‘Forget Mandir-Masjid, Focus On Issues That Matter’

Mufti Danish Ashrafi Qadri, 29, teaches at a madarsa in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. Qadri feels Muslims should let go of the Babri Masjid issue and concentrate on solving real problems

I teach at a madarsa and conduct the namaz at a local masjid. As a mufti, I have read the Quran and Hadees in detail (a 9-year-long study is required) and have legal powers under Islam. Being a Mufti, I can tell you that the Quran says that Allah’s ibadat can be done anywhere. I also subscribe to the thought that God can be found in one’s heart and even though a place of worship is more ‘conducive’ and ‘helpful’ in finding peace, if any place of worship is causing non-peaceful situation, a Muslim should let it go. And therefore, I am okay with the Ayodhya verdict that came out on November 9.

A masjid is also known as Baitullah (the house of Allah). People were asked to come an offer the namaz together because it fostered a feeling of community-bonding and love among people. It is similar to kirtans and kathas in Hinduism. And the word masjid comes from sajda (which means bowing down), a place where you bow down in front of Allah, and let go of your ego, and surrender. I would say people should now leave the Babri Masjid / Ram Janmabhoomi temple issue into the hands of the very God who is at the centre of this issue.

The Quran talks about sabr (patience) and shukr (gratitude). One can be patient only when one has deep faith in God, otherwise it is difficult to be patient. So each moment in life is either an opportunity for sabr or shukr.

Islam focuses a lot on community building. About 1,400 years ago when Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was blessed with being a messenger of Allah and when Islam started, masjids were meant to build communities. Not only people came together collectively to surrender their egos, masjids also functioned as community halls as well as places of justice where people could bring their problems and the elders and the knowledgeable could help solve them, much like how panchayats function. It was meant to be a place where everyone felt loved and accepted. However, some people who are what I call possessed ‘mazhabi shiddat’ or are under the influence of ego, and very passionately at that, cause problems in the name of mandir or masjid. Someone who has truly felt God becomes peaceful. 

Many people who consider themselves the thekedars of Islam (the protector of Islam) have only known ego, and not really known Allah, or even the Prophet. The word Islam (it contains the word salam or salamat) also means people who convey peace. And many people who wrongly interpret Islam to create non-peaceful situations haven’t truly read the Quran or interpreted it properly. 

In the end, I would just like to say that people, be they followers of any faith, should come together and figure out ways to make the present better rather than bickering about the past. There are so many important issues like pollution control, education, health etc. to be taken care of and we should behave like human beings first. At the end of the day we are all humans. 

Just like the Hindu philosophy of ‘VasudhaivKutumbakam’ (the whole world is one family), Islam also believes in equality and brotherhood. When people offer namaz together or go to perform the Hajj, all differences are removed and people are treated as one. Everyone who goes to Mecca to perform Hajj has to wear similar kind of clothing and has to stand in the same line. So people should behave like humans first with each other, in a humane manner. Islam also says that the best way to set the world right is to set oneself right, and if anyone else is doing wrong as per a person’s perspective, let God handle it.

