The Vishwa Hindu Parishad in a letter to 13 Muslim bodies demanded that Indian Muslim clergy declares that Hindus are not kafirs and therefore jihad does not apply to them. Also that India is Dar ul Aman and therefore no jihad should be waged against it.
Most Muslims bodies have expressed displeasure at the letter calling it illogical and malicious. Now, as Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind stated, if we take the literal meaning of the word kafir there is nothing derogatory in it. The word kafir is derived from the Arabic word kufr meaning suppression or non-acceptance of truth or to disbelieve. If X does not believe what Y believes and Y does not believe what X believes; they are Kafirs in the eyes of each other. The President of All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan has succinctly explained this without mincing words. He says Muslims are kafirs to Hindus and vice versa. The first doesn’t believe what the other believes and the other does not believe what the first believes. To each his own religion. That should not stop them from sharing a cup of tea at the corner stall. However, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, rightly again, suggests that the perceived meaning of the word kafir being somewhat like the meaning of the word mallechh used for Muslims which is indeed very derogatory, it is best that the word is not used to describe anybody. It is the case of the wrong usage of the word changing its meaning. As an example, the word Miyan is a highly respectful word. “Aapke miyan kaise hain?” one would ask a lady politely. Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan is respectfully addressed and referred to as Miyan. But Narendra Modi has totally changed the meaning of Miyan in Gujarat. Miyans are referred to with great derision and disdain in Gujarat.
Besides, VHP and others should not go by the terrorists’ meaning and definitions of the words. Hindus or anyone else by virtue of being non-believers in what Muslims believe do not automatically become targets of jihad. The terror groups’ interpretation of the verses of Qur’an and definition of Jihad are fiercely being disputed by Muslim communities all over the world and Muslim Indians are at the forefront of such anti-terror campaigns. Muslim Indians’ role in challenging the terrorist group’s interpretation of Islamic scriptures has been acknowledged and lauded internationally.
The condemnation of terrorists and issuing statements and fatwas against them is ceaseless. Muslim Indians have always been maintaining that what these terror groups have been calling jihad is no jihad at all. In fact, Muslims in India have coined the word fasad for their murderous doings. Every act of these fasadis have been squarely condemned by Muslim Indians.
Muslims of Mumbai ostracised the Pakistani terrorists who attacked their city on 26/11 and refused to bury them. Denial of a burial to the dead is considered reprehensible in Islam and participating in the burial of even a stranger is considered noble. Perhaps the Muslim Indian community has risked the wrath of the world Muslim community for passing this harshest castigation of the felled Muslims. The fury of Mumbai Muslims was so fierce.
VHP’s concern for the nation deserves praise. Even if one questions the credentials of the VHP to talk on behalf of the Hindu community or the Indian nation there is no harm in addressing those concerns. The VHP and the allied organizations should rest assured that this country is as much dear to Muslims as it is to them. Issuing a fatwa on this issue at present serves no purpose. Still one Muslim seminary issued a fatwa declaring India a Darul Aman and explaining the meaning of kafir. This fatwa has humoured the Hindu group and avoided confrontation. Beyond that it has served little purpose. If this fatwa was put up as a huge hoarding at Gateway of India on 26/11, it would not have made the ten terrorists take a u-turn.
Surely VHP and the like minded groups have their ears to the ground. It is, therefore, reasonable to presume that they are aware of the great churning taking place in the Muslim community. The Qur’anic interpretation by the irresponsible elements is severely being questioned. The moderates among Muslims are slowly but surely prevailing upon the conservatives to have a second look at the meaning of Qur’an as it is hitherto understood. In the present circumstances it has become necessary to highlight the fact that the concept of Darul Harb and Darul Islam etc. came to be mentioned many decades after the Prophet (may Allah bless and greet him). This concept has no place in the Qur’an or the traditions of the Prophet. There are numerous verses whose interpretations differ very drastically. Efforts are being made to promote such interpretations as prevent inter-communal strife.
An assembly of Muslim scholars, Ittehad-e-Millat, in December 2008 stated that the blot of terrorism would have to be removed by Muslims themselves – We will have to forget about Deobandi, Barelvi, Wahabi, Sunni or Shia and act as one body against the scourge of terrorism. We will have to stop the terrorist outfits from using our children for their murderous plots in the name of Islam
At the present juncture of history when the Talibans are set to be our next door neighbours it is extremely important that the country stands like one nation. The internal strifes need to be eliminated. If, God forbid, Talibans become our neighbours, the cross border terrorism is bound to rise. Unless the Hindu and the Muslim communities understand each other the seeds of communal discord will be sown from across the border. Already in some states communal harmony has been sacrificed at the altar of political gains.
The organizations like VHP and Sangh Parivar must learn to trust Muslims. By issuing the letter like the one they sent they are only giving the impression that they can not accept the fact that Muslims are not hand in gloves with the terrorists and that the terrorists do not have their endorsement.
The letter which they have sent hardly sounds like a plea to Muslims to allay their legitimate anxieties. The tenor of the language is threatening and pushing the Muslim community against the wall. It is surprising that the VHP is not realizing that issuing such a letter frustrates the efforts of the Muslims to strengthen national spirit among the Muslim youth and promote inter-community harmony.
Putting Muslims in the dock, this way, only goes to make the uneducated, unemployed, and poor Muslim youth more vulnerable to frustration. In a few cases in which Muslim young boys have been involved, the terror groups have invoked Babri Masjid and Gujarat carnage to instigate the boys. Who will deny that the events in Gujarat in 2002 and subsequent alienation of Muslim community in Gujarat were responsible for the birth of revenge mentality?
Here the observation of Julio Ribeiro, the former Commissioner of Mumbai police is worth mentioning. Soon after Gujarat carnage, standing in Ahmedabad’s Shah Alam relief camp, talking to the victims of the Gujarat riots, the Super Cop had expressed the fear that unless justice is given to the victims of the atrocities they would turn into criminals or take to terrorism. It should be understood that one boy recruited by the terror group can neutralize thousand Muslims’ fight against terrorism. Hindu and Muslim communities should close ranks and see that the efforts of the terror outfits to recruit young boys are frustrated.
Little will be gained by constantly pointing accusing fingers at Muslims. The Sangh Parivar should understand that Muslims are potential warriors against terrorists. They should not be seen as potential terrorists. For that they need to embrace Muslims and acknowledge that Muslims consider India their own country to love, to live in and to die for.