Influential Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa against Muslim women who performed ‘aarti’ on Diwali in Varanasi, pronouncing that they can no longer be considered ‘Muslim-Ulema’ if they worship other gods. Of late, the Darul Uloom Deoband has been on a fatwa-issuing spree, the Islamic school decreed that Muslim men and women should not upload photos of themselves or their family on social media platforms also earlier this month, the seminary prohibited women against shaping their eyebrows and cutting their hair, terming all such hair-grooming activities as un-Islamic.
Nazneen Ansari,the founder president of Muslim Mahila Foundation opened a direct front against the seminary demanding a ban on it and a high level probe into its funding and links for national interest. As per her “Islam does allow them (ulemas) to issue any order or impose their own views on anyone in religious matter, they can just give suggestions or advice in true light of Islam. They have no authority to “bedakhal” (oust) anyone from Islam. If they continue to issue fatwas on such matters we will be bound to lodge FIR against them, as they are violating the directive of the Supreme Court given in 2014,” said Nazneen. The MMF will write to the PM and UP chief minister urging an investigation into the role of Darul Uloom Deoband, she said. “I am proud to be a Muslim, and I follow the commands of Islam strictly. Being a true Muslim I cannot bow down before such baseless fatwas.”
This appears to be a positive development because such rhetoric only tarnish the image of a religious sect and are a threat to national security. There relevance in modern times has been questioned earlier and it is important that the Muslim clergy assume greater responsibilty by guiding the youth constructively and not play the religion card for vested interests.