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Social Media reacts to Fatwa Issued Against Muslim Bihar Minister Firoz Ahmad for Chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’

Recently, journalist, and liberal activist, Tarek Fateh, tweeted his take on the matter and wrote 'Jai Shree Ram'

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Issuance of fatwa
The holy book of Islam. Pixabay

Aug 3, 2017: Recently, a fatwa was issued to Khurshid alias Firoz Ahmad,  Muslim politician and Janata Dal leader in the newly formed coalition government in Bihar for chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’.

The fatwa or decree was issued by a Muslim Cleric, Mufti Sohail Quasmi of Imarat Shariah, which describes itself as a socio-religious organisation active in Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.

Ahmad was given charge of minority welfare and sugarcane industries in ministry of Bihar.

“Islam teaches respect for all religions. If by saying Jai Shri Ram I can do some good for the Muslims, why is there such a hue and cry,” Ahmad told mediapersons.

“The CM told me if anybody felt hurt by my statement, I should apologise. My intention was not to hurt anyone. I have come to serve the people. My statement was distorted,” he told the channel after coming out of a review meeting of the minority welfare department with chief minister Nitish Kumar, as mentioned in HT report.

Though the minister excused himself after receiving resentments, many appear to have got seriously offended. This indeed has become a matter of mass discussion and outrage.

Also Read: Zakir Naik: A Muslim who turned into a Hardcore Islamist and a hate monger

Recently, journalist, and liberal activist, Tarek Fateh, tweeted his take on the matter and wrote “Jai Shree Ram”, irrespective of the fact that he is a Muslim. Here is what he tweeted!

Not only this, Tarek also challenged others to go and try doing whatever they can. His tweet is being received wholeheartedly by people of the Muslim community and has been re-tweeted over 10,000 times till now. The tweet came as a response to Khurshid Ahmad confession and cancellation of fatwa.

[sociallocker][/sociallocker]

Tarek’s tweet is now getting viral on social media. Not only Muslims, but Hindu Twitter users have also appreciated his viewpoint on the matter.

People are praising him for giving a befitting reply to those who are creating divides and sowing hatred in the name of religion.

– prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94

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One India One Law: End of Cruel Practice of ‘Triple Talaq’ Divorce Law in India, Supreme Court Passes Verdict Today

After the contentious debate of several years, triple Talaq is outcasted from Indian social systems

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Triple Talaq
Triple Talaq

Aug 22, 2017: The Apex Court today has made a historical verdict by imposing a ban on triple talaq calling it ‘unconstitutional’. Supreme Court also upheld the validity by stating that it is not the violation of Article 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Indian Constitution.

A bench of five judges, directed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, declared a split verdict. The verdict of five judges also came from five faiths. Justices Uday Lalit (Hindu), Joseph Kurien (Christian) and Rohinton Nariman (Parsi) decreed that triple talaq is unconstitutional. Chief Justice JS Khehar(Sikh) and Justice Abdul Nazeer(Muslim) supported the validity of triple talaq. Chief Justice also asked the government to bring enactment within the period of six months and proposed all political parties to decide on the issue collectively.

What is “Triple Talaq”?

Triple Talaq (Talaq-e-Biddat)  is a verbal divorce where a Muslim husband can divorce his wife by merely uttering “Talaq Talaq Talaq”. A divorced woman is not allowed to remarry her divorced husband unless she first marries another man under the practice called Nikah Halala.

Origin of Sharia Law

Prior to Independence, British Judges were assisted by Muftis and Qazis for the performing of executive functions in India. In 1880, Qazis were deprived of their judicial powers through ‘The Qaziz Act’. On the other hand, the British started pronouncing judgments on Muslim Personal Law. Keeping the whole scenario in consideration, the establishment of Sharia courts was demanded in the first quarter of 20th century, however, the demand was not conceded. Later in 1920, the first sharia court was established in Bihar.

Many mosques in the country are functioning on Sharia courts based on Muslim Shariat law. The source of Muslim Personal law is the 1937 act of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) application, which was also an attempt by British India to win over Muslim clergy. These extra-constitutional bodies had the power to function as courts parallel to Indian courts.

Also Read: Why wear a Burqa to prove Love towards your Religion?

