1. First Question (Bismillah disproves Quran to be Allah's Word?)
“(I begin this book) In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” (Surah al-Fatiha 1:1)
The Mohammedans claim that this Qur’an is the Word of God, but it appears from the above passage that the author of this book was some person other than God, since had it been God himself, He would not have said: “(I begin this book) in the name of God etc.” He would have, instead, said: “I write this book for the instruction of mankind.” If it be said that by beginning His book in this fashion He means to teach men as to what they should say when about to do a thing, it cannot be true, since some men will do even sinful deeds in the name of God and thereby bring disgrace on Him.
If (the Mohammedan) God be merciful, why has He sanctioned that men should inflict great suffering on other creatures by killing them for their food? Are not these animals innocent? Are they not His creatures? He should have also advised men to begin only good deeds in His name and not evil ones. Thus the passage (under discussion) is quite ambiguous. Should even such sinful acts, as theft, adultery, untruthfulness in speech, begun in God’s name? Very likely it is on account of this ambiguity that the (Mohammedan) butchers etc., mutter “In the name of God, the compassionate, the most Merciful as the moment of cutting the throats of cows and other animals.”
It is clear then that the Mohammedans do begin even evil deeds in the name of God. The Mohammedan God can never be called Merciful, because He shows no mercy towards those animals (whose slaughter He sanctions). If the Mohammedans do not know the true meaning of this passage, its revelation is of no use to mankind. But if the Mohammedans interpret it differently, we should like to know what its plain meaning is.
If only Dayanand ji had carefully read the first mantra of Rigveda, he would not have raised such a false allegation.
“We Laud Agni, the chosen Priest, God, minister of sacrifice, The hotar, lavishest of wealth. Worthy is Agni to be praised by living as by ancient seers. He shall bring hitherward the gods. Through Agni man obtains wealth, yea, plenty waxing day by day, most rich in heroes, glorious.” [Rig Veda – Mandal 1; Sookt 1; Mantra 1]
Now, if Rigveda is the word of God, then who is speaking these words? If Swami feels that a revealed book of God must start with the words, "I write this book for the instruction of mankind" that would even disprove his own Vedas as being revealed texts. None of the four Vedas begins with those words.
Besides, the speaker of this Rigvedic mantra appears to be doing some kind of favour to the Vedic God Agni by saying, "I praise you". Compare this verse of the Rigveda with the following verse of Surah Fatiha
ٱلْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلْعَالَمِينَ
All praise is due to God, the Lord of the all the worlds [Qurán 1:2]
Here, the Qur'an is teaching us that we can never praise God enough and all such praises which we cannot perform are also due to God alone.
Anyway, this was only a quick counter example from your own scriptures. The descriptive reply is as follows:
The mode of speech of Revealed Books is of various types. Sometimes, God Almighty speaks in the first person and at times in the third person. Sometimes, the Almighty desires to teach us some prayer or supplication and hence He speaks the words as we would speak them. Surah al-Fatiha belongs to this very category, about which the Swami has raised this objection due to his ignorance of the language of revealed books. But was he really ignorant or dishonest? I would say the later.
A collection of Swami Dayanand's debates, discussions and answers to miscellaneous questions, has been published by in a book titled Dayanand Shastrarth Sangrah, published by Arsh Sahitya Prachar Trust, Delhi. In Chapter 38 of this book, the Swami replies to the questions of a certain Pandit Brijlal Sahib. One of the questions which Pandit Brijlal asks Swami Dayanand is, "Vedas contain the praise of God. So, has God written his own praise?"
To this the Swami responds,
"Just as parents teach their child the ways to honour the father, mother and teacher, and listen to their advice, similarly, in the Vedas, God has written His praises to teach us how to praise Him."
[Dayanand Shastrartha Sangrah, Published by Aarsh Sahitya Prachar Trust, Delhi; 3rd Edition, June 2010, Page 79; Question 21]
Same is our reply concerning Bismillah and Surah Fatiha. This example goes on to show the prejudice and double standards of Swami Dayanand. He questions the Qur'an but justifies his Vedas.
Bismillah cannot be used for beginning sinful acts
The Swami makes another bogus allegation that Muslims begin sinful deeds in the Name of God. Where does the Qur’an instruct people to do sinful deeds in the Name of God? Where does the Qur’an instruct Muslims to do theft, adultery, etc in the Name of God? The meaning of the first verse of Sarah al-Fatiha is very clear, that we are to begin the reading of the Qur’an in His (God’s) Name. Any good deed initiated in God’s Name earns one more blessings. Eating any forbidden thing or initiating any sinful act in God’s Name, is itself a major sin.
