Swami Vivekananda on Islam – in Writings and Speech

Now, the Muslims are the crudest in this respect, and the most sectarian. Their watch-word is: there is one God (Allah), and Mohammed is His Prophet. Everything beyond that not only is bad, but must be destroyed forthwith, at a moment’s notice, everyman or woman who does not exactly believe in that must be killed; everything that does not belong to this worship must be immediately broken; every book that teaches anything else must be burnt. From the Pacific to the Atlantic, for five hundred years blood ran all over the world. That is Mohammedanism (Islam)!”

[The speech delivered at the Shakespeare club of Pasadena, California, USA, on February 3, 1900]. It is complied in’

“The more selfish a man, the more immoral he is. And also with that race which is bound down to itself has been the most cruel and the most wicked in the whole world. There has not been a religion that has clung to this dualism more than that founded by the Prophet of Arabia (Mohammed), and there has not been a religion (Islam) which has shed so much blood and been so cruel to other men. In the Koran there is the doctrine that a man, who does not believe these teachings, should be killed; it is mercy to kill him! And the surest way to get to heaven, where there are beautiful ‘houries’ and all sort of sense-enjoyments, is by killing these unbelievers. Think of the bloodshed there has been in consequence of such beliefs (Islam)!”
[The speech delivered by Swami Vivekananda in London on 18th Nov.1896].

“One religion may ordain something very hideous. For instance, the Mohammedan (Islam) religion allows Mohammedans to kill all who are not of their religion. It is clearly stated in the Koran, “Kill the infidels if they do not become Mohammedans.” They must be put to fire and sword. Now if we tell a Mohammedan that this is wrong, he will naturally ask, “How do you know that? How do you know it is not good? My book says it is.”
[The speech, given in London on 17th November, 1896]

Swami Vivekananda explained Islam as follows:

“In this line the Mohammedans were the best off; every step forward was made with the word the Koran in the one hand and the sword in the other” Take the Koran, or you must die; there is no alternative”. [The speech, delivered in the Universalist Church, Pasadena, California, USA, on 28th January, 1890]

“Mohammedans talks of universal brotherhood, but what comes out of that in reality? Why anybody who is not a Mohammedan will not be admitted into this brotherhood; he will more likely to have his throat cut.”
“When the Mohammedans first came we were said – I think on the authority of Ferishta, the oldest Mohammedan historian – to have been six hundred millions of Hindus. Now we are about two hundred millions. And then every man going out of the Hindu pale is not only a man less, but an enemy the more.
“Again the vast majority of the Hindus converted to Islam and Christianity are perverts by sword, or the descendants of these.”
[An interview of Swami Vivekananda, published in Prabuddha Bharat. April, 1899 and compiled under heading ‘On the Bounds of Hinduism’]

-Swami Vivekananda [from “Complete works of Swami Vivekananda”, ‘Mayavati Memorial edition, 1990 published by Advaita Ashrama, the Publication division of Ramkrishna Mission, located at 5 Dehi Entally Road, Kolkata-700014].

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22 thoughts on “Swami Vivekananda on Islam – in Writings and Speech

  1. i guess swamy vivekananda does not read whole quran… he heard some pharses and teaching bakwas to all… “If a judge in court says hang that man… he is a criminal…” vivekananda heard “hang that man” and saying judge is a terrorist… if islam spread by sword how did all hindus remain in INDIA? vivekananda speaks all bullshit… everyone will come to know soon… on qayamat…

    • Vivekananda read the whole Koran , he was a learned man and other wise he would not have become so wise , he learned whole Koran ; the point is he was a learned sinner , he knew Allah forbade idolatry , yet he declared ,” idolatry is not a sin ” he knew Mohammed is Allah’s Prophet , yet he criticized Mohammed. this is the reason he died from incurable sickness

  2. But what did Vivekananda say? There is a wonderful chapter on ‘Mohammed and Islam’ in a book titled Teachings of Swami Vivekananda, which has a moving 30-page introduction by British writer Christopher Isherwoood. The chapter is a collection of quotes from a speech Vivekananda gave to an American audience.

    This is what he says: “Mohammed – the Messenger of equality. You ask, ‘What good can there be in his religion?’ If there was no good, how could it live? The good alone lives, that alone survives… How could Mohammedanism have lived, had there been nothing good in its teachings? There is much good.”

