his eyes and saw the angel standing in the sky above the horizon and again the dreadful voice said, "O Muhammad! You are Allah's messenger, and I am Gabriel." Hazrat Muhammad stood still. Due to the brightness of the light, he turned his face away, but in whichever direction he would turn his face, the angel always stood there confronting him. He remained standing there for a long time until the angel vanished. Thus the Holy Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Holy Qur'an and was appointed as a messenger of God. (Marmaduke Pickthall. The Holy Qur'an. New Delhi, 1990, p. 5)
Srila Prabhupada gave the example of the tree: is given that if the branches, twigs and leaves are in touch with the original tree, then nourishment is there. The test is whether the line is in touch with the Supreme Lord. That is all. In this way, because the Holy Prophet Muhammad is in touch with God through the archangel Gabriel, he is a bona fide spiritual master.
The next point Srila Prabhupada made is that although Hazrat Muhammad appeared in the modem age called Kali Yuga (Iron Age), or age of quarrel and hypocrisy, his instruction is as it is. Because the persons to whom he had to speak could not understand the whole truth and they even found it difficult to understand parts of that truth, he had to speak according to the level of their intellectual capacities.
Therefore once, the Holy Prophet Muhammad said, "Speak to people according to the level of their intellectual capacities. For if you speak all things to all men, some cannot understand you, and so fall into errors." (Abdullah al-Mamun al-Suhrawardy. The Sayings of Muhammad, London, 1905, p. 31)
In this connection, the prominent Muslim scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes:
"While the basic principles of Allah's Law remain the same; its form, expression and application have varied from time to time, e. g., from Moses to Jesus, and from Jesus to Muhammad." (The Holy Qur-an. The Presidency of Islamic Researchers, Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah, 1410 H., p. 1939)
Nava-yauvana: In Islam they say that God cannot come to this earth.
Atreya Rishi: God would not come to this earth.
Srila Prabhupada: God cannot speak? God cannot come. A very big man, he can come, but He (God) cannot speak?
Atreya Rishi: They agree. He can speak and He can send representatives.
Srila Prabhupada: Because He has spoken to Muhammad, and Muhammad has come, he is speaking the same thing. There is no need of God's coming. If
Muhammad is speaking on behalf of God, then that is all right. There is no need of God's coming. This is parampara.
(Morning walk. Tehran, 12/08/76)
Again Srila Prabhupada mentions in his morning walk in Tehran that because God has spoken to Hazrat Muhammad, and the Holy Prophet Muhammad is simply repeating the same message on behalf of God, this is parampara, disciplic succession, or chain of teachers.

5. The Qur'an
Srila Prabhupada: The revealed scripture of the Muslims is the Qur'an. (Chaitanya-charitamrita. Madhya-lila, 18.190)

Srila Prabhupada
: Just like in your country there is the Bible or any other scripture. We have got the Vedas. The Muslims, they have got the Qur'an. These scriptures can help also because they are also authority. But you will find that one scripture is differing from other scriptures in some details. Of course, on average there is no difference. (Lecture, 25/04/69)

Srila Prabhupada
: The Muslims accept the Qur'an. What is the purpose for all these books of knowledge? They are to train us to understand our position as pure soul. Their purpose is to restrict bodily activities by certain rules and regulations, and these rules and regulations are known as codes of morality. (Beyond Birth and Death. Ch. 1)

Srila Prabhupada: According to the climate, according to the population, according to the country, there are different books of knowledge. Just like in India the books of knowledge are accepted as the Vedas, Vedic knowledge. In your European, American countries the accepted books of knowledge are the Old Testament and the New Testament. Similarly, the book of knowledge amongst the Muslims, (which) they have accepted is the Qur'an. Actually, they are all books of knowledge; undoubtedly. There is no doubt about it. But what are these books of knowledge? Religious scriptures! Religious scriptures are meant for training you to (understand) the conception of life that you are a pure soul, nothing more. They restrict your bodily activities under certain conditions. That is called morality. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita, 25/03/66)

Srila Prabhupada: This message (of God) may also be found in the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literatures, in the Bible and the Qur'an — in any bona fide scripture — or it may be heard from a realised soul. (On the Way to Krishna, Ch. 3)

Srila Prabhupada
: According to the Vedic scriptures, if one can support his stand by quoting from the Vedas, his argument is perfect. Similarly, when the Muslims support their stand with quotations from the Qur'an, their arguments are also authorised. (Chaitanya-charitamrita. Adi-lila, 7.155p)
Srila Prabhupada: If you purchase the Bhagavad-gita, if you purchase the Bible, if you purchase the Qur'an, or... There are so many literatures. They are also authorised. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita, 16/12/66)
Srila Prabhupada: So in the Qur'an there is God-consciousness, in the Bible there is God-consciousness, in the Vedas there is God-consciousness. (Lecture on Chaitanya-charitamrita, 24/02/71)
Srila Prabhupada: Vedas means the books of transcendental knowledge. Not only the Bhagavad-gita, even the Bible or the Qur'an, they are also (books of transcendental knowledge). (Lecture, 29/07/68)
Srila Prabhupada: If you find that by following some religious principles you are developing your love of God, then it is perfect. It doesn't matter whether it is the Bible or the Qur'an or the Bhagavad-gita; it doesn't matter. (Lecture, 18/10/68)
In the above statements, Srila Prabhupada, first of all, stresses that the holy Qur'an is a revealed scripture or a book of transcendental knowledge. Then Srila Prabhupada explains that according to the climate, population, and country there are different books of knowledge, like the Vedas, the Torah, the Bible, and the Qur'an. Although one scripture is differing from other scriptures in some details, on the whole the essence is the same. Throughout the world all the bona fide scriptures explain the same Absolute Truth in different languages and from different angles of view. The purpose of all these scriptures or books of knowledge is to give us understanding about our position as a pure soul. Their purpose is to restrict the bodily activities by certain rules and regulations, and these rules and regulations are known as codes of morality. In all these books, the message of God may be found. All of them are teaching God-consciousness, awareness of God.
Finally, Srila Prabhupada said that if one finds that by following that particular religious process he is developing love of God, then it is perfect. It doesn't matter where this religious process is described, whether in the Bible or in the Qur'an or in the Bhagavad-gita. This means that the main goal of human life is to develop love of God, not just blindly following some religious principles or scripture and fanatically advertising them without being conscious (aware) of the goal. The goal is love of God, not just following religious principles or scriptures and forgetting the goal. Everyone must understand this essential knowledge.

6. The Qur'an is also shastra
Srila Prabhupada: Now, Krishna says personally man-mana: "Always think of Me." Not only that, anyone who is thinking of Krishna always, twenty-four hours, Krishna gives him the certificate — the topmost yogi. Yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantaratmana, sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah. So Krishna says. This is called theism, believing in the shastra (scripture). Any shastra.... All shastras; according to time, circumstances, and people there are different shastras. The Bible is also shastra. The Qur'an is also shastra. They are spoken according to the lime, according to the circumstances. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita, 03/02/75)
Srila Prabhupada: No, no. If one wants to follow the Qur'an, let him follow it strictly. No halfway mixing.
Yoga student: Then preaching in Iran should be essentially to those people who have fallen away from their traditional path.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Everyone is fallen. They are simply amending and concocting. That is not good. Why should they amend? (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)
Srila Prabhupada: I know among the Muslims it is a system that small children are taught the Qur'an. That is a very good system. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita, 5/04/74)
Srila Prabhupada: I have seen in Delhi, near Jama Masjid (Mosque) the small Muslim boys, they are reading the Qur'an. That is very good.' From childhood they should learn, learn about God. (Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, 10/11/73)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that we have different shastras, or scriptures. If we say, "Krishna says" or "God says" or "Allah says" that is theism, or belief in the scripture. According to the time, place, circumstances and people, mankind received appropriate scriptures, like the Bible or the Qur'an. They are spoken according to time, place and circumstances.
Then Srila Prabhupada said that those who follow Islam they should strictly follow the rules and regulations given in the Holy Qur'an; they should not amend and concoct. Actually it is very dangerous to amend religious principles given in scriptures and concoct new "religious" rules. Such concoctions will inevitably lead to degradation of religion. Factually, during his preaching the Holy Prophet Muhammad warned his followers many times of the danger of such deviations.
For example, Zi'ad-ibn-Lab'id said, "The Prophet repeated something about quarrel and said: "It will appear at the time when knowledge leaves the world." I said, "O! Prophet, how will knowledge leave the world, since we read the Qur'an and teach it to our children, and our children to theirs, and so on till the day of resurrection?" Then the Prophet said, "O Zi'ad! I supposed you to be the most learned man of Medina. Do the Jews and Christians who read the Bible and Evangelists act on them?" (Mishcat-ul-Masabih, Calcutta, 1809, p. 68)
Also Ab'u Masu'ub said: "The Prophet said to me, "Learn knowledge and teach mankind, learn the Qur'an and teach it, learn the knowledge of religion and teach it to mankind; for truly, I am a man who will quickly depart this life, and it is also near that knowledge will be taken too, and contentions will appear to such a pitch that two persons will disagree respecting a divine commandment, and nobody will be found who can separate the true from the false." (Mishcat-ul-Masabih, Calcutta, 1809, p. 69)
Another time the Holy Prophet Muhammad said: "The time is near in which nothing will remain of Islam but its name, and of the Qur'an but its mere appearance, and the mosques of Muslims will be destitute of knowledge and worship; and the learned men will be the worst people under the heavens; and conflict and quarrel will come from them, and it will return upon themselves." (Abdullah al-Mamun al-Suhrawardy. The Sayings of Muhammad, London, 1905, p. 49)
To conclude, the Holy Prophet Muhammad said: "Truly, the Israelites have divided into 72 sects but my people will be divided into 73 sects. All of them will go to the hell fire except a few." (Selected Sayings of the Holy Prophet of Islam, Islamabad, 1991, p. 24)
Finally Srila Prabhupada appreciated that Muslims teach their small children the Qur'an. "That is a very good system," Prabhupada said. From childhood people should learn about God.

