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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Why Supreme Court must dismiss misguided petition against 26 Quranic verses

There is not a single verse in the holy Quran which promotes violence or terrorism, if read in its proper context.

Written by Firoz Bakht Ahmed |
Updated: March 25, 2021 8:59:19 am
While Rizvi is trying to stir a hornet’s nest, the trend of involving the Supreme Court in religious matters is not a tenable one.

In a recent PIL in the Supreme Court, Waseem Rizvi, former chairman of the Shia Waqf Board in UP, has demanded the removal of 26 verses from the holy Quran claiming that terrorists used these verses to “promote jihad”.

Earlier as well, he had written to the Prime Minister, asking him to close down all madrasas since these breed “terrorists”. While Rizvi is trying to stir a hornet’s nest, the trend of involving the Supreme Court in religious matters is not a tenable one.

True, the apex court decided the triple talaq law which was of paramount importance, keeping in view how Muslim women were being divorced in a single sitting. But in the case of the Quran’s verses, the court is not the proper forum or body to decide which verses can be allowed or removed.

This would be a serious interference in the religious beliefs of the community, affecting their right to freedom of religion. If any court entertains such a petition, tomorrow it may be faced with similar petitions for the removal of verses from the religious books and scriptures of other religious communities.

What is positive is that not only Muslims but almost all Hindu brothers believe that the petition is a bogus one. It has also been condemned by eminent people and learned scholars from both the Shia and Sunni communities. Such a bizarre, frivolous and distressing petition deserves to be dismissed forthwith.

There is not a single verse in the holy Quran which promotes violence or terrorism, if read in its proper context. The Quran condemns unjustified violence and terrorism, while permitting self-defence. Only a distorted reading of verses taken out of context can lead to views such as Rizvi’s.

Without having gone through the real purport and the exegesis of the 26 verses, this Islam-baiter has cast unfounded allegations against the three Caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman). He completely failed to understand that the 26 verses have been categorised as “war verses” and were in force at the time of the holy wars. No Muslim bases his or her action on these. The very meaning of the word Islam is “submission”. Forget taking somebody’s life, the Prophet (PBUH) believed that the biggest sin was lacerating people’s hearts and hurting them.

Rizvi’s argument is that some terrorists and wayward Muslims quote these verses to justify the slaughter of innocents. But, even if these verses did not exist, terrorists would not cease their violence. Had they read and understood the Quran, they would have been the messengers of peace, not death! When the ISIS terrorists, while recording acts of violence, display the Kalimah on the black flag, they deliberately defile Islam. Unfortunately, for the layman, that becomes symbolic of Islamic tenets, which is a misconception.

The scriptures of a religion are the final wordings of their creator and need to be revered by all means — not even a word, comma or full stop can be changed.

In the past, anti-Islam propaganda by Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie or Danish cartoons have created a lot of turmoil. The killing of the middle school French teacher, Samuel Paty, in Paris was one such condemnable fallout. The perpetrator of the crime never knew that his act would have been severely condemned by the Prophet himself.

These brainwashed killers must learn Islam has no room for such killings. At the same time, why do people provoke a community’s beliefs under the garb of freedom of expression? True, Christians won’t get offended by the cartoons of Jesus Christ but it’s not the same with Muslims or Hindus. The late MF Husain had to face a lot of flak and go into a self-imposed exile in Dubai and UK for the criticism of his painting of Saraswati.

The Old Testament is filled with tales of divinely-ordained slaughter and war, yet about two billion Christians today follow the word of the Lord, coupled with the New Testament, which includes a command from Jesus to “love thy neighbour as you love thyself.” Muslims also face a similar dichotomy of ideas in the Quran.

In one part, the scripture says, “La ikraha fiddeen,” meaning that there is “no enforcement/ coercion in matters of faith.” The Quran also states about other religions, “Lakum dinokum waley yadeen,” meaning, “to you, your religion, to me, mine.”

Nevertheless, the fringe minority that has been indulging in killing the innocent, have turned a god-fearing and law-abiding Muslim person anywhere in the world into an object of suspicion.

It is good that the National Commission for Minorities has condemned Rizvi by sending him a sharp notice for his absurd petition stating that his statement is “provocative and disturbs the balance of communal harmony of a secular nation and has hurt the sentiments of a religious minority community”.

The Supreme Court must not entertain this petition that hurts the religious sentiments of billions of Muslims across the globe and must ask Rizvi to apologise, the chief imam of India, Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, has suggested.

As a law-abiding citizen of this great nation, I would appeal and urge all my co-religionists to maintain discipline, remain calm and to register their protest peacefully against this misguided petition.

The writer is chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

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