    “Mohammed by his life showed that amongst the Mohammedans there should be perfect equality and brotherhood. There was no question of race, caste, colour or sex. The Sultan of Turkey may buy a Negro from the mart of Africa, and bring him in chains to Turkey; but should he become a Mohammedan, and have sufficient merit and abilities, he might even marry the daughter of the Sultan. Compare this with the way in which Negroes and the American Indians are treated in this country (the United States of America)! And what do Hindus do? If one of your missionaries chances to touch the food of an orthodox person, he would throw it away.”

  3. If Anyone died without believeing(and try to following) Quran in and after the era of prophet Muhammad (saw), it means he died as kafir(non believer). And Kafir(non believers) will always go in hell for infinite time. This is a truth from biggest truths….So don’t die as a kafir and believe in ALLAH as only God (without any partner and any comparable of HIM or son(descendants) of HIM or wife of HIM or guardian of HIM or any helper of HIM or any teacher of HIM etc.) and believe on HIS prophets (like Muhammad (saw)) and believe on HIS books like Quran and on his angels and on the day of judgement and on bad and good had written by ALLAH in your life ( on fate) and on everything had written in Quran and believe on the sayings of prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and etc. etc.
    (please try to understand and ignore English mistakes)

  4. How could you defame Swamiji in such a way? He was a great man and can never deliver such hateful lectures against Islam or any other religions.

    Swami Vivekananda acknowledged that all religions were true in their own way. In fact, his guru Ramakrishna Paramhansa had been, for short periods, a practising Muslim and a practising Christian respectively, and declared that there was no difference in the essence of any of the global major religions.

  5. If Swami Vivekanand has these views about Islam ..it means he had a very poor knowlege about Quran & Muhammad..infact Quran Says “vala taktulu lati nafsan haram Allah Illah BilHaq” (Quranic Verse)- which means dont kill any human being except who commits a rigorious crime of killing any other human being under the law

  6. There is not a single word in The Holy Quran which says that the people who dont believe in the Qurans teaching and dont have faith in Islam should be punished or killed and there religious places should be destroyed …i dont know from which source Swami ji has quoted this!

    • Most of the Religious books says that it is the only source which consist message of god and justify its neccesary and threaten humans to follow there concepts ,it the only way to achieve god .But practically ,these looks like advertising one company’s products in market .In my point of view all religious books vedhas,Bible, Koran all came across hundreds of years from one human hand to other and all are wrote by humans only ,so i have no doubt about these .there may several changes for humans to include their own ideas to justify their religious laws as the best one follow these and also gives an dressing style ,costumes to separate there followers from others. Iam sure this will effect our spiritual developments towards our goul i.e. realization of GOD. GOD is omnipresent ,but manifest himself in all universal matter. So one should realise this nature of GOD omnipresent thing,if once this happens then there is no need of any other religious books to guide humanity.I mean that practical knowledge is better than theoretical. Swami vivekananda was a man who realized himself in these universal matter. Not only swamiji many of human souls in all religions reached this position, so we should give respect to them.Tr y to stop critise other religions by praising ones own religion .All religious books may have mistakes which have no logic to accept in today’s scenario this is because all religious concepts emerged in particular time and place for a particular people. so think about this . please forgive me if I hurt anybody. I respect all religions ,these books have only the concept of GOD, but we have the true knowledge to realise the GOD.

    • Seriously Hammad? I have read Quran and I saw many negative quotes that have said by Muhammad, For few, i will mention below:

      Oh you who believe, fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you and let them find harshness in you.” 9:123
      When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks.” 47:4

      “Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow Him are merciful to one another but harsh to the disbeliever.” 48:29

      They wish that you would reject faith as they have rejected faith unless that you would all be equal. So, don’t take protectors from them unless they emigrate in the way of Allah but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them.” 4:89
      so What you will say about them, Hammad? There are much more said by Muhammad. Why can’t you accept that Muhammad said negativity too along with positive side? I am saying you that Muhammad is the person that shows perfect brotherhood and Islam is the religion that shows perfect equality. And at the same time, I understand that Muhammad mentioned negative statements also….

