By New Age Islam Group of Scholars
4 May 2020
An obscurantist, fundamentalist Mullah from Pakistan, Mufti Muneebur Rahman, of Darul Ifta Jamia Nayimia Karachi has issued a fatwa, clearly under the influence of Pakistan’s Deep State, that makes every Muslim hang his head in shame. Is this Islam, one feels like asking, in the way a grief-stricken Muslim mother asked on 16 December 2014 in Peshawar, after the Taliban massacred 149 small children and teachers in a Pakistani Army school. This despicable cleric, speaking in the manner of many of his predecessors who historically served the interests of their despotic rulers, says: “it is not permissible for the Muslims of Kashmir to sell or rent out their property to non-Muslims.” This goes completely against our understanding of Islamic precepts. From a very clear, unambiguous Islamic perspective, Kashmiri Muslims are allowed to engage in Muamalat and transactions of all kind, as they have done for hundreds of years.
It must be understood that for hundreds of years several religious communities have lived together harmoniously in Kashmir in the spirit of what they call Kashmiriyat, that is Kashmir’s composite culture, that continued to prevail after the advent of Islam, particularly because of its Sufi flavour. As before, Kashmiri Muslims should feel no religious restriction in selling out their land to non-Muslims for house construction or trade, if they so desire, as long as it is not specifically intended to harm Muslims or Islam. One cannot question someone’s intent and believe he intends to harm Muslims and Islam merely on the basis of one’s own prejudices.
Muamalat literally means ‘transactions’ or ‘dealings. As a subject of Islamic jurisprudence, Muamalat discusses rulings governing trade and commercial transactions. Muamalat is a social relationship consisting of numerous economic and non-economic activities. In general, all economic activities are permissible as long as they do not transgress the tenets of Islam.
Mufti Muneeb's Fatwa seems to be inspired by the Fatwa issued by the Palestinian Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Hussein forbidding sale of land to the Jews of Israel. The case of Palestine vis-a-vis Israel is entirely different from the case of Kashmir vis-a-vis India. Palestine and Israel are two political entities at loggerheads with each other and both consider each other enemy territory. Jammu and Kashmir and India are not two different political entities or countries but J&K is a state, now a union territory, within India and is entitled to all the constitutional rights and safeguards.
The princely State of Jammu & Kashmir joined India when Maharaja Hari Singh, its erstwhile ruler, signed the document of accession with India on 26 October 1949 under the pressure of a murderous and brutal Pakistani tribal invasion which his small army was not able to deal with. It had a special status guaranteed by the Indian Constitution according to which it had some privileges. The Special Status was revoked on 5 August 2019 bringing the state at par with other states of India. It has been a state within India since 1947 and all the Chief ministers of this state have been Muslims. The Muslims of the state have been entitled to all the religious and political rights enshrined in the Constitution for all the citizens of India.
The revocation of the Special Status guaranteed to it under the Article 370 does not mean it has lost equality before the Constitution but that it has now become more equal in the eyes of Constitution. It no longer has any special status or rights. All the laws of the land will also apply to the citizens of the state or the union territory as well. It means that now not only Hindus of the rest of India but Muslims and people belonging to other religious communities will have the right to buy and sell property, right to job, business and residence in the state as they have similar rights in other states.
As for Mufti Muneebur Rahman’s Fatwa against the sale and purchase of land between Muslims of Kashmir and Hindus of the rest of India, it is totally based on the theory of "Enemy territory". From the point of view of Mufti Muneeb India is an enemy territory for the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir and the Hindus of India are the enemies of Islam. Thus, the fatwa is based on a faulty perception not supported by the Quran and Hadith. Mufti Muneeb believes that Jammu and Kashmir is IOK (India-occupied Kashmir) and Muslims of J&K are Pakistani, India is an enemy territory and Hindus of India are enemies of Islam and Muslims. This point of view is inaccurate and flawed not only from a political but also an Islamic point of view. Quran and Hadith do not consider all non-Muslims enemies of Islam. It approves of good treatment of and social and economic relations with polytheists, Jews and Christians in times of peace. It only permits Muslims to fight those who fight them. The Quran says:
"Allah does not forbid you as regards those who did not fight you on account of faith, and did not expel you from your homes, that you do good to them and deal justly with them. Surely, Allah loves those who maintain justice."(Al Mumtahanah, 60: 8).
