Indian Muslims Oppose Wahhabi Extremism: A NewAgeIslam TV Report-8
From: NewAgeIslamTV | Oct 21, 2011
For the first time in India a Muslim Mahapanchayat passed a resolution condemning growing Wahhabi extremism. We have never accepted Wahhabi fatwas, and will never accept them in future too: Maulana Ashraf Kachochhvi
By C. Uday Bhaskar
October 17, 2011
The ideology of Islamic radicalism and its justification of related terrorism as ‘jihad’, which is predicated on a distorted interpretation of the tenets of Islam, received a major jolt from Indian Sunni clerics on Sunday in Moradabad, a small town in Uttar Pradesh.
Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kachochavi, general secretary of the All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) which represents the majority of Sunni Muslims in India, denounced the hardline Wahhabi interpretation of Islam espoused by Saudi Arabia.
Addressing his constituency of over 100,000 people at a ‘maha-panchayat’ (great congregation), the Maulana exhorted his flock to reject such distortion of the normative principles of Islam.
Bemoaning the fact that a small group of Muslims had given a bad name to their great religion, he added: “The time has come for us to come out and claim our rights. Let us take a pledge that we will never support Wahhabi extremism -- not today, not tomorrow”.
Since the tragedy of 9/11 that felled the Twin Towers and the more recent terror attack on Mumbai in November 2008, there has been considerable ferment in the Indian Muslim populace (estimated to be 138 million as per the 2001 census data) about the distorted ideology which has been justifying and nurturing such extremism.
As is often the case, the larger majority of Muslims the world over are law-abiding citizens who do not support the malignancy of Islamic extremism -- but have either been silent or invisible.
Thus, the unambiguous stand taken by the AIUMB which represents almost 80 percent of India’s Sunni Muslims -- who in turn are the majority faction of Indian Muslims (the Shia, Ismaili and Ahmadiyya amongst others are estimated to be less than 30 million in all) -- is a very significant development in the ongoing contestation about the interpretation and practice of Islam.
The stand taken by AIUMB President Hazrat Syed Muhammad Ashraf Ashrafi and his colleagues was long overdue, for many Indian Muslims had warned of the dangers being posed by the spread of virulent Wahhabi ideology in Indian madrasas, which received generous funding from Saudi sources. The control of madrasas and what they teach and propagate to impressionable minds has been a contentious issue in India for decades.
It is regrettable that the state in India has chosen to turn a blind eye to this malignant trend for short-term electoral considerations. Hence, many poisonous and anti-national ideologies and discourses have been swirling amongst the Indian Muslim constituency.
Calling for the creation of a Central Madrasa Board that would monitor these religious prep schools, Maulana Kachochavi asserted: “Right now, the madrasas are under the control of Wahhabi-inspired organisations which run on Saudi money. The ideology they teach and spread is hardline Wahhabism”. The proposed Board, he added, would keep a watch on the flow of Saudi money into madrasa education in India.
India has been a model of relative tolerance, as far as the practice of Islam is concerned, for over a millennium and is currently home to as many as 150 million Indian Muslims. The factional diversity in India which has a mix of Sunni, Shia and other smaller sects is the envy of many Muslim nations and the syncretic culture that has evolved for centuries has withstood many challenges including the partition of 1947 and the more recent 2002 pogrom in Gujarat.
However, in recent years, the hardline Islamic factions that have an Arab-Wahhabi texture to them have been gaining ground in India and many subtle changes have been evidenced. For instance, the common greeting in the sub-continent, ‘salam-alikum’ has gradually transmuted into ‘Khuda-hafiz’ and has now become ‘Allah-hafiz’. The word ‘Khuda’ has been dropped since it is of Persian origin and is also seen to be preferred by the Shia populace.
Predictably, women have become the target of such imposed conformity and the new advocacy of groups like the Tablighi is that a ‘purdah’ (veil) to cover the face is not enough -- young Muslim girls are now advised (firmly) -- to keep a ‘purdah’ on their voices. To be barely seen and remain submissively within the family fold, in a silent mode, is the prevailing Wahhabi-derived prescription for the young Muslim girl -- a template that the Taliban and their adherents in Afghanistan and Pakistan ardently support.
The post 9/11 global challenge to quarantine and shrink terror predicated on a distortion of Islam cannot be won by military means alone. The greater war is that of resisting toxic interpretations of the Quran and insidious narratives that serve pernicious political ends.
The Maulanas in Moradabad have picked up the gauntlet. This denunciation of the distortion of Islam and the hijacking by the Wahabi school is to be globally commended and calls for many debates within the Muslim fold -- with women and girls being allowed to voice their opinions about what constitutes a gender equitable interpretation of Islam.
The White House with its empathetic incumbent should be apprised about the tectonic potential of Moradabad in the war against terror.
