Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, born in 1925, in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, is an Islamic spiritual scholar who is well-versed in both classical Islamic learning and modern disciplines. The mission of his life has been the establishment of worldwide peace. He has received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour in India, and the Demiurgus Peace International Award. He has been called ’Islam’s spiritual ambassador to the world’ and is recognised as one of its most influential Muslims1 . His books have been translated into sixteen languages and are part of university curricula in six countries. He is the founder of the Centre for Peace and Spirituality based in New Delhi.


ONCE, I met a Western scholar and I asked him what he thought was the secret of the West’s progress in many fields. He replied that it was the freedom of dissent, which the West has come to consider as sacrosanct. Undoubtedly, what he said is true.

However, this is not something specific just to Western thought. It is actually a law of nature. This law is expressed in a Hadith (words of the Prophet) report, according to which the Prophet Muhammad is said to have declared that differences of opinion are a mercy for his community.

Differences of opinion are generally expressed in the form of critique. Ideally, intellectual critique should engender analysis and further study of issues on which differences of opinion exist. Such a critique should seek to facilitate an open exchange of views on these matters. It should help bring different minds together to honestly express what they know about issues and also what they feel about each other’s views. This sort of open exchange of views is indispensable for intellectual development.

Knowledge as such is limitless. This is true of knowledge—both of 'Religious' as well as 'Secular' matters. Undoubtedly, differences of

1. The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims 2012, Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, Jordan.

opinion are a mercy. There is only one condition for expressing such differences. 

Those who disagree with each other should do so on the basis of accepted evidence and must abstain from hurling allegations against others.

Differences of opinion promote creative thinking.

Differences of opinion are immensely beneficial. They help bring to the fore new dimensions of issues under discussion and to uncover hitherto hidden aspects of a subject. They help promote creative thinking. They also enable people to benefit from the intellectual contributions of others.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

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Miracle of the Mind

If you discover the miracle of the mind,
you will develop such a thrilling sense
of gratefulness that all complaints and
protests will appear insignificant.
You will always live with feelings
of thankfulness to God.
Meet the Challenge
Without challenge man becomes stagnant,
and with challenge he becomes dynamic.
It is challenge that motivates people to
go ahead and achieve on their own what
they did not receive as inheritance.