Mufti Muneeb himself quotes some Hadiths that permit Muslims to have business relations with polytheists. Thus, he contradicts the basis of his own fatwa by saying that all the Hindus of India are enemies of Muslims and so they should not have business relations with them.
The fatwa is the result of a paranoid mindset that the land of Kashmiri Muslims will be forcefully acquired by Hindus of the rest of India and Hindus will be brought to Kashmir and be made to settle here to turn the Muslim majority into a minority. The fact is that, the Law does not force them to sell their land to outsiders. They can sell their land not only to Hindus but also to the Muslims of the rest of India. In the same way, the Sikhs, Pandits and Christians of the state can also sell or lease out their land to anyone from outside. Any paranoia on the part of Muslims will be completely unwarranted.
In fact, the Kashmiris can exploit this ease in restrictions to their own benefit. They can lease out their land to investors and business houses to collaborate in business and industrial projects. This will only bring about economic and industrial development in the state. Until now, they remained in a ghetto in the name of their cultural identity and their centuries old traditions. The broadmindedness inherent in Kasshmiriyat of yore has gradually dissipated and a narrow vision of Kashmiriyat has been sought to be developed in the last few decades. This cultural ghettoism has done not only Kashmiris but many other communities in India, Pakistan and African countries huge harm and has been a great impediment to their economic and political development. With their limited economic resources, the Kashmiris could not develop economically, industrially politically. They basked in their hollow pride while Pakistan and their Islamist stooges in Kashmir exploited their youth and their Islamic identity to push them in the mire of terrorism and sold them the hollow and unrealistic dream of Nizam-e-Mustafa or Islamic Khilfat in the Valley. They did not have any road map for the economic upliftment of Kashmiri people with the help of rights and opportunities provided to them by the Indian Constitution.
For more than 60 years, the Kashmiris had Special Status but they could not benefit from this. On the contrary, the Special status only pushed them in a state of inertia. While the Muslims of other states of India, despite living as a minority, competed with other communities in every field and prospered economically, educationally and politically, the Kashmiris remained content with the thought that no one can disturb their peace.
The Muslims of the rest of India did not consider Hindus their enemies because they had not driven them from their homes. Lack of competition put the Kashmiris in a state of lethargy.
The new equal status has given the Kashmiris the opportunity to open up and to engage in collaboration with the wealthy and resourceful people and institutions, both Muslim and non-Muslim in the field of education, industry and business. The Kashmiris have land and people in the rest of India have wealth and expertise. Together, they can bring about a positive change in the state and in their lives.
As for selling land to Hindus, the Shariah discourages Muslims to sell land to any one leave aside selling land to Hindus. There is a Hadith to this effect:
"Ibn-e-Majah (2482) narrated that Hudhayfa ibn-al-Ymaan said:The Messenger of Allah pbuh said, "Whoever sells a house and does not put its price into something similar will not be blessed there in."
This Hadith does not say that Muslims should not sell their house or land to a particular community. It is only saying that when you sell your land, do not squander the proceeds on frivolous pursuits, instead use it for similarly gainful investment as buying land or doing business.
The government sometimes acquires the land of common Indian people for government projects like roads, railway lines, etc at market prices. Such land acquisition happens across the length and breadth of India. It should not be looked at from a communal angle if it is done in J&K.
Since, J&K is also inhabited by Pandits, Sikhs and Christians, under the new constitutional provisions, they can do business transactions and sale-purchase of land with investors from outside. It would be wise for Muslims too to use this opportunity for their own economic development. If they still remained in the ghetto, other communities will move forward and they will continue to lag behind. The Kashmiris should shrug off their cultural lethargy and wake up to new opportunities and challenges. They should not look at their problems from the point of view of Pakistani propagandists like Mufti Muneebur Rahman.
