Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Comments posted on INDIA TODAY website over its news story: Dubbed 'anti-Islam', Bukhari faces fatwa:

INDIA TODAY, with this news story and especially the blaring headline, will be accused by a large section of Indian Muslims in fanning division and strife within Muslims, though the faultline between Deobandis and Brelvis are too well defined to merit the kind of headline that India Today chose to display. This is common knowledge that all different schools of thought, be that Deobandis, Brelvis, Shias, Ahle Hadiths prefer to build and pray their own managed Masjids. Some hardliners go to extreme and unIslamic limits to denounce other schools of thought. And that is centuries old phenomenon. It is a pity that India Today has just woken up to that divide and has chosen to give vent to sectarian propaganda, as a now its newly adopted brand of journalism.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


Mail Today Bureau  Lucknow, April 11, 2012 | UPDATED 07:36 IST

Dubbed 'anti-Islam' Shahi Imam Bukhari faces fatwa

Azam Khan and Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari
Azam Khan (left) and Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari are locked in a political battle.

Mufti Ubaidur Rahman of Darul Uloom Mazhar-e-Islam of Bareilly Sharif (the Barelvi sect) has barred Muslims from offering namaz with Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari .

The fatwa comes at a time when Bukhari is locked in a political battle with Azam Khan , a minister in Akhilesh Yadav's cabinet .

In a decree issued on Tuesday, the mufti said offering namaz with Bukhari was un-Islamic. "Those with trimmed beards are not allowed to lead a session of namaz. According to the Islamic law, one should have a handful of beard."

"Otherwise too, his activities are against Islam. Instead of thinking for the community, he prefers giving benefits to his relatives."

Arshad Faruqi, chairman of the fatwa department of Darul Uloom Deoband, said: "As far as the beard is concerned, it is true that it should be at least four inches long. It is said in Islam that one should be able to hold it in his hand. Bukhari should keep this in mind."

Faruqi did not comment on the fatwa but had words of advice for Bukhari. "What Bukhari is doing is against the ethics of Islam. His first duty is to do religious work, which he is not doing. If there is any dispute with the Samajwadi Party, he should sit with Mulayam and Akhilesh and solve it instead of tarnishing other Muslim leaders."

Faruqi was referring to the ongoing spat between Bukhari and Azam, which escalated as the SP MLA from Rampur targeted his party brass for going out of their way to woo the Shahi Imam.

Without naming Bukhari, Azam said in Lucknow on Tuesday that neither the party nor the government came out in his defence when he was attacked by "outsiders". "While outsiders are making wild allegations against me and some individuals are trying to tarnish my image, the government and the party have left me alone to defend myself. This is unfortunate," Azam said.

Bukhari had earlier said the Muslims of UP hated Azam because he was an "enemy of Islam". He had also said Azam was a non-entity in politics.

Reacting sharply to the criticism, Azam said in Rampur on Sunday that the Shahi Imam was only a "servant of the Delhi Waqf Board" and that he was involved in blackmailing governments to allot petrol pumps to his kin.

Discontent against the Shahi Imam is also growing among other Muslims leaders in Uttar Pradesh. Mushtaqin Rana, an SP leader from Saharanpur, said: "He blackmailed Mulayam and got a ticket for his son-in-law Umar in the assembly election."

Imran Masood, a Congress leader, said: "The Imam should stay away from party politics if he wants to maintain the dignity of the Jama Masjid. But our past experiences suggest that he can sacrifice the interest of the community for his personal gains."

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