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Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Faizan Mustafa: Now Ulema Should Create Awareness Among People About The Context Of War Time Verses
New Age Islam Staff Writer
14 April 2021
Dismissal of Anti-Quran Petition Is Not Enough, Islamic Scholars Should Work To Clear Confusion on War Verses
1. Law expert Faizan Mustafa urges Muslim clergy to hold discussions on controversial war verses
2. He urges Muslim intellectuals to work towards removing misconceptions about Quran
3. He says violence cannot be justified with the help of the Quran.
4. Modern legal system can abolish certain religious practices that don't go with the spirit of the time
The dismissal of Waseem Rizvi's petition on 26 verses of the Quran by the Supreme Court of India has brought much relief to the Muslim community. It is also a victory of the Quran over the malicious propaganda run against it. However, the issue is not over. By filing a petition in the Supreme Court, Waseem Rizvi has created doubts among the non-Muslims about the verses of the Quran which a mere dismissal in the court can not clear or remove. It is, therefore, necessary for the ulema to explain the meaning and context of the verses qouted by Waseem Rizvi in his petition. The eminent Constitutional expert Faizan Mustafa has also expressed the need to hold out of court discussions on the context and meaning of the verses that are called Ayat-e-harb (War time verses) because the dismissal of the petition, in his view, has not resolved the issue for good. We reproduce excerpts from his lecture posted on his legal web series.
Interestingly, Mr Faizan Mustafa believes that the dismissal of the petition at the threshold is a victory for Waseem Rizvi because if the petition had been accepted for discussion, all the cases pending against him with CBI and corruption charges against him as the Chairman of UP Shia Waqf Board would have been brought to the court. So the dismissal of the petition at the threshold saved him the humiliation and embarrassment.
That's his point of view but one thing Waseem Rizvi succeeded in is that he has put the responsibility to explain the meaning and context of the versrs to the general public , especially non-Muslims of the world on the ulema. Mr Faizan Mustafa says:
"It is also the responsibility of our learned ulema to explain the issue and create awareness among the people whether the aforesaid verses really inspire people to commit violence and create terror as Waseem Rizvi claimed. The propaganda and myths propagated on WhatsApp university and social media or the comments that have been made on my video or the kind of opposition that has been demonstrated by a section of our population make it clear that there is a large number of people who believe that Waseem Rizvi's petition was right and that there are indeed 26 verses that speak of terror and violence against non-Muslims. Now the responsibility lies with the Muslim clergy to explain to the people the context of those verses, that the verses are related to the laws of war. I made a video and explained the contents of six verses. In future I will make videos and explain the content and meaning of the remaining 20 verses. I did this because earlier I thought that it was only a theological issue but some of my viewers told me that since the Quran is the source of Islamic law, it was also a legal issue. So I will yry to accomplish the task that was not done in the court."
Mr Faizan Mustafa makes a very important point against filing petitions against religious scriptures in courts of law. He says,
"Now there is a need to understand a particular issue which Waseem Rizvi raised. He claimed that due to these verses Muslims are perpetrating terrorism in the whole world, and so, to prevent terrorism these verses should be expunged from the Quran. The petitioner and his lawyer was so unsure that when Justice Nariman asked him, "Are you serious?", he did not say that the aforementioned verses should be removed from the Quran but went over to madrasas. You are aware that Waseem Rizvi has said many things (against madrasas ) earlier as well. In other words, the petitioner conceded a large ground in the very beginning of the argument and confined his argument to the submission that madrasas taught wrong things. Look, terrorism is a very serious issue not only in India but also in the whole world. No Muslim can say that 'I am involved in terrorism because the Quran has preached me to, and since the Quran has taught me this, I should not be punished'. Terrorism has already been made a serious capital offence. A number of laws were enacted such as TADA, POTA, UAPA including the amendments. Therefore, the government can declare any organisation a terrorist organisation. When a modern legal system does not accept or recognise a teaching or custom supported by a religious scripture, it does not say, 'Remove it from, say, the Vedas, from the Upanishads, from Manusmriti, from the Quran, from the Bible' etc. It's not possible. Then what does the legal system do? For example, our legal system does not say, "Remove untouchability from Hindu scriptures"; "Remove Sati from the Hindu scriptures." It simply abolished Sati. If anyone observes Sati or glorifies it, he will be punished according to the law. We have made laws to prevent untouchability and made SC/ST Laws stricter. Similarly, our law prohibits terrorism and violence. Even if a religious scripture encourages terrorism and violence, nobody has the right to justify it in the name of his religion. It's an issue of criminal law and here religion becomes irrelevant."
Mr Faizan Mustafa also says that abusing or targeting Waseem Rizvi was not right because he only used his constitutional right.
"In my view demands made by some quarters for the arrest of Mr Rizvi was not right. Waseem Rizvi had a right to go to the court as per Article 32 and he used his right. The court had the right to dismiss such a frivolous and motivated 'publicity interest litigation' and the Court used its right. Now venting ire against Waseem Rizvi will not serve any purpose. The real task at hand is creating awareness in the society. The petition was sorted out in the court of law but the clarification on the issue should be made in the public mind. So efforts should be made to hold discussions on the verses in question and the confusion over the content of the verses should be cleared. People should be told that it’s not a general rule. Even today, peace time laws and laws of war are different. In my view, it is the responsibility of our society, our intellectuals and our clergy to clear the doubts of the people. Targeting Waseem Rizvi and abusing him does not augur well for our legal system."
Mr Faizan Mustafa's lecture should be an eye opener for our clergy and our intellectuals who only rely on the courts to defend the Quran. They do not do anything to clarify the doubts and confusion of the non-Muslims and also of common Muslims about the verses of their scripture. Chandmal Chopra and Waseem Rizvi represent a large section of our society which harbours misinformation and misinterpretations of the Quranic verses. We make a big mistake by dismissing their petitions as the figment of imagination of an individual. There is a pressing need to explain the true teachings of the Quran to the Chandmals and Waseem Rizvis of our society.
Mr Faizan Mustafa should be praised for his efforts to explain the misinterpreted verses of the Quran through his web series. But this kind of efforts should come from our ulema because they have a bigger influence on the Muslims. It should be recalled here that some time back the government of India had invited Muslim scholars to create YouTube channels to counter terrorism and extremism among the Muslims. Unfortunately, this indicative of the government was not received well by our religious scholars. Mr Faizan Mustafa's web series explaing the war time verses is a positive and commendable step in that direction. We should shun the culture of violence and learn to work towards removing misconceptions about Islam and the Quran with the resources available. Will our ulema pay heed to Mr Faizan Mustafa's advise?