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Published in the 1-15 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


The Barelvi Split from Muslim Personal Law Board

The current version of the Muslim Personal Law (MPL) in India is seriously flawed. For instance the triple talaq element. These anomalies of the MPL are a corruption of the guidance in Quran & Hadith. They are also not in agreement with the MPL as it currently exists in various Muslim majority countries. More than anything, these anomalies have caused great hardship to Muslim women in India.

It is indeed very sad that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has made only lukewarm effort to reform MPL over the last 35 years. Even though many learned Muslim scholars are members of the Board, and they know very well what Quran & Hadith say in these matters, they buckle under the pressure of the half educated Mullas, and take no action.

It is high time that this Board bring about these reforms. If some obscurantist Muslims leave the Board, so be it. But the Board must move on these reforms post haste. Currently, the Board is working on a model Nikahnama that is expected to remove the triple talaq element. Let us hope that finally the Board will release it.

For his narrow interests, Maulana Mufti Ahmad Raza Khan created schism in the community by creating the so called Barelvi sect. Now for the same narrow interests, his great grand son Maulana Tauqir Raza Khan is widening that gulf by splitting AIMPLB and creating a separate Personal Law Board for the Barelvi Muslim sect.

It must be pointed out that many Sajjada Nasheens in various durgahs of erstwhile Sufi saints, the core of the Barelvi sect, are some of the most corrupt Muslims today. They have exploited the durgahs of our revered Aulias to make huge money for themselves. Generation after generation many men from these circles have been involved in corrupt schemes, fleecing of ordinary Muslims, horsetrading with politicians etc.

Today many durgahs including those in Ajmer, Nizamuddin, Barabanki etc have become dens of corruption and local Muslim mafia, where drug smuggling, thievery, extortion from shopkeepers are in operation. Last year the ordinary Muslim citizens who live in the vicinity of the Ajmer durgah held a protest rally against this corruption and appealed to the govt to take action.
It can not be forgotten that during BJP rule, quite a few Sajjadanasheens of durgahs honored LK advani with awards and garlanded him in the premises of durgahs. In the last election they told Muslims to vote for BJP.

Kaleem Kawaja, Washington DC

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