(CAUTION: THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR’S OWN AND DO NOT REFLECT THE OPINIONS OR VIEWS OF THE RATIONAL DAILY IN ANY MANNER.)
I often say that Muslims in the Indian subcontinent are ‘fake Muslims’. Consider the facts:
Islam spread in large parts of the world because of its great message of equality, and the social emancipation it gave to the suppressed sections of society. But Muslims in our subcontinent often practice the caste system, which represents inequality, and is directly contrary to what the great Prophet taught. In this connection, I earlier wrote an article titled ‘ Caste among Indian Muslims’.
Just as among Hindus there are upper castes, OBCs ( other backward castes, which are the intermediate castes ) and SCs ( Scheduled castes or Dalits, who are at the bottom of the social order ), among Muslims there are ashrafs ( upper castes, like sayyids, sheikhs, moghuls and pathans ), ajlafs ( the intermediate castes, like ansaris, quraishis and siddiques ) and arzals ( the Dalit converts like lalbegis, bhangis, kunjras, halalkhors, and kalai ) in the Indian subcontinent.
Many Muslims deny this, and say there is no caste in Islam. That may be the theory, but the practice is otherwise. So are they real Muslims?
In the city of Banda in UP, there is a family of Muslims who were Rajput converts. A girl from that family fell in love with a Dalit Hindu magistrate who converted to Islam to marry her. But her brothers came to that magistrate and told him to break off contact with their sister or they will kill him. When the magistrate protested that he had converted to Islam, and Islam knows no caste, they said “:humne apna mazhab badla hai, apni jaat nahi ” (we have changed our religion, not our caste). The frightened magistrate got himself quickly transferred from Banda.
The eminent Urdu poet Allama Iqbal took pride in calling himself a descendant of Brahmins ( his ancestors were Kashmiri Brahmins ). He wrote these verses :
Main Asal Ka Khas Somnathi
Aaba Mere Lati-o-Manati
I am by breed a real and pure Somnathi
Ancestors mine were both Lati and Manati.
Tu Syed-e-Hashmi Ki Aulad
Meri Kaf-e-Khak Barhman Zad
You hail from Hashemite Prophetʹs race,
My origin from Brahmans I trace.
In Pakistan there are different mosques for Sunnis and Shias, and going to a Shia mosque ( called Imaambargahs ) is often regarded ‘haraam’ by Sunnis ( as Shias are regarded as heretics;by Sunnis ). Many Sunni mosques have notices stating that Shias are not allowed. And even among Sunnis, many Deobandi mosques have notices that Barelvis are not permitted, and vice versa ( though both Deobandis and Barelvis are Sunnis ).
The namaz of different sects of Muslims, elg. Deobandi, Barelvi, Ahle Hadees and Shias are different. I witnessed this myself when I was invited to an Iftaar in Delhi. When namaz prayer was announced, a gentleman sitting next to me did not join, as he was a Shia.
The ‘wuzu’ before namaz of Shias and Sunnis are different. Shias wash their feet first, while Sunnis wash their hands first.
Deobandis will often not eat food in a Shia’s house ( regarding it as haraam ). If a Deobandi goes to the wedding of a Shia’s daughter, he will usually not eat in the dinner. Some Deobandis think that Shias put horse’s spit in the food, as a horse is regarded holy by Shias ( like cows among Hindus ).
Dargahs are shrines built over the graves of Sufi saints ( e.g. Baba Farid in Pakistan, and Ajmer Sharif, Nizamuddin Aulia in India ). A large number of Muslims ( and even people of other faiths ) go there. But the Wahabi type Muslims regard it as ‘but parasti’ ( idol worship, which is strictly forbidden in Islam ) as they say it is worshipping graves. Dargahs are often bombed in Pakistan.
Apart from the division among Muslims of Sunnis and Shias ( Shias regard the first 3 Khalifas after the Prophet’s death as usurpers ), even among Sunnis there is a sharp division between Deobandis and Barelvis. The former say that if one wants some favour ( minnat ) from Allah, one should pray to Him directly, and not through some intermediary. The latter say that one can pray through some intermediary like Ali ( the Prophet’s son in law ) or some Sufi saint.
When I was a judge in the Supreme Court a petition was filed before me by some Muslims praying that I should order that no Muslim should be allowed to say ‘ Ya Ali ‘ or ‘ Ya Gharib Nawaz ‘ ( Gharib Nawaz is the name given to the Sufi saint of Ajmer, Moinuddin Chishti ).
When I was a judge in Allahabad High Court a petition was filed by some Wahabi type Muslims praying that I should ban processions on the occasion of the Prophet’s birthday ( called Eid ul Milad un Nabi ) as it was said it amounted to venerating the Prophet when only Allah should be venerated in Islam.
Of course, I dismissed such nonsensical petitions, but they reveal the deep division among Muslims. So do these facts not establish that Pakistani ( and Indian ) Muslims are fake Muslims?
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