Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) takes strong exception and warns the govt against its latest move of mass profiling drive where citizens are asked to name their identity as per the maslak they follow. It is a sinister design to divide people on deliberately created sectarian lines by a state, which prides on its secular credentials. The choice of a maslak among Muslims is a matter of preference of following a particular legal school of Shariah rather than a different belief system and all our legal schools are equally respectable to all of us. A citizen is within his rights not to part with this information as this choice does not give him or her a different identity from that of being an authentic Muslim. Needless to state that the state of Jammu and Kashmir is predominantly a Muslim State, whatever might be the maslaki practice, which is incidental and not fundamental to belief. To call them sectarian is a misnomer because following different legal schools for guidance in day to day affairs does not set one apart from those who follow another legal school. It is a matter of secondary nature while fundamental beliefs remain the same. The following of different schools today which agencies see here as opening an opportunity to divide people has been dealt with by highest Islamic councils as of little worth to the main tenets of faith, not worthy of serious consideration. One such council was an assembly of Islamic scholars of all hues in Amman in 2005consisting of scholars from Al-Azhar, Harmain—Mecca and Medina, eminent Ayatollahs from seminaries in Najaf and Qom, including leader of Islamic Republic of Iran—Ayotollah Khamnei . The Amman message started as a detailed statement released on the eve of the 27th of Ramadan in 1425 (9th November 2004) by King Abdullah in Amman, Jordan. He called for tolerance and unity in the Muslim World. Subsequently, a three-point ruling was issued by 200 Islamic Scholars from over 50 countries, focusing on issues like defining who is a Muslim, and issue of Takfir and issue of fatwa. In July 2005, King Abdullah II convened an international Islamic conference after the lead-provided by the eminent Ulema like-Sheikh Al-Azhar, Ayatollah Sistani and Sheikh Qaradawi. Two hundred leading Islamic ‘Ulema’ from 50 countries gathered in Amman and issued a unanimous ruling on three fundamental issues which eventually became known as ‘Risala-e-Amman’ – letter/ communiqué or declaration. The salient features of this declaration are: Recognition of the validity of all 8 (Mathhabs) legal schools of Sunni, Shia and Ibadhi Islam, of traditional Islamic Theology (Ash’arism), of Islamic Mysticism (Sufism), and of true Salafi thought, and a precise definition of who is a Muslim. Based on this definition the declaration forbids takfir (declarations of apostasy) between Muslims. It sets forth the subjective and objective preconditions for the issuance of Fatwas. It exposes the ignorant and illegitimate edicts in the name of Islam. These Three Points were then unanimously adopted by the Islamic World’s political and religious leadership at OIC summit at Mecca in December 2005. And over a period of one year from July 2005 to July 2006, the Three Points were also unanimously adopted by six other international Islamic scholarly assemblies, culminating with the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of Jeddah, in July 2006. In total, over 500 leading Muslim scholars worldwide endorsed the Amman Message and its Three Points. It further pointed out that pillars of Islamic faith Shahada–professing faith in Allah (SwT) and Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) Salat, Siyam (fasting), Zakat (alms to poor and needy) Haj (pilgrimage to Holy cities) constitute fundamentals of faith, and anybody abiding by them is a Muslim, and nobody has a right to take him otherwise or take recourse to ‘Takfir’ which stands clearly forbidden by Amman Declaration. It was also stressed that commonalities between different maslaks of Islam far excess the differences that could divide them. Moreover these differences are minor in nature. Regarding issuing edicts, it was laid down that norms should be laid down by the concerned school and none else. The Amman Message was delivered in Amman as a Ramadan sermon by Chief Justice Sheikh Iz-al-Din al-Tamimi in the presence of King Abdullah II and a number of Muslim scholars. “The sermon stressed the need to re-emphasize Islam’s core values of compassion, mutual respect, tolerance, acceptance and freedom of religion.” Says international crisis group. The Amman declaration needs to be followed in letter and spirit by all Muslims. We warn the govt that it must desist from this colonial project of profiling to divide Muslims into bits and pieces to create psychological war in the society besides her vicious political motives. Otherwise it will face the agitation by public for interfering in their extremely personal matters. We warn all the molvis and mullahs not to fall in this trap which is fraught with disastrous consequences. Personal preferences must be kept personal like your personal relationships. We appeal all the Kashmiri Muslims to keep these elements at bay and sink and swim together that is our only strength! We urge upon all the followers of different schools of shariah to form a coordination committee in order to deal with this onslaught by the state.
2015 Kashmir Despatch