A Timely Challenge for Muslim Leaders
Maulana Atiq-ur-Rahman Sambhali
Some wise man is reported to have said that every child born in the human-family is a proclamation from the Almighty that He is not disappointed with this grand-family. Whoever might have said it, (I have heard that it was no other than our own Rabindranath Tagore) it is in itself an expression of truth because it is unthinkable that the Almighty, who is All-Knowing and All-Wise, would have otherwise kept the procreation continued.
Leaving the truth aside, what we have been seeing all along that this grand-family has been in the condition that it is in (and seeing this scribe has passed through his 70 years of his intellectual age) the only thing that did not let him doubt this truth was the belief in Allah SWT’s Optimism, His Patience and His Wisdom.
I am talking about this grand human-family with reference to the background of the Indian sub-continent during my conscious age. What is there that could be imagined has not happened there in my lifetime? First of all I saw the unimaginable blood-letting and bloody drama in the wake of partition of the country during which human-family surpassed the barbarity of beasts.
Leaving aside the ferocity of lesser intensity let’s move to the climactic beastliness displayed in 1964 in Raurkela, Jamshedpur and Ranchi. Recall the naked dance of this inhumanity shown in the destruction of Babri Mosque in 1992. And remember that of Modi’s ‘achievement’ of turning Gujarat into a slaughter house in 2002. With all that happenings the human-family not only did continue to bear new born babies as usual but it saw the contradictions in the climax of Mr Modi’s achievements of rising from being the Chief Ministership of Gujarat to being elevated to the highest rank of being the Prime Minister of the country. The human-family, on the other hand was imbibing all these setbacks [without any protest]. The question is then that what is there that, everything being against the odds, does not let us lose hope?
All praise be to God! at last I have found the answer to this riddle in my life. There is no doubt that the conscience of the human-family had been into a coma for long but had not died completely. It still had the chance of regaining its consciousness. The proof of this has been provided by standing up against the newly revived inhuman behaviour and barbarism under the leadership of Narendra Modi. The President of the Republic has mustered the courage to stop continuing to serve as a decorative symbol of authority and stand up to preach the nation its coveted high morals. God has blessed him with the courage to do this and as a result of his wise action intellectuals have woken up too. The results of Bihar elections have put a seal on it confirming that this awakening has made way into the general public too.
One could hope that this new development would have given some food for thought and incentive for individuals and organisations representing the Muslim community in India. Regretfully being outside the country this scribe is not in a position to judge if that is the case. Therefore, whatever is coming to my mind in this regard I want to submit it to them to consider.
This scribe’s view is that the present encouraging situation should not simply be seen as itself being beneficial and able to solve our problems, but on our part we will have to find ways that strengthen us and make us a part of this movement. With a fascist organisation like the RSS romping all over the country, possibilities for Muslims to survive with dignity there will not be an option without a strong unity between Hindus and Muslims based on universal norms of morals. It was this very ground on which, after the tragedies of Raurkela, Ranchi and Jamshedpur that the late Dr Syed Mehmood had given a call to the community and after a general acceptance from all quarters of the community a platform by the name of Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawrat was formed. This was a completely new methodology adopted by Dr Mehmood Saheb. For Dr Saheb to walk on this path was not difficult for he had spent all his life in Congress. However, to make others keep on this track it was necessary that Dr Saheb, as its president, kept a tight grip on the Majlis. Although Dr Saheb did give a clarion call to the community, but due to his old age he was not in a position to lead it according to the idea that was his brainchild. So from the day one it became a many-facet puzzle for the followers to interpret and thus became a painful dream for Dr Saheb.
The Majlis exists even today. As a matter of fact last August its Golden Jubilee was celebrated in Delhi for which this scribe was also invited (but could not attend) as he happens to be the one of the two surviving attendees of its 1964 inaugural session.
I was hoping that, perhaps, on this occasion the Majlis, under the new leadership, would go back to its original stance. But it has as usual continued to act like Muslim Majlis, the organisation that had taken birth from its womb and has taken separate identity but had failed to bring a worthwhile change. However this is the right time that under the new leadership Majlis stood up and shaped its actions firmly according to the dreams of late Dr Saheb. It should therefore try to gather together all those Muslim leaders who share its philosophy and join hands with those who have come out in openly against extreme Hindutva. This is the time that be it Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawrat or any other organisation, they should stand up and not miss this opportunity at hand. With organisations like the RSS, Shiv Sena and a countless number of individuals like Modi and Subramunyam Swami around, there is no other option for Muslims and their leadership but to unhesitatingly becoming part of the movements of unity like that of the example of Hilf Al Fudool* about which, despite the kufr of the founders of this movement, in his Madani days the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had said, ‘Even today I am ready to become part of such a movement.’
Here at last poses the issue that relates to our own extremist elements. We should therefore have to muster the courage to accept whatever feels and stands for realities and bravely reject all that which is the result of misunderstandings. In this situation there is a possibility that issues like Muslim Personal Law may come to the fore. Even for this a new approach needs to be adopted. The argument that it is part of our religion will not serve any purpose. This is a big challenge of the time and would that we are able to accept this.
*Hilf Al Fudool (حلف الفضول) was a treaty entered into by some Meccans, including the Prophet (PBUH) before the Prophethood pledging to protect anyone being harassed or oppressed by the mighty ones. Even after becoming Prophet he used to remember and praise this treaty and the service provided by this movement in those days when ‘Might is Right’ was the only rule. Even after receiving revelation the Prophet (PBUH) used to say that if he was asked to enter into such a treaty again he would answer it: —Urdu Media Monitor
Translated by Urdu Media Monitor.Com from Jadid Khabr, Delhi, 14 Novmber 2014
Maulana Atiqr ur Rahman Sanbhali is a London based Islamic scholar. He has authored several books and edited one of the most reputable and bold Urdu weekly Nada-e-Millat for which in 1965 he had to face nine court cases under the infamous Defence of India Rule (DIR).