Hindu Votebank Versus Rule Of Law

‘shraddhaa’, the Hindu sentiment. This parliamentary move to undo a judicial verdict reminds of what transpired 32 years back when law was challenged in the name of faith. Pertaining to the Muslim community initially, it engulfed the whole country. The apex court had then upheld the claim of Shah Bano, a Muslim divorcee, in a suit for maintenance beyond what is mandated in the Sharia. The court had made some observations on failure to enact a Uniform Civil Code as prescribed in the Directive Principles of the Constitution. While these observations came in handy for the BJP that has nursed this issue for long, for the Muslim orthodoxy, this was a direct interference in their faith. Pressures were built on the streets and through lobbying in parliament. The Muslim community did not have (the situation has changed but marginally) a secular leadership, its own clergy doubled up as intermediaries and spokespersons and pressurized the government and Muslim lawmakers. Finding the Congress’ traditional vote challenged, an inexperienced Rajiv Gandhi buckled and brought in the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986, restoring the status quo ante that favoured Muslim men over women. This capitulating before the Muslim orthodoxy and use of the legislative route to overturn a judicial verdict, it was perceived, may not go well with the Hindu voters of the Congress party. To assuage that sentiment, the Rajiv government unlocked the doors of the long-disputed temple in Ayodhya supposedly built on the place where Ram was born. He fell between the two stools and lost the 1989 elections. This triggered a chain of events — BJP stalwart L K Advani’s Rath Yatra (1990), destruction of the 15th century Babri Mosque that stood on the disputed site (1992) and sectarian violence that followed. In its prolonged aftermath, Gujarat witnessed violence under Modi’s watch (2002). India has never been the same again. What we see today is competitive communalism with the Congress pursuing “soft Hindutva” to counter the BJP’s ‘hard’ one. As always happens, the ‘hard’ one sets the agenda. This is evident in Congress President Rahul Gandhi frequently visiting religious shrines during his campaign trails. In Sabrimala’s case, he admits to his party’s stand in Kerala being ‘different’. The Congress does not want to lose the Hindu vote. In Kerala, only the ‘Godless’ communists who rule in “God’s own country” are left, isolated, to uphold the court verdict and protect women who dared to approach the temple, but were turned back. Like Rajiv Gandhi whose government enjoyed the largest ever parliamentary majority, today Modi, too, enjoys a comfortable majority and does not have to worry about being destabilized. But unlike a politically naïve Rajiv who got buffeted by both communities and a Congress that continues to tail BJP while attacking it, Modi and his party seem clear about their aim. They want a fresh electoral mandate for now and beyond that, ‘consolidation’ of the majority Hindu community. By no means confined to sprawling, poorly-developed Uttar Pradesh and the North, the Ayodhya issue contrasts with Sabrimala that is playing out in a highly literate, multi-religious and compact Kerala. Yet, both Hindu and Muslim religious traditions have combined with patriarchal pre-dominance in a significantly matriarchal society. The process has begun elsewhere and cannot easily be stopped. Women are allowed entry in the Haji Ali Durgah in Mumbai although trustees resisted saying the women devotees may “show their breasts while kneeling to pray.”  Those running the Shani Shinganapur temple in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district also relented after women forced their way, strongly supported by media and public opinion. These are but individual examples that bear little generalization. Significantly, however, they have emerged from within the community, without the State or politicians’ involvement. Women are gainers as questions are being raised: If the Modi Government can go the whole hog to outlaw triple talaq in support of gender justice for Muslim women, do Hindu women keen to pray at Sabrimala not deserve the same justice? For now, political implications are very many, none too exciting. While Modi talks incessantly about ‘vikas’ , development, his party’s men and women have turned faith into a corrosive force and an expedient tool to win elections. The most charitable thing that can be said, as assessed fairly objectively by Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor, is that Modi is caught between his own development platform and pressures from his political and ideological mentors to push a backward-looking faith-based agenda of which the temple in Ayodhya is the core. The development agenda has not worked, or to put it charitably again, not to the expectations Modi generated four years ago. With the economy not doing well – a matter of intense argument and can only be measured in terms of expectations and not what critics and previous governments did or did not – Modi placing his electoral bets on development seems less likely. The pressures to fall back on the temple agenda have increased given the compulsions of a fresh mandate. But they have been hit by the Supreme Court declining to fix until January 2019 a date for hearing the Ayodhya case. In doing that, the court has judiciously diminished the possibility of a final verdict before the next Lok Sabha election. If Modi takes the ordinance/legislation route to expedite Ayodhya and undo the Sabrimala verdict, India will be likely swayed by a combination of faith and a heavy dose of hyper-nationalism, causing a toxic us-versus-you discourse. The author can be reached at mahendraved07@gmail.com  ]]>

Lawyers' conduct in Ayodhya case shameful: CJI

 Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Thursday lamented the conduct of certain senior lawyers during the hearing in the Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case and dubbed it “shameful”.

Senior lawyers Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan and Dushant Dave had threatened to leave on Tuesday after the apex court asked senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan to commence arguments in the Ayodhya case. “What happened yesterday (Wednesday) was shameful. What happened day before yesterday (Tuesday) was extremely shameful,” said Chief Justice Misra, who heads the Constitution Bench. “Unfortunately, a small group of lawyers think they can raise their voice. We make it clear that raising of voice will not be tolerated. Raising of voice only shows your (lawyers) inadequacy and incompetence.” Reminding the Bar of its traditions, he said: “It is not the tradition of the Bar. If the Bar does not regulate itself, we will compel it to regulate itself,” Chief Justice Misra said. Sibal, Dhavan and Dave had sought deferment of the Ramjanambhoomi case hearing till after the 2019 general elections but the Supreme Court had asked senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan — appearing for deity Ramlala — to commence arguments. The case was later deferred to February 8. Earlier, lawyer Rajeev Dhavan told the apex court that he would not mind any judgment in a case of the tussle between the Centre and the Delhi government on the powers to administer Delhi, which was objected to by senior counsel Indira Jaising. The Chief Justice appreciated Jaising for telling Dhavan that he can’t be presumptive about the judgment. The Chief Justice’s remarks on Thursday came on the commencement of hearing in the case when senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, in order to express the legal fraternity’s concerns, said they too were “conservative” in practicing the Bar’s traditions and upholding the court’s majesty. (IANS)  
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On Babri anniversary, BJP puts Cong in Sibal corner

This is getting interesting!

