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Published in the 16-31 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

AIMPLB's new tasks

By Masood Hasan

Lucknow: The general body meeting of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) slated to be held in Bhopal by end of March next is likely to be stormy as several thorny issues confronting Muslims might be taken up at the meeting. The way the vice-president of the AIMPLB Maulana Kalbe Sadiq raised a strong objection to the statement of the spokesperson of the AIMPLB Abdul Rahim Qureshi on the family planning issue and his claim that Islam did not allow birth control, a split in the Board seems evident. Members of the AIMPLB are sore at the statement of Kalbe Sadiq and are of the view that he always issues controversial statements creating a piquant situation for the AIMPLB while he never raised the issues of family planning and co-education within the AIMPLB itself. Kalbe Sadiq has made it clear that Islam has stressed on quality of life not quantity. He pointed out that the opinion expressed by AR Qureshi on family planning was not the view of Islam. Kalbe Sadiq’s views on co-education and family planning have evoked criticism and members of the Board are said to be preparing to grill the Maulana at the meeting in Bhopal.

Kalbe Sadiq has stressed co-education to make Muslims progress and prosper. Strong dissenting voices are emanating from members of the board. Maulana Kalbe Sadiq said the community would be prosperous, progressive and liberal only when it would produce "scholars". 

Maulana Sadiq represents the Shia sect on the board and his views about co-education and family planning should not be considered as the view of the Muslim Law Board, says Dr Naim Hamid who is a member of the Board. 

The Naib Imam of Eidgah, Maulana Khalid Rashid of Firangi Mahal, has also opposed co-education on the ground that western civilization had already played havoc with the Muslim society. However, he made it clear that there was no ban on "co-prayer." If there was enough space in the mosque, an area in the mosque could be cordoned off for the ladies for co-prayers. The Naib Imam said that in the light of Shariat, mingling of boys and girls was not allowed. Khalid Rashid, while defending the Muslim Law Board spokesperson Abdul Rahim Qureshi, said that such statement by Maulana Kalbe Sadiq might only create confusion among members of the community and give a wrong message to non-Muslims. He said that the Law Board stand was always "Islamic". He said that chairman of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Syed Rabey Hasani Nadwi had already made it clear that Sadiq's views on family planning were his personal views and did not represent the Board. Maulana Kalbe Sadiq said that the AIMPLB represented the Ummah and not Islam. The Naib Imam reminded the Maulana that the Law Board has been performing its job within the limits of Shariat and in the light of Islamic jurisprudence. 

Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, who is also a member of the Law Board, has favoured co-education and said there should be a separate seat arrangement in the class and girls should cover themselves in accordance with the Shariat. He said that if the girls are in Hijab then it could not be termed un-Islamic. He said that women could offer prayers in mosques and even stand in the back row behind men. On the issue of family planning. Maulana Kalbe Jawwad said he had not seen any edict that was claimed by Maulana Sadiq. 

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