By Farid Chaudhari
Subject: Muslim Agenda: Muslim Ulema to introspect
This is in
response to Sultan Shahin's piece, 'Muslim Ulema urgently need to Introspect':
Muslims ruled over vast swathes of the world for at least a millennium. Muslims of today need only to delve a bit into historical records to discover that their jurists have said long back that it is only governments which should declare and or wage jihad (war).The reasons are not far to seek. Only governments, countries have territories, populations, finances, arms industries, etc. to undertake wars.
For the last 3 / 4 centuries, however, Muslims have fallen on bad days and, as a result, are under attack of various kinds all over the world, both within their countries and from outside their countries.
‘Terrorism’ is another term for 'Collateral damage'...this latter term is used by the west whenever their planes, tanks and guns fire indiscriminately some times by mistake but mostly by design. This is not something new: they did it during the Second World War, during the Vietnam war, during the bombardment of Baghdad 5 years ago and during the bombardment of Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan while searching for Usama bin Laden more recently
Many centuries back they had done it when they conquered Jerusalem, and more recently when they had recaptured Delhi from the rebels in 1858....and more. This does not mean that I defend terrorism by Muslims...I simply find it possible to equate it to other events and to mitigate the condemnation that it attracts from the perpetrators of similar excesses. Very long struggles for independence began in reaction to imperialism and colonialism. In Muslim countries, these were described as Jihad. But I have also been saying that a Jihad, whether launched by a State or by a Rebel group, and even if justified, but which has not succeeded over say a long period , needs to be rolled back .I consider this to be eminently applicable to Kashmir and to Palestine, for example.
This Conference at Deoband has been effective in its purpose by the sheer number of its organiser parties and the sheer size of its attendees....which two points have concealed the fact that the Indian Muslims have, ab initio, no reason to have a role in the acts of terror perpetrated in India.
The Indian Muslim Community is hopefully getting ready to enter the stage of National politics...witness that the Jamiat ul Ulema is about to take part in the Panchayat Elections in W Bengal in reasonable strength. Jama'at-e-Islami is, as far as I know, committed to peace just as Jamiat-ul-Ulema is.
As for a change in the attitude of Indian Muslims towards the Hindu brothers, I agree that conciliatory steps need to be taken urgently. I have been suggesting this for no less than 20 - 25 years or so...including that we should give 12 % of our Zakat to poor Hindus.
I have not asked myself yet if they are Ahl e Kitab...but I find it to be a question worth pondering.
Moderator, Muslim Agenda adds: Rashid, if you hear Prophet's wish - he wished his people had a book too like the others. From that point of view, Hindu's would be Ahl-e-kitaab, people of the book. The essence of the saying is that they have the guidelines laid out for them, as opposed to disorderly life they lived an orderly life, they feared wrong doing, and there was a monitoring system for them. There is a group of Ulema in India, who have proclaimed Hindus as Ahl-e-Kitaab. Muslims have welcomed it; have asked the need for it... it never took off beyond that. It is important to explore this, as nearly 10% of Muslims of the world live in India, and it is critical to think in those terms. We have to open to ideas without going off the orbit.
Originally posted at Muslim Agenda on April 22, 2008
This was in response to the following essay:
Indian Muslims have shown they stand against terrorism, but do the ulema have the necessary vision to save them from the ever-expanding web of radical Islamism that is spawning terrorism across the country? How can we complain against our intelligence agencies discriminating against us, as the ulema in Deoband did so vociferously, if we support the massive discrimination routinely practiced against Hindus and Christians and Jews in Muslim lands? In the eyes of Islam stopping people from praying in the worship places of their choice is the worst possible crime. How come when we are in a minority we want all the human and religious rights, but the moment we are a majority of even 51 percent in some country, we declare the country to be Islamic where other religions have little right. What in Allah’s name is Islamic about this attitude, asks Sultan Shahin in this widely reproduced and circulated essay.
Indian Muslim Ulema urgently need to introspect
By Sultan Shahin
Deoband: Nudged by persistent and growing identification of Islam and Muslims with terrorism at the national as well as global levels since September 9, 2001, Indian Muslim clerics of all hues finally came together to pronounce an unequivocal fatwa against terrorism of all kinds. In an event organised by Dau-ul-Uloom, Deoband, 6,000, heads of madrassas from across the country along with the heads of organisations sponsoring their institutions, joined hands despite their sectarian differences to say with one voice that terrorism of all kinds was against the peaceful principles of Islam and to exhort Muslims to stay away from such dastardly activities as in Islam even the killing of just one innocent person amounted to the killing entire humanity.
The sleepy town of Deoband, 140 kms east of Delhi, famous around the world primarily for hosting this premier Muslim religious educational institution, the Darul Uloom, came alive on February 25, with tens of thousands of Muslims, clerics and ordinary souls, streaming in from all over the country, to support the historic anti-terrorism declaration that the Muslim religious community was about to make in a rare display of unity across the otherwise widening sectarian divide. The Deobandis, Bareilwis, Wahhabis, Ahl-e-Hadees, in short the Sunnis of all hues were all there. The Shias had already participated in another get-together organised by Jamia-ul-ulema for the same purpose in Delhi over a year ago at a smaller level.