One of the most rigid and reactionary sects in all of Islam today is
Wahhabism. It is the official and dominant sect in Saudi Arabia whose
sole constitution is the Holy Qur’an.
Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia’s ruling House of Saud have been
intimately and permanently intertwined since their births. Wahhabism
created the Saudi monarchy, and the House of Saud spread Wahhabism. One
could not have existed without the other. Wahhabism gives the House of
Saud legitimacy, and the House of Saud protects and promotes Wahhabism.
The two are inseparable because each supports the other and depends on
it for survival.
Unlike Islam in other Muslim countries, however, Wahhabism treats
women as third class citizens, imposes the veil on them, and denies
them basic human rights such as: driving cars; the freedom of traveling
within the country or leaving it without permission or Mahram (“a
relative male chaperon”); the interaction with men who are not related
to them in order to maintain a complete separation of the sexes; and
until a few decades ago denied them public education and banned them
from Radio and Television.
In addition, unlike other Islamic sects, Wahhabism outlaws the
celebration of Almoulid (Prophet Mohammad’s Birthday); forbids religious
freedom, opposes political freedom of expression by constantly
admonishing Saudis to obey their leaders (who are not even elected);
bans movie theaters; forces the public and businesses to observe
prayers; cows the masses by publicly using the harshest Islamic
punishments (applied mostly to the poor, like all other punishments)
such as the beheading for convicted killers and the hand-amputation for
thieves; denies the Saudi citizenship to non-Muslims; and condoned
slavery until the 1960s. Wahhabism also abhors smoking, singing, and
dancing. To ensure full compliance of its stern ordinances, the Wahhabi
“Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” with
its religious police keeps a watchful eye on the Saudi public.
The western scholars as well as the media are equally provocative and irresponsible in their interpretation of Islamic tenets and and idiology making it worst when they intend to hurt the sentiments of other people. Islam teaches us to believe in the verse ??? ????? ??? ??? ", Quran firmly declares, " To you be your religion, and to me my religion" ( Surah Al-Kafirun, Verse-6). Some people don't believe in the practice of one's own faith, especially they have been targetting Islam and its followers which should be denounced strongly and opposed intellectually. The people who have taken this assingment should be appreciated. The Sunni-Wahabi conflict of practice has been a permanent apple of discord among the Islamic scholars, which will remain alive as it has been due to the different Islamic schools of thought and different Masaliks. The people follow the four different Imams who have some differences in their teaching of practice of Islamic tenets, but all of them are correct and true in practice of Islamic idiology and are the pillars of Islam. Anyway the present lot of Aemmas and Ulemmas should have patience and restrain from such controversies which provide a chance to un-Islamic forces to putforth their atrocious remarks and wrong interpretation of Islam.
Mr. Bhaskar is swinging in his article between rights and wrong - when he says "the common greeting in the sub-continent, ‘salam-alikum’ has gradually transmuted into ‘Khuda-Hafiz’ and has now become ‘Allah-Hafiz’", it seems that he is totally unaware of Islamic practice. Assalam Alaikum's literal meaning in Arabic is “May Allah's rehmat be upon you" and Khuda Hafiz means "May Allah save you" The former is used for greeting and the latter is used for departing. How can a Muslim, even an illiterate, exchange the phrases in Islamic practice? As far as the exchange of "Allah hafiz and Khuda hafiz" is concerned, both have the same intention, The phrase Khuda hafiz is of Persian origin and means, "May Allah save you" and in the same contest, Allah hafiz is used replacing Khuda with Allah. So the phrase "Allah hafiz becomes a combination of Arabic "Allah" and Persian "hafiz" So, what is wrong in practice if two languages are mixed? This is the age of derivatives. English has assimilated and derived thousands of foreign words that is how it got so enriched.
As far as the comment of Md.Yunus is concerned, I am absolutely sure that a true Muslim would not believe in such derogatory remarks, “Franklin Graham, who gave the invocation at George W. Bush’s first inauguration, declared: ‘The God of Islam is not the same God …. [Islam] is a very evil and wicked religion.’ Pat Robertson, a long time leader of the Religious Right, was equally provocative. ‘This man Muhammad was an absolute wide eyed fanatic… a robber … a brigand …. a killer.’…… Most provocatively, Jerry Falwell, the founder of the Moral Majority and the President of Liberty University called the Prophet Muhammad a ‘terrorist’ on national prime TV. ‘This is not a war between Arabs and Jews. It’s between God and the devil”’[p.165]. The writer has quoted and seems to believe in it. Such remarks should be denounced which have been made with an intention to defame Islam and its followers. Our Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) was the only perfect human being sent upon this earth as an epitome of unique human qualities to show that such a purified and just life is also possible. That is history. But a person, who possesses western anti-Islamic views, cannot even see the historical facts.
