Who Is the Founder or “Prophet” of Hinduism?

Hinduism is described as one of the world’s oldest religions, dating back to the third and second millennium BC.[1] The Hindu religion boasts of a billion adherents today.[2] Hindus teach that, although termed a religion, Hinduism is more of a way of life, a culture, and a code of behaviour.[3]

Naturally, any way of life or code of behaviour must have some source or fountainhead. Astonishingly, we do not find any historically agreed upon founder of Hinduism.[4] In fact, Hinduism is a religion without a founder, in a sense, an unfounded religion.

The beliefs and practices of Hindus are extremely diverse. Unlike Islam, there is no text or creed that forms the basis of all Hindu beliefs. Despite this, there are a number of texts that all branches of Hinduism consider as fundamental. These texts are divided into two categories.

1. Eternal or Revealed Texts

2. Texts based upon human learning and recording

The Vedas are of the first type and Mahabharata and Ramayana are of the second type.

The four Vedas, written in Vedic Sanskrit are:

1. The Rigveda

2. The Yajurveda

3. The Samaveda

4. The Atharvaveda[5]

These texts offer a large variety of beliefs and teaching that are sometimes mutually contradictory. For example, while most agree that Hinduism is polytheistic, some Hindus claim it is monotheistic and others claim it is henotheistic, i.e., the worship of one god without denying the existence of other gods. Nonetheless, some estimates put the numbers of Gods in Hinduism at about thirty-three million.[6]

The core Hindu texts largely speak about the many Gods. For example:

HYMN XIV. Viśvedevas.

1 To drink the Soma, Agni, come, to our service and our songs.
With all these Gods; and worship them.
2 The Kaṇvas have invoked thee; they, O Singer, sing thee songs of praise
Agni, come hither with the Gods;[7]

Other Hindu texts, like the Puranas, consist of stories of the Hindu deities. The ritual practices surrounding the various deities are covered in the Tantras. Yet, another text cited to claim that Hinduism is mono- or henotheistic reads:

“They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuṇa, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutmān.

To what is One, sages give many a title — they call it Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan.”[8]

Without a founder or even a central scripture, Hinduism is at loggerheads with itself in the deep pit of polytheism. With so many Gods, how does a child learn to pray? How does an old man remember the names of all the gods he is supposed to pray to? How do Hindus even know what they are supposed to believe to be Hindus in the first place?

Notes

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Hinduism
  2. Ibid
  3. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-asia/beginners-guide-asian-culture/hindu-art-culture/a/roots-of-hinduism
  4. Ibid
  5. https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas
  6. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-33-million-demigods-o_b_1737207
  7. Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith, [1896]https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv01014.htm
  8. Klaus K. Klostermaier (2010). A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition

 

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Abdullah

A huge percentage of the Ummah today is of Desi origin. Which means that many of us may possibly have Hindu ancestors who unfortunately who were involved in those dark practices (necrophilia, drinking cow urine, oppressing and even burning widows, treating the lower castes as less than human.) No other ideology is as subhuman and backwards as that of Hinduism. So we should thank Allah for the fact that personalities like Muhammed Bin Qasim made Jihad and spread this beautiful religion to that part of the world. Alhumdulillah for the beautiful gift of Islam.

Yes

As a desi Muslim I agree 100%. Alhamdulillah. It just shows the importance of Jihad. Without it no one outside the Arabian peninsula would have ever had a chance to become Muslim.

Raashid Muhammed

Also please address the topic of tolerance in Hinduism. The Hindus proudly claim that such differences and variances accomodate views and help in promoting tolerance. But the question is, will Hinduism tolerate the unity/singularity of the truth?

Shahid

Visit vedkabhed.com
You’ll get lot of articles

Abdullah

Hinduism pretends to be tolerant, but look at what’s happening in India right now. Not only Muslims, even Christians, Shudras and Dalits are attacked. Not just India, look at how these Hindutva mobs rush to ban people from Twitter who criticize their religion. And look at how Hindus in the Tech field are implementing the caste system even in Silicon Valley.

Ashkeen Ahmed

Assalamu alaikum.
This was a very good article , what we need to do is give as much importance and focus on eastern religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism etc as we normally see muslims give to Christianity, Judaism and atheism because these Eastern religions and their philosophy try to give what people in western or modern societies lack that is spirituality, but without God. In the sense of worshipping him which entails certain purposes in life, code of conduct, morals etc. They say its all irrelevant as we have the benefits of both spiritual peace, influential culture and material world. So there is no need to think about what happens when you die and stuff. In this way they’re misleading comman people of their own religions and other religions to avoid and abandon truth.

Ahmed

Assalamu alaikum.
This was a very good article , what we need to do is give as much importance and focus on eastern religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism etc as we normally see muslims give to Christianity, Judaism and atheism because these Eastern religions and their philosophy try to give what people in western or modern societies lack that is spirituality, but without God. In the sense of worshipping him which entails certain purposes in life, code of conduct, morals etc. They say its all irrelevant as we have the benefits of both spiritual peace, influential culture and material world. So there is no need to think about what happens when you die and stuff. In this way they’re misleading comman people of their own religions and other religions to avoid and abandon truth.