What exactly they said is important and needs to be quoted at some length before one tries to judge its significance. The Declaration announced: "This All India Anti-Terrorism Conference attended by the representatives of all Muslim schools of thought organised by Rabta Madaris Islamiah Arabia (Islamic Madrasas Association), Darul Uloom Deoband, condemns all kinds of violence and terrorism in the strongest possible terms."
As a prelude to this declaration, the convention stated: "Islam is the religion of mercy for all humanity. It is the fountainhead of eternal peace, tranquillity, security. Islam has given so much importance to human beings that it regards the killing of a single person the killing of entire humanity, without differentiation based on creed and caste. Its teaching of peace encompasses all humanity. Islam has taught its followers to treat all mankind with equality, mercy, tolerance, justice. Islam sternly condemns all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism. It has regarded oppression, mischief, rioting and murdering among severest sins and crimes." All schools of thought
More significant than this and indicative of the mood and inspiration of the conference was this exhortation: "Moreover, this All India anti-Terrorism Conference attended by the representatives of all schools of thought appeal to all Muslims to continue, as they always did in the past, their loyalty towards the dear motherland and love and respect towards humanity. It appeals to them to fully understand the present alarming situation, the gravity and intensity of the time, and feel the pulse of the present world so that they might not be employed as tools of evils by anti-Islamic or anti-national forces. It appeals to them to live with dignity and pride being faithful to the country, to keep full trust in their leadership"
Stressing the same point, Maulana Marghoobur Rahman said in his presidential address: "Love of ones land is a part of our faith, and so, we, the members of the madrasahs, disapprove of any attack on our motherland and we will work against any terrorism in the country."
Admirable sentiments indeed! And need of the hour. Statements and exhortations like this have been made in the past, and even by the same people who were present on the dais in the convention. But never before had they come together as representatives and heads of their organisations to say the same things jointly and repeatedly in their speeches that continued throughout the day in front of a gathering of several hundred thousand Muslims who hold them in high esteem. That this would have an impact on the thinking of the entire community goes without saying. Regardless of the ulemas varying and indeterminate levels of scholarship, the vast Muslim masses, many of them illiterate and uneducated, do look up to them for guidance in matters of religious interpretations. That Islam is opposed to killings of innocents is no news to any Muslim, howsoever ignorant, but that he could get involved in terrorist events even by default, just because he was not careful or alert enough, is something he does need to be told and who better to tell him this than the ulema he trusts in matters of faith.
Based on intelligence reports, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan has pointed out several times that hundreds of terrorist sleeper cells lie dormant in various parts of the country, presumably deeply buried as ordinary people living in Muslim localities. These or some of these could be activated at any time of their choice by forces inimical to Indias national integrity and jealous of and hostile to our secular practices. It would require a truly alert Muslim community, more than any other section of the country to thwart their ambitions.
Listening to speeches after speeches in the day-long conference, I could not fathom if the ulema fully appreciate the danger Indian Muslims face from the cult of global Jihad that goes in the name of Islam, in fact calls itself true Islam or real Islam and considers those who are not with it as expendable. It cannot be easy for a Muslim to go to a mosque and blow himself up along with scores of other innocent religious-minded and practicing Muslims who had gathered in a mosque for prayers.
If this is happening with sickening regularity in the land that was a part of our own country not too long ago, it would be foolish for us to consider ourselves immune from the fast-spreading contagion. Such events were unimaginable even in Pakistan until the 1980s. In fact it is only in the last decade or so that it has become routine. I recall visiting Islamabad in early 19990s and listening to people there talking about the killing of an Imam of a small local mosque with shock and disbelief. I visited the offices of Sipah-e-Sahaba in Karachi and spent an evening in an atmosphere of pleasant bonhomie with likeable people, without even gathering a hint that soon they were going to become known as remorseless killers. Clearly it doesnt take long for things to change when vested interests start misusing ideology to turn genial people into monsters.
Whether or not the ulema at Deoband and other Indian seminaries realise this, Jihadism is an ideology in its own right. It has nothing to do with Islam, as the ulema pointed out, quoting chapter and verse from the Holy Quran and Sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him). But it approaches Muslims in the garb of true Islam. It misinterprets the verses of Holy Quran and concocts Hadees (Saying of the Prophet) to prove its point and entice the unwary. A fabricated Hadees may appear ridiculous to the knowledgeable but present that to a gullible, trusting Muslim who loves the Prophet more than his life and it may affect him differently.
Ulema must answer: Is Jihad against India superior or is this a fabricated Hadees?
