Thursday 24th Jan 2019
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Why Muslims are Oblivious of the Destruction of Waqf?

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By OUR STAFF REPORTER

The condition of waqf is in tatters in India. According to an estimate, waqf generates a revenue of Rs. 163 crore, however experts believe that if the properties of waqf are used effectively and efficiently the revenue could easily go up to Rs. 12,000 crore. On this grave issue of the destruction of waqf, Intizar Naeem, Assistant Secretary Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, gave a detailed and descriptive talk at JIH headquarters on 19 January.

He said that till the time there was an Islamic state, the awqaf was working perfectly and was one of the primary sources of help to the Ummah. However, when the British came, they took Muslims as their primary enemy, because it was from the Muslims that they had usurped power, and when they made Delhi their capital in 1911, the huge chunks from the property of waqf, fell into their hands.

He lamented the fact that Muslims are being prevented from offering prayers in the mosques. Citing the examples of the Red Fort and the Qutub Minar, he said that there was a time when Muslims used to rule from these monuments, but now they are being prevented from offering prayers at those very mosques. The very act of offering prayers make them culprit in the eyes of law.

If one looks around the area near the Rashtrapati Bhawan, one would find a plenty of mosques in and around those areas. This was the area which was once inhabited by Muslims, however when the British made Delhi their capital, they began to persecute Muslims and they were left with no other choice but to leave the place. And now those mosques are awaiting Namazis, he added.

Under the false pretext of protecting the heritage monuments, the British banned prayers in the mosque and it is sad to say that the government is still towing that law. After 1911, the second big setback waqf received was at the time of partition. During and after the partition there were many lands and properties of waqf that got captured or illegally occupied by others. However, it is not the illegal occupation of waqf lands, but the silent compromise the Muslims did and have done which hurts more. Delhi, the Punjab and Haryana remained the worst hit. The area around Jama Masjid in Delhi had several mosques; however now the situation is so that one would hardly find any complete mosque in that area. The destruction is so that many mosques are left with doors only, many have only walls and some have been transformed into temples. There were many mosques in the area of Chawri Bazar, however now one would only find shops and residential houses at those places, he added.

Terming Delhi Development Authority (DDA) as a mad bull, the Jamaat leader said it captures anything and everything it lays its hands on. DDA has illegally occupied 114 properties of waqf. It is interesting to note that even the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which has the responsibility to protect the monuments and maintain their heritage, has failed rather miserably. It pains that those grand and old mosques where offering prayers is a criminal offence, but gambling, drinking alcohol and urinating is the order of the day. The mosques have become the places where pigs wander and children play cricket and other sports.

He named various government departments which have illegally occupied waqf properties. Among the departments are MCD, Railway, Delhi Police, etc. Right from Nizamuddin to Delhi Gate, all the lands belong to waqf; however one can easily see the brazen act of occupation by the various government departments and the private sector. The renowned Delhi Public School and the Oberoi Hotel stand on the land of waqf.

As for the complaint of the occupation of waqf lands, many letters have been written to DDA as well as to minister Kamal Nath, however there has been no response as yet from both of them, he lamented. Rajasthan also shares the same story. The government of Rajasthan has occupied 63 big properties of waqf.

The worst kind of destruction can be seen in the Punjab, where one could hardly find any Muslims. The mosques there have either been turned into Gurdwaras or temples or factories or residential places, he added. District Kapurthala has 390 mosques, however out of these 390 there are only a few in which people are offering prayers. Four or five of them are under government’s control, 22 of them have been transformed into Gurdwaras, 6 have been transformed into temples and as many as 68 mosques have become residential houses. One would be shocked to know that the place where Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maududi used to deliver his khutbat, has also been turned into a temple.

He further gave a list of illegal constructions near the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. There are as many as 46 illegal constructions near the Taj and from this state one could easily imagine the way the ASI works to protect the heritage monuments.

As for the sorry state of waqf, the Jamaat leader blamed everyone be it the central government, the state government, the non-Muslims, the Ulemas and even the waqf board. In many cases it was the waqf board itself who gave the lands at throwaway prices which resulted in huge losses to the revenue of the waqf.
As for the solution the Jamaat leader argued that the Muslims must wake up from their slumber and start working to restore the lands that have been occupied by others. It is the collective responsibility of the Ummah to fight for the lands and properties that are hers. The need is to create a conscience among the people regarding the injustices and the illegal occupation it met at the hands of everyone, be it the government, Muslims as well as non-Muslims. The need is to break the phase of oblivion and know what is happening around, he added.

One of the solutions he earlier proposed and is still proposing is the construction of fence around the graveyards and other lands so as to clearly demarcate the lands that are meant for the awqaf.



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