The famous Abdul Rehman case on Triple Talaq

Abdur Rehman, a Muslim NRI from the UK had approached sharia court named Makkah Masjid Sharia Council in Chennai to get reunited with his wife. However, instead of reuniting the couple, Sharia court pressurized him to divorce his wife after he uttered talaq thrice. The man pleaded that he has changed his mind and he wants to reunite with her. After facing refutation from Sharia court, Abdul approached to Madras High Court begging for the same. He even said in his appeal that many blameless Muslim brothers or wives face the same problem across Chennai and Tamil Nadu on the whole because of the functioning of such forums that claim them to be judicial forums.

The High Court judgment said: “If a place of worship – whether it be a temple, mosque or church – is used for purposes other than prayers, and more specifically to create extra-constitutional forums, certainly the authorities are duty-bound to action against them.”

It ordered the state government to ensure that such courts do not function. This order was not specific to Muslims, and it empowered the police authorities to close down such extra-constitutional court, whether run by Hindu, Christian or Muslim.

Although the judgment did pronounce on the behalf of the sufferers of sharia law, there were still some ambiguities that led to confusion among such extra-constitutional bodies. A large number of Sharia courts which were supervised by imams and Islamic scholars operated from places that were not Mosques. It was not clear that whether the order applies to only sharia courts performing from mosques or to those who operate from Madrassas and non-religious places. Hence, a further detailed clarification was needed.

In 2014, Supreme Court declared the functioning of Sharia courts illegal and can be challenged in the court of law. On the contrary, Madras High Court did not make it clear owing to which the ambiguity in the Tamil Nadu state remained.

Supreme Court Verdict (2014)

A Delhi based advocate, Vishwa Lochan Madan challenged the validity of the parallel courts run by institutions such as Dar-ul-Qaza, Darul-Iftaa and Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband which issued fatwas. Under his appeal, he highlighted the plight of a woman, Imana, who was asked by Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband to leave her husband and children and live with her rapist, father-in-law in her case. Madan argued that Sharia courts meddles with the personal affairs and obstructs the religious and social freedom of Muslims.

According to Supreme Court, Islamic judges, who interpret religious law can only come into power when individuals submit voluntarily to them and that their decisions or fatwas are not legally binding. It also curtailed the forums like Dar-ul-Qaza, Darul-Iftaa and Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband to issue fatwas on the basis of complaints by strangers.

The Supreme Court stated, Religion cannot be allowed to be merciless to the victim. Faith cannot be used as a dehumanizing force. Fatwas touching upon the rights of an individual at the instance of rank strangers may cause irreparable damage and therefore would be absolutely uncalled for. It shall be in violation of basic human rights. It cannot be used to punish innocents.

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First International Sikh Conclave to kick start in Bihar, ahead of 350th birth anniversary celebration of Guru Gobind Singh

Nitish Kumar will inaugurate the conclave on Thursday here, after which a panel discussion on various topics will be held

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Gurudwara Dukhniwaran Sahib. (representative image), Pixabay

Patna, 21 Sept 2016: Nearly 150 Sikh luminaries from all walks of life from India and abroad are likely to participate in the first three-day international Sikh conclave in Patna, beginning on September 22.

Talking to media persons here, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said the state government is organising this conclave ahead of the 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh guru, in Patna Sahib.

“Eminent people including scholars, artists, businessmen, politicians from India and countries like Canada, UK, USA, Myanmar and New Zealand will participate in the conclave,” Nitish Kumar said.

Nitish Kumar. Wikimedia
Nitish Kumar. Wikimedia

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Nitish Kumar will inaugurate the conclave on Thursday here, after which a panel discussion on various topics will be held.

According to officials of conclave host Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Union Cabinet Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi and Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur, former PM Manmohan Singh, former Punjab CMs Surjit Singh Barnala and Captain Amarinder Singh, former Planning Commission Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, are likely to participate in the conclave.

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Prominent participants from abroad are President of World Punjabi Organisation Ranjeet Baksgi (UK), Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan (Canada), Minister of Innov

ation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Singh Bains (Canada), Hardip Singh Bhasin (Myanmar), Resham Singh Sandhu (UK), Jagdeep Ahluwalia (USA) and Secretary Sikh Council of Australia Baba Singh Jagdeo.

