Gandhigiri, Taliban and the need for reform in Islam
Be careful before you try “Gandhi-giri” – It may earn you a fatwa.
Most of you may have already come across these two seemingly unrelated news items. A closer look at them though underlines the need for a vigorous discussion on reform within Islam.
Unfortunately this is almost a taboo topic in media and a lot of us prefer not to “worry” about it (- and before someone asks - No, I am not suggesting that “Hinduism” is perfect – read the previous post if you dont believe me!) but at least we do not stifle discussion of such topics and there is broad-based consensus around the need for reform of discriminatory and narrow, orthodox practices. Back to the news-stories:
The first one (from rediff): Praising Gandhi earns Kashmir CM a fatwa
“Kashmir’s Grand Mufti Mufti Bashir-ud-Din, Saturday asked Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to undertake penance for his recent utterances asking people to adopt Gandhian philosophy for worldly success.
The chief minister had reportedly said…”adoption of Gandhian philosophy was the route to success in this world.”
The Grand Mufti, while asking the chief minister to clarify his position on the matter, said, “Gandhi was relevant to his community but for the Muslims Prophet Mohammad was the only leader to be followed.”
The second story: ‘Taliban’ writ in Haryana village
“CHANDIGARH: Barely 25 km from the bustling township of Karnal is village Mundogari, where people don’t buy television sets, don’t get themselves photographed, or even listen to Hindi film music.
It’s not because they don’t have the financial wherewithal to do so; it’s because the 5,000-strong Muslim population of the village is under the near-total sway of retrograde maulvis whose edicts have barred the folk from any form of recreation.
…The only connection of villagers — who don’t travel out — with the outside world is the radio on which the only programme they are allowed to listen to is the news.
…Eighteen year old Shadaqat Ali, who owns an STD/PCO outlet, says, Koran doesn’t allow us to watch TV and listen to music in any form. On being asked who informed him about it, he says: “Maulvis have informed the entire village time and again and about TV’s ill-effects.”
…Maulana Ajmal Khan, the imam at Sector 20 Masjid, Chandigarh, says: “If you want a photograph clicked for the passport, or on the admission form, you can have it, since it’s out of necessity. But you can’t have it hanging on the wall.” Islam also does not allow singing and dancing or any such form of entertainmen, he adds.”
Excerpts from “Can Islam Reform Itself?” and finally