Hans Raj Hans (Conversion to Islam)
Hans Raj Hans is a singer and politician from Punjab, India. Born into a Sikh family at a village called Shafipur near Jalandhar, he is famous for singing Punjabi folk and Sufi music, has sung in movies and has also released his own 'Indipop' albums. He has worked alongside other renowned artists such as the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (as seen in the movie Kachche Dhaage), and has sung a number of Gurbani shabads (Sikh devotional songs\hymns).
On a peace mission to Pakistan, Hans Raj Hans while talking to a local news agency said his name would be Mohammad Yousuf for now but he cleared that he will maintain his name 'Hans Raj Hans' for singing industry.
He said he has studied Islam very closely and started reading Holy Quran, and gradually began to understand the essence of the divine revelation. "I listened to the call of my heart and decided to embrace Islam", he said.
"We should follow the teaching of Islam as it is a Religion of Love and Peace", he added.
Raj further said that he felt proud to become a Muslim, adding that he wanted to visit Madinah as early as possible.
He emphasized both India and Pakistan to resolve all the problems with dialogue as it was the wish of the people of both the countries.
Addressing a press conference at Lahore Museum, Raj said that establishment of peace among the two counties was his mission which he would continue.Later, Hans Raj along with Rana Arshad visited Punjab Institute of Language Art and Culture, Punjabi Complex.
The claim of Hans Raj Hans' conversion originated from a February 19, 2014 interview to a local news agency in Pakistan. Within 24 hours of the story making headlines, Hans and both of his sons, Navraj and Yuvraj, had made public statements concerning its accuracy.
Hans' son Navraj promptly asserted that the reports of his father converting to Islam were false. One of his Facebook posts (dated February 20, 2014) state:
Hans' son Yuvraj also asserted on February 20, 2014 that the reports of his father converting to Islam were false. Like Navraj, he posted on his Facebook page:
Hans Raj Hans
Hans Raj Hans confirmed his sons' assertions on February 20, 2014, explaining that his statements were distorted by a Pakistani journalist and that he had not converted to Islam:
Talking to media while going back to India after a three day stay in Pakistan, the Indian singer said that he faced a lot of problem when a journalist distorted his statement and if that journalist would have shown some responsibility, the situation could be avoided.
Hans Raj disclosed that his attachment with Pakistan is not only commercial but because of spiritual centres like monuments of Sufi saints and great teachers of music adding that Sufis have given a universal message of love.He further claimed that he respects Islam but the news of his acceptance of the religion have no authenticity.
In his reaction to what he refers to as "distorted" media reports, Coastal Digest reported that Hans Raj Hans said:
The Indian news site, Muslim Mirror, also retracted their original story, quoting the singer as saying:
Hans' reaction explains why the original media story claimed "Raj further said that he felt proud to become a Muslim, adding that he wanted to visit Madinah as early as possible." Guru Nanak is the founder of Sikhism and stories of his visits to Mecca and Medina are well-known (for example, they are recounted in the "Sri Gur Panth Prakash"). Whether or not Muslims accept these stories (since Guru Nanak was not a Muslim himself), is inconsequential. It would take little imagination for a Pakistani-Muslim journalist to take Hans' desire to visit Medina out of its original Sikh context and distort it into meaning something different.
His reference to the media story as "a joke turned into news" may also explain why the original reporting by the press claimed he had "confirmed media reports in which it was mentioned that he has reverted to Islam," and that he "said his name would be Mohammad Yousuf". It is probable that he was asked about an already existing conversion rumor, and based on his admittedly "friendly relationships" with the Pakistani media, had decided to reply in jest concerning a name change.
The claim of Hans Raj Hans' conversion to Islam is the product of an inaccurate media story originating from a February 19, 2014 interview with the singer conducted by a local news agency in Pakistan. Hans Raj Hans, Navraj Hans and Yuvraj Hans have all made public statements concerning the story's inaccuracy, stating in no uncertain terms that it is false. The singer did not convert from Sikhism to Islam and is not a Muslim.
Hans makes no secret of his respect for Islam, Sufi saints or Pakistan. This is not surprising considering his style of music or the fact that Kartarpur in Pakistan was established by Guru Nanak in 1522 and is the location of Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, the first Gurdwara (Sikh worship place) ever built. Just as his respect for Pakistan does not make him a Pakistani, respecting Islam does not make Hans Raj a Muslim. It does however make it easier to proliferate false stories concerning both.
- Punjab is an Indian state with a majority Sikh population. Ref: "The Largest Sikh Communities", Adherents.com, September 30, 2005 (archived), http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_sikh.html.
- Some of the Sikh devotional songs/hymns sung by Hans Raj Hans include Sikhi Diyan Shaana, Nikey Nikey Do Khalse, Bole So Nihal, Mera Bajaan Wala Maahi, Patta Patta Singhan Da Vairi, Sikhi Diyan Shaana and Koi Aan Milavai (featuring Sant Anoop Singh and Bhai Maninder Singh).
- "Singer Hans Raj Hans reverts to Islam", Ummid, February 20, 2014 (archived), http://www.ummid.com/news/2014/february/20.02.2014/hans-raj-reverts-to-islam.html.
- "Singer Hans Raj Hans embraces Islam?", Zee News, February 20, 2014 (archived), http://zeenews.india.com/entertainment/music/singer-hans-raj-hans-embraces-islam_151012.html.
- Navraj Hans, "Media has always been an important part in...", Facebook, February 19, 2014 (archived), https://www.facebook.com/navraj.hans.1/posts/1394291960836560.
- Yuvraj Hans, "SAT SRI AKAL DOSTO. IKK DO DINAA TON..." (in Punjabi), Facebook, February 20, 2014 (archived), https://www.facebook.com/iamYuvrajHans/posts/475028412602140:0.
- Muhammad Anees, "I have not accepted Islam: Hans Raj Hans", The News Tribe, February 20, 2014 (archived), http://www.thenewstribe.com/2014/02/20/i-have-not-accepted-islam-hans-raj-hans/.
- "Hans Raj Hans expresses shock over media reports after VHP threat: Says, joke turned serious", Coastal Digest, February 21, 2014 (archived), http://www.coastaldigest.com/index.php/news/62212-hans-raj-hans-expresses-shock-over-media-reports-after-vhp-threat-says-joke-turned-serious.
- "Why Hans Raj Hans conversion story was a rumor?", Muslim Mirror News, February 21, 2014 (archived), http://muslimmirror.com/eng/why-hans-raj-hans-conversion-story-was-a-rumor/.
- Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, "Sikh Twareekh", Belgium & India: The Sikh University Press, 2008.
- "Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s visit to Mecca and Madina", NihangSingh.org, February 26, 2011 (archived), http://www.nihangsingh.org/blog/?p=139.
- "Guru Nanak Sahib", Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, accessed March 29, 2014 (archived), http://www.sgpc.net/gurus/gurunanak.asp.
- S. Roop Singh, "Historical Gurdwaras", Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, accessed March 29, 2014 (archived), http://www.sgpc.net/historical-gurdwaras/index.asp.