Analysis

On Imam of Ka’bah’s visit — Many Fukushimas within

Original_mg-india-kabah-imam
...the Imam is leading the prayers at the most sacred place of Islam, we follow him in prayer but the sect and school of thought with which he is associated, is not followed by the majority in the Muslim world...Many people consider it as part of a campaign of creating anti-Iran feelings. Even some columnists are questioning whether it is a conspiracy to create an atmosphere of Karachi in Delhi and Lucknow too.
By Ahmad Javed

How serious and sensitive we are about our future and the future of our nation and community. This can easily be measured by the incidents that occurred in the aftermath of the atomic crisis unfolding in Fukushima (Japan). The Fukushima tragedy made every nuclear power anxious and apprehensive. Now second thought is being given to atomic energy projects the world over. Germany closed seven nuclear reactors, China did not give approval to new nuclear plants and Russia is also indecisive. All world powers, America, France and Britain, are now rethinking their atomic energy programmes.   

But what have we and our rulers done? Atomic installations in India and Pakistan are being run with the same carelessness and indifference which is the hallmark of both of them. Needless to say that in these critical circumstances we are not abstaining from being tools in the hands of external powers. When the mercury is rising, the sky is heating and the world is heading towards doomsday, our naivety is a pity.

No doubt nuclear lobbyists from America and France in our country, are still very active. But our government is no less keen. Our experts and policy makers are still acting on their commands. The whole world is very anxious and concerned over our vulnerability to radiation from Fukushima which has polluted the environment of not only Japan but of neighbouring countries also which are worried about their safety. But in this situation all countries of the Subcontinent are still battling with each other either on the cricket field or cricket diplomacy or fighting in the political arena to defeat each other. As one Urdu poet put it: I wonder whether to mourn myself or beat my breast!

You must be thinking that while the whole country is spell-bound by the arrival of Imame Kaaba Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais and very keen to see and hear him, what kind of man am I who is still worried about the radiation from Fukushima? Yes, pardon me, because while the visit ofImame Kaaba is a historic and national honour for us on one hand, it has raised disturbing and nagging questions on the other.

On March 24, 2011, Thursday noon, when the aircraft carrying the imam landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport, some past memories cropped up in my mind. It was only two or three months ago that one of the imams of Kaba Shaikh Sa’ud Al-Shuraim visited India at the invitation of Dr Zakir Naik, a famous Muslim preacher. Imams of Ka’aba and of Al-Aqsa mosque have visited India in the past, but the drama, enacted now, is a new phenomenon.

Delhi: Muslims awaiting to be lead by imam of Kabah at Jamaat-e-Islami Head quarters.

Nearly a quarter of a century ago, invited by Nadwatul Ulama (Lucknow), one of the Imams of Ka’ba had visited India. Maulana Abdul Hasan Ali Nadwi was his host. At that time communication facilities were very limited in contrast to those of today. That is why only a brief news appeared in newspapers regarding the date of his arrival at Amausi airport in Lucknow and what route he would take to proceed to Nadwa. It is still alive in the memory of people how Muslims enthusiastically gathered and how high their emotions ran. Hafeez Nomani, a leading intellectual and journalist of Lucknow, writes that the honourable Imam of Kaba had come at the invitation of Maulana Ali Mian and Darul Ulum Nadwatul Ulama did not lack money if it wanted it could put front pages advertisement in leading newspapers, but it did not publish even a single ad nor did it appeal the people to make it a point to attend prayer led by him. But the amount of ads in the name of Azmate Sahaba (greatness of Prophet’s companions) is telling that, God forbid, just as Qadianis had opened a front against the Khatme Nobuwwat (finality of prophethood) in the same way some sect or a certain community is waging a war against the greatness of the Prophet’s companions. Shaikh Al-Sudais, while addressing mediapersons at the airport on arrival and again at Deoband on 25 March, said that his visit is for love, goodwill and unity of Ummah. Maulana Arshad Madni on the occasion revealed that the honourable Imam had come at his invitation and that he would address Muslims on the unity of the Muslim world and the greatness of Islam. But we were surprised to hear this because the Imam Sudais himself had said regarding his visit that it was a visit of goodwill and love. Maulana Arshad Madni is speaking of the unity of Ummah but on the other hand this Azmate Sahaba conference, under the aegis of which he has come, is considered as ushering in a new era of sectarian conflict.

Many people consider it as part of a campaign of creating anti-Iran feelings. Even some columnists are questioning whether it is a conspiracy to create an atmosphere of Karachi in Delhi and Lucknow too. Prominent journalist Sadia Dehlawi wrote that Maulana Arshad Madni’s statement that Shaikh Sudais is the greatest religious leader of Muslims is misleading. Yes, the Imam is leading the prayers at the most sacred place of Islam, we follow him in prayer but the sect and school of thought with which he is associated, is not followed by the majority in the Muslim world.

As far as Imame Kaba is concerned, there are 14 imams in the Masjid Haram and Shaikh Abdurrahman Sudais is one of them. Yes, he is honourable for us but he is not a Pope of Muslims because there is no papacy in Islam. It is another matter that some people are using his name for the sake of self-aggrandizement and trying to make people believe that the Imam is Pope of Muslim. Political ulama and politicians who were allowed to be photographed with him are now using them for gaining fame and profit. Ugly scenes of this self-aggrandizement are littered in ads on the pages of Urdu newspapers as well as on the walls of Delhi and are hammering on the conscience of Muslims. In his helicopter trip to Deoband, Shaikh Al-Sudais was accompanied by a minister of the Government of India along with some other political leaders and now the news is making the rounds that these political leaders had paid a high price to gain this honour. Otherwise, what was the justification for the honour conferred on them?

Now it is for you to judge that even at this joyous occasion, if I feel the shocks of Fukushima inside me, then what can I do?

(Translated from editorial in Urdu daily Hindustan Express, Delhi, 27 March 2011)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2011 on page no. 14

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