One Kashmiri Jihadi organisation, for instance, quotes a so-called Hadees, according to which the Prophet called the Jihad against India as more worthwhile (afzal) than any other Jihad. Now anyone who knows anything about Islam, the Prophet, the demands of the times he lived in, or who has read the most highly regarded Bukhari or Muslim compilations of Hadees, in which the Prophet is said to have mentioned India only once in an entirely different context, would immediately dismiss this as ridiculous, but apparently there are some who are not doing so.
There is evidence that some of our youth are beginning to get radicalised under the onslaught of this global Jihadist cult. Let us hope that the ulema are aware of this and their exhortation would have a salutary effect. There clearly is need for more such conferences in different parts of the country. But the ulema will do well to confine themselves to the subject of terrorism and its dangers to the Muslim community and to the need for alerting the Muslim populace to enable them to face the Jihadi onslaught which clearly is going on at a subterranean level. Grievance-mongering, government-bashing, even Sangh-whacking, a favourite pastime of many of our leaders and even ulema, can wait for another occasion.
Saving Muslims from radical Islamism
Major political parties and the media have done well to welcome and applaud Daul Uloom Deobands latest effort to protect Muslims from radical Islams endeavour to wean them away from their traditional moderate stance. Though individual scholars from Deoband as well as other groups that were present there have been saying much the same thing in almost the same words for quite some time, this is the first time that institutions and organisations like Darul Uloom Deoband, Jamiat-ul-Ulema, Jamaat-e-Islami, Ajmer Sharif, Ahl-e-Hadees, etc. have come together to denounce terrorism in very clear terms and call it against the postulates of Islam.
Without detracting from the wisdom and significance of the ulemas (Islamic scholars) latest endeavour, however, I would like to make a few quick points.
While the media, particularly print, and the mainstream political parties have done well to highlight the main message, the ulema themselves did not maintain their focus on the historic and ground-breaking work they were doing. Any one who attended the conference can be excused for thinking that this was no more than a run of the mill conference that Muslims periodically hold to air their grievances against the government of the day and demand fair and equitable treatment. Several ulema managed to fire themselves up with their rhetoric against the discrimination Muslims face from intelligence agencies and security services hardly a suitable tenor for a session that was billed as a seminar and an occasion for introspection and brainstorming.
As a result, at least some of the message got lost and others got distorted. For instance, very few newspapers have reported that the seminaries have now decided to maintain their finances in good order and transparency. They will now be able to tell how much money they are getting, from where and how this is being spent. As private organisations they are not obliged to do so. But they have decided to respond to frequent allegations of financial irregularity and funding from abroad. The ulema get plenty of other opportunities to rail against the government and communal forces of Hindutva. But for several ulema, denouncing terrorism as unislamic was just a necessary chore. They revelled in the opportunity to denounce and challenge those who trouble Muslims and hurt their religious sentiments.
Introspection completely missing!
Introspection was completely missing. While the ulema complained bitterly, for instance, about Talibanism being ascribed to Deobandi teachings and stressed that it was not so, no thought was given to the question as to why was Talibanism considered Deobandi or what could Deoband do in terms of changing its curriculum to distinguish itself from the Pakistani Deobandi schools.
To give a concrete example, the Taliban or Al-Qaeda version of Islam is clearly distorting the theory and practice of Jihad in Islam. Jihad has a much wider significance in Islam, but in the sense of Qital (fighting) that too in defence, it was permitted to Muslims 14 years after the advent of Islam and God explained and gave reasons for this landmark permission in Surah 22 verse 39 in these words: "If God did not check one set of people by means of another there would surely have been pulled down temples, churches, synagogues and mosques in which the name of God is commemorated in abundant measure. God will certainly aid those who aid His (cause)"
In his exegesis, A Yusuf Ali, one of the best known and revered translators and interpreters of the Holy Quran says: This was the first occasion on which fighting in self-defence-was permitted. (22.39) 2817. To allow a righteous people to fight against a ferocious and mischief-loving people was fully justified. But the justification was far greater here, when the little Muslim community was not only fighting for its own existence against the Makkan Quraish, but for the very existence of the Faith in the One True God. It affected not the faith of one peculiar people. The principle involved was that of all worship, Jewish or Christian as well as Muslim, and of all foundations built for pious uses. (22.40)"
It is thus the religious duty of the Muslims to fight to protect the Faith and worship houses of all religions. But while we Indian Muslims are mourning the demolition of one mosque 15 years ago, do we shed any tears, even make a single statement bemoaning the routine destruction of temples in Pakistan and Bangladesh. And this while India is the only major non-Muslim majority country where not only there is no discrimination in our right to build and run tens of thousands of mosques and madrassas but also the Muslims are allowed to run their personal life in accordance with their understanding of their religious laws. Does the fact concern us that Saudi Arabia does not allow the tens of thousands of Christians and Hindus living there the human right to worship in their own churches and temples, even though the Quran asks us to fight on their behalf for that particular right?
