am writing you in response to your letter on Milli Gazette: http://www.milligazette.com/Archives/2005/16-30Apr05-Print-Edition/163004200547a.htm.
I would like to thank you for asking these questions to Muslim community
and giving them the opportunity to explain the accusations, which we
hear in every RSS/BJP/VHP public meeting.
social ideology of secularism is that religion and supernatural beliefs
are not seen as the key to understanding the world and are instead
segregated from matters of governance and reasoning. Itís
true that Islam hasnít done anything for secularism, so has
Christianity, Hinduism and other religions. Honestly
Muslims do not believe in secularism but all of us want the benefit of
secularism so what is wrong in asking for it?
treatment of women in Islam, what you see and hear about Muslim women in
is not Islamic. Itís more cultural than religious. Remember 50 years
back majority of Indians were like them, everyone has changed
unfortunately we couldnít.
is the person, who leads the prayer. A woman Imam can lead prayers of
women, a child can lead the prayer of children and a man can lead the
prayer of men, children and women as well. A woman is not allowed to
lead menís prayer but she is encouraged to take part in other
theological and religious aspects. Have you ever witnessed a Hindu
wedding ceremony being performed by a female priest or a female priest
in temple or a priest who is not from Brahman
cast, I bet not; so why
are you so eager about women Imam.
Islam the concept of family planning is a little different than the
modern concept. A Muslim is encouraged to have many children provided he
can give them a good quality of life. He is not allowed to kill a child
out of the fear of poverty or for the reason that the child is a girl.
If we put your facts of Muslims not adopting family planning then
and Gulf countries should have larger population than
. The reason why Indian Muslims have large families is not because of
the religion but because of illiteracy. An illiterate Muslim and
illiterate Hindu are in same situation, looking in your neighbourhood.
in your religion divorce does not exist since a Hindu is married not
only for his whole life but for seven lives, in Islam a man can divorce
his wife by pronouncing talaq three times. Each time, when he pronounces
talaq he should wait for one month, so he has to wait for a period of
two months to divorce his wife. In this period family, relatives,
friends and Qazi are asked to resolve the problem to avoid divorce. If a
woman wants to divorce her husband then she has to go through the court.
I hope this does not sound as bad as you hear in the media.
the ban on Satanic Verses, recently fashion designers of
printed Hindu gods and goddesses on undergarments and shoes. This
brought huge protests from Hindu community demanding ban on the company
and designers. For designers it was creativity but for Hindus it was an
insult. Muslims have similar emotions for Satanic Verses and what is
wrong with that?
you say that Muslims do not appreciate other Indian Muslims who have
achieved something in their life, it is a plain lie. You live in
and you know that there is not a single unbiased newspaper or TV channel
through which Muslims can voice their thoughts. When one Imam asks
Muslims not to sacrifice cow on Eid ul azha (Bakra Eid) it is rarely
covered by the media but when Imam is asked to give fatwa on issues like
Imrana case and then it remains as headline for months. Who is to be
blamed? You say Muslim we say media! If you have not noticed, there is a
regular special column in Milli Gazette on the achievements of Muslim in
different fields (please buy a printed edition).
to BJP, uniform civil code has become the big issue. Everyone blames
that Muslims donít want uniform civil code while in reality no one
wants it. Each and every religion does not want to lose its right to
practice religious laws. Here are a few quick facts for you to
understand the problem:
If, as Hindus say, it is
not fair for Muslim women to share their husbands with other women or be
divorced by three words, it is also unfair that in Hindu inheritance
rights, sons, and not daughters, can inherit the property. Or that a
wife has fewer rights than her in-laws over her husband's property, but
a husband has more rights than his in-laws over his wife's property. Or
that in Christian law; a husband can get a divorce on grounds of
adultery, while a wife has to prove adultery and
Christians are not allowed
from willing property for charitable and religious purposes (Section 118
of the Indian Succession Act).
People think only Muslims
want polygamy. Why? Because they are most vocal about it. In Islam
polygamy is permissible but itís definitely not encouraged. According
to the government statistics, only 5.2 percent Muslim men are polygamous
while 5.8 percent Hindus, 9 per cent Scheduled Caste and 14 per cent
tribals have more than one wife.
Do you know that in
it is a common practice that all brothers marry one woman so that their
property is not divided and it is permissible by the Indian
themselves have different Hindu Personal Laws in every state of
. Why doesn't first come up with a unified Hindu Personal Law that is
uniform for all Hindus in every state across the country?
A Sikh is allowed to carry
a dagger (Kripan), if you carry it you will be arrested by the police.
There is separate tax system for Hindu
undivided families not for non-Hindu undivided families (Hindu Undivided
Family code). Why? Is our joint family any different from yours?
of us Indians are hyphenated citizens - we carry with us our linguistic,
caste, and religious identities. Do you know that before the Hindu Civil
Code of 1956, they were subject to the Civil Code of 1898. Why did the
Hindu's wish for a separate law? Because they wished for a structure in
keeping with their practices.
is also true that obscurantist religious practises cannot be merely
wished away. There is always an element of force in changing them.
When William Bentinck abolished sati (burning widows with husbandís
dead body), a number of Hindus opposed him for 'interfering'
in Hindu customs. But Bentinck, with support from Raja Ram Mohan Roy
prevailed. Emperor Akbar had first sought to ban sati but faced a
massive backlash from his Hindu subjects, forcing him to give up his
any change in the law will be opposed by some, but laws have to be
changed to keep up with the changing times. It is up to the rulers of
the day to rally those who back such changes and implement laws that
reflect the 21st century. The truth is
needs a uniform civil code that will simply no longer tolerate any discrimination
between the sexes and is fair to all humans regardless of their
long as the Uniform Civil Code is pursued only by the BJP and its
associates, the minorities will see it as Hindu law being stuffed down
their throat. A set of laws that not only show little respect for
Muslims and Christians, but seek laws that reflect Hindu society at its
worst, creating a patriarchal, feudal, casteist set-up. How can we ever
expect religious heads to make liberal laws? Some years ago, a
Shankaracharya even justified the caste system and last year when 2000
Buddhist were reconverted to Hinduism by RSS they were called as
schedule cast. When people look at the Muslim personal law, they just
see a few things. Polygamy, triple talaaq and not giving
maintenance to divorced women but they donít see that widows and
divorcees donít commit suicide among Muslims, that Muslims donít
kill their daughters, brides are not killed because of dowry, and they
donít kill their children because of poverty. Enlightened Muslims
should come up and speak. They should move with the forces of progress
and give up all provisions in the personal laws that are anti-modern and
unjust. Uniform civil code can be implemented in
when all religions are considered otherwise it will be a Hindu law for
hope this letter will help to remove preconceived ideas about Islam and