Hindu-Muslim Dialogue: Prospects and Pitfalls

Prof. Arvind Sharma and Saad Ismail explore the prospects and pitfalls of Hindu-Muslim dialogue. Focusing on theology and philosophy, the discussion demystifies common misunderstandings about Hinduism among Muslims and tries to explain Hinduism in Muslim terms as well as on its own terms. Is Hinduism monotheistic or polytheistic? Can we even ask this question about Hinduism? How does Hinduism conceive of God? What are the various schools of thought on the matter? Is Hinduism a religion or a tradition or a way of life? We discuss the difference between Shankara and Ramanuja. Finally, the discussion explores the questions of religious pluralism and conversion. Prof. Sharma delineates Hinduism’s unique religious pluralism and maintains that Hinduism is indeed a missionary religion but not a proselytizing one.

Formerly of the IAS, Arvind Sharma is the Birks Professor of Comparative Religion in the School of Religious Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada in, He has taught in Austrlia (University of Queensland, Sydney) and the USA (Northeastern, Temple, Boston,Harvard) and has published extensively in the fields of comparative religion and Indology. He was instrumental, through three global conferences (2006, 2011, 2016), in facilitating the adoption of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the World’s Religions. His recent books include The Ruler’s Gaze: A Study of British Rule over India from a Saidian perspective, Gandhi: A Spiritual Biography; Hindusim and It’s Sense of History and Decolonizing Indian Studies. He has contributed to and edited Our Religions: The Seven World Religions Introduced by Prominent Scholars from Each Tradition. He is also the general editor of the Encyclopedia of Indian Religions (Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer,2017).

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