Religious duty to protest injustices against minorities in Muslim lands
Have we ever done our religious duty to protest these injustices? No, in fact the one Muslim lady, Taslima Nasreen, who protested in Bangladesh and highlighted the plight of Hindus, has become a hate figure for us. She should have been our hero. She is doing what the religious leaders should have been doing. Instead we love to persecute her. Our political and religious leaders try to beat her physically and we either applaud or keep quiet.
How can we complain against our intelligence agencies discriminating against us, as the ulema in Deoband did so vociferously, if we support the massive discrimination routinely practiced against Hindus and Christians and Jews in Muslim lands? In the eyes of Islam stopping people from praying in the worship places of their choice is the worst possible crime. How come when we are in a minority we want all the human and religious rights, but the moment we are a majority of even 51 percent in some country, we declare the country to be Islamic where other religions have little right. What in Allahs name is Islamic about this attitude?
Our Ulema should be different from Taliban
There are many such questions on which the ulema would do well to deliberate and come up with answers that distinguish them from the Taliban and al-Qaida. If they dont, nothing can stop the world from associating Deoband and other religious seminaries from the terrorist organisations that are spreading murder, mayhem and chaos in the world.
Ulema need to rethink some fundamental questions
Obviously, Ulema need to rethink some fundamental questions guiding Muslim-Hindu relationship. But the question is: Do they have the necessary vision to save Muslims from complete marginalisation?
i dont mind repeating myself in saying that Deoband has certainly made a noble effort to discredit Taliban and al-Qaeda theories and practices that link Islam with terrorist acts. That even Jamaat-e-Islami was a party to the Deoband Declaration agasint Terrorism is particularly heartening. Alongside Syed Qutub of Egypt, the J-e-I founder-ideologue Abul Ala Maudoodi is considered one of the two gurus of present-day Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. Similarly significant is the presence and approval of Ahl-e-Hadees and other Salafi sects. Barailvi schools that represent the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the sub-continent are in any case more inclusive and broadminded. So the supporting message of the Sajjada Nasheen of Ajmer Sharif was no surprise at all. It was a great sight, watching the ulema (Islamic scholars) of different sects sitting together on the same dais and not denouncing each other as Kafir.
Rethink some very fundamental religious issues
However, this is not enough and by itself it will not provide the Muslims with much relief. The ulema in India have to rethink some very fundamental religious issues that govern Muslims relationship with the majority Hindu community. Take for instance the question of whether Muslims should treat Hindus as Ahl-e-Kitab (People of the Book, i.e. followers of one of the 1,24,000 prophets who came prior to Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him) or Kafir (deniers of the existence of God). The first Arab Muslim general to deal with Indian Hindus was Mohammad bin Qasim, who is something of a revered figure for many Muslims. When he conquered Sindh the question of Muslim-Hindu relationship arose for the first time. A committee of ulema then decided that Hindus should be treated as Ahle-e-Kitab, as they largely believe in the oneness of God, treat their idols as a way to reaching God rather than gods by themselves and their scriptures have unmistakable passages which are almost identical to the teachings of the Quran. Obviously Hindu avatars have to be treated as Gods messengers who brought the message of God just as other Islamic prophets have, though it could not have been preserved fully due to the antiquity of their period and the lack of facilities in those ancient times.
Why treat Hindus as semi-Ahle-Kitab?
Muslims are asked to have close social relations with all Ahl-e-Kitab. But that did not happen in the case of Hindus despite the religious verdict. Probably an Arab sense of racial superiority completely unislamic by all accounts came in the way. (By the way it is this Arab racism and its confrontation with Persian sense of superiority over Arab Bedouins that is also responsible for the bitter Shia-Sunni divide.) So they developed a system in which while they would make friends with, sit together and dine with Hindus, they would not allow inter-marriages, although Islam allows Muslims to have marital relationship with communities that come under the category of Ahl-e-Kitab, with the life-partners maintaining their separate religious identity, belief and practice. So the ulema have basically devised for Hindus a new category of semi-Ahl-e-Kitab something that has no sanction in the Quran or Hadees. In this they would allow Muslims to maintain close social relations with Hindus but not allow them to go for marital relationship.
And Christians as full Ahl-e-Kitab?
Like the class of ulema itself which has no sanction in Islam, this category of semi-Ahl-e-Kitab is an innovation that has done much damage to the Muslims. The excuse is that Hindus engage in idolatry despite their scriptures calling for non-duality (advaita) or unity of God. But if that is such a major or even relevant issue, how and why do they treat Christians as full Ahl-e-Kitab, though Christians treat Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) as the son of God, which amounts to ascribing physical attributes to God, and actually worship idols of Jesus and Mother Mary.
Not that one has any problem with treating Christians as full Ahl-e-Kitab. As a matter of fact almost all the people in the world are indeed Ahl-e-Kitab. The Holy Quran tell us that many prophets have been sent before Prophet Mohammad to all corners of the world and no prophet was sent without revelations (which are later collected as in the case of Quran as a Book). Arabia was probably the only part of the world where there were people who could be called Kafir as they had not yet been blessed with a Prophet till then and that is why the last Prophet was sent there. So in a religious sense the Muslims should stop calling any community Kafir and start using the word Kafir as Urdu poets do to describe their beloveds.
