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Kerala Nadwatul Mujahideen to hold state convention

A four-day state convention of Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen, a progressive Muslim organization, would begin from December 26 at Pullepadi Maidan in Ernakulam district of the state. The decision was taken at a preliminary meeting which was inaugurated by the general secretary of All-India Ahle Hadees, Maulana Azhar Ali Imam Mahdi Salafi on September 22 here. A reception committee of 25,000-strong members has been constituted for propaganda campaign which would cover each and every village and town in the State. An office for this purpose has been inaugurated by the KNM vice-president, H.E. Mohammed Babu Sait. In the coming weeks, various action plans would be launched throughout Kerala to mobilise the support of Mujahids. The state president, T. P. Abdulla Koya, is the chief patron of the committee. Dr. Ali Ajman and A. P. Abdul Khader Moulavi are the chairman and the general convener respectively.

Meanwhile, the Mujahid Students Movement (MSM), students’ wing of KNM, at its state council meeting disqualified 27 members from its working committee and selected new office bearers — Mansoorali Chemmad as president and Faizal Chakkarakallu as general secretary respectively. However, the MSM state president, T. K. Ashraf, general secretary K. Sajjad, and treasurer P. K. Habeeb Rehman, in a joint release at Calicut countered the claim that MSM state council has elected new office bearers.

The latest developments came in for sharp criticism and the squabblings within the movement have also attracted media’s attention. The two-day study camp conducted by MSM at Calicut in late August, opined that propagation of Islam should not be done either through coercion or enticement. It countered the argument of Islamic Students Movement (ISM) that religion should be propagated through social services and relief works, stems from inferiority complex. The participants in the study classes, ISM state secretary, Haris Ibnu Salim and Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulema general secretary M Mohammed emphasized that religious ideals should be conveyed directly, and not through alluring or any other means of appeasement. This view has been interpreted by the rival students wing as extremism. In a recent interview telecast by a TV channel, Hussain Madavoor, a noted activist of KNM, justified the ISM’s perception by saying that non-believers also deserve a portion of zakat or sadaqah and services of relief work at a time of calamity. It could not be viewed as appeasement tactics to bring them into Islamic fold. He added that the Mujahid Movement should not nurse such discriminatory or extremist policy.

The history of Mujahid movement in Malabar goes back to the mid-1920s after the fall of Ottoman Empire and Khilafat in Turkey. In 1921, the Malabar Muslims, known as Moplahs, started a rebellion against the British raj whom they treated as enemies of Islam. The British suppressed the agitation of Moplah Muslims in connivance with the Hindu landlords and deported some leaders of the rebellion to Andaman islands. The leaderless mob had been floating aimlessly. In early 1940s, the Indian National Congress veterans like Late Mr. Abdurehiman, and even Mahatma Gandhi termed the rebellion as "Freedom Struggle." But some myopic communal historians depicted it as an "anti-Hindu aggression," quoting some isolated incidents from here and there in their apparent bid to give the Movement a communal hue. 

The Moplahs were illiterate and in their perception English was the language of their enemy and hence education in that language a taboo. They hated even their mother tongue, Malayalam, which they viewed the language of upper-caste Brahmin landlords who treated Moplah Muslims and other lower-caste communities as slaves solely to work in their paddy fields, rear cattle, and do all other manual work on a pittance. Further during the Moplah rebellion, these landlords helped the British to suppress the uprising against them. On this grudge, Moplahs were reluctant to send their children to schools. Instead, the children were admitted to madrasahs run by obscurantist mullahs. A few of them could read and write Malayalam, that also exclusively written in Arabic script only. The Muslim periodicals, had very few readers, since they were printed in the script of Arabic-Malayalam. Their songs known as "Mapilappattu" got wide acclaim.

It was during this time that some educated Muslim youths, who had been influenced by the views of Wahabi Movement, came forward to persuade these obscurantist parents to send their children to schools and get them educated. Gradually, the Muslim community in Malabar, who had been immersed in steep poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, and superstitions, could grasp the value of education and the importance of their mother tongue, Malayalam and also the official language, English. Education gave them a new status. The children of the bigot parents were clever, mature and vigilant in fortifying the dignity of their community and the country. Often they proved as real patriots, while comparing them with the upper-caste Brahmin landlords who had been supporting the British rulers as their protectors.

Sunnis constitute majority of Muslim population in Kerala. Until early 1940s, Mujahid or Salafi sect was unknown to the Sunnis, who were the followers of Shafi madhab. Mujahids repudiated many practices of Sunnis, often leading to clashes between the two. Mujahids, minuscule at the time of its formation in Malabar, had made their own mosques where Muslim women could join the congregational prayers, especially Juma on Friday, in defiance of. strong opposition from orthodox Sunnis. 

The Rouzathul Uloom Association (RUA) established in 1942 by the renowned Islamic scholar, Maulana Abusabah Ahmed Ali, who had initiated to open an Arabic college, Farooq College, Teachers Training College, Higher Secondary School, English medium school and allied institutions at the scenic campus in Feroke, near Calicut city. Many noted writers and scholars in Kerala had been educated in these institutions. For the first time in the history of Malabar, Muslim girls were also admitted in Mujahid-run schools. In a recent meeting of the working committee, RUA has decided to establish a centre for Islamic studies and research, seminar complex with audio-video facilities, and Arabic language Institute as a part of the year-long Diamond Jubilee. Other events lined up are Ulema meet, women’s convention and Qur’an Science seminars in which Muslim women can freely participate. Intellectuals from other faiths and wide political spectrum were also used to attend the Mujahids’ seminars and conventions. Quite often the internecine rivalry has weakened various Muslim organizations at the crucial time when Ummah encounters the common enemy of Islam. The present differences of opinion in the KNM appear to be in terms of some marginal issues and there is no major divergence between the two groups.

¯ K Hamza in Calicut

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