Sunday, September 21, 2008

Whither the Muslim community?

I read with interest the three articles on Muslims published in Sunday Times dated 21 September 2008.

There is no doubt that the Muslim community is backward educationally and economically and there is an urgent need to work for their upliftment by the government and community welfare associations. Muslims face problems in certain pockets particularly in North India where due to certain hard-core communal parties the people are divided and discriminated on religious grounds. Of course such difficulties are faced by all other communities also somewhere or other in the country perhaps at lesser levels and not so frequently as Muslims do. It is certainly not that the Muslim community is on one side and the rest of the people on the other.

In southern states like Tamil Nadu we see students of different religious communities in educational institutions studying together well without any discrimination. There are government and private organisations where different religious people work together happily. One can see Muslim boys and girls coming out with flying colours in non-Muslim educational institutions and non-Muslim boys and girls in Muslim institutions. Our children studied in Muslim and Christian institutions without any grievances. I feel that every community should try to save itself from problems. It is an art. It should be cultivated.

As a Muslim I feel that unless I make friendship with non-Muslims, I cannot be a good Muslim as my faith teaches me that the entire humanity is one from the same God. I studied in Muslim schools and college mingling with non-Muslim friends closely. We had good Muslim, Christian and Hindu teachers. They taught us well and we respected them very much. Ofcourse in north Indian states the Hindu-Muslim divide is serious as reported in the articles under reference.

It is of course very unfortunate that the Muslim community does not have reformers like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to show them the right direction in education which is a sine qua non for their betterment. Islamic scholars (ulema) and rich Muslims (umera) who are pillars of the Muslim community should ponder over it and plan an agenda for their reformation, better education, better economic condition, etc. shunning their stereotype demands for Urdu, increase in Haj quota, etc. voiced so far. The holy Quran says that God helps only those who help themselves.

I am of the strong view that my motherland India is the most beautiful country in the world - Saray jahaan say achcha Hindustan hamaara - despite its omissions and commissions. There is no match to it. I love it from the bottom of my heart.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Islam has given a high status for women. Their appointment as members of district level waqf committees in Karnataka cannot be opposed on religious grounds. If there are any other reasons for the opposition, it can be discussed.

It is note-worthy that Tamil Nadu has had a woman Mrs. Bader Sayeed as the Head of the Waqf Board here. Her period was highly successful. There was no opposition worth the name for it. Mrs. Bader Sayeed endeavoured her best to safeguard the interest of the Muslim community in the Waqf Board. It was really a historic one. All jamaats
co-operated with her.

In Karnataka too this can be possible but the women to be appointed should be highly qualified and have good experience in dealing with problems which are expected in this arena. If such women are not available and men are better qualified and experienced, of course they should be preferred.

On the other hand if the decision to appoint Muslim women as members to the waqf board is on the impression that the Muslim community does not like it, it can be considered only as a political stunt and undesirable one. There should be respect for the community to which the Waqf Board belongs. Any unilateral decision will not be in the national interest.

The Karnataka Government and the Muslim community can do well to discuss this issue and arrive at a conclusion. Let the fair name of Islam be not damaged in this tussle for power.

Friday, September 19, 2008


The article "The holy text and terror" by Mr. S. Gurumurthy in The New Indian Express dated 18 September 2008 is to say the least in bad taste. The author cannot be unaware of the fact that Islam is for peace, equality and brotherhood of the entire humanity.

At the outset I would like to say that Islam does not permit even hurting the feelings of anybody leave alone the question of killing any innocent person. The Prophet Mohammed (Sal-am)'s saying is that killing a person is like killing a society. No Muslim can and should take the law in his own hands.

Mr. Gurumurthy has started his article quoting the idiotic rhetoric of the so called "Indian Mujahideen". Who are these "Indian Mujahideen"? Where are they functioning from? Why is it that they have not been nabbed? Every Indian - whatever may be his or her religion - wants the culprits of the bomb blasts to be punished severely according to the laws of the land. He should know the worry and difficulties Indian Muslims are facing due to bomb blasts and threatening messages of the Mujahideen published in newspapers and telecast on TVs. In bomb blasts people belonging to all religions have lost their lives or got injured. These are all the handiworks of some miscreants bent upon tarnishing the fair name of Islam. They belong to no religion. Every Muslim as any other religionist hates perpetrators of bomb blasts and condemns them.

There is no doubt at all that the stand taken by the Mujahideen is absolutely wrong and mischievous. These people must be anti Muslim and anti Islam elements wanting to destroy the good image of the Islamic faith by quoting the sacred verses out of the context. Every Maulvi explains in his sermon that terrorism is against the concept of Islam. Yes the non-believers mentioned in the holy Quran do not mean non-Muslims. Moreover, these verses were revealed in war times during the time of Prophet Mohammed (Sal-am) in some particular context and are nothing to do with the present time. There are no takers for the version of the Mujahideen who are only devils quoting the scripture for their own selfish purposes.

Even Mrs. Zubeda, the mother of the alleged terrorist Tauqeer has said in her first ever recent interview that if proved guilty, her son can be hanged in public.

The fact is that Islam is for peace, progress and prosperity of all the people. Mr. Gurumurthy's suggestion that “If the Jihadis are aggrieved then they can take the violence against the state" is surprising. We cannot approve it. Everyone has to be a law abiding citizen trying to settle his or her problems through legal channels in a democratic way.

Mr.Gurumurthy's article has no mention about the horrible Gujarat tragedy which brought bad name to our country the worldover for the reasons best known to him even though he has touched this issue. One feels that he is not impartial in this regard. As a writer, as an Indian and also as a Hindu he should write justly taking no sides and suppressing no facts.

A Muslim can never support any terror as it is against his religious concept. There are innumerable instances of Hindus and Muslims sacrificing their lives for each other. The undeniable fact is that all are the creation of the same God and there is no point in creating divisions among them. Let us all join together to make our country a peaceful nation by eradicating injustices and all forms of terrorism which have raised their ugly heads here...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bomb blasts in Delhi

It is very unfortunate and shocking that five blasts have rocked the national capital Delhi in which according to reports at the time of writing this letter 20 people have lost their lives and 92 injured. It is not known how the enemies of the country are able to plant bombs in public places without being caught despite "all precautionary measures".

It seems that not only the police but also the public should be alert everywhere and try to nab the culprits while committing the offence. There is an urgent need for the police and other departments concerned to seriously endeavour to find out the extremists responsible for the blasts and see to it that they are punished severely according to the law of the land. No culprit should go scot-free.

One feels that the government should create a separate agency to deal with the bomb blasts and find solutions to keep the country free from the attacks of evil forces bent upon creating problems in our country possibly with the support and help of anti-India elements operating in neighbouring countries.

V.M. Khaleelur Rahman

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Muslim organisations should encourage dowry-free and simple marriages

The report that a 36 year old Muslim man returned the dowry of Rs.51,000 and 20 sovereigns of gold to his in-laws in Tamil Nadu (India) should make people think about it and follow Islam which ordains men to give meher and not to take dowry at the time of marriage.

The Jamaat which was instrumental for this and Mr. Rahman who has done it in public deserve praise and congratulations. Other Muslim organisations particularly mosque jamaats should try to reform the Muslim community by encouraging dowry-free and simple marriages.

The poor should not try to imitate the rich in conducting lavish marriages and the rich should become models in solemnising simple marriages as per Islamic doctrines. According to Islam, the rich and scholars are the pillars of the society and it is their responsibility to show the right guidance to the community.