Many similar fundamental questions that the ulema need to resolve
There are many similar fundamental questions that the ulema need to resolve if they want to lead the community to a peaceful and prosperous life in the country and the world. The holding of this anti-terrorism convention and the presence of such a diverse group shows that the Muslim religious leadership has indeed got the message that the Muslims are quite worried at the drift of events that are alienating them from other communities in India as elsewhere. Deep and sincere introspection and broadmindedness is called for.
Extricate Islam from Arab follies, prejudices and racial supremacism
One of the most important and urgent requirement would be to extricate Islam from Arab follies, prejudices and racial supremacism. We Indian Muslims must realise that we are the inheritors of a glorious 5,000-year old civilisation. There is no reason why we should go by the interpretation of Arab Bedouins and desert tribes who had no history of any intellectual or artistic pursuit beyond writing some romantic poetry. I am not trying to replace Arab racial supremacism with an Indian one. We have no problem accepting the message of God coming to us through any voice box. Prophet Mohammad was an exemplary person the like of which the world has never seen. He was a spiritual master who rose to the position of a Prophet and at the same time a consummate statesman who remains unmatched in history. This is acknowledged by many objective observers of world history from all communities. So we accept the Muslim holy book without any reservation or prejudice.
But why should we also accept as Islamic the way Arabs ran their politics after massacring the entire family of the Prophet is beyond my comprehension. How can we allow ourselves to be guided by the interpretations of a people who accepted Yazid, the killer of the Prophets family as a Khalifa and allowed him to found dynastic politics in Islam whose USP is equality of all souls and no superiority of one person over another on any ground except that of piety. Barring some exceptionally gifted individuals Arabs continue to be mired in pre-Islamic Jahiliya (age of ignorance) despite 1400 years of interaction with Islam. This is not at all to belittle any community or race. But we Muslims tend to forget our glorious heritage. If we need to develop our understanding of core Islamic values like, say, unity of God, where do we go? Of course, to our ancient Islamic scriptures and writings that we Muslims tend to dismiss simply as Hindu religious literature.
The Quran does not elaborate and explain many essential points presumably for the simple reason that it has all been done before and those books are available. If you want to use your intellect, as per the repeated advice of the Quran, to understand wahdaniat, oneness of God, for instance, there would be no better pace to go than what are now known merely as Hindu scriptures, though they are as much our scriptures as theirs. Our history did not begin with Mohammad bin Qasim as the world history did not begin with the advent of Prophet Mohammad, though many Muslims tend to behave as if that were the case. We were a very advanced people much before that. We have been blessed with many prophets before Prophet Mohammad and Islam asks us to give them the same respect as we accord to our beloved Prophet.
While Deoband 2008 gives us hope, one cannot but wonder if the ulema indeed have the necessary vision to lead the community at such a sensitive juncture. We will have to engage in some tough debates and take some hard decisions, if we are to save our community from total marginalisation in the country and the world, at least partly caused by the ulemas own ill-conceived decisions flouting the spirit of Islam.Please also see:
Text of the Deoband Declaration
The following is the text of the Deoband Declaration at All India Anti-Terrorism Conference organized by Rabta Madaris Islamiah (Islamic Madrasas Association):
Darul Uloom Deoband, on 17 Safar 1429 H = 25 February 2008 Monday
Chaired by: Hazrat Maulana Marghoobur Rahman Sahib,
Mohtamim Darul Uloom Deoband & President of Islamic Madrasas Association, Darul Uloom Deoband
Islam is the religion of mercy for all humanity. It is the fountainhead of eternal peace, tranquility, security. Islam has given so much importance to human beings that it regards the killing of a single person the of killing the entire humanity, without differentiation based on creed and caste. Its teaching of peace encompasses all humanity. Islam has taught its followers to treat all mankind with equality, mercy, tolerance, justice. Islam sternly condemns all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism. It has regarded oppression, mischief, rioting and murdering among severest sins and crimes.
This All India Anti-Terrorism Conference attended by the representatives of all Muslim schools of thought organised by Rabta Madaris Islamiah Arabia (Islamic Madrasas Association), Darul Uloom Deoband condemns all kinds of violence and terrorism in the strongest possible terms. The Conference expresses its deep concern and agony on the present global and national alarming conditions in which most of the nations are adopting such an attitude against their citizens especially Muslims to appease the tyrant and colonial master of the West, which cannot be justified in any way. It is a matter of greater concern that the internal and external policies of our country are getting heavily influenced by these forces. Their aggression, barbarism and state-sponsored terrorism not only in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan but also in Bosnia and various South American countries have surpassed all the records known to human history. Contrary to it, our great nation has always been known for impartiality and its moral and spiritual values. Now the situation has worsened so far that every Indian Muslim especially those associated with madrasas, who are innocent with good record of characters, are always gripped by the fear that they might be trapped by the administrative machinery anytime. And, today countless number of innocent Muslims are spending their lives behind the bars and are forced to bear many intolerable tortures. And, those spreading terror, attacking police stations, killing the police in broad daylight and showing illegal arms are roaming about freely with no effective and preventive steps being taken by the government to check their acts of terrorism and violence. This partial attitude has put a big question mark on the secular character of the government posing great threats to the country. Therefore, this All India Anti-Terrorism Conference strongly condemns this attitude and expresses its deep concern on this partiality of government officials and declares its continuous joint struggles for domination of law, justice and secular system.
