Hyderabad: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) will meet opposition party leaders and representatives of different minority communities to press for upholding the Places of Worship Act so that the religious character of places of worship as existed on August 15, 1947, is maintained. “The Board is pursuing the matter at different levels, including the apex court,” said Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, the newly elected president of AIMPLB.
There were many challenges facing the Board but this one was of prime importance. India was a vast country with people of different faiths living here. And if the Places of Worship Act was tampered with and people started digging history and staking claims on different buildings, the country would be thrown into turmoil and chaos. “So it is important to maintain the law made in 1991 before the Babri Masjid demolition and to freeze the status of places of worship as they were on August 15, 1947. The Board is doing its bit and we hope we will succeed,” he saidThe issue of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) was another challenge but this was not the issue of Muslims alone. It concerned all religious minorities. Every community had its personal laws, including the tribes. People should be allowed to live by their personal laws. It was important that the country remained secular and not allowed to become the representative of any one faith.
Maulana Rahmani, who was recently appointed as the 5th President of AIMPB, was speaking to a select group of media persons after he was felicitated the other day by Ulema and different Muslim organisations at a function held at Al Mahad Al Aali Al Islami, the seminary founded by the Maulana.
The Board talked more about Sharia protection these days as new efforts were being made openly in the country to deprive Muslims of their Sharia. “If somebody wants to loot your house wouldn’t its protection become your first priority,” he asked and said that was the reason why the Board gave more importance to Sharia protection. It was also pursuing its other important task of reforming and guiding the community through its Islah-e-Muashra movement. Among non-Muslims also reformation was sought to be promoted based on principles of natural justice and human values.
To a question, Maulana Rahmani rubbished the ‘love jihad’ issue and said the controversy was being created by the Sangh Parivar to further its agenda. It was an attempt to depress and destroy the morale of Muslims. An impression was being given that Hindu girls were being trapped by Muslim boys and vice versa. It was totally wrong. “We can see for ourselves how many such incidents are occurring in areas we live,” Maulana Rahmani remarked and attributed such incidents to the practice of co-education.
He further stated that the Special Marriage Act was meant for inter-faith marriages and to protect those who want to marry across castes or religions. The ‘love jihad’ controversy was a figment of Sangh Parivar’s mind. But the fact remained that inter-faith marriages were not stable as the spouses pursued different beliefs. People made emotional decisions and got trapped. He told Muslim boys and girls not to marry outside their faith as such alliances would not bring harmony in life. Even the Sangh Parivar did not like Hindu girls marrying boys of other faiths. In fact, the caste system in Hindu society created problems even if someone married outside their caste. He accused the Sangh Parivar of making contradictory statements just to confuse people. “They want to further their cause not on the basis of humanity but violence,” he remarked and said the 2002 violence in Gujarat showed their humanitarian values.
Earlier, Maulana Rahmani spoke at length about the AIMPLB and the events that led to its creation in 1973 to represent the interests of Muslims in matters of personal law. The Board was primarily concerned with issues pertaining to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and other matters governed by Sharia.
Those who spoke on the occasion were unanimous in their opinion that Maulana Rahmani was the right choice to head the Board. His mastery of Islamic ‘fiqh’ (jurisprudence), deeper understanding of the Quran, Sunnah, and Sharia, his broad outlook, piety, and ability to come up with solutions to modern problems made him acceptable to all sects of the Muslim community.
Among those who spoke were: Maulana Ghyas Ahmad Rashadi (Safa Baitul Mal), Mufti Zubair (Jamiat ul Ulama, Telangana), Arshad Ali Qasmi (Majlis-e-Tahaffuze Khatme Nubuwwat), Maulana Obaidur Rahman Athar (Khateeb, Masjid e Teenposh), Dr Jaleesa Sultana (advocate), Dr Mushtaq, Mohammad Ziauddin Nayyar (Tameer-e-Millat).