Treatises on Indic religions
[Preliminary Entry] The Tuḥfat al-Muwaḥḥidīn is a short treatise written in 1803 by Rām Mohan Roy (1772-1833), a social, educational and religious reformer in early colonial Bengal. Written in Persian with an Arabic introduction the Tuḥfat was the first work of Rām Mohan Roy. The text is a frontal attack on the various ills that the author felt plagued the Hindu religion and Indian society in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Roy protested against the idolatries and superstitions of Hinduism and tried to identify a common religious foundation based on the doctrine of the unity of God. He advocated for the supremacy of human reason and conscience over all outside authority whether of scripture, priest or prophet.
Rām Mohan began the Tuḥfat by criticizing the specific historical claims of Hinduism. After refuting sectarian beliefs, Roy next advocated that all religions were based on a shared belief in the one Supreme Being who created and sustains the whole universe. He argued that what was created as unitary and naturally submissive to one eternal being has been erroneously divided into numerous, conflicting sects.
In the Tuḥfat, Roy went on to condemn the “nonsensical” rites practiced in the name of religion. These, in the words of Roy, result from deeply ingrained superstitious beliefs and are “causes of injury and detrimental to social life”. Therefore Rām Mohan considered it his duty to familiarize his community with the idea of logic and reason within the area of religious worship. The Tuḥfat claims to discard any belief that is “remote from reason and repugnant to experience.” According to the author, one “should exercise his own intellectual powers” and follow a rational approach towards religious beliefs.
The Tuḥfat bears many traces of Rām Mohan’s training in the Islamic sciences and abounds with terms borrowed from Arabic logic and philosophy.
Lithographs: Tuḥfat al Muwaḥḥidīn, Murshidabad. 1803-1804. Tuḥfat al Muwaḥḥidīn, Azimabad-Patna, 1898, pp. 38.
Bengali translation: Ekeshwarbadider Upohar, Girishchandra Sen, Calcutta, Dharmatattva, 1899.
Bengali translation: Tuhfat ul Muwahhidin, Jyotirindranath Das, ed., Calcutta, Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, 1950.
Bengali translation: Ekeshwarbadider Uddeshey Nibedan, Sunilbaran Ray, Calcutta, in Pulinbehari Sen, Somendranath Basu, P.C. Gupta & Dilipkumar Biswas (Ed.), Rammohun Smaran,1989.
English translation: Tuhfatul Muwahhiddin or A Gift to Deists, Maulvi Obaidullah El Obaide, ed., Calcutta, Adi Brahmo Samaj, 1889.
English translation: Tuhfat ul Muwahhidin, in: Kishori Chand Mitter, Rammohun Roy, Calcutta, K.P. Bagchi, 1975.
|Main Persian Title:||Tuḥfat al-muwaḥḥidīn|
|English Translation of Main Persian Title:||A Gift to the Monotheists|
|Author:||Rām Mohan Roy|
|Year / Period of Composition:||1803|
|Quoted sources on India:||