After Congress threw Kapil Sibal under the bus saying that he is representing Sunni Wakf Board on Babri Masjid in his personal capacity, Sunni Wakf Board gets back with saying, we never asked for postponement of court proceedings, Congress did ?? — Sonam Mahajan (@AsYouNotWish) December 6, 2017   By then, Modi had moved on to Dahod. Addressing a meeting of party workers, Modi said: “The Sunni Waqf Board must be congratulated for their brave stand on the matter and disassociating themselves from the statement of Kapil Sibal ji.” Party president Amit Shah jumped into the fray, too. By Wednesday evening, the Sunni Waqf Board was leading a damage-control exercise. All the petitioners in the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi case, including the Sunni Waqf Board, said that they totally support senior lawyer Kapil Sibals plea to the Supreme Court that the hearing of the case should be deferred till July 2019. They also emphasised that Haji Mehboob is neither a member of the Sunni Waqf Board nor does he represent the Board in any capacity. “Whatever Kapil Sibal saheb said in the Supreme Court yesterday (Tuesday) was said after thorough consideration and after taking us into confidence. We totally support his stand,” Zafaryab Jilani, a member of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, who is actively involved in the case since the beginning, said. Sibal, too, came out swinging, albeit a little late because it appeared that the damage had been done. The PM should “check his facts”, the Congress leader said. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), a leading plaintiff in the case that is also bearing the cost of litigation, also said that Sibal’s plea was right as the BJP would try to cash in on the Ram temple issue in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Modi’s remarks came a day after Sibal on Tuesday urged the Supreme Court to defer hearing in the Ayodhya title suit till July 2019 when the next Lok Sabha elections will be over. However, the demand was brushed aside by the court as it fixed February 8, 2018 for commencing final hearing in the case. The Congress had distanced itself from Sibal’s stand saying it does not represent the party’s stand. The Gujarat Assembly polls will be held on December 9 and December 14.     The BJP wasn’t far behind Modi, rather outdoing him with a vicious, Padmavati-flavoured attack on Gandhi. “Rahul Gandhi has teamed up with Owaisis, Jilanis to oppose Ram temple in Ayodhya. Rahul Gandhi is certainly a “Babar Bhakt” and a “Kin of Khilji”. Babar is said to have destroyed the Ram temple in Ayodhya and the 13th century Khilji ruler plundered the Somnath temple. Zafaryab Jilani is convenor of the Babri Masjid Action Committee. “Nehru dynasty sided with both Islamic invaders. Travesty and perversity of dynasty!” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson G.V.L. Narasimha Rao said in a tweet. On Tuesday, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi said the Sangh Parivar wants to use the Ram temple issue to save Narendra Modi in the 2019 general elections as “he has failed on all fronts”.  

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Only temple to be built at Ayodhya, says Bhagwat

Ahead of the Gujarat elections, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Friday raised the pitch for a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, saying it will be constructed only at the disputed site and “nothing else” will be built there.

“The Ram temple will be constructed at the site of Ramjanmabhoomi and nothing else will be built. It will be constructed and that too in its original form and with the same stones. It will be built under the leadership of those who led this movement and have been holding its flag for 20-25 years,” he said at a three-day ‘Dharam Sansad’ of the VHP here. “Time has come close. We have to be very careful and take steps one by one. We don’t have to think about anything else. “For the welfare of Hindu society and for the universal welfare of the world, let the Ram temple be built at Ramjanbhoomi in Ayodhya. This is my only wish,” Bhagwat said after the head of Pejawar Mutt, Vishweshateertha Swamiji, said that construction of Ram temple would begin within one year after crossing all hurdles. This is the first time that Bhagwat has spoken so vehemently on the Ram temple issue in a public address. His comments assume significance in the context of renewed mediation attempts by Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to find a solution to the dragging dispute in Ayodhya. The strongest reaction came from Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi. “An obnoxious statement made by RSS Chief, it clearly gives a message that the #RSS is assuming to be SC. This is a delicate matter and RSS is playing with fire on this issue. I hope SC takes note of this devious design, being laid out by Sangh Parivaar,” said the three-time MP and president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. The Shia Central Wakf Board said earlier this week that it was ready to build a mosque in Lucknow so that the temple could be built in Ayodhya, a proposal which was also submitted to the Supreme Court. Recalling his association with Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackrey, Bhagwat said: “Balasaheb once told me clearly that you cannot build Ram temple by kar sewa only. It needs a tough fight which may take even 20 to 30 years. If you continue with this fight then there is a possibility of construction of Ram temple in 20 to 30 years. He said ‘swayamsewaks’ often come to him and ask when the temple will come up Ayodhya. “I do not say anything to them as I am not an astrologer. It started in 1990. What Balasaheb used to say, we have completed 20 years in 2010 and would complete 30 years in 2020. His words would not go in vain,” he said. Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists tore down the 16th century Babri Mosque at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, claiming it had been built after destroying an original Ram temple. The VHP then raised a makeshift Ram temple, saying it was where Lord Ram was born.

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