This conference strongly demands the Indian Government to curb those maligning the madrasas and Muslims. The administrative machinery should be demanded to conduct impartial investigations in activities disturbing public peace in the country and to punish only those found guilty. It also demands to free the accused if he is found innocent and punish severely those officials who accused him of crimes of terrorism. No person of any particular community should be suspected without solid reasons. In short, the government agencies must fulfill their duty justly without any prejudice and bias so that real peace and security may prevail in the country.
This All India Anti-Terrorism Conference appeals to all intellectuals, writers and media persons to independently and honestly analyze the national and international affairs and avoid to biased and partial attitudes.
Moreover, this All India anti-Terrorism Conference attended by the representatives of all schools of thought appeal to all Muslims to continue, as they always did in the past, their loyalty towards the dear motherland and love and respect towards humanity. It appeals to them to fully understand the present alarming situation, the gravity and intensity of the time, and feel the pulse of the present world so that they might not be employed as tools of evils by anti-Islamic or anti-national forces. It peals to them to live with dignity and pride being faithful to the country, to keep full trust on their leadership, render full support to Islamic madarsas which are valuable assets of the Muslim Ummah, spend their lives in the country following Islamic Shariah and teachings with full confidence. They should always remember that most important things are Islam and practicing it, and, hence, their prime focus should be on enriching their lives with good deeds and noble manners as, in fact, worldly situations deteriorate because of non-practice of Islamic teachings.
Need for holding state-wise conferences against terrorism.
This meeting of working committee of All India madarsas association feels necessary to hold state-wise conferences as it held this grand conference in view of the existing situations. The present situation of the country demands the joint and constant efforts being made to denounce terrorism, biased and discriminatory attitudes of the government against the Muslim community. It needs such conferences to be held in the major places of all the states. This meeting appeals to Darul Uloom Deoband to act as a leader in this direction.
Issued by: Central office, Islamic Madrasas Association
Please also see:
For more details
Islam, Temples, Sufis and Spread of Islam in India.
Are Hindus Ahle-Kitab [People of Scripture]?
Dear Sultan Sahab,
My humble views are as under:
Dear Sir,After the conquest of Sindh, Muhammad Bin Qasim wrote a letter to Hajjaj Bin Yousuf narrating that the local population of Sindh didn't want to fight and want to live in peace but they are not people of scripture like Jews and Christian. Hajjaj Bin Yousuf replied accept the Jizya from them and give them safety and peace and allow them to worship in Temples and allow them to worship Idols. Treat them like Fire Worshippers of Persia who were given Safety and Security after the collection of Jizya [Reference: Mu'jam al-Buldan by al-Bilazari , Chachnama by by Muhammad Ali bin Hamid bin Abu Bakr Kufi] Muslims must be very careful before using abusive words against Vedantic Religion.Hindus and other nations can also be People of Scripture [though we dont know about their Revealed Scripture for sure] because Allah says????????? ??????? ???????? ??????? ???? ??????????? ?????? ????????? ??????????? ?????? ??? ???????????[YUNUS (JONAH) Chapter 10 - Verse 47]Interpretation fo the meaning:And for every nation there is a messenger. And when their messenger cometh (on the Day of Judgment) it will be judged between them fairly, and they will not be wronged. ?????? ????????????? ?????????? ???????? ?????????? ????? ????? ??????? ?????? ???? ?????? ???????[FATIR (THE ANGELS, ORIGNATOR) Chapter 35 - Verse 24]Interpretation of the meaning:Lo! We have sent thee with the Truth, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner; and there is not a nation but a warner hath passed among them. ???????? ????????? ??? ????? ??????? ????????? ???? ?????????? ?????? ?????????????? ??????????? ????????? ????? ????? ?????? ????????? ????? ??????? ???????? ??????????? ?????????? ??? ???????? ??????????? ?????? ????? ????????? ???????????????[AN-NAHL (THE BEE) Chapter 16 - Verse 36]Interpretation of the meaning:And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming) : Serve Allah and shun false gods. Then some of them (there were) whom Allah guided, and some of them (there were) upon whom error had just hold. Do but travel in the land and see the nature of the consequence for the deniers! This article might answer your question!Politicisation of Cow by Mubarak Ali [PhD (on Mughal Period, India) from Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany]D.N. Jha, Professor of History, at Delhi University wrote a book on the attitude of beef eating in early India and proved on the basis of religious and historical evidence that the early Indians slaughtered cow on religious occasion and consumed beef. Sacredness of cow evolved with the passage of time as a result of its utility in an agricultural society whereupon people started to venerate it and attached a religious sanctity to it. The book created such an uproar against the author that the government provided a guard to protect him. The issue of cow slaughter appeared as a religious issue the Saltanat period when the Muslims, who were beefeaters, slaughtered cow for their consumption in their daily life as well as on