I agree with Dr. Haque's criticism of Sufi clerics. We do not want Islam to be a mazaar based religion. But I disagree with Dr. Haque when he extols Shaykh Muhammad Wahhaab's rigid and puritanical depiction of Islam. We do not have to spend our lives obsessed by and fearful of committing shirk. If a young mother prays at a mazaar for the recovery of her sick child, she will not be punished by the One who is repeatedly described in the Quran as being compassionate and merciful. Sensible Muslims can find a balance.
Dr. M. AHaque, it is your turn now. You have already lost the plot. You are here as Wahhabi. And you are opposing people who do not accept terrorism as part of Islam.
Writing a 59letter name for the guy who interpreted Islam in such a narrow manner doesn’t make him taller than he was, nor it makes him any authority on Islam. The shirk you people keep mouthing is nothing more than you and your kind’s obsession with the word ‘shirk’ is. You present Islam as ‘a way of life which is shirk centric’. A similar thing you cannot say about me. I don’t have attachments to the dead, or tree or rock or anything, and with rock I got reminded of the rock that you circumambulate 7 times in Mecca. I too, in the very words of Hazrat Umar, just see that rock as something that Prophet kissed. That’s it. Do I need to make any attachment with that rock as you guys do? The prophet was not born for the sole purpose of kissing that rock. Do you understand?
You people have made a mountain of that rock. And you people have made the 59 lettered name as an icon, too big to not come under any scrutiny. Remember the guy died long back, as he too was a mere mortal and cannot be taken more seriously than necessary. There have been many interpreters and he at best deserves equal honour amongst them. Not more. Don’t make Sachin Tendulkar of him.
Not a single place in your mail, you have tried to balance your leaning for Wahabbism. Are you not content with being just a Muslim? Else how do you equate rejection of Wahabbism as rejection of Quran? Has your sheikh written something that is equivalent to Quran, Nauzobilah? His crap can be torn and thrown, if it produces such a strong division as he has already done with those writings among the followers of Quran.
The stone that you make rounds and rounds can be grounded and made as dust to be scattered from sky, if it creates the division among those who are supposed to have damn cared for stones, and trees.
As for your 'panchayati' to judge who can be called a Muslim, do you think you are here father of Allah, Nauzobilah, to settle that matter in case you do not want to have Allah his rights of deciding about the imaan of any of His creation?
As for your repulsion for Mazar and nazranas, that is understandable. Even I too don’t give a damn to these. But that doesn’t mean that I will tolerate any kind of nonsense of Wahabbism. Their obsession with anti-mazar, anti-nazrana, makes it clear that they are more concerned with these practices than understanding that not just these dead guys buried can do nothing, even Allah too do not need our Sajda to do anything. He is free to do whatever He likes. Is it there that He is bound in anyway, even by His promises? Can Allah have some limit? I am sure, not, that would be absurd.
Similarly all the theory that Islam means anti-shirkism is just as absurd. Islam is Islam. It has a certain way of life, a certain belief. That’s it. But that doesn’t lean eccentrically for being particular for not giving reverence to just about anything. If not, then why in Islam, there is still scope of circling around stone, that too when we all know, it is nothing of reverence when we reserve that for Allah who is not a ‘thing’, not just anything? Why all the rituals? Why all the Sunnah when all that we have to-do is to be ‘muttaqee’.
It is because Islam has done peace with human's need for something to display his affection and reverence for Allah and people and things that reminds him of Him. Obviously, Islam means peace. But what do you understand this peace stands for? For absence of violence only? If you understand peace as that way, then that’s your limitation. Peace means one has no issue for things that are non-issue. Now go back to recall, what was the issue that lead to the revelation of Quran. I hope you know when you vouch so much for it. If not, then may be some other day I’ll put it here for you. Now go. Peace.
And yes, for your kind information, the custodian of two Holy places that we have witnessed in recent times is not necessarily the best of all men available on the earth to-do the job, nor he has been elected by all the people or majority of them in free and fair election, nor he is expected to be not unaware of the prohibitions under Islam, which includes to not have more than 4 wives. Justgo and check how many he has and you will know what a great sex racket this custodian is running perhaps exclusively for himself. I do expect to be evaluated by you as ‘so narrow minded’ for not giving this particular Islamic concession for our Holy Guardian. And yes, you can send your ‘Freedom First’ for me to see what do you read and then what you make out of it.
I appreciate Dr. M.A Haque comments and would like to get a copy "madrasas" published in Freedom First June 2006 issue. Many thanks, Abul Qassim Jalaluddin
The Qur'an tells us to seek the best meaning in it (39:18, 39:55). As I glanced through the article I was really pleased to read this remark: "the larger majority of Muslims the world over are extremists -- but have either been silent or invisible."
