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HomeNewsDeoband hails attack on India as 'highest Islamic act'

Deoband hails attack on India as ‘highest Islamic act’

At the NCPCR's insistence, the district magistrate has instructed the SDM and CDO of Deoband to act immediately in a letter to the senior superintendent of police

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In response to a fatwa that Darul Uloom Deoband, Saharanpur, published on its website, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has threatened legal action and ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to file a formal complaint. The fatwa purports to exalt “martyrdom in the context of India’s invasion” and to approve “Ghazwa-e-Hind”, an Islamic attack on the nation-state of India.

NCPCR seeks action against Darul Uloom Deoband

The NCPCR demanded action on the fatwa in a letter to the Saharanpur district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police. “The fatwa is exposing children to hatred against one’s own country and eventually causing them unnecessary mental or physical suffering,” the committee stated in the letter.

The Commission has come across another objectionable content on (the) website of Darul Uloom Deoband madrasa… The fatwa talks about the invasion of India (Ghazwa-e-Hind) and how whoever will be martyred in it is a great martyr. ‘Darul Uloom Deoband, a madrasa is an academic body of Islamic education and affiliating Madrasas across South Asia. Such kind of fatwas is exposing children to hatred against one’s own country and eventually causing them unnecessary mental or physical suffering.

The NCPCR letter

“Taking suo motu cognisance of the matter u/s 13 (1) (j) of the CPCR Act, it was observed that the content of the fatwa may lead to hatred against the country,” the commission said.

“In Kedar Nath Singh versus State of Bihar, AIR 1962 SC 955, the Court emphasised that the phrase ‘Government established by law’ under Section 124A must be distinguished from criticism of a specific party or persons. The court stated that this interpretation finds support from the title of the relevant chapter in the IPC, which is headed ‘Offences against the State’. Therefore, the hatred against the country (that is) India will be covered under the said provision (ref: Kanhaiya Kumar versus State of NCT of Delhi),” the letter quotes.

NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo stressed the purported infringement of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, Section 75.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is a statutory body constituted under Section 3 of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, to protect child rights and other related matters in the country.

The District Magistrate of Saharanpur issued the required orders regarding the fatwa in response to a direction from the NCPCR. The sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) and chief development officer (CDO) of Deoband were instructed to act immediately by the district magistrate in a letter to the senior superintendent of police.

After visiting the location, the SDM, CDO, and their team will shortly take decisive action against the Islamic organization.

District Magistrate Dinesh Chandra Singh confirmed that the senior superintendent of police had been asked to take appropriate action in response to the fatwa given by Darul Uloom. He confirmed also the information that they had received a letter from the NCPCR asking them to do so.

After visiting the location, the SDM and CDO Deoband teams will review the direction and take appropriate action.

What Darul Uloom Deoband teaches

The Islamic seminary known as Darul Uloom Deoband in Saharanpur is the birthplace of the Sunni Deobandi Islamic movement. In 1866, Sayyid Muhammad Abid, Fazlur Rahman Usmani, Muhammad Qasim Nanautavi, and others founded the seminary. The first instructor was Mahmud Deobandi, and the first pupil was Mahmud Hasan Deobandi. Arshad Madani was named principal (sadr mudarris) and Abul Qasim Nomani was named senior hadith professor (shaykh al hadith) by the seminary’s executive council on 14 October 2020.

The Hanafi school of Islamic law informs the manqulat (revealed Islamic sciences) taught in the school. Pupils receive instruction in Urdu, Arabic (for religious purposes), or Persian (for literary and cultural purposes). The curriculum is built around a heavily altered version of the Dars-e-Nizami syllabus, an Indo-Islamic curriculum from the 18th century.

Students study the Hadith and its commentary, the Quran and its exegesis and legal rulings supported by textual and logical evidence. In addition, they study Arabic grammar, Arabic literature and language, Muhammad’s biography, and Persian language.

There are numerous stages in the course. The five-year elementary course, known as Nazirah, covers Hindi, Persian, Urdu, and English. The Hifze Quran is the next step above. This entails spending two to four years learning the Quran by heart. Then, a few students will select Tajwid e Hafs, which is a melodic recitation. The pupil is instructed in the precise Quranic recitation guidelines established by Arabic Hafs. The next course, Sab’ah and ‘Asharah Qira’at (study of all ten Quran recitations), will be taken by even fewer people.