7. The knowledge must be scientific
Srila Prabhupada: If you want to study something, and suppose you are from India, you can study the same subject in a foreign country for further enlightenment; to study a subject matter more and more it is not necessary to remain in the same jurisdiction. If I am actually anxious to know more and more, it doesn't matter whether I get the knowledge from a Muslim, Hindu or Christian; it doesn' t matter. Knowledge is knowledge. When a student goes from one country to another to get further enlightenment on a subject matter, he does not think that "I'll have to learn it from here, from my university." For knowledge, progress of knowledge, you can go to any university. Because knowledge must be scientific. It is not restricted within the jurisdiction of a particular university. So, we are seeing the sun. Everyone is getting heat and light, but if anyone is interested (to) know how the heat is coming, how the light is coming, what is the situation of the sun globe, whether there are living entities or not — these are subject matters too. So if we can get enlightenment about the sun, we should not restrict ourselves to studying within the jurisdiction of our university, or our country, or our society. If the knowledge is there, we should be prepared to go forward. (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that when one is looking for knowledge, it does not matter in which country or at which university he studies. It also does not matter from which teacher he learns — Hindu, Christian, or Muslim. When someone approaches a physician, he never asks who is the physician — Muslim, Hindu or Christian. He explains his problem and receives the remedy. Likewise, when somebody is searching for knowledge he can obtain it from any university or any book. If someone wants to know about the sun planet, he needs to study astronomical books. It does not matter whether the author is Christian, Hindu or Muslim. Similarly, if one wants to know about God he can study the different religious books like the Vedas, the Bible or the Qur'an. He can learn from all these books and deepen his knowledge. He should not hamper his progress in understanding God by restricting himself to studying only one particular book.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad in his preaching activity paid great attention to the process of acquiring knowledge. Once he said, "Go on a quest for knowledge even to China."
Another time he said, "Excessive knowledge is better than excessive praying, and the support of religion is abstinence. It is better to teach knowledge one hour in the night, than to pray the whole night." (Abdullah Al-Mamun Al-Suhrawardy, The Sayings of Muhammad, London, 1905, p. 29,49)
So, Hazrat Muhammad again and again stressed the importance of acquiring knowledge.
Thus we must understand that God revealed Himself through different scriptures to mankind. As the supreme Absolute Truth, God has unlimited attributes. His attributes are revealed in different scriptures in different ways. Therefore we should carefully scrutinise different religious books in order to perfect our knowledge of Him.

8. The Muslim religion is based on a conception of god
Srila Prabhupada: So, Aryan culture was practically all over the world. Aryan culture is based on God-consciousness. So amongst the Aryans there is some conception of religion; either Christian religion, Muslim religion, Buddhist religion, or Vedic religion, is based on the conception of God. So according to time and country, the ways of understanding may be a little different, but the aim is God-consciousness. That is Aryan civilisation. So God is one; God cannot be two. So the features of God or angles of vision of God may differ. (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that there was a time when Aryan culture was all over the world. The whole population of our planet followed one monotheistic religion.
Similarly it is stated in the sura "Al-Baqarah" or "The Cow" of the Holy Qur'an (2.213):
"Mankind was one single nation." Also stated in the sura "Yunus," or "Jonah" (10.19): "Mankind was but one nation, but differed (later)."
The prominent Muslim scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali comments: "All mankind was created one, and Allah's Message to mankind is in essence one, a Message of Unity and Truth. But as selfishness and egotism got hold of man, certain differences sprang up between individuals, races, and nations, and in His infinite Mercy He sent them messengers and messages to suit their varying mentality, to test them by His gifts, and stir them up to emulation in virtue and piety." (The Holy Qur-an. The Presidency of Islamic Researchers, Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah, 1410 H.,p.552
Furthermore, Srila Prabhupada explains that the Aryan civilisation was based on God-consciousness. This means that the Aryans always followed some religion. Similarly, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism are also based on the conception of God. According to time, place, circumstances and people, the ways of understanding are different but the aim is God-consciousness. So God is one, but the angles of vision of God differ. "Aryan" does not refer to nationality, it refers to any person who is following a bona fide religious process by which he is developing his God-consciousness. That is Aryan.

9. The Muslim religion is also bhakti-yoga
Srila Prabhupada: Even the Muslim religion. That is also bhakti-yoga (devotional service). Any religion where God is the target, that is applied in bhakti (devotion). (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita, 21/02/69)
Srila Prabhupada: Bhakti-yoga also exists among the Muslims, because God is the target in the Muslim religion. (Path of Perfection)
Srila Prabhupada: There are many prayers in the Vedic scriptures and also in the Bible and the Qur'an. Although the Christians and Muslims do not worship the Deity, they offer prayers to the Lord, that is also bhakti. (Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, Ch. 15)
Srila Prabhupada: The Christians and the Muslims, they offer vandanam (prayers). Although they do not worship the Deity, but they offer prayers to the Lord. That is also good. That is also bhakti. (Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, 04/12/74)
Srila Prabhupada: Muslims actually have singing kirtana (chanting) publicly. This I have seen in India; they were holding kirtana with drum accompaniment. (Letter, 04/06/70)
Srila Prabhupada: They accept God. They are also our brothers because they accept God. They are not atheist. Atheists don't accept God. "There is no God," says the atheist. But here they are theists. They accept God. They want to please God. They go to the church, go to the mosque, offer prayers. Prayer is also bhakti, devotional service. The Christian way or the Muslim way is to offer prayer. The Muslims offer obeisances and offer prayer. So that is also bhakti (devotion). The Christians also do that, so that is also bhakti. And they accept God; we accept God. So there is no difference. But the only point is who is that God. (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that any religion where God is the target contains an element of bhakti, devotion. Therefore Islam is also bhakti-yoga. The Muslims offer obeisances and prayers. They want to please God. That is bhakti, or devotional service.
To further strengthen the relationship between Qur'anic teachings and Vedic teachings, we will look into the process of worshipping God, or as it is otherwise known, the processes of devotional service to Allah. According to the Vedic scriptures, there are nine limbs or aspects of pure devotional service to die Lord:
1. Hearing the holy name, qualities and glories of the Lord
2. Chanting the holy name and glories of the Lord
3. Remembering the Lord
4. Serving the Lord
5. Worshipping the Lord
6. Praying to the Lord
7. Obeying the orders of the Lord
8. Maintaining friendship with the Lord
9. Surrendering everything unto Him.
We will be surprised when we compare these Vedic descriptions of the nine processes of spiritual life with the process given in the Holy Qur'an. Because we will see that both are talking about the same process of spiritual activities. So the Holy Qur'an states:
1. Hearing
"When My servants question you concerning Me, then surely I am near. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he cries unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright." (2.186)
2. Chanting
"So chant the name of your Tremendous Lord." (69.52) "Call upon Allah (Almighty), or call upon Rahman (Compassionate), by whatever name you call upon Him (it is well). For to Him belong the most beautiful names." (17.110)
3. Remembering
"Those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah: truly in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!" (13.28) "Therefore remember Me, I (Allah) will remember you. Give thanks to Me and reject not Me." (2.152)
4. Serving
"Behold! Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So serve Him. That is the right path." (19.36)
5. Worshipping
"O mankind! Worship your Lord, Who has created you and those before you so that you may ward off (evil)." (2.21)
6. Praying
"Seek help in patience and prayers. Truly, it is hard except for the humble-minded." (2.45)
7. Obeying
"Obey Allah and the messenger, that you may find mercy." (3.132)
8. Maintaining friendship
"Those who take Allah, His messenger and the believers for friends, behold! The party of Allah are victorious." (5.56)
9. Surrendering
"Behold! Religion for Allah is surrender (to His will and guidance)." (3.19)
From the above quotations, we can see that the process of the devotional service to the Lord or bhakti-yoga mentioned in the Vedas is also mentioned in the Holy Qur'an.

10. Guru— Spiritual master
Srila Prabhupada: Even within the Muslim religion there is such sentiment; Muhammad and his dynasty, Hussain, they are treated very respectfully. So considering all the points, respect to the guru (spiritual master) must be maintained. This is the sum and substance of the instruction. (Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, 05/10/76)
Srila Prabhupada: Even if we say "Muhammad," why not? Anyone who has preached Krishna consciousness, maybe a little differently according to time and circumstances, but anyone who has tried to preach God-consciousness, he is guru (spiritual master). This is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's version. Anyone who preaches about the Supreme Lord, he is guru. Maybe in a different way, according to time and circumstances. Muhammad also said Allah Akbar.

Dr. Pate
l: The only difference is that Muslims are trying to worship niranjana, nirakara (formless), and we...

Srila Prabhupada
: No, no, not nirakara. That is not...

Dr. Patel
: Even Christianity considers His akara (form). God has form.

Srila Prabhupada
: No, Muhammad also has got... Chaitanya Mahaprabhu argued from the Qur'an and proved there is krishna-bhakti (love of God). He proved this with the Pathans. Yes. (Morning walk. Bombay, 30/09/75)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that anyone who preaches about the Supreme Lord is a guru (spiritual master). The Holy Prophet Muhammad is the spiritual master for the Muslims. Obeying the order of the spiritual master is very important in spiritual life. Nobody can progress in God-consciousness without following the instructions of the spiritual master.

11. Hazrat Muhammad is shaktyavesha-avatara
Srila Prabhupada: Buddha is shaktyavesha-avatara. We accept Lord Jesus Christ also as shaktyavesha-avatara. Muhammad is also shaktyavesha-avatara. Shaktyavesha-avatara means a living entity especially empowered and he preaches the philosophy on behalf (of God). That is called shaktyavesha-avatara. (Room conversation. Geneva. 4/06/74)
Srila Prabhupada: Christ is also an empowered incarnation, shaktyavesha avatara. Muhammad is also shaktyavesha avatara. Anyone who is preaching about God is an empowered incarnation. (Morning walk. London, 11/03/75)
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Because he said it, it must be correct. Muhammad is also shaktyavesha-avatara. Shaktyavesha-avatara means a living entity who is especially empowered to preach the glories of the Lord. Buddha is also shaktyavesha-avatara. They are not ordinary human beings. They are especially empowered personalities." (Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, 17/12/70)
Srila Prabhupada: We accept, according to this avesha, avesha-avatara incarnation, authorised incarnation, we accept, my Guru Maharaja accepted Lord Jesus Christ and Hazrat Muhammad; this avesha incarnation (has) almost the same power. (Lecture on Chaitanya-charitamrita, 13/12/66)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is a living entity especially empowered to breach the glories of the Lord. He is not an ordinary human being. He is an especially empowered personality.

12. Hazrat Muhammad is anacharya
Srila Prabhupada: The Muslims, they follow the acharya (one who teaches by his own example), Muhammad. That is good. (Room conversation. Melbourne, 20/05/75)
Srila Prabhupada: Similarly, the Muslims, if they follow the ideal life of Muhammad, Hazrat Muhammad, they (will) get the result. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita, 07/03/66)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is an acharya, or one who teaches by his own example. If Muslims follow the ideal life of Hazrat Muhammad, they will attain perfection.