  7. It is a common complaint among some non-Muslims that Islam would not have millions of adherents all over the world, if it had not been spread by the use of force. The following points will make it clear, that far from being spread by the sword, it was the inherent force of truth, reason and logic that was responsible for the rapid spread of Islam.
    1. Islam means peace.
    Islam comes from the root word ‘salaam’, which means peace. It also means submitting one’s will to Allah (swt). Thus Islam is a religion of peace, which is acquired by submitting one’s will to the will of the Supreme Creator, Allah (swt).
    2. Sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace.
    Each and every human being in this world is not in favour of maintaining peace and harmony. There are many, who would disrupt it for their own vested interests. Sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace. It is precisely for this reason that we have the police who use force against criminals and antisocial
    elements to maintain peace in the country. Islam promotes peace. At the same time, Islam exhorts it followers to fight where there is oppression. The fight against oppression may, at times, require the use of force. In Islam force can only be used to promote peace and justice.
    3. Opinion of historian De Lacy O’Leary.
    The best reply to the misconception that Islam was spread by the sword is given by the noted historian De Lacy O’Leary in the book “Islam at the cross road” (Page 8): “History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping
    through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myth that historians have ever repeated.”
    4. Muslims ruled Spain for 800 years.
    Muslims ruled Spain for about 800 years. The Muslims in Spain never used the sword to force the people to convert. Later the Christian Crusaders came to Spain and wiped out the Muslims. There was not a single Muslim in Spain who could openly give the adhan, that is the call for prayers.
    5. 14 million Arabs are Coptic Christians.\
    Muslims were the lords of Arabia for 1400 years. For a few years the British ruled, and for a few years the French ruled. Overall, the Muslims ruled Arabia for 1400 years. Yet today, there are 14 million Arabs who are Coptic Christians i.e. Christians since generations. If the Muslims had used the sword there would
    not have been a single Arab who would have remained a Christian.
    6. More than 80% non-Muslims in India.
    The Muslims ruled India for about a thousand years. If they wanted, they had the power of converting each and every non- Muslim of India to Islam. Today more than 80% of the population of India are non-Muslims. All these non-Muslim Indians are bearing witness today that Islam was not spread by the sword.
    7. Indonesia and Malaysia.
    Indonesia is a country that has the maximum number of Muslims in the world. The majority of people in Malaysia are Muslims. May one ask, “Which Muslim army went to Indonesia and Malaysia?”
    8. East Coast of Africa.
    Similarly, Islam has spread rapidly on the East Coast of Africa. One may again ask, if Islam was spread by the sword, “Which Muslim army went to the East Coast of Africa?”
    9. Thomas Carlyle.
    The famous historian, Thomas Carlyle, in his book “Heroes and Hero worship”, refers to this misconception about the spread of Islam: “The sword indeed, but where will you get your sword? Every new opinion, at its starting is precisely in a minority of one. In one man’s head alone. There it dwells as yet. One man
    alone of the whole world believes it, there is one man against all men. That he takes a sword and try to propagate with that, will do little for him. You must get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can.”
    10. No compulsion in religion.
    With which sword was Islam spread? Even if Muslims had it they could not use it to spread Islam because the Qur’an says in the following verse:
    “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error”
    [Al-Qur’an 2:256]

  8. Among the most widely believed myths about Islam in the West today is the myth of forcible conversion to Islam. Many Westerners do believe that Islam is so widespread in the world today simply because of a “holy campaign of terror” carried out by the early Muslims to convert non-Muslims to Islam. Non-Muslims were offered the freedom to choose either Islam or death.
    In a discussion with a Baptist Minister he said to me that “Muslims tend to kill non-Muslims and anyone who disagrees with them”. In a syndicated column appearing in over 30 papers (on July 23rd, 1994) entitled, “Muslim persecution of Christians increasing” the author blames many Muslims countries for persecuting Christians then he quotes the Qur’an, “There is no compulsion in Religion” and ends the quote by rudely writing “Really?”.

    How to confront such misconceptions? First, there is no need for us to be apologetic. We Muslims should search for the truth and present it as it is. This is how we have been instructed by Allah (SWT) “Say: the truth from your Lord and let him who will believe and let him who will reject.”(18:29) Islam is the religion of the Truth. The Qur’an is the book of the Truth. “We sent down the Qur’an in Truth and in Truth has it descended.” (17:105) “Put your trust in Allah for you are on the path of the manifest Truth.”(27:79)

    Therefore, we should ask ourselves first, before we are asked by anyone else, what is the truth? Did Muslims really force others to convert to Islam? Is there any evidence for consistent forcible conversion throughout the Islamic history? As a matter of fact, there is no such evidence anywhere in the history of Islam. Many distinguised Western historians have attested this fact– foremost among whom is Sir Thomas W. Arnold in his book, “The Preaching of Islam”. Also there is Marshall G. Hodgson in his book, “The Venture of Islam”, Albert Hourani in his book, “A History of the Arab People”, Ira Lapidus in his book, “History of Islamic Societies”, L.S. Starorianos in his book, “A Global Hisotry, the Human Heritage” and many others. In fact, there is substantial evidence to the contrary. We have already seen in a previous *khutbah* that Muslims were often seen as liberators of the oppressed people everywhere.

