‘Muslims are bad and harmful to India’
A number of BJP-ruled states have approved “laws” against the so-called ‘Love Jihad’ in recent months. Hindutva hardliners describe Love Jihad as a “conspiracy” to convert gullible Hindu women to Islam by misleading them with promises of love.
Targeting Muslims has become an everlasting schema of communal forces since the pre-Independence period. The trumpet of inter-religious marriages and objection to it was blown during the religious tensions of 1920s and 1930s. Hindu nationalist groups in parts of northern India launched an orchestrated propaganda campaign against so-called “abductions” and conversions of Hindu women by Muslim men ranging from allegations of rape, luring, love and forced marriages but the term “love jihad” was not used at that time. This trumpet was blown again under the title of “Love Jihad” in 2014 elections in Uttar Pradesh. Not only individual Muslim men were targeted but there were also rumours about a "global Islamist conspiracy" to lure Hindu women. Social media and messaging services were used to spread the message that Muslim men are forcibly converting Hindu women for marriage and increasing the number of minorities, claiming ‘Hindus are in danger’. Hoax photographs and videos showing harassment and violence towards Hindu women married to Muslim men were spread in large numbers to brainwash people’s minds. Same drama continues even today giving rise to “laws” against interfaith marriages particularly among Hindu women and Muslim men naming it exclusively as ‘Jihad’.
So it is important first and foremost to clear the meaning of Jihad. The term Jihad can be explained as exerting one’s utmost endeavor in promoting a noble cause. It’s an auspicious struggle for the cause of Almighty Allah to change the views and minds of people to bring down tyrannical social system and establish a new order based on justice and fairplay. Jihad can be through spoken words, writing or by physical exertion. People are misled into believing that ‘Jihad in the way of Allah’ means forcible conversion of people to the faith of Islam. The phrase ‘in the way of Allah’ is misinterpreted to give it a negative connotation. The phrase ‘in the way of Allah’ or ‘for the cause of Allah’ has a wider interpretation which means ‘an act done for the collective well-being of mankind without any material consideration and solely to win the favour of Allah, e.g, charity given for helping a poor for the sake of Allah is an act deemed fit to be called as ‘Charity in the way of Allah’ or ‘for the cause of Allah’.
It is reported in hadith that a man asked the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) “What does ‘War in the cause of Allah imply? One man may fight for material gain; another may fight in order to gain a reputation for valour; a third may fight for vengeance or for national honour. Which of these men is a fighter in the way of Allah?” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “None of them. Only he fights in the way of Allah who seeks no other purpose than the glorification of Allah”.
It is obvious to any sound mind that if the purpose is to please and glorify Allah the act must be in perfect sincerity, honesty and justice. So those who struggle or wage Jihad in fact have to abide by divine law without crossing limits and maintaining a God-fearing attitude.
Allah likes high morality and discipline even in noble causes and orders to promote and follow it. Allah has separated the right course from wrong course and left the decision to individuals to make their own selection with the freedom of choice gifted to them for their test in life. It is therefore mentioned clearly: “There is no compulsion and coercion in the matter of religion” (Quran 2:256). Hence relating a cunning act like organizing a love drama for the sake of forceful conversion cannot be called “Love Jihad”. Also, the term is nowhere used in the Quran and nor in the teachings of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). That is because a forceful conversion cannot fulfill the essential conditions of being a ‘Muslim’ which means ‘One who submits, surrenders and serves as an obedient servant of One God by his words as well as by his deeds with its belief deeply rooted in his/her heart.
One of the plots of the communal forces for targeting Muslims in India is fictionalizing and manipulating history. Concocted stories of Mughals are like fairy tales for the people to keep them in fantasy world of ‘Muslims are bad and harmful to India’.
Movie Padmavat appearing to be drama of Love Jihad was in fact a fictional story. Historians like Ramya Sreenivasan from University of Pennsylvania and the author of a book on Padmavati stated that the character called Padmavati and Alauddin khilji appear in different periods of history and they are nowhere connected to each other. Padmavati in fact was a heroin of the Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s poem “Padmavati” written in Awadhi in 1540 CE, 224 years after the death of Alauddin Khilji.
Akbar married Jodha not for the sake of religion or conversion but as a political alliance. Permission was granted to Jodha to worship in Hindu way in the royal palace. Being the queen, she enjoyed huge clout in political matters. She was the only queen among other Muslim wives of Akbar who was given the authority to issue farmans (royal edicts) which was normally the privilege of the Emperor.
As we find in history, Muslim emperors marrying Hindu women, so was the case with Hindu kings marrying Muslim women. Man Singh I of Amber, the trusted general of Akbar married Bibi Mubarak, daughter of Azam Khan and niece of Akbar. The 13th wife of Gaj Singh I of Marwar was Anara Bai Begum. Bappa Rawal, the great Rajput ruler of Mewar, had 100 wives out of which 35 were Muslims.
Even today there are many couples with inter-religious marriages, some preferring to maintain their own faiths even after marriage with a secular approach towards life while others accept the faith of the partner willingly. Both cases have seen successful married lives. Cases of harassment and violence against women are a completely different matter and these may occur in marriages within same communities. It is the communal forces which politicize such marriages and sometimes even convince the families to go to extremes as was the case of Hadiya from Kerala. This is the reason that though India's Special Marriage Act allows inter-faith marriages, couples prefer to avoid it due to its wearisome procedures and fear of intervention of families and others to prevent the wedding.
Approval of a “law” against inter-religious marriages has now made it more difficult for couples to marry anyone of their choice since it will be very difficult to prove legally their willingness for the marriage. Thus this “law” will only be misused to put Muslim men behind bars or to eliminate them from the surface of the earth which is the ulterior motive of right-wing forces. This “law” also closes doors for future lawful and willing conversions even if the reason is not marriage since the converter will be put under most rigorous scanner due to this law and every effort will be made to punish him or her for “hurting” the sentiments of the right-wing outfits. Thus the right to worship and adore God in a form of one’s own free choice will be compromised. This “law” also communalizes citizenship by restricting it to Islam and Christianity and exempting Hinduism from the scope of conversion under the ordinance. Moreover, it is not clear if Dalits and adivasis are eligible for marrying outside their castes. Surely, this will also prick in the eyes of the enemies of love and extend the “law” tactfully to these groups also.