13. Hazrat Muhammad is an authority
Srila Prabhupada: We accept Muhammad's authority. That's a fact. He is authority. (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)
Srila Prabhupada: So why are they disobeying the orders of Muhammad?
Yoga student: Yes. They follow. It's essentially the same practice as the...
Prabhupada: No, you cannot amend the words of Muhammad if you are a true Musalman. (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is a spiritual authority. Muslims should strictly follow his order. Nobody should amend the words of HazratMuhammad. Otherwise one will deviate from the straight path given by him.

14. Hazrat Muhammad is a devotee of God
Srila Prabhupada: And even Muhammad, he's also a devotee. It is not that we are devotees and they are not devotees. Don't think like that. Anyone who is preaching the glories of God, he is a devotee. (Lecture, 20/10/68)
Srila Prabhupada: Jesus Christ and Hazrat Muhammad, two powerful devotees of the Lord (who) have done tremendous service on behalf of the Lord on the surface of the globe. (Room conversation. Vrindavan, 02/11/77)
Srila Prabhupada: Jesus Christ and Muhammad, two powerful devotees of the Lord, have done tremendous service on behalf of the Lord on the surface of the globe.(Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.4.18p)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is a powerful devotee of the Supreme Lord. He has done tremendous service on behalf of the Lord on the surface of this globe.
Hazrat Muhammad was born in August 29, 570 (VI century) in Mecca, Arabia. It was the time when the population of the Arab peninsula was divided into many tribes. These tribes constantly fought with each other. The general mass of people worshipped all kinds of angels, goddesses, planets, spirits and concocted gods. Degradation had reached such a degree that people were having sex with their own mothers, sisters and daughters. To rectify the situation, to uplift the people from this animalistic way of life, and to re-establish true religious principles God sent his messenger, the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad means "praise," or "praiseworthy." People also called him Amin, or the Truthful. By his preaching, the Holy Prophet Muhammad united the Arabian tribes, gave them scriptures, rules and regulations, and began preparing them for becoming pure devotees of the Supreme Lord.
15. Hazrat Muhammad is a servant of God
Srila Prabhupada: Muhammad, the inaugurates of the Islamic religion, I accept him as an empowered servant of God because he preached God consciousness in those parts of the world and induced them to accept the authority of God. He is accepted as the servant of God and we have all respect for him. (Letter, 02/04/76)
Srila Prabhupada: Lord Jesus Christ appeared as the son of Godhead, Muhammad introduced himself as the servant of Godhead, and Chaitanya presented Himself as the devotee of Godhead. But whatever may be their identity, all such messiahs were of the same opinion about one thing. They preached unanimously that there is no peace and prosperity in this mortal world. (Message of Godhead. Ch. 1)
Srila Prabhupada: Muslim, servant of God, is to render service to the Lord. Oh, we are engaged twenty-four hours in the service of the Lord. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita. 16/12/68)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that Hazrat Muhammad is an empowered servant of God because he preached God- consciousness and induced the Arabs to accept the authority of God. The Holy Prophet Muhammad said that everyone is banda, slave of God. He induced people to worship only the Supreme Lord and give up their material attachments.
16. Hazrat Muhammad is the perfect holy man
Srila Prabhupada: That you have to find out, but here it is already there. Why should you go to some trouble to find out another holy man? The holy man never says, Muhammad never said that "You chant my name." We have to test whether he is a holy man or not. Here is the perfect holy man. He never said that "You chant my name." He said "Chant Allah's name." That is a holy man. That is the test of a holy man. He does not become God, he serves God. That is a holy man. (Roomconversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that Hazrat Muhammad is the perfect holy man. The Holy Prophet Muhammad never said, "Chant my name, praise me." He requested, "Chant Allah's name, praise God." That is the test of a holy man. He always serves God and invites others to serve God. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, despite being the spiritual and state leader of the Arab empire, lived a very simple life. He requested bis followers to never praise him, worship him, bow down before him, or worship his tomb after his departure from worldly life. He inspired people to give all praises, all worship and all adoration to God.

17. Hazrat Muhammad preached God-consciousness
Srila Prabhupada: So Jesus Christ, he also preached God-consciousness. And Muhammad, Hazrat Muhammad, he also preached God-consciousness. Similarly, in India, there were several acharyas, e.g. Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya. They preached God-consciousness. (Lecture, 24/07/68)
Srila Prabhupada: Christian religion teaches God-consciousness. Jesus Christ preached God-consciousness. He represented himself as a son of God. So we agree to this principle. There is no controversy. Yes. Anyone who teaches God-consciousness, we agree with the principle. Muhammad also, he preached God-consciousness. So we welcome. There may be some difference in the process. That does not matter. But we test a religion by the result, how people are becoming God-conscious. That's all. According to Srimad Bhagavatam, it is said, sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje, ahaituky apratihata yayatma suprasidati. It is said: "That is first-class religious principle which teaches devotion to the Supreme Lord without any motive or without being hampered by any material condition." God-consciousness is not such a thing that if a man is materially poor he cannot advance. Everyone can advance. Nothing material can check God-consciousness. And any religion which teaches this principle, that is first-class. (Lecture, 26/06/71)
Srila Prabhupada clearly says that Hazrat Muhammad preached God-consciousness. Sometimes scholars express loubts about the preaching mission of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. But here we have a clear statement from a great religionist of this age that Hazrat Muhammad preached God-consciousness.

18. Hazrat Muhammad taught according to the class of men
Srila Prabhupada: Muhammad also said, "From this day, there is no sex with your mother." So just see, what class of men. So according to class of men, there should be a teaching. (Room conversation. Geneva, 04/06/74)
Srila Prabhupada: Just like in the Qur'an it is said by Muhammad, "From this day you should not have sexual intercourse with your mother." Just find out the condition of the society. So we have to take account of the time, circumstances and society, and then preach. So, to a society like that, it is not possible to understand the higher philosophical things as presented in the Bhagavad-gita. (Lecture, 02/10/68)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that Hazrat Muhammad taught according to the class of men. Teachings should be given according to the intellectual capacity of the audience. At the time of his preaching, the Holy Prophet Muhammad took account of the time, place, circumstances and society. The condition of society was so degraded that Hazrat Muhammad got the revelation which prohibited sexual intercourse with mothers, daughters and sisters.
Thus, it is stated in the sura "An-Nisa," or "The Women" of the Holy Qur'an (4.23):
"Prohibited to you (for marriage) are: your mothers, daughters and sisters."
Once the Holy Prophet Muhammad said: "I was ordered to talk to the people with consideration to their level of intelligence." (.Mohammad Peygambar: Hayati va Kalamlari, O Gudratov, N. Gudratov, Baki, 1990, p. 71)

19. Hazrat Muhammad could hear God
Prithu-putra: From a story of the Qur'an, they say Muhammad once asked to see God, and God's answer was, "You're not able to see Me."
Srila Prabhupada: That's all right. At least he could hear Him. So that is possible. It's not necessary that one has to see Him, but one can hear Him. Now, you have said that Muhammad heard Him, so God can speak. So you can hear. So where is the objection?
Prithu-putra: No objection.
Srila Prabhupada: If somebody can hear Him, somebody can see Him also. You cannot deny this because they're all senses. To hear God means with my senses I can appreciate Him. Similarly, eyes are also one of the senses. Now if somebody sees Him, where is the objection? If somebody can hear Him then where is the objection if somebody can see Him. Reasonably, there is no objection. In this way... So God is omnipotent If some of His prophet devotees want to hear Him, they can do that, if they want to see Him, they can do that. (Room conversation. Bhuvaneshwar, 30/01/77)
Here Srila Prabhupada, by using transcendental logic, explains that if Hazrat Muhammad can hear God then he can also see God.
According to Abu Hurairah, when the Holy Prophet Muhammad ascended to the abode of Allah, he penetrated countless numbers of veils and stood at a distance of two bows from God and saw Him with his own eyes. That time God instructed him by 99,000 words and promised to fulfil whatever Muhammad would ask of Him.
One close associate of the Holy Prophet, Muadh-bin-Jabal, said: "The Prophet on one occasion hindered our saying the morning prayers till we were near seeing the sun, then he hastened out of his house, and the Tacbir was called aloud, then the Prophet said prayers in haste, and when he had repeated the Salam, he said, "Sit in your places, and I will inform you the cause of my being so late this morning. I got up early, and performed the Wadu, and said prayers, agreeably to the wishes of Allah, and I felt drowsy in my prayers, after which I awoke, and all of a sudden I saw my Creator in a most lovely form, and he said, "O! Muhammad!" I said, "What do you command?' He said, "What do the angels argue about?" I said, "I do not know." Then I saw my God put the palm of his hand between my two shoulders till I felt my chest turn cold; then everything in the world appeared clear before me, and I knew the whole. Again He asked about disputations of the angels. I replied, "They dispute about deeds which cover sin." (Mishcat-ul-Masabih, Calcutta, 1809, p. 155) Thus, the Holy Prophet Muhammad not only heard God but also saw God.

20. The Muslims are also Vaishnavas
Srila Prabhupada: Christians and Muslims are also Vaishnavas, devotees, because they offer prayers to the Lord. "O God," they say, "give us our daily bread." Those who offer this prayer may not know very much and may be at a lower stage, but this is a beginning, because they have approached God. Going to a church or mosque is also pious. Therefore, those who begin in this way will one day become pure Vaishnavas. (Teachings of Queen Kunti, Ch. 18)
Srila Prabhupada: Therefore I say that the Christians, they're also Vaishnavas; the Muslims, they're also Vaishnavas. Because they're offering prayer—yad-vandanam. They offer prayer: "Oh God, give us our daily bread." They do not know very much, but the beginning is there. Beginning is there because they have approached (God). That going to the church or going to the mosque, that is also pious activity. One day they'll come out pure Vaishnava. But that beginning is good. (Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, 15/10/74)
Srila Prabhupada: Chaitanya Mahaprabhu proved devotional service from the Qur'an. Yes. So, it requires a devotee who can explain God from any godly literature. (Morning walk. Geneva, 6/06/74)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that Muslims are also devotees of the Supreme Lord. They follow, the order of God which descended to them through Hazrat Muhammad, to pray five times a day. This process of offering prayers to God is devotional service. Those who are sincerely praying to God will one day become pure devotees.
Actually Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the conversation with Abdullah Pathan proved that the nine-fold process of devotional service is described in the Holy Qur'an. As a result of hearing these explanations from Mahaprabhu, the Turkish soldiers, the Muslim scholar Abdullah Pathan and the prince Vijuli Khan were inspired lb surrender their lives to the Lord. Therefore, it requires a devotee who can explain God from any scripture.

21. A planet where pious Muslims go
Hari-sauri: I think you mentioned last year when we were in Mayapur that you dreamt once about a planet where pious Muslims go. You were telling Tamala Krishna and myself. Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. From Bhagavata there is.