The Constitution of India guarantees equal rights, honour and opportunities to the people of Kashmir and so India cannot be considered "Enemy territory" for Kashmiri people and the Hindus of India do not consider Kashmiri Muslims their enemies. They in fact, stand by them in their demand for justice, equality and fair treatment. Therefore, the Kashmiri Muslims can collaborate with the Hindus and Muslims of rest of India in any productive endeavour.
Kashmiris had rejected the two-nation theory right in the beginning of this discourse and decided to join secular India. The Bangladeshis rejected the pernicious two-nation theory later, after accepting it at first and experiencing life within Pakistan as East Pakistan. Today, practically all ethnic minorities of Pakistan, Baloch, Sindhis, Pashtoon and Mohajir are restive and would love to be out of the union with Pakistan. They are engaged in a mighty struggle. Their spirit is unflinching, despite having lost thousands to Pakistani bullets and continuing persecution. No surprise that Mufti Muneebur Rahman has nothing to say about their struggle. His aim is the same as that of the Pakistani Deep State. After having failed to capture Kashmir militarily, it is seeking to sow seeds of division in India by misguiding the simple Kashmir Muslim through absurd fatwas that contradict the basic tenets of Islam, well-known verses of Quran and narrations of Hadith, teaching pluralism and co-existence.
Kashmir has been part of India before and after the special status of Kashmir was revoked through the amendment of the Article 370 on the 5th of August 2019. India has lifted restrictions on the Indian citizens on getting domicile or getting job or purchasing property in Jammu and Kashmir in order to make laws equal for all Indians. As being a part of India, Kashmir was enjoying a special status which has now been abrogated. From Islamic perspective, the revocation of the special status can’t be termed a condition to declare muamalat with Hindus forbidden nor can it be preconceived that the Hindus want to harm the Kashmiris through purchasing their land and turning them into a minority. In any case, Muslims live as a minority throughout the country with varying degrees of population ratio. Therefore, the recent fatwa issued by Mufti Muneeb of Pakistan in which he has declared muamalat forbidden with Hindus as it will harm Islam and Muslims, is just pernicious propaganda inspired by the Pakistani Establishment’s old agenda of acquiring Kashmiri territory.
The Muamalat, as per the Islamic jurists, is permissible with all Muslims and non-Muslims. Just as the non-Kashmiri Indian Muslims live in peaceful coexistence and do muamalat with their non-Muslim citizens, so the Kashmiri Muslims too can develop this relationship with Hindus in terms of selling, buying or doing any sort of transactions.
In his book “Al-Mahajjah al-Mu’taminah fi Ayat al-Mumtahinah, (The Safe haven: in the verse of Mumtahinah)”, an Indian Hanafi Jurist Ala Hazrat Imam Ahmad Raza writes:
“It is permissible to conduct transactions and have dealings with anyone, … The Dhimmi (the term used for non-Muslim subjects of an Islamic State in the past) is similar to a Muslim in all such dealings. “They shall have the same rights and obligations as us”- (لهم ما لنا وعليهم ما علينا). It is permissible to conduct transactions even with non-Dhimmis. Transactions like buying and selling, leasing and renting, giving and accepting gifts (upon the condition that these gifts are permitted by the Shariah); and to purchase anything from them, when such goods are of benefit for Muslims; ….
"So also, it is permitted to employ them to do things that are not contrary to the Shariah; and to accept employment of non-Muslims in permissible activities that are not humiliating [to Muslims]; so also, is hiring them and getting hired by them. It is permissible to give them gifts as goodwill (Maslehat-e-Shariah) … and to accept their gifts as long as such gifts do not contravene or criticise Islam. … So also, [it is allowed] to have contracts with them, and have covenants with them to a certain extent and when such a permissible covenant is made, it is obligatory to fulfil it and it is forbidden to betray or renege from such promises.” (Al-Mahajjah al-Mu’taminah fi Ayat al-Mumtahinah, -The Safe haven: in the verse of Mumtahinah by Imam Ahmad Raza)
The jurists have declared only the kind of Muamalat to be forbidden in which it is intended to harm Islam and Muslims. Such Muamalat which harm Muslims and Islam is indiscriminately prohibited not only with non-Muslims but also with Muslims.