The eight-year Fazilat course is equivalent to postgraduate studies. It begins with Arabi Awwal, where the primary goal is to learn the fundamentals of the Arabic language, and ends with Daura e Hadith, where the major books of Muhammad’s sayings are taught. Primary school completion is required for this course. It’s also advised to memorize the Quran. After completing the Fazilat, students can call themselves Maulvi or Alim. The final-year Daurae Hadith class is held in the basement of “a seven-story building that is still under construction.” In the Daurae Hadith class, 1664 students participated in the 2017–2018 academic year (1438–1439 AH).

Approximately 25% of pupils who finish the Daurae Hadith go on to further their education. These advanced courses include Takhassus fil Hadith (Hadith), Takmil Adab (Arabic literature), and Takmil Ifta (jurisprudence). After finishing the Takmil Ifta, students are awarded the title of Mufti.

What is a fatwa?

A “fatwa” is a legal opinion or decree issued by a qualified Islamic scholar (mufti) on a specific issue or question related to Islamic law (Sharia). Fatwas are derived from the interpretation of religious texts, such as the Quran and the Hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad), and are intended to guide Muslims on matters of faith, practice, ethics, or law.

Fatwas can cover various topics, including personal conduct, family matters, business transactions, social issues, and more. Fatwas are advisory to most Muslims but also religiously binding for others. They are highly respected within the Islamic community, and many Muslims seek them for guidance on various aspects of their lives.

Who must obey and who may ignore fatwas among Muslims

Different sects of Islam may have varying approaches to fatwas and may give different levels of authority to them. Here are some key points regarding the differences:

  1. Sunni Islam: In Sunni Islam, fatwas are typically issued by scholars who have studied Islamic law and have gained recognition within their communities as qualified jurists. Sunni Muslims generally follow one of the four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali), each of which has its distinct methodologies for interpreting Islamic texts and issuing fatwas. Sunni Muslims may seek fatwas from scholars affiliated with their particular school of thought.
  2. Shia Islam: In Shia Islam, the concept of religious authority differs from that of Sunni Islam. Shia Muslims believe in the concept of “Imamah,” which entails following a line of infallible Imams who are believed to have been appointed by God. Fatwas in Shia Islam may be issued by high-ranking clerics known as “Mujtahids” or “Marjas,” who are considered to be experts in Islamic law. Shia Muslims generally follow the fatwas of the Marja’ they follow, which can vary among different Shia communities.
  3. Ismaili Islam: Ismaili Muslims have their own distinct tradition within Shia Islam, and their approach to religious authority and interpretation may differ from other Shia groups. Ismailis often follow the teachings of their spiritual leaders, known as the Imams or the Aga Khans, and their interpretation of Islamic law may be guided by the teachings of these leaders.
  4. Other minor sects: There are also smaller sects and movements within Islam, each with its own approach to religious authority and interpretation. These groups may have unique perspectives on fatwas and may follow the guidance of their own scholars or leaders.

Overall, while the concept of fatwa exists across different sects of Islam, the authority given to fatwas and the process of issuing them may vary based on the particular beliefs and practices of each sect.

But in this report and exposition, only the first applies because Deoband is a Sunni authority. Darul Uloom Deoband follows the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence, which claims to emphasise reason, flexibility and reliance on analogy in Shari’ah-based legal reasoning.

A few previously issued fatwas by Deoband, which were problematic

Some fatwas issued by Darul Uloom Deoband that have attracted controversy include opinions on social issues, gender roles, and cultural practices. For example, there have been instances where fatwas issued by Darul Uloom Deoband have been criticized for being overly conservative or restrictive, particularly regarding women’s rights, interfaith relations, and modern developments.

In January 2012, scholars from the said seminary had called for banishing author Salman Rushdie from entering India to attend a literature festival because, in their opinion, he had offended Muslim sentiments.

In May 2010, Deoband issued a fatwa, stating that men and women could not work together in public offices unless the women were properly clothed.

In September 2013, Deoband issued a fatwa banning photography as un-Islamic.

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