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. . . no, but he is wrong
By Rasheed Ansari

The Milli Gazette of July 16-31 contains an open letter to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. By publishing this letter you did not do any service to the Indian Muslim. Instead, you have strengthened the hands of those elements who want to disfigure the sketch of true Islam by using such Muslims who take pride in branding themselves as so-called “progressive, liberal and modern Muslims.” 

Islamic Shari'ah is based on the orders of Almighty Allah and Holy Prophet (pbuh). The Qur’an and the sayings of Holy Prophet (pbuh) are final and absolute. No power on earth can change them. Islam is the last religion blessed on this world by Allah.

The “great difficulties” the community faces in worldly affairs were definitely in the mind of Allah, who planned world order and system from the beginning to the end of this world. Knowing all the developments Allah gave us the Islamic system of life, hence ulama being obedient are bound to be inflexible in their approach towards implementing every principle of Shari'ah.

Ulama can give their opinion only in minor issues, about which there is no specific ruling and no guideline is available from Qur'an, hadith and actions of companions of our Holy Prophet (pbuh). This is called “ijtihad”, and this is also subject to ijma’ (opinion of a great majority of ulama).

Islam is a universal religion and this is not merely an Indian religion, therefore Indian ulama are not authorised to do anything, which has universal implications. In case any group or country does so it is not acceptable and is unauthorised.

The following points merit attention:
(1) The system of bank interest, the main weapons of few capitalists and zionists in order to destroy the economy of poor masses and countries cannot be preferred over non-interest-bearing economy just because of corruption, dishonesty and poor efficiency of any such organizations or banks.
(2) It is most unfortunate to go against Qur'anic orders. Family planning has already been rejected by ulama.
(3) Shari'ah cannot permit the transplantation of human organs as a rule. However, this may be permitted in rare and exceptional cases and in extraordinary circumstances.
(4) Bashir Saheb probably could not understand the very spirit of the animal sacrifice on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. This is not a mere ritual. The proposal is ridiculous and absurd. Tommorow someone may say: why dead bodies should be dressed in new cloth before burial. The cost of new cloth can be useful to the poor!
(5) There are already very clear instructions and conditions which make Haj obligatory. There is no need of any further legislation. Nobody can frame a rule to permit performing Haj. Only after completing all their parental duties, responsibilities and obligations they should perform Haj. Performing or fulfilling one obligation is not subjected to other obligations. If anybody is not regular in offering his prayers, should he not observe fasting of Ramadan.
(6) Both the recitation of the Qur’an and its understanding have their own importance, but learning to read the Qur'an is more important. The language of Islam is Arabic. All types of prayers and rituals are to be performed in Arabic, in order to give it a universal touch. If understanding of the verses is so important, then Mr Bashir’s views are applicable to Namaz also. The use of Arabic leads to unity and uniformity, otherwise to make matters easy our Holy Prophet would have allowed all the rituals in the languages of non-Arabic areas which came under the umbrella of Islam.
(7) A few proposals of Mr Bashir about madrasas, specially about changing the curricula/syllabi of the madrasas may be acceptable and deserve praise. However, the main character of madrasas, to promote and establish Islam, cannot be changed, as we cannot deviate from the main purpose. Mr Bashir and like-minded people may establish job-oriented modern schools.

The author is socially conscious citizen of Hyderabad
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