(Here Srila Prabhupada seems to refer to the Bhagavata Purana's description of planets) (Room conversation. Bhuvaneshwar, 30/01/77)
The Holy Qur' an gives the following description of a planet where pious Muslims go:

Gardens as hospitable homes (32.19); to dwell in beautiful mansions in eternal gardens (9.72); lofty mansions one above another have been built (39.20). Among gardens under which ariver always flows (3.15) are an abundance of fruits from which you shall eat (43.73). Fruits of every kind will be easy to reach (55.54), like dates, pomegranates (55.68); you shall eat with honour and dignity (37.42) in shades cool and ever-deepening (4.57) reclining on carpets whose inner linings are of rich brocade (55.54). You will sit on couches encrusted with gold and precious stones (56.15). Amid gardens and fountains of clear, flowing water, in peace and security (15.45) rivers of milk, of which the taste never changes, rivers of wine, a joy to those who drink, rivers of honey, pure and clear are flowing (47.15). Among them are talk trees with flowers piled one above another (56.29), lote trees that have no thorns (56.28). Cushions set in rows (88.15). With no excessive heat or cold (76.13). Brothers will joyfully face each other on raised couches, beside them companions of equal age (38.92). With no sense of fatigue and never asked to leave (15.48). Free from headiness suffering and intoxication (37.47) they will be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls (22.23), and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade, reclining on raised thrones (18.31). The righteous will receive entertainment from Allah because from Allah comes bliss (3.198). Served by youths of perpetual freshness (56.17), round will be passed to them dishes and goblets of gold (43.71) to drink from clear-flowing fountains (37.45) crystal white nectar of a delicious taste (37.46). Reclining on green cushions and rich carpets of beauty (55.76) beside them will be chaste women, restraining their glances with big eyes of wonder and beauty (37.48). Gardens wherein delights endure (9.21). among them fair maidens good and beautiful (55.20) whom no man or jinn (the evil spirit) has ever touched (55.74). We made them virgin pure, full of love for their mates of equal age (56.36-37). Brothers would question one another; one will say: "I had an intimate companion on earth who used to say, 'Do you really believe when we die and become dust and bones, shall we indeed receive rewards and punishment?"* He said: "Would you like to look down?" He looked down and saw his friend in the midst of the hell fire (37.50-55)."
Once Hazrat Muhammad said: "If you desire me to be your leader in the Behisht (Highest Heaven) then you should avoid six activities." (Mahammad Ali. Mahammad Peygambarin Hayati, Baki, 1993, p. 155)
Thus we can understand that pious Muslims will attain the heavenly planet where Hazrat Muhammad is now residing, and after the complete annihilation of this material universe he will take them to the spiritual world.

22. Animal slaughter
Srila Prabhupada: Just like in Islam also, they have got some principles for animal slaughtering. You know, those who have read the Qur'an, the Muslim religion allows animal slaughter once in a year. It is called qurban. And they can slaughter animals near the mosque. Similarly, in the Vedic religion also, the animals are allowed to be slaughtered in some sacrifice. But no religion, either Islam or Hinduism, allows animal slaughter in the slaughterhouses. There are some particular rules and regulations.(Lecture on Bhagavad-gita, 20/07/66)
Srila Prabhupada: In Buddhism there is no animal killing. Although they are now killing animals, but originally the Buddhist religion means non-violence. Christ also said, "Thou shalt not kill." And Krishna says, ahitnsa (non-violence). So in no religion is the unnecessary killing of animals allowed. Even in Islam, they also have qurban. Qurban means they can kill animals once in a year near the mosque. So everywhere animal killing is restricted. (Room conversation. Germany, 19/06/74)
Tamala Krishna: Srila Prabhupada, one time you were explaining that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, when He was speaking with the Kazi, He convinced him that the Qur'an does not actually advocate meat-eating.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That's a fact. Because the Muslims, they also cannot eat meat unless it is sacrificed near the mosque. There is no recommendation that you purchase (meat) from the market or the animals be slaughtered in the slaughterhouses. (Morning walk. Mayapur, 22/01/76)
Srila Prabhupada: So Chand Kazi also replied that "Cow killing is also not generally recommended in the Qur'an." Actually, beef-eating or flesh-eating is not of the higher stage. But those who are inclined to take flesh, for them it is recommended that instead of killing many small animals, one big animal should be killed. So actually in Mecca, Medina, they kill camels. That is also done near the mosque. So the substance of his speech was that flesh-eating ultimately is not recommended. (Conversation. San-Francisco, 5/04/67)
Here Srila Prabhupada explains that in Islam there are some principles for animal slaughtering. The Muslim reli gion allows animal slaughter only as qurban, or sacrifice. Such a sacrifice must be performed near the mosque. But Islam does not allow animal slaughter in slaughterhouses. There are particular rules and regulations which must be followed by those who hanker for meat.
In the Holy Qur'an, very clear instructions are given about what is intended as human food:
"And We (Allah) said: O Adam! Dwell, you and your wife in the garden, and eat freely of the fruits thereof where you will." (2.35)
"And give glad tidings (O Muhammad) unto those who believe and do good works, that theirs are gardens underneath which rivers flow; as often as they are regaled with food of the fruit thereof." (2.25)
"Allah is He Who created the heavens and the earth, and caused the water to descend from the sky, thereby producing fruits as food for you." (14.32)
From these three ayats of the Qur'an, it is obvious that when Allah created Adam and Eve, He gave them the fruits for food. And when the pious go to paradise, they will have fruits as their food. Then, when Allah created the earth He "produced fruits as food for mankind." Also, from the very life of the Prophet of Islam, we can see that His daily food was bread, milk and palm-dates. Hazrat Muhammad often mentioned that Islam means to treat every living entity as equal to oneself. One of the first statements Hazrat Muhammad made on regaining Mecca was: "No one shall mistreat another. No one shall kill any animal; not even the cutting of a tree shall be allowed in Mecca."
For those who are really attached to eating meat, Allah allowed the sacrifice of animals such as sheep, goats and camels. Such less important animals could be sacrificed at the proper place, by proper persons and in the proper way. Then the body of the animal should be divided into seven parts, and six parts distributed to the poor people and remainder could be eaten for oneself. Only then can it be classed as halal, or lawful meat; otherwise, it is haram, or unlawful. So less important animals can be sacrificed and eaten in the authorised way. The result of following this procedure is that lusty desires for flesh eating will diminish and a person will then start eating only pure foodstuff like fruits, grains and vegetables which are actually intended for human beings by God. Allah allowed sacrificial meat but not the opening of slaughterhouses where thousands of innocent animals are killed just to satisfy the tongue. It is very sinful and brings a degradation to the whole human society.
For the general masses of people who are still unable to control then-senses (tongue) provision for eating meat has been granted but it is not recommended. So rules and regulations exist to slowly help one give up such bad habit. But for those who desire the highest perfection of life, love of God, meat eating is forbidden.
For example, we can find the following ayats in the Holy Qur'an (5.3):
"Forbidden to you (for food) are meat of dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which has been invoked the name of other than Allah; and the dead through beating; that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety."
Thus we can understand from this verse of the Holy Qur'an that not any kind of meat is permitted for eating. Only the meat of an animal which has been explicitly killed for food with the Takbir, or the solemn mode of slaughter (zabh) in the name of Allah duly pronounced on it. This means that killing animals for food is a personal affair. It does not suggest opening slaughterhouses and killing hundreds of thousands of animals in an organized way, everyday. Those who want to eat meat, should do it the proper way which means killing only for one's own self, because everyone needs to take responsibility for his own actions. On the Day of Judgment, all dead creatures will come to life and will take vengeance on those who had either teased them or killed them. This concession is given by Allah to those who cannot restrain from meat eating. By eating halal, lawful meat they will gradually subdue their passion and give up meat-eating. This will help to develop fine spiritual sentiments, namely love for Allah.
Besides this, it is mentioned in sura "Al-Ma 'ida" that within the limits of Mecca, most holy place, slaughtering of animals is prohibited:
"Animals of the chase are forbidden while you are in the Sacred Precincts or in the state of pilgrimage." (The Qur'an 5.1)
This means that hunting of game is forbidden "while you are hurumun" i.e., while you are

(1) in the Sacred Preciacts, Mecca or
(2) in the special pilgrimage garb (ihram).