Imam Ahmad Raza says, “The mere human relations (mujarrad muamalat) are permissible with every disbeliever except apostates, with the condition that there is no support for disbelief or disobedience, or harm to Islam or Sharia, otherwise such Muamalat are forbidden with the Muslims as well, not to speak of the disbelievers”
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And do not help one another in sin and oppression.” (Quran 5:2)
In this verse, Allah Almighty has absolutely prohibited aid and assistance in sins and aggressions. Sins and aggressions may be committed by Muslims or non-Muslims, and if such is the case, then it is not permitted to support any sin or aggression, whether it is perpetrated by Muslims or non-Muslims.
However, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman has used this verse only to forbid transactions of selling land and property to non-Kashmiri Hindus, with the supposed idea that if Kashmiri Muslims sell their land to Hindus, this will harm the Muslims and Islam. This is simply a supposed idea in line with the Pakistani politics to sow dissensions between the Kashmiris and the rest of India, which is their own country. The question is that there are many cases of sins and oppression in Pakistan but Mufti Muneeb has not issued a fatwa to boycott transactions with oppressors and sinners? Dozens of oppressive issues are there in Pakistan in which Mufti Muneeb is silent. Moreover, he even does not bother to publicly declare such cases to be forbidden and the criminals to be boycotted. The first thing he should be doing if he is a real Islamic scholar is to put the Pakistan security forces in the category of “Zalimoon,” as their vile oppression of minority ethnic groups is well known and well-documented. Through his fatwa he appears to be only concerned about the Kashmiris as his interference into the Kashmir issues will benefit Pakistani Deep State.
Mufti Munebur Rahman approaches the issue of Kashmir as a great believer in Islamic brotherhood. If that is the case, what about issuing a fatwa forbidding Pakistani government having any transactions with China or Mayamar. Are Uighurs of Xinkiang in China and Rohingyas of Mayanmar not Muslim? Or is there any doubt about the persecution and suffering they are undergoing for years?
The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is part of India where Muslims live in majority and have all fundamental rights equal to other Indian Muslims. If any youngsters in Kashmir commit terrorism against Indian forces or interests, this is not only a violation of Indian laws but also a serious violation of Islamic laws. Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman should first issue a fatwa against this sin and aggression which is working to brainwash the Kashmiris to rebel against India. Another thing for Mufti Muneeb to note is that just as Muslims in any part of India are permitted to buy or sell their land and property, so the Muslims in Kashmir too can do their transactions and Muamalat with Hindus or any non-Muslims and this is as much Islamic as in any other parts of India.
Mufti Muneeb himself has said, “In general circumstances, unlike with the apostates, sale and purchase and other financial transactions with the Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims is permitted by Shariah” quoting a number of evidences from Islamic sources. But in the second part of Fatwa in which he proposes his supposed idea that the muamalat in Kashmir with Hindus will harm Muslims is based on mere supposition and has no basis in ground-reality.
With these arguments, Mufti Muneeb’s fatwa is easily refutable. It should be set aside as the trash it is. Its motives are not far to see. Many such muftis in the past have bent Islamic precepts following orders from their despotic rulers either out of greed or fearing the authority. These have become precedents and cause grievous injury to the evolution of Muslim thought.
As for the Muslims in India and its Kashmir region, God Almighty is the Protector and therefore Muslims should not worry about any harm coming from any worldly source. They can and should engage in muamalat with Hindus and other non-Muslims without an iota of doubt in their minds. If based on mutual benefit, such transactions do not amount to supporting sin and aggression, the only thing prohibited in Quran (5:2), and thus, as we have seen above, there is no violation of Islamic precepts whatsoever.