By Pankaj Oudhia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Pankaj Oudhia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Muslim man refused to allow differences in faith to stop him from helping out his Hindu friend.

Relationships between Muslims and Hindus in India have had a long history of conflict, violence, and controversial politics. Massacres and massive savage fights with dozens, and sometimes, hundreds of deaths; have taken place throughout India between Muslims and Hindus, very often with dire outcomes.

However, it is not unusual for Muslims and Hindus to be friends either. Neighbors, co-workers, customers, any number of different circumstances can result in close friendships between people of different classes and faiths.

Recently, an example of these kinds of interfaith friendships made for an incredibly heartwarming story out of Chhattisgarh, India, a region in Central India with a population of nearly 25 million people, between a Muslim man who refused to allow differences in faith to stop him from helping out his Hindu friend who was in need.

Razzak Khan Tikari is a Muslim man, and on September 20, he had to reach out to help his Hindu friend, Santosh Singh, who was dying of a terminal illness, DailyBhaskar.com reported. Knowing that his friend was near death, Tikari took it upon himself to perform Singhs last rites according to Hindu tradition in order to honor his friend.

Typically in Hindu tradition, a person’s last rites may be performed by a close family member, and within the first 24-hours after death, which goes to show just how close Tikari and Singh were as friends.

The last rites include bathing the body immediately after death, and sacred ash (Vibhuti) is placed on the persons body. There are also holy mantras that are chanted and led by a priest. According to Beliefnet, after the community mantras have been chanted, and before the body is cremated, “The immediate family members put flowers on the body, rice in the mouth, and coins in the hands. The body is placed on a bier and taken to the cremation center.”

These are the rituals and rites that Tikari undertook for his close friend, Santosh Singh, after Singh passed away from his chronic illness. According to StoryPick, Singh’s wife was not even able to pay for the last rites. So Tikari helped Singhs wife financially and also performed the last rites himself.

Tikari’s story of helping his closest friend even though they come from vastly different religious backgrounds with different customs and beliefs about the afterlife and all the rituals that are required to be completed after a person has died, has inspired people all over the world. Tikari is an inspiration, and he has proved that it does not matter what faith people are or what culture they associate with, friendship in this life has no boundaries on the next life. 

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