Swami’s original question was about the mode of speech of this verse and not its use or misuse. The former I’ve disproved and the latter will be refuted now. The Swami has himself commenced the Satyarth Prakash with these words
ओ३म्सच्चिदानन्देश्वरायनमोनमः (Aum Sacchidaananda Ishwaraaya Namo Namah) meaning “I bow to the God who is Sacchidaananda (truth, consciousness and bliss).”
Now, we may ask the Swami and his followers, “Should even such sinful acts, as theft, adultery, and untruthfulness in speech, begun with this phrase ‘Aum Sacchidaananda Ishwaraaya Namo Namah’?”
Also, many editions of Vedas, published by orthodox Hindus, begin with the phrase श्रीगणेशायनमः (Shri Ganeshaaya Namah) meaning “I bow to Lord Ganesha.” Many begin by reciting only ॐ (Aum). Are these phrases to be recited while commencing evil deeds?
He has also touched the issue of animal slaughter here, classifying it as a sinful act without providing any sound evidence for this claim. Perhaps Swami Dayanand forgot the teachings of his own Vedas and other Hindu books concerning animal slaughter.
Hindu Law Book, Manu Smriti Chapter 5: Verses 30-32 say
न-अत्तादुष्यत्यदन्न् आद्यान्प्राणिनो अहन्य्-अहन्यपि|
“The eater who daily even devours those destined to be his food, commits no sin; for the creator himself created both the eaters and those who are to be eaten.’ The consumption of meat (is befitting) for sacrifices,' that is declared to be a rule made by the gods; but to persist (in using it) on other (occasions) is said to be a proceeding worthy of Rakshasas. He who eats meat, when he honours the gods and manes, commits no sin, whether he has bought it, or himself has killed (the animal), or has received it as a present from others."
The best argument is from the natural world itself and Maharishi Manu has used this very reasoning in the above quotation. A keen observation of Nature teaches us that God’s creation can be classified into two types.
- The ones used, and
- The ones using
Let Arya Samajis answer the question that why did their God create carnivorous animals, who eat other animals as their food? Could He not have made them herbivorous? Is their God not merciful? This question of the Swami would apply on his own religion, had he given it some serious thought. There is no doubt that human beings are the ones using all things, and all others are things being used. So, is this not a great favour of Almighty God that he created horses, camels, elephants, etc as our means of transport and still others like oxen, buffaloes, etc to plough the land? So, according to your understanding, does it make you merciful to exploit these animals for your own benefit?
Besides, what else should we do to animals if we do not slaughter them? Keeping them has no benefits for us. Some animals give milk, while others don’t even give milk and even milking animals stop giving milk after reaching a certain age, even though we feed them and protect them, e.g. rooster, hen, etc. Now, Swamiji must either give permission to eat the animals that don’t benefit us or show us some of their benefits. But remember, by going against nature you cannot extract any benefit from them, and if you give permission to eat them, it will point your question back at you. If you are not prepared to concede even this and you want animals to have the same rights as humans, then please talk about equality in other aspects first.
Vedas, the revealed books of God, according to Swami Dayanand, not only permit but also encourage animal sacrifices. Even cow sacrifice is encouraged. To see all the evidences about meat eating in Hindu texts, please see my article 'Beef eating in Vedas and other Hindu texts'.
Mercy towards animals
The Swami alleges that the Muslim God is not Merciful towards those animals whose slaughter He sanctions. By this reasoning, even the Vedic God is not Merciful, because He created the carnivores to kill the herbivores. But the truth is that this reasoning of the Swami is flawed. God has created some animals to be eaten and some to eat. Therefore, to consume those animals for food, which He has permitted is an act of mercy. If we will not consume these animals for food, their population will increase by an enormous amount and they will feed on the crops meant for humans, resulting in starvation. Even Hindu scriptures proclaim that the act of sacrificing an animal for religious purpose is no violence at all.
"Svayambhu (the Self-existent) himself created animals for the sake of sacrifices; sacrifices (have been instituted) for the good of this whole (world); hence the slaughtering (of animals) for sacrifices is not slaughtering (in the ordinary sense of the word)." [Manu Smriti 5/39]
"Know that the injury to moving creatures and to those destitute of motion, which the Veda has prescribed for certain occasions, is no injury at all; for the sacred law shone forth from the Veda." [ibid. 5/44]
For detailed reply on this, see my article 'Beef eating in Vedas and other Hindu texts'..
 Swami Dayanand considered Manu Smriti as an authentic book to be followed provided its verses do not go against the Vedas.