Hyderabad: The Madhya Pradesh cabinet recently approved the Religious Freedom Bill 2020, which provides for a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh for conversion through marriage or by any other fraudulent means.
The “Love Jihad” is mischievously coined to create an illusion in the minds of people that Islam is encouraging its adherents to marry Hindu women as a form of Jihad! Is there any truth?
The preposterous term “Love Jihad” flabbergasts not only Muslims but all sensible people of other faiths. Such absurd terms elicit feelings of amusement, pity and helplessness – all at the same time. It was common for educated Muslims to laugh earlier at such flummox ideas as idiotic and move on maintaining a dignified silence.
However, the absurd idea of Love-Jihad, being legislated, in various states across the country like MP, UP and Haryana and thus likely to become a tool for the persecution of Muslim men marrying Hindu women.
Love and Jihad are two things which are inherently contradictory to say the least. Jihad on the other hand is a sacred battle against the evil inclinations of the human soul including the longing for promiscuity that is the crux of the so-called ‘love in this era.
Jihad in Islam
Jihad is an Arabic word which literally means striving or struggling with a spiritual goal to cleanse the soul. In Islamic context, it can refer to almost any effort to make personal and social life conform with God’s guidance. A struggle to prevail over evil desires and inclinations to cleanse the soul to attain higher spirituality.
In Sufi and pious circles, spiritual and moral Jihad has been termed as greater Jihad. The Jihad is waged, as Quran says, against the human soul which is ever inclined to evil. (12:53). It further says: Successful indeed is the one who purifies the soul; and doomed is the one who corrupts it!” (91:9-10)
Islam only allows the powerful emotion of love between a man and woman to get fully manifested in the lawful wedlock between them that could lead to the birth of their descendants.
The marriages between Muslim men and Hindu women are the result of free mixing of opposite sexes. Islam discourages such free-mixing of opposite sexes in view of the likely “moral degradation” it can lead to.
The Quran also cautions believers: And do not come near to adultery, it is a shameful deed and an evil, and opening the road to other evils. (17:32). Similarly, amongst other traits Quran expounds of those who get salvation is: “ And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts from illegal sexual acts). (70:29)
Islam, like some other faiths, regards promiscuous behavior of men and women as moral corruption. It says: “Corrupt women are for corrupt men, and corrupt men for corrupt women, Good women are for good men, and good men for good women (24:26).”
There is guidance to Muslims in every sphere of life including marriage. A Hadeeth of the Prophet says: “A woman may be married for four things: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty and her religious commitment. Seek the one who is religiously committed, (so) you may prosper.”
Islam has nothing to do with the inter-faith marriages. It never ever encourages such marriages. However, it is the secular Indian Constitution which grants freedom to Indians men and women to chose their life partners as they wish. Thus Islam has nothing to do with inter-faith marriages that take place across India.
Here, it is pertinent to note the prudence of Islam in insisting the approval of a woman’s father or her guardian for marriage to be deemed as valid. Without such approval the marriage would not be valid.
Marriage in Islam
The Islamic idea of marriage is more or less an arranged affair even when a man and woman have a premarital acquaintance and liking for each other – with the approval of both the families. An intense love between a man and woman, as per Islam, must develop after the marriage.
Islam had a great many examples of how such a love between a man and his wife can become legendary. Marrying a woman of a different faith always requires an intense pre-marriage emotional involvement which is contrary to the teachings of Islam. While it is up to individuals to make their choice, the religion does not permit it.
Can any person with a sound mind still peddle the idea of Love Jihad and accuse Islam of encouraging Muslim men to marry Hindu women?!
Views expressed are personal