CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 15, 2016 – It is almost laugh out loud funny, the lengths to which Islamic apologists will go to make their point about the “religion of peace.” The latest evidence comes from the Washington Post, where Haroon Moghul has written an article claiming the Taj Mahal demonstrates that “Islam is a religion not just of peace, but love as well.”
It didn’t take long for Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch to counter by saying, “This is as ridiculous as saying that Christianity is a religion of heavy makeup and huge false eyelashes because of Tammi Faye Bakker.”
As with many things Islamic, the truth is far from the center of reality. In the case of the Taj Mahal, it doesn’t even require intense research.
Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal on the south bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, India, in the 17th century. Constructed of ivory-white marble, it is a mausoleum to house the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, the favorite wife of Shah Jahan, as a symbol of his undying love.
Most of the construction was completed in 1643, but other work continued for another decade.
Visitors viewing the Taj Mahal from the front immediately notice the symmetry of the mausoleum. In fact, only one of the buildings that flank it was functional. The other is merely decoration to maintain the sense of balance.
A “taj” is basically a palace. Therefore there are many “tajs” throughout India, just as there are numerous “kremlins” or fortresses in Russia and “acropoli,” which are high places, in Greece.
As Spencer correctly notes, “There is no indication that Shah Jahan’s love for her (Mumtaz Mahal) was motivated by Islam, inspired by Islam, or had anything to do with Islam at all. It was the love a man had for a woman, a love that billions of men and women have had for each other. Shah Jahan just had the will and the means to express his love more grandly than most men have the opportunity to do.”
In other words, just as baroque and rococo were popular styles in Europe, the Islamic influence in architecture in India at the time of Shah Jahan was in vogue and nothing more. There is no further evidence that the Taj Mahal had anything to do with Islam as being a religion of love.
Shah Jahan was, in fact, a Sunni ruler. Mumtaz Mahal, on the other hand, was a Shia. In an Indian version of Romeo and Juliet, rather than hate each other they fell in love.
The final result was the construction of one of the greatest architectural achievements in history, which is deservedly a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Oddly enough, directly across the river, another site was excavated facing the Taj Mahal. Historians believe that Shah Jahan may have been planning to build another taj, this one entirely black as a monument to face his beloved wife.
Perhaps more interesting, given Shah Jahan’s propensity for symmetry, the only thing askew in the Taj Mahal is Jahan’s is his own tomb, which is placed at an angle beside his wife.
Once again, Islam stretches reality beyond the realm of truth. Spencer concludes his observations by asking a valid question about Shah Jahan’s devotion to his wife in building her magnificent mausoleum, “Does that fact make Islam wonderful? No. It makes Haroon Moghul disingenuous.”
Moghul’s conclusions are just another indication of Islam’s perpetual efforts to convince the world that the jihad they see on a daily basis either is not so or it is an act of love.
And no matter what the reason was for building the Taj Mahal, it is a stunning monument to experience.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club
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