Islam and Jainism

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Islam and Jainism interacted with each other in the Indian subcontinent following the Islamic conquest of the subcontinent from Central Asia and Persia in the seventh to the twelfth centuries, and thereafter when much of Northwest, north and central India came under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate, and later the Mughal Empire.


  • Jaina religious institutions and works of art must have also become victims of the forces of vandalism let loose in the country in the wake of foreign invasions. Revealing in this context are the incidents recorded in two inscriptions in Mulgund. One found on a pillar in the Parasvanatha temple, refers to an encounter with the Mohammadans who burnt the temple of Parasvanatha and states that the preceptor Sahasrakirti … died in the fight. Another on a pillar in the Chandranatha Basadi states that Bandambike, wife of Nagabhupa, reconsecrated the image of Arhat Adinatha, which was polluted by the Mohammadans. The former epigraph bears no date and the latter is dated in A.D. 1675. It is not known whether the two records allude to one and the same raid by the Mohammadan aggressors or to two assaults on different occasions.
    • P.B. Desai, Jainism in South India and Some Jaina Epigraphs, Jaina Samskriti Samraksha Sangha, Sholapur, 1957, quoted from Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers.
  • The principal tenet of Jainism is non-harming. Observant Jains will literally not harm a fly. Fundamentalist Jainism and fundamentalist Islam do not have the same consequences, neither logically nor behaviorally.
  • There is, I'm happy to say, a religion of peace in this world, but it's not Islam. The claim that Islam is a religion of peace that we hear ceaselessly reiterated is completely delusional. Now Jainism actually is a religion of peace. The core principle of Jainism is non-violence. Gandhi got his non-violence from the Jains. The crazier you get as a Jain, the less we have to worry about you. Jain extremists are paralysed by their pacifism. Jain extremists can't take their eyes off the ground when they walk lest they step on an ant.
  • While my argument in this book is aimed at faith itself, the differences between faiths are as relevant as they are unmistakable. There is a reason, after all, why we must now confront Muslim, rather than Jain terrorists, in every corner of the world. Jains do not believe anything that is remotely likely to inspire them to commit acts of suicidal violence against unbelievers... But "the rise of Islamic fundamental- ism" is only a problem because the fundamentals of Islam are a problem. A rise of Jain fundamentalism would endanger no one. In fact, the uncontrollable spread of Jainism throughout the world would improve our situation immensely. We would lose more of our crops to pests, perhaps (observant Jains generally will not kill anything, including insects), but we would not find ourselves surrounded by suicidal terrorists or by a civilization that widely condones their actions.
    • Sam Harris - The End of Faith_ Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (2004, W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Jain temples had been constructed in the region from early on. A temple at Taranagar (Reni district) was said to have been founded in Samvat 999 (942), another at Nohar in Samvat 1084 (1027), and a third at Bhinasar outside Bikaner town in Samvat 1204 (1148). However, no trace of these structures survived. During Muslim attacks, many idols, especially small ones, were saved from defilement by being hidden in the saddle bags of people fleeing into the desert. The only actual remains of Jain temples found so far are at Pallu (Nohar district), about sixty miles south-east of Suratgarh. Here also, almost nothing of the old temples survived except a few sculptures and architectural fragments. .... After the Muslim invasions ceased, it was the Jains who first resumed construction of temples.
    • Commenting about the fate of ancient Jain temples in Rajasthan. Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history. 129-30

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