    The question that remains to be answered is why then so many people have chosen Islam throughout the more than 1400 years of its history. Islam has penetrated the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, West Africa, East Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan, India, Western China, and the Malay archipelago. Islam in all these regions replaced so many other well-established religions: Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism and animism. What are the reasons behind the triumph of Islam over all these religions in so many different places at so many different times?

    First and foremost, Islam is an amazing blend of simplicity and rationality: a very simple religion yet very rational at the same time. Professor Hodgson has explained the reasons for the popularity of Islam as follows: “Muslims made a personal appeal to people’s religious consciousness. On the level of straight argument, they often put forward the populistic intelligibility of Islam. Muslims commonly ridiculed, in the name of intellectual good sense, the more mythically convoluted teachings of older traditions. This could seem attractively straightforward to people dissatisfied with taking things on faith from a learned priest whose mysteries they could not comprehend. A single Creator, to be worshipped by each person for himself, on the basis of revelation that had been given to a famous prophet whom millions already acknolwedged. This was at once intelligible and plausible.”

    The unambiguous and uncompromising belief in the Unity, the Greatness, the Wisdom of God, the Creator of the universe, is unparalleled among other religions. The French professor Edouard Montet said, “The dogma of the unity of God…has always been proclaimed in the Qur’an with a grandeur, a majesty, an invariable purity and with a note of pure conviction which is hard to find surpassed outside the pale of Islam. A creed so precise, so stripped of all theological complexities and so accessible to the ordinary understanding might be expected to possess and does indeed possess a marvellous power of winning its way into the consciences of men.”

    Besides its simple and rational creed, Islam offers an impressive set of rituals which has gained the admiration and, subsequently, the conversion of many non-Muslims. The second pillar of Islam, **salah**, the prayer, has been described as follows by Sir Arnold, “The religion of the Muslim is continuously present with him and, in the daily prayer, manifests itself in a solemn and impressive ritual which cannot leave either the worshipper or the spectator unaffected.” Then Sir Arnold narrated the story of an Egyptian Jew who converted to Islam at the end of the 13th century mainly because of the sight of the **Juma’a** prayer. Actually, it is not only in the 13th century that people converted to Islam because of the prayers; it just happened a few years ago in Ottawa that a non-Muslim Canadian woman converted to Islam because of **Juma’a** prayers. She used to go to the Ottawa Mosque on Friday and pray among the sisters for several months. She loved the prayer and eventually she embraced Islam.

    In addition to the prayers, the other pillars of Islam, **Zakah**, **Hajj**,**Siyam**, have always been factors in attracting many hearts to Islam. Up until the present day, one still meets converts who were impressed by the social justice of Islam brilliantly expressed in the payment of **Zakah**. The genius of **Hajj** and **Siyam** has always been a determining factor in the conversion of many people. It is this union of rationalism and ritualism that explains the power that Islam has exercised over the hearts and minds of so many people. Islam simply gives the truth, neat and clear in a visible and tangible form. The neatness and clarity of Islam was presented to human beings in the form of a miraculous book, the Qur’an. The marvellous power and beauty of the words of the Qur’an have always been a decisive factor in conversion to Islam. The famous Jewish American convert to Islam, Maryam Jameelah, cited the Qur’an as the major factor of her conversion. After a deep study of both the Old Testament and the Qur’an, the contrast between the two scriptures became increasingly evident to her until she firmly believed that the Qur’an was indeed God’s message to the human race.

    A conference of Christian missionaries in 1887 was discussing why Islam has almost swept away Crhistianity from the Middle East. What did Islam offer these people to forsake Christianity for good? One of the missionaries was insightful enough to say the following: “Islam brought out the fundamental dogmas of the Unity and Greatness of God, that He is mindful and Righteous. It proclaimed the responsibility of man, a future life, a Day of Judgement and stern retribution to fall upon the wicked, and enforced the duties of prayer, alms-giving and fasting. It replaced monkishness by manliness, it gave hope to the slave, brotherhood to mankind and recognition to the fundamental facts of human nature.”

