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Safia Iqbal’s gimmick: 
Because Jamaat leaders did not agree to mubahala, they are "guilty"!

How religion can be misused for petty gains is evident from recent moves of a frustrated Safia Iqbal, principal of Scholar School, located in Okhla, South Delhi.

On August 31, she released a pamphlet challenging Maulana Sirajul Hasan, Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and chairman, Ishaat-e-Islam Trust (IIT) and Maulana Shafi Moonis, vice president of the Jamaat for a mubahala [which she calls ‘mubahila’!]. The pamphlet was, as usual, aimed at the hapless Muslim community (whose children are paying with their career for this gimmickry) rather than the Jamaat or Mrs Iqbal. 

She did not take pains to mention the proposed mubahala’s time, date or place, not to mention the fact that mubahala (which means mutual cursing) was never practiced between Muslims (the Prophet proposed it in year 10 hijri to the Christians of Najran who did not accept his prophethood but they backed off from this challenge]. On September 3, she called a press conference at the Constitution Club, Delhi, and complained that "despite being invited" none from IIT came to her press meet. 

Taking the IIT refusal to be dragged into her net as a "proof" of their guilt, she declared magisterially, "their absence shows who is right and who is wrong." On the other hand, Mohammad Ahsan of IIT, rejected the proposed mubahala as a gimmick, and "totally uncalled for." "Besides, the matter is subjudice, so why doesn’t she wait for the final judgment," he asked. "Her act is neither legal nor Islamic," he asserted.

Jamaat leaders say the lady was once again trying to kill two birds with a single stone — a press conference and a mubahala in one go, at a single time and venue.

Jamaat leaders have alleged that the lady has sensed that she is going to lose the case in the court. That makes her resort to religion even as the case is subjudice, which is potentially a case of contempt of court.

Earlier this year, the Delhi High Court threw out Mrs. Iqbal’s petition for the right of possession of the school. Its verdict said that, she and her husband, Iqbal Waraqwala, had no right over the school property. However, it added that they could be removed with "due process of law." Taking advantage of this ambiguity, as the process of eviction was not spelt out in the verdit, she is trying to project herself victorious before a gullible press. The Trust has gone back to the court to clarify the "due process" in this particular case.

Even as the court is still to pass a verdict, Mrs. Iqbal has been releasing pamphlets, calling press conferences frequently. On every occasion, she blames the people associated with the Jamaat and the IIT for all the wrong things happening with the Scholar School. The Jamaat says initially her husband got a piece of land from the Trust on a lease of five years in 1989. The agreement was renewed for another five years, and the second time Mrs. Iqbal also became a party to it. The agreement ended in 2000, and according to the conditions stipulated in it they have to return it to the Trust. Knowing the current value of the land and school building which is worth more than Rs. 3 crore, she applied for the school’s recognition, under a new organisation floated without informing the other party. Her application was challenged by the Trust leading to its rejection. She then filed a complaint in the Delhi High Court for the right of possession of the school, which also got rejected.

"Now instead of waiting for the judgment patiently, she is resorting to all sorts of gimmicks," IIT’s Mohammad Ahsan says. Putting up a banner announcing Jamaat leaders’ names as participants of a mubahala on September 3 at a particular venue is itself a fraudulent act, Jamaat leaders said.

"Who had told her that we were coming to the Constitution Club for a mubahala?" asks a Jamaat leader. The answer is that no Jamaat leader had agreed to enter the trap laid by her. 

Area residents feel that it would be far more fair if this indecent squabble for property is not given a religious colour. Is it too much to ask if we as common Muslims request not to be deluged with these unwelcome pamphlets, they ask...

¯ Jeelani Khan

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