festival occasions. As political power was in their hand, there was little protest against this practice. However during the rule of Muhammad Tughluq (1325-1351), Ibn Battuta, the North African traveler, who visited India reports about a communal clash on cow slaughter in which the enraged Hindu mob sewed those who were involved in slaughter and burnt them alive. When Babur(1526-1530) conquered India and, in spite of his short rule, realized the importance and sacredness of cow in the Indian society, instructed his son Humayun in his testament that: ”It is incumbent that religious bigotries should be wiped off the table of heart, and justice meted out to each religion according to its own tenets. Specially, abstain from sacrifice of cow as this would tend to win the hearts of the people of Hindustan.” Akbar (1556-1605), following his liberal religious policy not only exempted the Hindus from Jizya but also prohibited slaughter of cow in order not to injure religious feelings of his subject. However, those elements that opposed Akbar’s religious policy of toleration made attempt to assert the Muslim domination by violating Hindu beliefs. Ahmad Sirhindi was one of them. Opposing Akbar and his reforms he declared that sacrifice of cow in India was an important pillar of Shariat and the Muslim were obliged to perform it. In this way he wanted to assert the Muslim domination over the Hindus by intervening religion into politics. Though the majority of Muslim remained aloof from his exhortation but his teachings influenced minority of extremists who continued their efforts to put it in practice. Though Jahangir(1605- 1627) followed his father’s liberal policy but in one case he tried to appease the feelings of orthodox elements at his court. After the conquest of Kangrah when he visited the place according to him: “On the 24th of the month I went to pay a visit to the fortress, and I gave orders that the kazi, the Chief Justice, and other learned in the law of Islam, should accompany me and perform the ceremonies required by our religion. After passing over half a kos, we mounted to the fort, and then by the grace of God prayers were said, the khutba was read, a cow was killed, and other things were done…” Shivaji who fought against the Mughals, after achieving independence, he is described as proclaiming: “ We are Hindus and the rightful lords of the realm. It is not proper for us to witness cow slaughter and the oppressions of Brahmans.” Thus, cow no longer remained a religious but also became a political issue. During the eighteenth century when the power of the Mughals declined, slaughter of cow continued in dominated Muslim areas but where they were in minority they refrained to do it. During 1857,when the war was going on against the British, Bahadur Shah Zafar(1837-1858) to keep the unity of the Hindus and Muslim issued a proclamation banning slaughter of cow. However, during the British rule the practice of slaughter of cow assumed officially as they were beefeaters and the Muslim under the protection of government continued the practice of sacrificing it. In the late nineteenth century when there were reform movements in the Hindu society as well as to search roots for an identity, cow emerged as a symbol and cow protection societies were organized on large scale. According D.N.Jha: cow became a tool of mass political mobilization when the organized Hindu cow protection movement beginning with the Sikh Kuka(or Namdhari)sect in the Punjab around 1870 and later strengthened by the foundation of the first Gorakhshini Sabha in in 1882 by Dayannada Saraswati made this animal the symbol to unite a wide ranging people and challenging the Muslim practice of its slaughter. Since then, on the issue of slaughter of cow a number of communal riots erupted which resulted in large number of casualties on both sides. Jha points out that the major riots took place in 1880sand 1890s. In 1893, in Azamgarh district there was a communal riot on slaughter of cow and more than one hindered people were killed in different parts of country. In 1912-13,Ayudhya witness the bloody riots and in 1917, Shahabad was affected by communal clashes. So, by that time, cow had become the symbol of the Hindu identity and assumed the status of ‘gao mata’ (cow mother), protection of mother became a religious duty of the Hindus .On the other hand, the Muslim asserted their religious right to sacrifice cow. Especially on ‘Bqr d’, the second important festival after ‘Id al Fitr. There is interesting lesson to learn from history. In a multi-religious and multi-culture society, people have to understand and respect religious and cultural sensibilities of others and compromise with the existing practices to keep harmony and toleration in society. We can very well understand that when emotions are mobilized, people refuse to act logically and sensibly. The outcome usually is disastrous for a society. AURANGZEB AND TEMPLES. Distortion of history and the temple issue By Mubarak AliIt has often happened in the history of South Asia that conquerors would, after defeating their enemies and occupying their territories, demolish their (that of the enemies) places of worship. The victors would do so in order to humiliate the vanquished and to assert their political domination. Sometimes, the victors converted these places for use as worship centres for their own faith. In medieval Indian history, Muslim rulers followed this policy and demolished a number of temples or converted some of them to mosques as a symbol of their power. Their deeds are reported in detail in Persian texts, and are usually mentioned with admiration, as in the virtuous victor breaking the idols of the vanquished other. Mahmud of Ghazna, who lived in the early 