Bombay- Islamic scholars and clergymen of all Muslim sects including Sunnis, Barelvis, Deobandis, Ahlehadis and Shias on Monday held a meeting under the aegis of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) and lodged a strong protest against what they perceive as interference in Muslim personal law.
This was the first such gathering of Muslim sects in Mumbai, and comes days after the stand taken by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to oppose the Centre on its affidavit in the Supreme Court, opposing triple talaq and the National Law Commission’s questionnaire on the Uniform Civil Code.
The meeting was chaired by Maulana Sayed Mohamed Khalid Ashraf, president, Sunni Darul Uloom Muhammadiya. Prominent among those who attended were Maulana Zaherudin Khan, president, All India Ulema Council, Naveed Hamid, president, AIMMM (An umbrella body of various Muslim orgnizations of all shades and eminant Muslim peronalities), Maulana Sayed Athar Ali, executive committee member, AIMPLB (Sunni) , Maulana Nusrat, vice-president, Jamat-e-Islami Islami HInd (Deobandi), Maulana Mohammed Islam, Imam of Haji Ali Dargah (Sunni), Maulana Asgar Imam Salfi (Ahlehadis), and noted Shia scholar Maulana Asgar Haideri.
“Any interference in Muslim Personal Law will not be tolerated. Any efforts to impose a Common Civil Code in the name of social reform and gender justice will prove counterproductive,” the sects said in a joint statement.
Maulana Sayed Mohamed Khalid Ashraf said the government should respect the position taken by Muslims, instead of conspiring to end it. He said the government cannot force Muslims to follow other communities in issues related to personal law, as it would amount to an infringement on their fundamental rights. “Those clamouring against triple talaq and demanding a ban on polygamy are a miniscule minority, and are not representative of the Indian Muslim community.”
Accusing the Narendra Modi government’s ban on triple talaq as a conspiracy to impose a Uniform Civil Code, Maulana Zaherudin Khan said, “We will boycott this questionnaire. No Muslim will respond to it because it is misleading and deceitful. The Common Civil Code is divisive and will lead to social unrest.”
Maulana Sayed Athar Ali added, “The government should not interfere in the beliefs and religion of a citizen. Muslims consider divorce, polygamy and other personal laws as an intrinsic part of their religion and are hence obliged to follow the Sharia in those matters.
The Samajwadi Party’s Maharashtra unit chief Abu Asim Azmi also addressed the meeting, held near Minara Masjid in south-central Mumbai. He said he was happy that all Muslim sects had come together and opposed the issue.
Speaking to The Hindu , Congress leader and former Minority Affairs minister Naseem Khan said, “The Modi government is implementing the old RSS agenda of a Uniform Civil Code and Article 370, but the Centre opposing triple talaq in an affidavit in the Supreme Court. The National Law Commission questionnaire contradicting the government and seeking the community’s opinion has shaken the faith of Muslims in this government. The questionnaire is politically motivated and an attempt to divert attention from other core issues.”