Retrogressive fatwas do a disservice to Islam
Darul Uloom Deoband has outdone itself. This time around, it is in the news for expelling former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid from Islam for performing an aarti of Lord Ram during Kalki festival in Sambhal. Deoband’s Ulema Mufti Tariq Kashmi, in a press release, said that Khurshid’s act was against the “basic tenet of Islam which does not allow any devout Muslim to worship anyone other than Allah”. For centuries now, religion has been the instrument for its self-proclaimed agents to perpetuate their own myopic agenda and sectarian interpretation. The Ulema of the Deoband has very conveniently forgotten that living in peace and harmony, in agreement and in a sincere embrace of humanity is also one of the basic tenets of Islam. However, quite apparently, such tenets do not sub-serve the larger agenda of exercising whatever little clout maulvis possess. This is not the first time this school of Islam has put out retrogressive fatwas. In October, it issued one barring women from plucking their eyebrows. A few days later, it put out a fatwa banning women from uploading selfies on Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter, on the ground that it is un-Islamic. Another organisation called Islami Markazi Majlis-e-Shoura in J&K’s Kishtwar district also made its presence felt in the fatwa race by issuing a clutch of diktats which included banning music at weddings, asking teachers to segregate boys and girls in classrooms and also asking women not to roam alone in the marketplace. Such fatwas only do a disservice to the cause of Islam. Many adherents of the faith are progressive and educated, and subscribe to a moderate, less dogmatic version of Islam. By recurrently, and incessantly, issuing such nonsensical fatwas, the maulvis are putting unreasonable fetters on the liberty of the people of the faith.