11th century razed a number of temples including one at Somnath and earned the title of 'idol breaker' for himself. Hindushah Qasim Firishta in Tarikh-i-Firishta quotes a communication that Mahmud sent to the Raja of Thanesar which said: "We Muslims believe that in case of preaching Islam and destroying the places where the infidels worship, we would be rewarded in the next world." It became a tradition with court historians to eulogize their patron and attribute to him such acts of demolition of temples in exaggerated language of praise. During the colonial period, on the evidence of these Persian texts, British historians and administrators propagated this apparent tendency among Muslim rulers to demolish temples to create a divide between Hindus and Muslims. Elliot and Dowson in the History of India as Told by its Own Historians selected those excerpts from the Persian texts which showed the tyranny and bigotry of Muslim rule in India. The issue of demolition of temples by Muslim rulers was politicized during the communal period in the 1920s. Again, based on the Persian texts, communalist Hindu historians presented exaggerated figures of the temples that were destroyed during Muslim rule. Defending these acts, the Muslim historians argued that the temples were razed to the ground because of their role in political intrigues or because of perceived moral corruption. It was also pointed out that the number was highly exaggerated and in reality only a few were demolished. It again surfaced recently during the BJP's rise to power and its drive to establish the Hindutva ideology as the dominant force in modern India. BJP politicians again brought up the old accusations of Muslims being alien to India and that Muslim rulers demolished hundreds of Hindu temples. This distortion of historical fact was then justified to destroy the Babri mosque which the Hindu extremists had claimed was built on the site of Ram's janambhoomi (birthplace) . Recently, Richard M. Eaton in his essay Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States looks at thedemolition issue from a different angle. According to him, in the case of Mahmud of Ghazna, temples were attacked primarily because the objective was to take away their wealth, which Mahmud needed to build and consolidate his empire. However, later on, templeswere demolished not for this reason but because the ruler wanted to assert his political domination. This makes sense given that some of the temples were closely connected to the persona of a ruler who was regarded sometimes as the worldly incarnation or representative of a deity. In such cases, the defeated ruler's temple and his deity were desecrated as punishment. This happened at the Viththala temple at Pandharpur in Maharashtra or the Jagannath temple at Puri in Orissa. Eaton also says that Muslim rulers did not demolish those temples that had no connection politically with the ruler such as the Khajuraho temple in present-day Madhya Pradesh, which were left untouched. He says that from 1192 to 1729 eight were demolished. It was also the practice of many Muslim rulers that once a territory came under their control, they not only protected the temples in it but also repaired them. For example, in 1326 Muhammad Tughlaq, after the conquest of the Deccan, ordered the repair of a Shiva temple in his territory. Sultan Shahabuddin (1353-73) of Kashmir refused to melt the silver and golden idols of the temples under his area of authority. In another case, the ulema asked Sikander Lodi (1489-1517) not to demolish temples as it was against their faith. In the case of the Mughal rulers, they protected Hindu places of worship and provided them financial assistance. The Rajput mansabdars of the Mughal court not only repaired the old temples but also constructed new ones. However, in case of a rebellion or disloyalty from a Hindu ruler, the Mughal emperors took severe action and destroyed the temples in the territory of the recalcitrant raja or ruler. This happened in 1613 when Jehangir (1605-1627) ordered the desecration of an idol in a temple belonging to an uncle of Rana Amar of Mewar who was at that time fighting against the Mughals. Eaton and well-known Indian historian Romila Thapar both give a number of instances where the practice of demolition of enemy temples and their consequent desecration was prevalent before Muslim rule in India. Romila Thapar says that the Pallavia king took away the image of Ganesh from the temple of Vatapi in present-day Tamil Nadu. There were also instances when Hindu kings violated the religious sanctity of Jain temples. Aurangzeb (1658-1707), who is accused of destroying temples, appears also as a patron of Hindu places of worship. Seen in the light of Eaton's argument, he took action against those temples that were located in territories which had rebellious-minded rajas. Now, there is new evidence that he patronized the Jangambari temple at Kashi, Someshwarnath at Allahabad, and Umnanda at Guwahati. He bestowed a jagir to a number of Jain temples and a record of this is still preserved by their priests. He also allotted a piece of land to the Mahaka temple at Ujjain. In fact, both Shahjahan and Aurangzeb demolished temples or smashed their idols only in cases where the temples were linked to Hindu rulers up in arms against them. If we analyze the whole issue of demolition of temples in a broader perspective, we can see that it was done more to assert political power than to violate the religious sensibilities of the enemy. However, when history is used for political motives, it is distorted, and misinterpreted. In this particular case, both Muslim and Hindu historians are guilty of misrepresenting the issue and using their conclusions for their political ends.