It is also explained in the sura "AI-Ma 'ida" that:
"O you who believe! Kill not game while in the Sacred Precincts or in the state of pilgrimage. If any of you does so intentionally, the compensation is an offering, brought to the Ka'ba, of a domestic animal equivalent to the one he killed. As adjudged by two just men among you; or by way of atonement, the feeding of the poor persons; or its equivalent in fasts: that he may taste of the penalty of his deed. Allah forgives what has past; but for repetition Allah will punish him for Allah is Exalted, and Lord of Retribution." (Tlie Qur'an 5.95)
This means that if someone kills an animal inadvertently within the limits of Mecca, one should then leave one of his pet animals there. In case one has no pet animals, one should give in charity food equivalent in value to the price of the killed animal. Otherwise the offender must fast as many days as the number of the poor who would have been fed under the second alternative. Thus killing animals is a sin and therefore, it is prohibited in a holy plrce like Mecca.
In sura "As-Saffat" of the Holy Qur'an (37.99-109) there is the following narration:
"He (Ibrahim) said: 'I will go to my Lord! He will surely guide me! O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!'
So We gave him the good news of forbearing son.
Then, when (his son) was old enough to work with him, (Ibrahim) said: 'O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you. Now see what is your view!' (The son) said: 'O my father! Do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah so wills one of the steadfast.'
So when they both submitted (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),
We called out to him, 'O Ibrahim!
You have already fulfilled the dream!' Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
For this was a clear test.
Then we ransomed him with a tremendous victim.
And We left for him among generations (to come) in later times:
'Peace and salutation to Ibrahim!"'
Thus Ibrahim (Abraham) was bom in Ur of the Chaldees, a place on the lower reaches of the Euphrates, not a hundred miles from the Persian Gulf. Where the worship of the sun, moon and stars was the prevailing form of religion. Ibrahim revolted against this quite early in life.
They also had deities in their temples, which probably represented heavenly bodies and celestial winged creatures. He was still a youth when he broke the false deities. After this, he was marked down as a rebel and persecuted. He was thrown into the fire. But the fire became cool by the order of Allah and Ibrahim was saved. Then he left his ancestral lands, and avoiding the Syrian desert, came to the fertile lands of Aram or Syria. This was the Hijrat (Flight) of Ibrahim. He left his people and his land, because the Truth was dearer to him than the ancestral falsehoods of his people. He trusted himself to Allah, and under Allah's guidance he laid the foundations for great people.
This was in the fertile land of Syria and Palestine when a boy was bom, the first-bom son of Ibrahim, namely Ismail. The name itself is from the root Sami'a, to hear, because Allah had heard Ibrahim's prayer (The Qur'an. 37.100). Ibrahim's age when Ismail was bom from his maidservant Hajar was 86 (Gen. 16.16). The boy's character was to be Halim, "forbearing". This title is also applied to Ibrahim {The Qur'an. 9.114; 11.75). It refers to the patient way in which both father and son cheerfully offered to suffer any self-sacrifice in order to obey the command of Allah.
Once, after Ismail had grown up to the age of discretion, Ibrahim had a dream that he now had to offer his only son in sacrifice. The command was conveyed to him via a dream. It was a test of the devotion for both father and son. Ibrahim consulted his son. The son readily consented, and offered to stand true to his promise if his self-sacrifice was really required. Actually, the trial and sacrifice was demanded of both Ibrahim and Ismail. Ibrahim had to sacrifice his only dearmost son and Ismail had to sacrifice his dear life. Finally this sacrifice was about to take place in the valley of Mina, six miles north of Mecca. Ibrahim was ready to sacrifice his son but his hand did not act. Then he covered his eyes with cloth took a knife in his hand, and tried to kill Ismail. But at that moment Allah replaced Ismail with a fine sheep or ram. So there was a ram instead of his son. Thus the son was saved and the ram was sacrificed (some scholars say that the ram was also saved).
Since that day, the 'Id Day or Day of Sacrifice came into practice. On this day in the valley of Mina, six miles north of Mecca, a commemoration sacrifice is annually celebrated as a rite of the Hajj on the tenth of Zul-Hijjah in Memory of this Sacrifice of Ibrahim and Ismail. This festival is also celebrated by all Muslims around the world. Hundreds of thousands of animals are annually slaughtered on this day. But let us carefully consider what was the main object of Allah's teaching on that occasion. Did Allah ask for Ibrahim's dearmost thing or did He ask for a ram? If Allah-Taala had liked a ram, He would have asked the ram itself. But merely to examine the devotion of Ibrahim and Ismail, He had ordered this sacrifice to test them both, and to save the son of Ibrahim, He had replaced a ram for Ismail. Now, just think carefully, in order to please Allah-Taala, instead of dedicating one's dearmost object, is it justifiable to slaughter innocent animal?
This whole event is symbolical. As it is proclaimed in the Holy Qur' an (22.37): "It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him."
Thus Allah does not require the flesh and blood of animals, much less of human beings. No one should suppose that meat or blood is acceptable to God. It was a Pagan fancy that Allah could be pleased by blood sacrifice. But Allah does accept the offering of our hearts. Allah does not delight in flesh and blood. But He does desire the giving of our whole being to Allah, the practical symbol of which is that we should give up something which is very dear to us, if duty requires that sacrifice. It was indeed a great occasion, when two men, the father and the son, showed the example of self-sacrifice in the service of Allah which is needed to qualify one for the supreme goal of life. This example made it clear that the only sacrifice which God requires from man is the Surrender of his will and purpose — i.e. Al-Islam.
Actually qurban, the animal slaughtering process ordained for Muslims, have an esoteric and exoteric meaning. While qurban externally refers only to Muslim dietary laws, inwardly qurban requires that we sacrifice our life to the devotion and service of God, and that we sacrifice our beastly qualities instead of the life of an animal. "Qurban is not slaughtering chickens and cows and goats," explains Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. "There are four hundred trillion, ten thousand beasts here in the heart which must be slaughtered. They must be slaughtered in the qalb [the inner heart]. After these things have been slaughtered, what is eaten can then be distinguished as either halal [permissible] or haram [forbidden]." Ultimately, the great ustad [preceptor] concludes, "everything that is seen in the world is haram. What is seen in Allah [God] alone is halal. Please eat that." (M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Asma' al-Husna: The 99 Beautiful Names of Allah, 1979, p. 181)
In the traditional qurban, the prayer known as the Kalimah is recited to remove the baser qualities of the animal. The recitation of the powerful Third Kalimah will not only purify the animal slaughtered for consumption, but also all those involved with the sacrifice, so that they will no longer want to slaughter animals. This will only work, however, if the prayer is said with pure devotion.
In Islam, sacrificial animal slaughter is a detailed process. Factually, the whole procedure is meant to minimize the killing of animals. Thus, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen explains:
"While you recite the Kalimah, you must complete the severing in three strokes of the knife, one for each recitation. The knife has to be swept around three times, and it must not touch the bone. It must be extremely sharp, and the length is prescribed according to each animal— so much for a fowl, so much for a goat, so much for a cow. ... Also, the animal must not regurgitate any food, and it must not make any noise; otherwise, it becomes haram.
The person who holds the animal and the person who cuts it must always observe the five times prayer. Therefore, it must be the Imam and the mu'azzin who perform the qurban, because very often they are the only ones who regularly observe the five times prayer. This also means that the qurban must take place near a mosque where two such people can always be found. Before beginning the slaughter, they must first perform their ablutions, and then they must recite the kalimah three times and feed water to the animal which is to be sacrificed. The neck of the animal must be turned in the direction of the Qiblah [Mecca], so that the eyes of the sacrificial animal look into the eyes of the person who is doing the sacrifice. The person must look into the eyes of the animal and then, saying the kalimah, he must cut the neck. And he must continue to look into the eyes of the animal until its soul departs, repeating the Zikr all the while. Then after the soul has departed, he must say the kalimah once again and wash the knife. Only then can he move on to the next animal. He has to look into the animal's eyes, he has to watch the tears of the animal, and he has to watch the animal's eyes until it dies — hopefully, his heart will change." (M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Asma' ul-Husna: The 99 Beautiful Names of Allah, 1979, p. 182)
Once, Allah told the Holy Prophet Muhammad, "With this qurban the killing will be greatly reduced, for where they used to kill 1,000 or 2,000 in one day, they will now be able to slaughter only ten or fifteen animals. If they started after morning prayers, it would be ten o'clock by the time they are ready to begin, and they could slaughter only until eleven o'clock when they must prepare for the next prayer. In addition, it takes about fifteen or twenty minutes for each animal, because he has to wait until the soul has departed." This is how Allah instructed the Holy Prophet.
Then the people complained, "How can we do this? We can kill only so few! Our enjoyments and our festivals are being curtailed."
But Allah said, "Each one of you does not need to sacrifice one animal; you do not need to sacrifice one animal'for each family. In place of forty fowls, kill one goat. In place of forty goats, kill ten cows. And in place of forty cows, kill ten camels. Sacrifice ten camels and then share the meat among the different families." So in place of four hundred animals only forty might be killed. The. killing was reduced by that much. Thus, Allah passed down the commands to the Holy Prophet to reduce the taking of lives.
So, the conclusion is that if one understands the qurban with wisdom, its purpose is to reduce killing the poor animals. But if one looks at it superficially, its purpose is to satisfy one's base desire for meat-eating.
Thus, the esoteric imperative behind Islamic dietary laws is that Muslims aspire after compassion and mercy, first by minimizing the amount of animals one is able to kill (by following all the regulations), and then, it is to be hoped, by giving it up altogether.
It is mentioned in sura "Al-An'am," or "Cattle" that: "There is not an animal on the earth, nor a flying creature flying on two wings, but they are people like unto you." (6.38)
Thus "animals living on the earth" include those living in the water — fishes, reptiles, crustaceans, insects, as well as four-footed beasts. Life on the wing separately mentioned. "Tair," which is ordinarily translated as "bird," is anything that flies, including mammals like bats. In our pride we may exclude animals from our purview, but they all live a life, social and individual, like ourselves, and all life is subject to the Plan and Will of Allah. We have no right to destroy or kill these creatures, even flies and insects what to speak of birds and beasts. We cannot create, so how can we destroy? The Holy Qur'an said that they are people like you. They are also citizens of this planet and different countries. They are also under the protection of God and Governments. It is the duty of government to protect its subjects, which includes the innocent helpless animals, and punish those who torture and kill them.
It is clearly mentioned in the Holy Qur'an what kind of food Allah creates for the human beings:
"Therewith He causes com to grow for you, and the olive and date-palm and grapes and all kinds of fruit. Verily in this a sign for people who reflect." (16.11)
"A sign for them is the dead earth. We revive it and We bring forth from it grain so that they eat thereof.
And We produce therein gardens of the date-palm and grapes, and We have caused springs of water to gush forth therein.
That they may eat of the fruit thereof, and their hands made it not. Will they not, then, give thanks?" (36.33-35)
"It is God Who sends down water out of the sky, and with it quickens the earth after it is dead. Surely, in that is a sign for people who have ears to hear. In cattle, too, there is a lesson for you: We give you to drink of what is in their bellies, between filth and blood—pure milk, sweet to those who drink. And we give you the fruits of the date-palms and the vines from which you derive sweet-tasting liquid and fair provision. Indeed, this is a sign for men of understanding. And your Lord inspires the bees, saying, 'Build your homes in the mountains, in the trees and in the thatch of roots; then feed on every kind of fruit and follow the ways of your Lord, so easy to go upon.' Then there comes forth out of their bellies a liquid of various colors wherein is healing for men. Truly, in this a sign for people who reflect." (16.65-69)
From these ayats it is obvious that Allah creates milk, honey, corn, grain, olive, dates, grapes and all kinds of fruit as food for mankind. Verily it is a sign for people who have an understanding. We should be thankful to Allah for His mercy and not ungratefully shed blood of innocent helpless animals simply to please the uncontrolled tongue.
The Holy Qur'an (5.1) offers concessions as intermediary stages toward a pure and spiritual diet:
"O you who believe! Eat of the good things with which we have supplied you, and give God thanks if you are His worshippers. Only that which dies of itself, blood, and swine's flesh, and that over which any others name than that of God's has been invoked, has God forbidden you."
Here the Qur'an clearly states that pork is impure and that animal blood is not fit for human consumption. The Muslims, then, run into a dietary contradiction: blood is forbidden—it is impossible to completely separate blood from animal flesh — so if one eats meat, blood is being consumed as well. In the words of the Holy Qur'an, this, indeed, is a "portent for people who think."
Ultimately, the Holy Qur'an encourages Muslims to eat wholesome, healthful foods. In describing lawful and unlawful foods, the Holy Qur'an (7.157) emphasizes that "He [the Holy Prophet] makes lawful to them the good things of life and he forbids them the bad things."
Once the Holy Prophet Muhammad orders Hazrat Ah: "Don't make your stomach a grave yard of innocent birds and animals."
From that day Hazrat Ali had faithfully followed this instruction.
Another time the Holy Prophet Muhammad said: "Whoever is kind to the lesser creatures is kind to himself."