Well known lyricist Gulzar, Bollywood actor Dharmendra and veteran athlete Milkha Singh are also likely to participate in the conclave. (IANS)

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A doctor’s ‘jihad’ to popularize birth control among Assam’s Muslims

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By NewsGram staff writer

Talks about birth control were once a taboo for Muslims, particularly the uneducated Muslims living in remote areas of Assam. This has changed largely due to Ilias Ali, a professor of surgery at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, who had launched a kind of ‘jihad’ (holy war) against the misconceptions about birth control and has thus far carried out a staggering 48,000 vasectomies on Muslim males.

Now, Muslim males with two or more children are voluntarily coming out in large numbers to get sterilized and help control the population.

“Muslims, particularly the uneducated ones, are opposed to birth control. It is not only in Assam but in many other parts of India as well. They believe children are the blessings of Allah and all births take place as per his wish. They consider it a sin to go against the wishes of Allah,” Ali, who conducted his first No Scalpel Vasectomy (NSV) also known as ‘keyhole vasectomy’ in Assam in 2008, told IANS.

NSV is one of the most popular techniques to conduct vasectomy through a single puncture in the scrotum which requires no suturing or stitches. It causes less pain and fewer post operative complications.

Ali went to China for being trained in NSV by Li Shunqiang, who had invented the procedure in the mid-1970s. However, it was introduced in India only in the mid-1990s.

“I have realized that there is ignorance among the people, particularly among the uneducated Muslims over this. The Holy Quran has been misinterpreted by some and the people have taken it to be true due to their being illiterate,” he said while explaining that, in fact, Islam is perhaps the only religion which talks of family limitation methods.

“There is a mention about ‘azol’ in the Holy Book, which means coitus interruptus (ejaculation outside vagina). During the time of Prophet, some of his companions tried to reduce the chances of conception and pregnancy by practising azol. The Prophet was aware of this,” Ali said adding that this method became widespread during the Prophet’s lifetime.

“I have been using this and other references from the Holy Book to explain to the people that birth control is not against Islam,” he said.

One of Assam’s best-known surgeons, Ali further added that he often refers to Chapter 46, Verse 15 of the Quran which says “Wa hamluhu wa fisaluhu salasuna sahran”, which means there should be a gap of 30 months between a child’s birth and his or her weaning.

“Since lactation is understood to act as a natural contraceptive for a mother, this implies that there should be a gap of two-and-a-half years between two children,” said Ali.

“It is incumbent upon fellow Muslims to arrest the spiralling population and preserve the environment. The population growth rate among the Muslims, particularly among the non-indigenous Muslims living in the riverine sandbars, is comparatively higher than other communities in Assam. The shrinking land availability due to the population growth is a matter of concern,” he said, adding that his efforts have shown results over the years.

Ali said that the total fertility rate (TFR) among the Muslims in Dhubri district, where the number of non-Indigenous Muslims is greater, have come down over the years – from 2.7 percent before 2007 to 2.6 percent at present.

“We believe that the population growth will stabilize when the TFR comes down to 2.1 percent. Our target is to achieve this by 2019,” he added.

For Ali, this success has come after much pain. He had to risk his life for trying to popularize sterilization among the Muslims. In 2009, an Islamic organization issued fatwa against Ali and his programmes were boycotted for being un-Islamic.

“I had received several threats in those days. My meetings and NSV camps were boycotted and some organization issued fatwa against me. My family was threatened if I continue my mission. But I do not blame anyone for this. I am happy that I have been able to break the jinx and popularize NSV,” he said.

“Of late, the marginalized sections of the Muslim community have realized that a well planned family is the key to prosperity and progress. That is why they have extended their support to our programme,” he added.

Hasan Ali, a resident of Dhubri district who underwent NSV at a camp organized by Ali in 2009 said, “We have two children. I was first hesitant to accept what doctor sahib was trying to convince us in our village. However, he mentioned about the Holy Quran and explained to us that Prophet Mohammed was not averse to family planning. I decided to undergo NSV and now I encourage my friends to also do so.”

Educationist and associate professor of North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) Dwijen Sarma termed Ali’s efforts as path breaking. “I had the opportunity of meeting Dr Ilias Ali during a programme and he explained how he works among the rural uneducated Muslims encouraging them for birth control,” said Sarma.

“It was a herculean task to convince Muslims in remote areas to go for birth control. However, Dr. Ali has succeeded in his mission and I am sure he will achieve his target of bringing down the TFR to 2.1 percent,” he added.

(With inputs from IANS)