Samuel P. Huntington, an American political scientist of outstanding repute, in his world famous work 'Clash of Civilizations and remaking of world order’, says this about we Muslims: "The activists in Islamic fundamentalist groups are not, as Kepel points out, "aging conservatives or illiterate peasants." With Muslims as with others, the religious revival is an urban phenomenon and appeals to people who are modern oriented, well educated and pursue careers in professions, government and Commerce." John L.Esposito, Professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies and the director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and one of the most distinguished scholars, indomitable and erudite writer, rare ‘sympathizer’ of Islam writes the following in his recent publication, ‘The Future of Islam.’ (2010 publication)
“Franklin Graham, who gave the invocation at George W. bush’s first inauguration, declared: ‘The God of Islam is not the same God …. [Islam] is a very evil and wicked religion.’ Pat Robertson, a long time leader of the Religious Right, was equally provocative. ‘This man Muhammad was an absolute wide eyed fanatic… a robber … a brigand …. a killer.’…… Most provocatively, Jerry Falwell, the founder of the Moral Majority and the President of Liberty University called the Prophet Muhammad a ‘terrorist’ on national prime TV. ‘This is not a war between Arabs and Jews. It’s between God and the devil.”’ [p.165]
Later the author records: “In a documentary, ‘Undercover mosque’ British film-makes exposed sermon’s preaching bigotry and religious extremism in some of the nation’s mosques. Saudi-trained preachers were filmed condemning British democracy as un-Islamic and praising Taliban for killing British soldiers.” – p. 167.
In the backdrop of the prevalent hostile scholarship against Islam by the Western world, Uday Bhaskar’s quoted remarks – which registered in my mind as the best part of his article are indeed most pleasing – a literary bouquet of roses – and God bless him for being so sympathetic to the elephant trapped in the ditch, regardless of his religion. As for his remarks about Wahabbism, I think his views are formed by the contemporary international reports and scholarship.
Thanks Uday Bhaskar for defending the Muslims and thanks Dr. Huq for defending original Wahhabi ideology. From my side, good bye to both of you.
It is shocking to read the comments of Mr. Uday Bhaskar about Islam and Muslims. How much he knows about Islam to make such comments which are not only out of place but also atrocious. Does he know what do the so called Wahabis practice and more importantly why? Then he has linked the Wahabis with terrorism and illegal funds coming to India.
First I would like to tell him a little about the Wahabi movement.
Some people use this word to refer to the message of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab ibn Sulaymaan al-Tameemi al-Hanbali (may Allaah have mercy on him), and they call him and his followers Wahhaabis. Everyone who has any knowledge of the movement of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (may Allaah have mercy on him) and his message knows that he sought to spread the message of pure Tawheed and to warn against shirk in all its forms, such as attachment to the dead, or to trees and rocks, etc. In his ‘aqeedah (belief), he was following the way of the righteous Salaf and the Taabi’een [i.e., the earliest generations of Islam], as is indicated by his books and fatwas, and the books of his followers among his sons and grandsons and others. All of these books are in print and are in circulation among the people. His message was in accordance with the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
To call it extremist is denying the Qur'an and Sunnah. One who denies these two has no right to claim to be Muslim. I am referring to those 'Muslims' who were in the said Conference or Mahapanchayat and not Mr. Bhaskar. He does not claim to be a Muslim.
As far as people like Maulana Kachochavi are concerned, their motive is clear. They want their followers to be behind them and provide them with "Nazranaas" (gifts) which runs into millions in some of the Mazaars. What happens to that money? Have they ever told the community about it. There are hundreds of families attached to various Mazaars in differrent places who not only survive but lead lavish life at the cost of Nazranaas given by poor Muslims. They donot work and just extort the illeterate visitors who incidently are mostly non-Muslims. I have seen at several of the Mazaars how people are coerced to pay huge amounts as Nazranaa. In return they are given some ash, sweets, flowers etc. which have no significance as per Islamic teachings. I am sure you may be aware that few years back some Khadims attached to a very important Mazaar were running sex racket for the visitors. How they can claim to be Muslims, I am unable to understand.
Further they are maligning the Muslim community in the country by talking about illegal Petro Dollars and all that. If they are aware of such activities, why donot they inform the Deptt. of Revenue Intelligence and get rewarded. They are simply doing disservice to Muslims in the country and providing people who are against Muslims reasons to talk more.
I donot want to write more. I suggest that Mr Bhaskar should spare ten minutes and read an article entitled: "Madarsas : How they survive and why these are proliferating?" published in "Freedom First" June 2006 (page 9). If he is unable to find the magazine as it more than two years old issue, I can forward the same.