Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

April 2006
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Holy Names and Militant Outfits

Muslim clerics in different parts of India have issued fatwas against targeting places of worship in the name of Islam or naming militant outfits after Allah or Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh).

The fatwas asking militants not to link violent acts with Islam came in response to the bomb blasts in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi where 23 people were killed. One of the two blasts took place in a temple. “There is absolutely no room for terrorism in Islam and the murder of one innocent person amounts to the murder of the entire humanity,” said the fatwa by Maulana Khan Rasheed, chief of the 400-year-old Darul-Ifta Firangi Mahal seminary in Lucknow. Quoting lines from the Quran, the fatwa added: “If any Muslim causes harm to any place of worship or indulges in the killing of innocent people, Islam would regard it as the worst possible crime and the Shariah would consider it absolutely unlawful.” Rasheed, who also heads one of the main mosques in Lucknow, issued the fatwa on an application moved by a local businessman Sajjid Umar who had sought the seminary’s verdict on the issue.

“Using holy names against peace is disrespectful to Islam. The religion, which does not even allow harming a tree or animal, cannot condone killing innocent people in the name of jihad (holy war),” said Syed Shah Badruddin Qadri al-Jeelani, president of the Jamiat Mushaiqal-Hind and the All-India Sunni Ulema Board.

“Through the fatwa our organisations want to send a message that Islam in no way supports violence. The religion is being branded with terrorism just because of a few people,” he said.

“If they can’t shun the path of violence, they must at least drop the names so that the entire Muslim community is not blamed,” said Maulana Mastan Ali, director of Jamait-ul Mominath, one of the oldest Islamic institutions for women based in Hyderabad. A militant group calling itself Lashkar-e-Qahar had claimed responsibility for the Varanasi blast. Many of the terror groups operating in India use similar names that try and derive legitimacy from religion. They include the Jaish-e-Mohamed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

All India Muslim Personal Law Board, general secretary Abdur Rahim Qureshi also condemned the use of attributes of Allah and the Prophet for “activities which go against the very spirit of Islam.”

Concerned over Muslim youth falling prey to the propaganda of terrorist groups, Qureshi, who heads Tameer-e-Millat, said they planned to launch a campaign to create awareness among youth.