It is explained in the Hadith (traditions): Once the Prophet passed by certain people who were shooting arrows at a ram, and hated that, saying, "Maim not the brute beasts."
Another time, the Prophet, seen wiping the face of his horse with his wrapper, and being questioned in regard to it, said, "At night I received a reprmand from God in regard to my horse."
A man once robbed some eggs from the nest of a bird, whereupon the Prophet had them restored to the nest. "Fear God in these dumb animals," said the Prophet, "and ride them when they are fit to be ridden and get off them when they are tired."
Verily, are there rewards for our doing good to quadrupeds and giving them water to drink?" asked the followers. And the Prophet answered, "There are rewards for benefiting every animal having a moist liver." (M. Hafiz Syed, Thus Speak Muhammed, Madras, 1962, p. 6.)
The Holy Prophet Muhammad always stressed the importance to show mercy to the lesser creatures. We should deal with them as if they are our younger brothers. If younger brother is less intelligent, it does not mean that we have right to kill him but more so we have a duty to protect him. The father will never be happy if his elder, more intelligent son will kill the youngest son because he is less intelligent and more weak. Similarly, Allah is never happy when He observes humans killing and giving pain, and suffering to His lesser creatures.
According to the Hadith, the Holy Prophet Muhammad said: "One who kills unnecessarily, even a sparrow, will be questioned by Allah on the day of Judgment."
"One who takes pity on cutting the head even of a sparrow, and feels compassion towards the sparrow, Allah will similarly show mercy towards him on the day of Judgment."
"Killing any living beings besides those who are inflicting pain is forbidden." (O. Gudratov, N. Gudratov, Multammad Peygambarin: Hayati va Kalamlari, Baki, 1990, p. 114,147)
"If the beasts will know about their inevitable death, as humans do, they will not eat flesh." (Mahammad Ali, Muhammad Peygambarin Hayati, Baki, 1993, p. 150)
Biographies of the Holy Prophet Muhammad include narrations that clearly depict his love for animals. For instance, Margoliouth, one of the Holy Prophet Muhammad's chief biographers, writes, "His humanity extended itself to the lower creation. He forbade the employment of towing birds as targets for marksmen and remonstrated with those who ill-treated their camels. When some of his followers had set fire to an anthill, he compelled them to extinguish it. ... Acts of cruelty were swept away by him." (V. A. Holmes-Gore, These We Have Not Loved, London, 1946, pp.6-7.)
Other biographers, such as Dr. M. Hafiz Syed, point out that the Holy Prophet Muhammad instructed those who eat meat to wash out their mouth before going to pray. While it is certainly a Muslim custom to clean one's mouth before going to prayer, many biographers say that only meat is emphasized in this connection and not any other food. (M. Hafiz Syed, Thus Spake Muhammed, Madras, 1962, p. 6)
The Holy Prophet Muhammad always showed the greatest compassion — "universal compassion" — and he exhorted his followers to do the same. A touching example from his life shows how far his empathy extended. Awaking from a nap one afternoon, he found a small, sick cat fast asleep on the edge of his cloak. The Holy Prophet cut off his garment so that the cat could sleep undisturbed. Is this a man who would advocate the unnecessary slaughter of harmless beasts? "Show sympathy to others," the Holy Prophet Muhammad taught, "especially to those who are weaker than you." (Bilkiz Alladin, The Story of Mohammed The Prophet, Delhi, 1979, pp. 12-13)
In one popular Hadith (tradition), the Holy Prophet Muhammad is depicted as having rebuked his followers for not showing universal compassion. "But we do show compassion," they insisted, "to our wives, children and relatives." The Holy Prophet Muhammad responded, "It is not this to which I refer. I am speaking of universal mercy."
The Holy Prophet Muhammad's earliest biographers indicate that he preferred vegetarian foods, saying that he liked milk diluted with water, yogurt with butter or nuts, and cucumbers with dates. His favorite fruits, which he was known to subsist on for weeks at a time, were pomegranates, grapes and figs, and he liked a morning drink of soaked, crushed dates. He was particularly fond of honey, often eating it mixed with vinegar, and he is quoted as saying that in a house where there is vinegar and honey, there will certainly be the blessings of the Lord. He also liked a preparation called hees, made from butter, dates and yogurt. According to extensive biographical accounts, furthermore, the Holy Prophet Muhammad has been quoted as saying, "Where there is an abundance of vegetables, hosts of angels will descend on that place."
The Holy Prophet Muhammad's death emphasizes the harmfulness of meat-eating. The story goes that a non-Muslim woman invited the Holy Prophet and some of his companions to a meal and served them poisoned meat. The Holy Prophet Muhammad knew by spiritual insight that the meat was poisoned, for he spat out piece of meat which he chewed, but one of his companions died on the spot Although it was not his custom to eat any food prepared by non-Muslim, on this occasion, mysteriously, he did. The poisoned meat put him in a sickbed for about two years, and finally, in A.D. 632, he died. According to some scholars, the Holy Prophet Muhammad ate the poisoned meat just to show the stubborn masses the harmfulness of meat-eating.
Those Muslims who go for Haj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, wear a simple garment of unstitched cloth in two pieces which is called ihram. The putting on of the pilgrim garb (ihram) is symbolical of his renouncing the vanities of the world. From the time he put on this religious dress, absolutely no killing is allowed: not mosquitoes, bugs, grasshoppers, or any other living creatures. If a pilgrim sees an insect on the ground, he will gesture to stop his comrades from inadvertently stepping on it. After this and until the end of the pilgrimage he must not wear other clothes, or ornaments, anoint his hair, use perfumes, hunt, or do other prohibited acts. If any louse appears on that ihram it is not thrown on the ground but allowed to remain where it is. If the throwing away of an insignificant living being like louse is forbidden in Islam, just think how much inauspicious is killing of animals.
It is said in Aine-Akbari that on several occasions such as from Friday to Sunday and eclipse days, Akbar abstained from taking meat.
Saints of Islam have laid great stress on leading a noble life, a life of renunciation and compassion, eating simple food and abstaining from meat. They themselves avoided any meat-eating. Sheikh Ismail, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, Hazrat Nizammuddin Aulia, Bu Ali Qalandas, Shah Inayat, Mir Dad, Shah Abdul Karim etc., were Muslim saints whose path was pious living, centered on self-restraint, love and affection for all and vegetarian eating. They said:
"Ta bayabin dar bahishte aden ja, shajkate banumaye ba khalke Khuda"—
"If you want to live in heaven for all time to come, then behave in a spirit of compassion and sympathy with the entire creation of God."
The famous Muslim saint, Mir Dad, said that anyone who eats the flesh of any living being shall have to repay it with his own flesh. He who breaks another living being's bone shall have his own bones broken. Every drop of blood shed, will have to be accounted for by one's own. Because that is the eternal law.
The great Muslim saint Sarmad condemned meat-eating by saying that the light of life is asleep in metals, is dreaming in plants, is awake in animals and is completely alert in human beings. Kabir, addressing Muslims, makes it clear that even fasting (Roza) is in vain if its practitioner lets his tongue dictate the killing of living beings for the sake of its taste. Allah will not be pleased this way.
During Silloh also no meat is taken, because it is said, that meat is a bad food which disturbs the prayers. Everyone knows that meat-eating increases passion. It is very difficult to pray and concentrate the mind on Allah in a passionate condition. Therefore it is recommended by great saints of all ages that vegetarian food is much more appropriate for spiritual practices. If one wants to increase peace of mind and concentration on Allah, he should decrease or, better, stop meat-eating. It is practical advice from which everyone will immensely benefit.
Summarizing the above-mentioned statements, we can easily and naturally conclude that meat-eating is a great impediment on the path of self-realization. Those who are sincerely trying for spiritual progress should restrain from meat-eating. On the path of decreasing material attachments and increasing spiritual attachment to Allah, restraining meat-eating is compulsory.
In the Qur'an not one single verse allows killing cows or bulls. But very clear instruction is given about what is intended for human as food:
"And We (Allah ) said: O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Garden, and eat you freely of the fruits thereof where you will." (2.35)
"And give glad tidings (O Muhammad) to those who believe and do good works, that theirs are Gardens beneath which rivers flow; every time they are fed with fruits therefrom." (2.25)
"Allah is He Who created the heavens and the earth, and causes water to descend from the sky, thereby producing fruits as food for you." (14.32)
"Who has appointed the earth a resting place for you, and the sky a canopy; and causes water to pour down from the sky, thereby producing fruits as food for you." (2.22)
From these four ayats of the Qur'an, it is obvious that when Allah created Adam and Eve, He gave them in food, the fruits. And when the pious will go to paradise, they will have their food in the form of fruits. Then when Allah created earth, He "produced fruits as food for" mankind. Also from the very life of the Hazrat Muhammad, we can see his daily food was bread, milk and palm-dates. Sometimes in his life he sacrificed sheep or camels, but never cows or bulls.
There is only one story in the Holy Qur'an (2.67-71) which describes the sacrifice of a cow:
"When Moses said to his people: 'Allah commands you that you sacrifice a cow.'
They said: 'Do you make game of us?'
He answered: 'Allah forbid that I should be among the foolish!'
They said: 'Pray for us unto your Lord that He make clear to us what (cow) she is.'
(Moses) answered: 'He says, that the cow should be neither too old nor too young, but of middling age; now do what you are commanded!'
They said: 'Pray for us unto your Lord that He make clear to us of what color she is.'
(Moses) answered: 'He says, that she is a yellow cow. Bright is her color; gladdening beholders.'
They said: 'Pray for us unto your Lord that He make clear to us what (cow) she is. To us are all cows alike; if Allah wills, we may led aright.'
(Moses) answered: 'He says, that she is a cow not trained to till the soil or water the fields; whole and without a mark.'
They said: 'Now has you brought the truth.' Then they sacrificed her; though they scarcely did it."
This story was accepted in Jewish traditions, which are themselves based on certain sacrificial directions in the Old Testament. The cow story of Jewish tradition is based on Num. 19.1-10, in which Moses and Aaron ordered the Israelites to sacrifice a red cow without a spot. Thus Moses announced the sacrifice to the Israelites, and they treated it. as a jest. When Moses continued solemnly to ask for the sacrifice, they put him off on one pretext followed by another, asking a number of questions which they could have answered themselves if they had listened to Moses's directions. Their questions were carping criticisms rather than the result of a desire for information. It was a mere thin pretence that they were genuinely seeking for guidance. When at last they were driven into a corner, they made the sacrifice, but if they did this willingly then the sacrifice would have been more efficacious for their purification from sin. The cow's body was to be burnt and the ashes were to be kept for the purification of the congregation from sin.
We can see and learn from this narration that the killing of a cow was very dangerous and not part of the teachings. So much so that the people were very hesitant to commit such an act even when the order came from the high authorities. Prophet Moses. So this particular sacrifice was not carried whimsically but with due consideration. We should understand also, the cow was not simply killed for the sake of eating but the body of the cow was burnt and the ashes were to be used for the higher purpose of purifying the people from their sins. It is very important to mention that in the present age also, cow sacrifice is forbidden, because no qualified persons are available to conduct such a sacrifices.
Thus by reading the Holy Qur'an, we can conclude that cow killing is not sanctioned in the Holy Qur'an and the only cow sacrifice which has been described was not meant for meat-eating but for purification from the sins.
The Iranian scholar Al-Ghazzali (1058-1 111 AD) was one of the most brilliant philosophers of Islam. He has stated that besides pieces of bread whatever we eat is simply to satisfy our urges. At the age of 28, he headed the institute of Islam at Baghdad. His main book, Ihya Ulum ul-Din — The Revival of Religious Sciences is highly respected. In this book (part 2, page 23, lines 17-19), the detrimental effects of beef, and the virtues of ghee and milk from a cow are stated as follows:
"The meat of cow is man (disease), its milk is safa (health) and its ghee is dava (medicine)."
Is it not more intelligent to protect cows and use their milk and ghee for our benefit? The cow is considered a mother of mankind because she gives us a valuable product such as milk. As a mother feeds her child with her breast milk, similarly the cow feeds mankind with her milk. It has been scientifically proven that if one regularly drinks cow milk, his fine brain tissues develop. As a result of this, one's memory capacity increases, thus favoring remembrance of Allah. Therefore the cow and its milk is very important for proper development of human society and killing the cow is the greatest sin. Those who are eager to eat meat, they can eat less important animals like sheep and goats, but cows should be protected.
An Imam of the Shah Jehan Mosque in London, England, Al-Hafiz B. A. Masri says that the Qur'an itself is very specific about prevention of cruelty to animals. Muslims, who form one-third of the world's total population, need to begin a movement for the prevention of cruelty to animals based on Islamic tenets. It was time to ensure that all precepts laid down in the Qur'an against cruelty to animals were followed strictly everywhere in the world. Therefore, he wants to start a unit of the Society for Protection of Cruelty to Animals in the Islamic world. Animal welfare worker Al-Hafiz Masri would love to see the world embrace vegetarianism.
In his book Islamic Concern for Animals, Al-Hafiz Masri has expressed sorrow about the excessive killing of animals in the name of religion. Quoting from the Holy Qur'an Majeed and the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, he described all acts of torturing of animals, and even keeping birds in cages as sinful. According to him, even the cutting of trees is prohibited in Islam.

