Quran says do not abuse others' gods, they will abuse Allah. But most people do not believe in this... they feel their way is the only right one. This is to maintain religious hegemony.

— Asghar Ali Engineer

The most joyful Asghar Ali Engineer quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual

Atheists blame religion when priests do wrong.

Anything can be misused, whether it is nuclear power or a matchstick. So, how can I blame religion? Patriotism too can be misused, by misinforming others and eliminating people, so do we start hating the country?

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I am not an individualist in the Western sense.

Collectivism can become oppressive when it tries to dictate; the rights of the two should not clash.

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Real 'imaan' is faith in humanity, so those who deny goodness are kafirs.

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People don't respond just because you are fighting for the truth.

They take their interests into account.

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Jihad is nothing but making efforts to realise goodness in life.

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Physical wounds heal, but those on the soul are difficult to heal.

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I believe the minorities need to have a strategy of survival because needless aggression when you cannot change the situation does not help. Wisdom is more important than saving some cultural symbol.

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What is religion? I want to remove the chaff from the grain.

For me it is not what it is for the common people. If you take away certain social customs, they think you have taken away religion. For me it means purifying it.

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To protect one's identity is a Constitutional right.

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My personal belief is we should not bow to any object.

But Islam was aware of this human weakness and fulfilled that need through Haj to kiss a stone. A stone is a stone but the vacuum was filled and it became the holiest object. I have performed Haj and seen the devotion of people braving stampedes only to kiss that stone.

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Times change and we should change and grow, and yet be proud of our legacy.

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Those who take to guns could do so due to deprivation, suppression, or historical legacy. The Afghans have lived through violence for centuries, by the Mughals, the Russians, their own people, so they have always had to fight for freedom... we cannot take away the context. But they legitimised it by using jihad, a religious sanction, so they could be seen as mujahids, fighting for Allah. And you cannot say there is nothing concrete.

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About Asghar Ali Engineer

Quotes 24 sayings
Profession Writer
Birthday March 10, 1939

I was told by my father, who was a priest, that it was the basic duty of a Muslim to establish peace on earth... I soon came to the conclusion that it was not religion but misuse of religion and politicising of religion, which was the main culprit.

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Religion helps you relate with the universe.

Buddha was indifferent to the concept of god yet he gave us values.

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Weapons are less harmful than words.

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Women's position includes so many pre-Islamic customs that have become an integral part of the Shariat. I am fighting that. Triple talaq is not mentioned in the Quran. Of course, there is a controversy; some maintain that the Prophet approved of it. Even if he did, maybe he had social constraints.

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Jihad is misused by fundamentalists. The Quranic meaning is not meant for war at all, in the sense of killing.

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The individual cannot exist on his/her own and the collectivism should respect freedom of conscience. My struggle is about the freedom of thought.

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History is full of instances of people who challenged the mighty forces of evil and they were not only fighting a lonely battle but were left alone to die.

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I am not taking away the historical legacy, but it should not become a burden.

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Potency does not mean being unnecessarily aggressive; one has to be wise.

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Many people asked me to convert. I said my religious convictions remain. I am fighting the wrongs within my own community. And if I decide to convert I will lose the right to fight.

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The Sufi saint Mazhar Jaan Jana of 18th century Delhi believed that the Quran condemns bowing before deities because in pre-Islamic idol worship stones were considered god. But Hindus pray to god through that idol, which is a reflection of god. In Vedas god is nirguna and nirankara, that is, he has no attributes and no shape, that is the real belief of Hindus. As Muslims visit graves, so Hindus worship idols.

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