Where are our Ulama? We need them to speak up
It is more than a week that the Babri Masjid verdict has been announced. Zillions of words written and another zillion spoken lamenting injustice Allahabad High Court inflicted on Muslims by a verdict that splits the land and mosque between, Hindus, Muslims and Sadhus. Justice they say is blind and indeed it has proved so.
Pundits of gloom are spreading fear and despair among the Muslim masses. Fears are being traded that 1,50,000 mosques are on the hit list of RSS. The verdict has emboldened militant Hindus to go after the Mathura and Banaras mosques, they say. Media appointed leaders and politicians on either side are swearing that the fight will go on. Muslim lawyers are preparing brief for the Supreme Court. Those who said the verdict will be accepted have reneged.
The crisis revolves round a mosque, its demolition, whether it can be re-located at another site. Can Masjid land be given away for any other purpose, least of all for a Mandir. These are issues that are best dealt by Ulama. It is time our Ulama come out and work towards salvaging whatever is now left of the issue. Our so called leaders championing the Babri Masjid have failed to keep the mosque as well as have lost at the bar. Our Ulama now have a strong duty and commitment to the Muslim community.
This Masjid-Mandir polemics cannot be allowed to languish in the Supreme Court for another decade. The socio-economic progress India made post 1992 (demolition) fruits of which have also benefitted many Muslims cannot be put to risk. In the next ten years or so, by the time the Supreme Court, if at all, gives its verdict the country would have achieved over 12 per cent growth rate and established itself ahead of China.
And as Justice S.U. Khan one of the three judges on the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court that delivered the verdict has observed in his 258 page ruling that the country rose from economic shambles after the 1992 demolition, will may not show the same resilience if 1992 Masjid-Mandir scenario is repeated. Can we take this risk and fritter away the achievements?
"Shariah" is now being bandied by those who lead the struggle. Mr Asaduddin Owaisi and Mr Zafaryab Jilani are on record asserting that "Shariah", does not allow any kind of concessions or compromise to accept Lucknow court verdict and share the land.There is no option but to go to Supreme Court.
Is it not time that our Ulema step in and take the thread from here by interpreting the Shariah and its proper application in this case? Late Ali Mian Nadvi is on record expressing his anguish and dismay at the deteriorating political situation and the increasing tensions between Hindu and Muslims over the Babri Masjid and Ramjanabhoomi and had offered to mediate with his Hindu counterparts to find a solution to problem. His offer was not given a chance.
Deoband and Nadwa must come forward to work and end the stalemate. The issue must be settled now. It should not be postponed for another decade or two by going to the Supreme Court. The Babri-Masjid and Ram Janambhoomi was politicized. It was more of an issue to be dealt by religious scholars of both the communities; it was hijacked by self proclaimed leaders on both the sides for their political gains.
We have precedents in history. Abul Hasan Al Marwardi (972-1058) a preeminent legal figure of his times justifying the "principle of necessity" provided legal support to the Buwaihid vazirs who had become independent of the weak Abassid Caliphs and were not allowing the Caliph to govern independently.
Marwardi ruled that in case where the weak Caliph is controlled by another person who exercises executive authority and follows the Shariah, the Caliph may allow the situation to stand, in public interest and prevent anarchy.
Abu Hamid Ghazali (1058-1111) took Marwardi's view to its logical conclusion. Living in Baghdad under Seljuk rule, he expressly supported the duputization by the Caliph of the de facto ruler.
Taqiuddin Ibn Taimiya (1263-1328) a prolific and iconoclastic persona, subjected to severe torture by rulers of his time for his outspoken criticism of their un-Islamic conducts, offered his support to the Mamluks ruling Damascus against attacks by the Mongols . What was significant of his actions was the role he accorded to Shariah in his defence ruling against the Mongols who also professed Islam. Ibn Taimiya issued a fatwa declaring that the Mongols to be infidels, notwithstanding their nominal adherence to Islam. He argued that Mongols had accepted Islam, but were implementing traditional Mongol customary laws instead of laws based on Shariah.
Ulama have always played a constructive role throughout our history, averting serious crisis. It is an opportunity for them to come forward and work out a solution and re-establish their credentials and trust among the young and educated Muslims.The writer is a an Abu Dhabi-based freelancer. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org