    The formidable rationalism, ritualism and clarity of Islam did not only lead the Christians of the Middle East to forsake Christianity and embrace Islam in the past. It continues to do so with Christinas in the West to the presnt day. An Australian-born Christain who converted to Islam four months ago and who was studying here with us at Queen’s wrote in her story of conversion to Islam, “Christianity continued to be difficult for me. So much didn’t make sense, the trinity, the idea that Jesus was God incarnate, the worship of Mary, the Saints, or jesus, rather than God. The priests told me to leave reason behind”. The she went on to say, “Could Muhammad really be a messenger? Could the Qur’an be God’s word? I kept reading the Qur’an, it told me that Eve wasn’t alone to blame for the fall, that Jesus was a messenger, that people would question the authenticity of Muhammad’s claim to revelation but that if they tried to write something as wise, consistent and rational they would fail. This seemed true. Islam asked me to use my intelligence to contemplate God, it encouraged me to seek knowledge.” Then at the end of her sincere search for the truth she prayed to God saying, “Dear God, I believe in You, I believe in the compelling and majestic words of the Qur’an and I believe in the prophethood of your messenger Muhammad (SAW).”

    Another Muslim sister, from California, who was a practising Christian and an active member in her nearby Presbyterian church, wrote in her conversion story that despite her active affiliation with the church, she always had serious questions about the fundamentlas of Chrsitianity which did not make sense to her. She debated her questions with her friends but never came up with good answers. The church couldn’t give them good answers either, they only told them to “have faith”. All her questions were answered when she took a course about Islam. Listen to her own words. “This class brought back all of the concerns that I had about Christianity. As I learned about Islam, all my questions were answered. All of us are not punished for Adam’s original sin. Adam asked God for forgiveness and our merciful, loving God forgave him. God doesn’t require a blood sacrifice in payment for sin. We must sincerely ask for forgiveness and amend our ways. Jesus wasn’t God, he was a prophet like all of the other prophets. This answered all of my questions about the trinity and the nature of Jesus. I found a teaching that put everything in its proper perspective and appealed to my heart and my intellect. It seemed natural. It wasn’t confusing. I had been searching and I had found a place to rest my faith.”

    My dear brothers and sisters, Islam is so strong and so self-assured that it does not need to use force to attract others to it. The moral and intellectual superiority of Islam over all other religions has manifested itself so clearly throughout the history of Islam. Despite all of the ills of Muslims everywhere, Islam continues to be the fastest growing religion on earth. Professor Huston Smith of the MIT in his book, “The Religions of Man” says, “In some areas where Islam and Christianity are competing for converts, Islam is gaining at a rate of 10 to 1.”

    Ambassador Herman Ellis, in a testimony in front of the committee on Foreign Affirs of the House of Represntatives of the United States Congress on June 24th, 1985, said, “The Muslim community of the globe today is in the neighbourhood of one billion. That is an impressive figure. But what to me is equally impressive is that Islam today is the fastest growing monotheistic religion. This is something we have to take into account. Something is right about Islam. It is attracting a good many people.”

    Yes, something is right about Islam and that’s why it has attracted so many people throughout its 1400 years of history.

  9. this man’s knowledge is like snake.. it only follow but not think.. he should study the real facts and he should study the Qur’an properly and he should know the time of revelation…

  10. Zakir naik is misleading all Muslims. I died laughing when I heard him. ……….whatever Swamiji said above is 100% correct. He also expressed good thoughts on Islam. I had discussion with Muslim lady recently and concluded, lot of things about Islam. Really the discussion was eye opener.

  11. Quran (4:56) – Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise

    Quran (9:73) – O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination

    Quran (66:9) – O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey’s end.

    Quran (8:55) – Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve

    The thing about Quran is-
    These revealations came ad-hoc, whenever Muhammad was in a tight situation.
    So the earliest Suras, the Medina Suras, where he has signed a treaty with the Meccans, you will find idol worship in Quran!!!! which subsequently, after conquest of Mecca through deception, became Iblisi- i.e- the work of devil.

    Look at the hilariousness- Quran is the most perefct creation of Alla, and yet Iblis roamed freely in that quran!!!
    Muhammad is the most beloved of Allh with Gabriel always by his side, but Gabriel went for a vacation when Iblis came to Muhammad.

    That is why Islam logic is not that of a Mathematical logic.
    2+2=4 this logic will allow no imperfections in perfection. But Muslim logic, 2+2=5 (by intervention of XYZ) can make someone perefct with imperfections. Muslims actually believe in that logic.

    So…as you can see there is no hatred in the Suras I just quoted.
    Proven therefore, Islam is a religion of peace (Kafirs excuse)

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