On page 18, the Imam Saheb has repeated the saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad as under:
"There is no one who kills even a sparrow or anything smaller, without its deserving it, but God will question him about it."
"He who takes pity even on a sparrow and spares its life, Allah will be merciful on him on the day of Judgment."
The Imam Masri is himself a vegetarian and advises everyone to adopt vegetarianism

23. God is a person
Srila Prabhupada: The concept is there as you told me: "God made the human being in His own image." Then we can get the idea that God is a person like a human being. He has got two hands, two legs, one head, because in His image we have been (created). Now, if we study ourselves and increase that quality. Just like me. I can eat. I can eat a certain amount of foodstuff, but God can also eat, but He can eat the whole universe. So eating is there. But the difference of eating is there also. I can create one airplane, but God has created very, very big airplanes like these planets, and they are floating in the sky without any power crisis. That is God's creation. Here we are floating airplanes or running cars with power, petrol, given by God. You cannot manufacture petrol. Just like in your country, there is enough stock of petrol. But you have not created it. So, who has created? Your creative power is to drill and get the stock. So, you have got this much creative power. But you cannot create petrol. Otherwise, the Americans would not have come here to beg for petrol. That is the difference. You can create something by the ingredients given by God. You can create this table because wood is given by God, the instrument is given by God, the intelligence is given by God, and the hand is given by God; so in this way, you can create the table. Then whose property will it be, your property or God's property? Whose property? If I give you wood, the instrument and salary, then you create something, and ultimately the thing is created, to whom should it belong? To you or to me? (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)
Allah, as revealed in the Holy Qur'an, is not an abstract being, but a being who has haiyat (life), Urn (knowledge), qudrat (power), iradah (will) and who is able to kalam (speak), basar (see) andsamaa (hear). He has life which is eternal, knowledge which embraces everything, power which is insuperable, will which determines everything and He is able to speak with the entire universe, to see and hear everything with no effort. These attributes clearly indicate that Allah is not a person in the ordinary material sense, but is the supreme transcendental person beyond our imagination and the perception of our mundane limited senses.
It is recorded in a tradition from Bukhari and Muslim, that once the Prophet of Islam said, "Allah-Taala (God Most High) created Adam in His own sura (form, image)." (Mir Valiuddin, Love of God. Delhi. 1968 p. 74)
Once the Holy Prophet Muhammad said: "He who knows his own self, knows God." (Abdullah Al-Mamun Al-Suhrawardy, The Sayings of Muhammad. London, 1905, p. 52)

24. God is not formless
Yoga student: The Sufis find love in these figures... For example, the Sufi ibn Araby, through the face of a beautiful woman. Srila Prabhupada: Through the face of a beautiful woman? Yoga student: Yes.

Srila Prabhupada: So, there the materialists also find. Yoga student: That is the material aspect, absolutely.

Srila Prabhupada: Therefore in the Islamic religion, the form is rejected because it will come to that. As soon as they think of form, they think of this material form, beautiful face of woman. That is degradation. Therefore, we are strict not to conceive material form. That is Vedic conception. Apa.ii-padah javano grahita: "He has no legs and no hands." This means denying the form. And next the Vedas say, javano grahita: "He can accept whatever you offer to Him." That means God has no material form, but He has form; otherwise, how can He accept? How can He understand my love? So, therefore, in original Islam the form is not accepted. So that is Vedic description, form and formless. Formless means no material form, and form means spiritual form, simultaneously.
Just like I and you. I am within the body, but I am not this body. This form is not I. But where has the form of the body come into existence? (It exists) because I have got form. The sweater has got a hand because I have got a hand. The sweater is the covering. If I haven't got a form, then how can the sweater have a hand, the pants have got legs? So the pants practically are not the legs. The real legs are within the pants. Similarly, this (body) is not my form; this is like the pants, the legs of the pants or the hands of the coat. The real form is within. That is not the material form.
If I could see the real form and you could see, then there would be no controversy about the spirit. But they cannot see. Therefore, they say "formless." If it is formless, then how has the outer form come to be? How can it be? The tailor makes the coat because the man has got a form. As the coat has got hands, so it is concluded that the man for whom the coat is made, has also got form. How can you say without form? The difficulty is that we can see the form of the coat, but we cannot see the form of the man. That is the defect with these eyes, not that God is formless. God is not formless.

Yoga student: God is seen in the form of the saints.
Srila Prabhupada: That is another (thing). That is secondary. But God has got form. That is the conclusion. But we cannot see with our present eyes. Just like I see you. What do I see you as? Your body. You see me — my body. And when the body is there and the soul is not there, then it is a lump of matter. You can kick it and nobody will protest. If you smash a dead body with your legs and boots, nobody will say: "Why you are doing this?" But so long as the soul is there, if the body is smashed like that, immediately there will be a protest, "Why you are doing this?" So, the people have no knowledge about the real form. Therefore, they say formless. (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)

Nobody can deny the fact that Allah has spiritual eyes, ears, mouth, face and hands because these bodily limbs of Allah are explicitly mentioned in the Holy Qur'an.
More than this, the Holy Qur'an mentions the sublime image of Allah, His realm and His throne on which He sits. If Allah has spiritual eyes, ears, mouth, face and hands, how can we deny that He has spiritual form? First of all, how can His limbs exist separately and, secondly, if Allah is the source of everything and if all things belong to Him, how is it possible that He does not have form? If He has all things, this means He has form also. Otherwise, He would not be complete — something would be missing. Of course, He does not have a form which consists of material elements and deteriorates, like the body we presently have. He has spiritual form which consists of pure spirit. His form is not ordinary, but supreme, eternal, blissful, transcendental and beyond our imagination and description.

25. God can be seen
Srila Prabhupada: Now, suppose Muhammad has heard God. He is a prophet. So whatever he is saying about his experience, you are accepting. Similarly, if somebody has seen Him, if he says that "God is like this," why should you not accept? In this way you can say. God can be seen, as God can be heard. You cannot say that God cannot be seen.
Prithu-putra: No, what they say is that He Himself doesn't come down here. He can be seen, but He doesn't come down. That is their point. Srila Prabhupada: He doesn't come down. He's already there. He does not come down. Just like the sun. The sun does not come down before me, but you can see it. In this way give them enlightenment. The sun doesn't require to come down, but the sun is so bright and so prominent that you can see it. Similarly, God doesn't require to come down. He's already present. Simply we have to make our eyes (able) to see Him. When one is competent enough by developing his love for God, he can always see Him. God is visible everywhere. He's everywhere. So there is no difficulty to see Him. But simply one has to possess such purified eyes to see Him. Otherwise, He can be seen anywhere. He can even be seen within the atom. That is God. He is present everywhere, but we must have the purified eyes to see Him, we must have the purified ears to hear Him. Otherwise, God is everywhere. (Room conversation. Bhuvaneshwar, 30/01/77)
Srila Prabhupada: No. When there is talk, then you can talk reasonably, that "If God can be heard, God can be seen also, God can be touched also, by different prophets." (Room conversation. Bhuvaneshwar, 30/01/77)
The Holy Qur'an (75.22-23) states, "Some faces that day, will beam (in brightness and beauty), Looking towards their Lord."

The meaning of these ayats is that when righteous people come to Allah, they will be able to see their Lord and their faces will beam bright and be full of beauty at the bliss of seeing their Lord. Thus Allah is not an abstract power or energy, but the supreme living being who has His supreme form. For righteous people will be able to see Him on the Day of Judgment.
The author of Jowhara (p.107-112) says: "It is possible to see Allah in this world as well as in the next. In this world it has been granted to Muhammad only. In the future world however all believers will see Him; some say only His eyes, others say His whole face, others say every part of His body." (Klein F. A., The Religion of Islam. Delhi, 1987, p. 55)
Once Hazrat Ali was asked: "Did you see the Lord?"
Hazrat Ali replied: "I would not worship Allah if I have not seen Him!" (Qur'ana dair 101 sual, Baki, 1992, p. 13)
Once the Holy Prophet Muhammad said: "You should worship God as if you see Him. Because if you don't see Him, He surely sees you." (Ibid, 2.37)
"If one wants to see Allah, then Allah also wants to see him." (Mahammad Peygambar. Kalamlar, Baki, 1990, p. 34)
In conclusion, Abuhurairah said: "The Prophet said, 'When the angels go to the court of God, God asks them, (while knowing better than they) 'What do my servants say and do?' Then the angels said, 'They remember You with purity, greatness, praise, and respect.' And God said, 'Have they seen Me?' The angels replied, 'No, they have not seen You.' Then God said, 'What would their condition be if they had seen Me?' The angels replied, 'If they had seen You, they would be more strenuous in worshipping You, and in holding You mighty and glorious; and they would be more excessive in repeating Your immaculate attributes." (Mishcat-ul-Masabin, Calcutta, 1809, p. 535)

26. God is not material
Srila Prabhupada: That is in Islam. That means God is not material. That is the idea. Because here the idea is when I make something, an image or picture, that is material. So there is a prohibition of accepting God as material. But if you go to a higher stage, then you'll understand that if God is everything, then nothing is material. That is Vaishnava philosophy. If God is everything, then where is matter? He is spiritual. Material means when you cannot understand God. That is material. Everything is sky. When it is covered by clouds, we call it cloudy. Similarly, clouds have no existence. They only come to cover for a while, but the sky is eternal. Similarly, God is eternal. When you are covered by some maya (illusion), you cannot see, you cannot understand God, that is material. So, any philosophy which does not help in the understanding of God is material. That is material. Otherwise, there is no material. Where is material if God is everything? Do you see?
All spirit. All the sky. Everywhere is sky, but when it's covered, it is called cloudy. Similarly, when God is covered by some nonsense ideas, then it is material. Otherwise, there is no material. Therefore, for those who are too much absorbed in materialistic ways, there is a restriction. So, don't attempt. Because he will think that God's name is just like his son's name and his daughter's name. Therefore, there is a restriction. (Room conversation. Columbus, 12/05/69)
It is explained here that God and His energies are eternally spiritual. Only when the soul is covered by illusion is this same energy considered material. When energy is used for the service of God it remains spiritual, but as soon as the same energy is used for satisfying selfish desires, it becomes material.
Once The Holy Prophet Muhammad exclaimed: "God says, 'O man, only follow My laws, and you shall become like unto Myself.'" (A. M. Allapichai, Just a Peep into the Muslim Mind. Madras, 1946, p. 47)

27. Allah is a name of God
Srila Prabhupada: So what is this, Hare Krishna? Hare means the energy of the Lord, and Krishna means the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So, it is a prayer. There are three words only: Hare, Krishna and Rama. They have been arranged in sixteen words:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare
So our movement is that we request you to take up these sixteen words — not sixteen words, three words, Hare, Krishna and Rama. But these are arranged in such a way that there are sixteen words. So, anyone can take them by heart, these three words, and chant them. It is universal. And if you think that "Oh, Krishna is the name of a Hindu god," if you have got any objection, then you may not chant Krishna, but you must have a name for God.
Just like the Muslims call Him Allah, the Jews call Him Jehovah, or somebody calls Him something else. That doesn't matter. If you think that "Why should I chant the Indian name Krishna, Sanskrit name Krishna?" So, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that there are millions and billions of names of God. If you think that this Krishna name is not very suitable, you can accept any name. That doesn't matter. Our proposition is you chant God's name. That is our proposal. Therefore, it is universal. If you like, you can chant Jehovah or you can chant Allah, but we request you that you chant God's name. Is it very difficult? It is not at all difficult.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said that there are innumerable names of God according to different languages, different countries, different societies. And each and every one of them has the potency of God Himself. If there is a God, He must be Absolute. Therefore, there is no difference between His name and He Himself. Just like in the material world, in the world of duality, there is a difference between the name "water" and the substance water. The name "water" is different from the substance water. If you are thirsty and you simply chant, "Water, water, water, water," your thirst will, not be quenched. You require the substance water. That is material, but spiritually, the name Krishna or the name Allah or the name Jehovah is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Lecture, 15/06/68)
Srila Prabhupada: So I pleaded to the Muslim audience, "You can chant the name of Allah also. It's not necessary to have to chant the Krishna name, but any name indicating the Supreme Lord can be chanted." (Lecture, 20/03/75)
Srila Prabhupada: That's all right. Then our request is that you chant the name of God. So if Allah is the name of God, you chant Allah, don't chant Krishna. We say this. (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)
Srila Prabhupada: Just like Allah. If this name indicates God, then it is this word "Allah" which is as good as God. There is no difference. The Allah, the conception of Allah means the Great, is it not? So God is Great. So by chanting Allah, I am meaning God, the Supreme Person. So it is as good (as God). And actually in the Mosque, they chant Allah-u-Akbar, like that, so far as I've heard. So, that prayer, if it is not God's name, then what is the use of this prayer? That is God's name. Similarly, the Hindus may chant Hare Krishna, they're indicating to the same personality. It may be in a different language but it is as good as God because God is absolute. This name is authorised because Muhammad said, "You chant Allah." So it is authorised, because he is God's representative.
Therefore my request is, or our request is that you chant the name of Allah. We don't say that you have to chant Krishna. You chant the Holy name of God. If Allah is an approved name of God then you chant it. That is our request. We don't force you to chant the name of Krishna. No, we don't say that. If somebody says, "Jehovah is the name of God," that's all right, then you chant Jehovah. "Allah is the name of God," that's all right, you chant it We simply request that you chant the holy name of God. That's all. If you have got it, we don't force you to chant the name of Krishna. That is not our way. We accept, if Allah is God's name then it is as good as the name "Krishna." We are not so sophisticated that you have to chant this Krishna's name. No, we say: "Harer nama." That is the shastra (scripture). Harer noma means the name of the Lord. So, there are many thousands of names; that's a fact. So, we request you actually chant the name of God. Pick from millions of God's names. Whatever you like, you pick and chant. That is our propagation.
In this age of quarrel and disagreement, God realisation is very difficult. But if you chant the Holy name of God, then you'll gradually realise Him. This is our program. So, we don't force you to chant this name "Krishna," No. Shastra (scripture) says, harer nama — chant the holy name of God. That is our program.
Lady: Before your asked about something else. I want to ask, how could you meet the Supreme being by chanting...?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. By chanting.

Lady: chanting of a worldly name, tuned into a prayer... Srila Prabhupada: This is not a worldly name. Why do you make that mistake? God's name is not worldly. Lady: Because if you really know the tuning of God...
Srila Prabhupada: Do you think Allah is a worldly name?
Lady: We recognize it is before Krishna...
Srila Prabhupada: That's all right, you recognize it. Allah is not a worldly name. It is given by the authority, Muhammad. So you have to chant it, if you know God.
Lady: But he didn't really mean Allah is the name of God.
Srila Prabhupada: Why do you say that he didn't mean?

Lady: Because...
Srila Prabhupada: That is your say. Muhammad did not say, "What I say, I did not mean."

Lady: No, the name of God. He didn't mean Allah.
Srila Prabhupada: You say. Who cares for your word? Muhammad said this is the name of God. We have to accept, that's all.

Lady: So why...?
Srila Prabhupada: You cannot say, "He didn't mean." You are not a private secretary of Muhammad, (laughter)

Lady: So then how do they say that the name of God rests in God...
Srila Prabhupada: No, these things are not accepted.

Lady: Was before God...
Srila Prabhupada: Don't talk childish.

Lady: Was God.
Srila Prabhupada: (Whatever) Muhammad said that is authority. That we accept. We accept Muhammad as the representative of God. Whatever he says, we accept; that's all. What you mean, that is your business. But he is the authority; he said, "This is the name of God. You chant, you pray." Allah of God. That's all. That is authority. (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)
When the Holy Prophet Muhammad was asked about the most excellent Iman (faith), he answered: "To love him who loves God, and hate him who hates God, and to keep your tongue employed in repeating the name of Allah." (Abdullah al- Mamun al-Suhrawardy, The Sayings of Muhammad. London, 1905, p. 24)
Once the Holy Prophet said: "Pray to God morning and evening, and employ the day in your avocations." (Abdullah al-Mamun al-Suhrawardy, The Sayings of Muhammad. London, 1905, p. 2)
In the opinion of Islamic theologians, Allah has 100 names but only 99 of them are revealed in different verses of the Holy Qur'an. The 100th name of Allah is hidden. Those who come to know this name can perform miracles. (O Gudratov, N. Gudratov, Mohammad Peygambar: Hayati va Kalamlari. Baki, 1990, p. 18)

28. The ultimate goal is to love God
Srila Prabhupada: The test of any scripture is how one is developing love of God. If you find that by following some religious principles you are developing your love of God, then it is perfect. It doesn't matter whether it is the Bible or the Qur'an or the Bhagavad-gita; it doesn't matter. We have to see what is the fruit. If the fruit is that people are developing love of Godhead, then it is perfect. Don't try to understand whether "this is good, this is good, and this is bad." No. Try to understand by the result. If you see the fruit, then it is first class. So, it doesn't matter whether it is the Bible or the Gita, if you can develop love of Godhead by reading the Bibie, it is first class. And if you can develop love of Godhead by (reading) the Bhagavad-gita, it is first class. And if you do not, then neither the Bible, the Qur'an or the Bhagavad-gita will have an effect on you. (Lecture, 18/10/68)
Srila Prabhupada: Then God is the greatest, and we are finite, limited. We are not the greatest. And our business is to serve Him. What is that? Yoga student: Our business is to serve Him. Precisely as was said last night, our business is to satisfy Him. Srila Prabhupada: That's it.
Yoga student: There is a tradition, and there's a body of forty traditions, which are called the sacred traditions, one of which says that these are the words of God as enunciated through Muhammad. One of them says, "The more you strive towards Me, the more you love Me, the closer I come to you." Srila Prabhupada: Oh, that's it. Then the ultimate goal is how to love God. Yoga student: Yes.
Srila Prabhupada: That is very good. That is our philosophy. This is the highest goal of life, how one has developed his love for God. And Bhagavatam says, "That is first-class religion which trains the followers how to love God and serve Him." That is first-class religion. (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)
Once the Holy Prophet Muhammad said: "O Lord, grant to me the love of You; grant me that I love those that love You; grant me that I may do the deeds that win Your love; make Your love dearer to me than my soul, family and wealth." (Abdullah Al-Mamun Al-Suhrawardy, The Sayings of Muhammad. London, 1905, p. 128)

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