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Why apex court 'shouldn't entertain' Rizvi's petition to remove 26 verses from Quran

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*
Waseem Rizvi has stirred the hornet’s nest. In a recent PIL in the Supreme Court, he has demanded the removal of 26 verses from the holy Quran claiming that terrorists used these verses to "promote jihad". Waseem is going around throwing tantrums as earlier: He had written to the Prime Minister to close down all the madrasas since these breed terrorists. This was very badly viewed in the community. In 2017, Rizvi announced to offer the entire Ram Mandir area to the government.
The trend to involve the Supreme Court into religious matters is not tenable. It is very unfortunate that law courts are being dragged in issues of faith and religion. This causes embarrassment to the entire constitutional edifice. The Quran encapsulates a universal approach as is evident from the Sura-e-Fatiha (Chapter 1, Verse 1), meaning, “the God of the entire Universe (not of Muslims alone).”
True, the apex court decided the triple talaq law, keeping in view the way Muslim women were being divorced in a single sitting. However, in the case of the scripture’s verses, the court is not the proper forum or body to decide which verses can be allowed or removed.
This would be a serious interference in the religious beliefs of communities concerned affecting their right to freedom of religion. If any court entertains such a petition, tomorrow it may be faced with similar petitions for the removal of verses from the religious books and scriptures of other religious communities.
What is positive in this regard is that not only Muslims but almost all the Hindu brethren of India stand together believing that the petition is a bogus one and has no content as it has also been condemned by eminent people and learned scholars from both the Shia and Sunni communities. As a matter of fact, such a bizarre, frolicsome and distressing petition deserves to be dismissed forthwith.
There is not a single verse in the entire holy Quran which promotes violence or terrorism when read in its ‘proper’ context. The Quran condemns unjustified violence and terrorism, while permitting self-defence. Only a distorted reading of verses taken out of the context, like Rizvi has done, can lead to such extremely wrong views.
One is at a complete loss to comprehend as to what a Muslim Islam-baiter wants. As this is a highly sensitive matter, one mustn’t have touched it. In fact, Rizvi has done a Salman Rushdie. Unfortunately, Islam and Muslims are under scanner, but such people, in order to enhance their nuisance value, come up with such nonsensical ideas that would create a lot of bad blood.
Without having gone through the real purport and the exegesis of the so-called terror-promoting 26 verses, he has cast unfounded allegations against the three Caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman) that in order to advance, enlarge and retain their influence and power over the masses, they inserted these verses. The world also understands that any offence to Allah, Prophet Muhammad or the holy Quran, becomes a matter of life and death for the Muslim community and they are ready to take others’ or sacrifice their own lives.
Rizvi fails to understand that these 26 verses have been categorized as “war verses” and were in tandem at the time of holy wars. No Muslim bases his or her action on these. Basically, the very meaning of the word Islam is “submission”. What to talk of taking somebody’s life, the Prophet (PBUH) actually believed that the biggest sin was lacerating people’s hearts and hurting them.
Rizvi’s plea has been that some terrorists and wayward Muslims quote these verses and go ahead with slaughtering the innocent and hence, must be obliterated from the holy scripture. But even if these verses are taken away, the terror-mongers will stick to their sinister designs because most of the terrorists have nothing to do with the Quran or these 26 verses. Had they been reading and understanding the Quran, they would have been the messengers of peace and not death!
Of course, the ISIS, while slitting the jugular of some innocent journalist or any human, do display the Kalimah (focal Islamic verse) on the black flag to deliberately defile and deride Islam; for the layman, that becomes symbolic of Islamic tenet which it is not. Such fringe minority has demeaned Muslims and Islam.
So far as the scriptures of any religion are concerned, one thing is crystal clear, that these are the final wordings of their creator and need to be revered by all means and what to talk of verses, not even a word, comma or full stop can be changed.
In the past other anti-Islam propaganda by Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie or Danish cartoons have created a lot of brouhaha. It has created problems of law and order and murder like the beheading of the middle school French teacher, Samuel Paty, who had displayed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) cartoons. The perpetrator, who had done this, ironically never knew that the act he had carried out to punish the one who had insulted the Prophet would have been severely condemned by the Prophet himself. Islam has no room for such killings, these misguided and brainwashed killers or suicide squads must learn.
There is not a single verse in the entire holy Quran which promotes violence or terrorism if read in context
At the same time, when people know that Muslims are so sensitive regarding such issues, why do they provoke them under the freedom of expression? True, Christians won’t get offended by the cartoons of Jesus Christ, but it’s not the same with Muslims or Hindus, who highly revere their deities. Some forces use this to denigrate those who allegedly insult their deities. One case in point is renowned artist MF Hussain, who drew a naked figure of Goddess Saraswati. He faced the ire of these forcesd, and he was forced to to in exile in Dubai and UK.
Firoz Bakht Ahmed
Lavish awards were announced for the head of Rushdie and Taslima by UP MLA Haji Yaqoob Qureshi. Kashmiri activist Hasnain Jaffrey president, Shiane Haider-e-Karrar Welfare Association, announced a Rs 20,000 reward for Rizvi’s beheading because he has insulted the holy Quran and added that the Shia community will boycott whoever invites Rizvi in any marriage or any other function. Even Rizvi’s younger brother denounced him publicly.
The Old Testament is filled with tales of divinely-ordained slaughter and war, yet about two billion Christians today follow the word of the Lord, coupled with the New Testament, which includes a command from Jesus to “love thy neighbour as you love thyself.” Muslims also face a similar dichotomy of ideas in the Quran, from maintaining peace to raging war. In one part, the scripture says, “La ikraha fiddeen,” meaning that there is “no enforcement/ coercion in matters of faith.” The Quran also states about other religions, “Lakum dinokum waley yadeen,” meaning, “To you, your religion, to me, mine.”
Nevertheless, the fringe minority that has been indulging in killing the innocent, have turned the life of a God-fearing and law-abiding Muslim layman anywhere in the world into the axis of suspicion. It is good that the National Commission for Minorities, through its vice president, Atif Rasheed, has condemned Rizvi by sending him a sharp notice for his absurd petition stating that his statement is “provocative and disturbs the balance of communal harmony of a secular nation and has hurt the sentiments of a religious minority community”.
Even Naraparaju Ramchander Rao, BJP in charge of Hyderabad and a senior lawyer, is of the view that the Quran teaches love, brotherhood and peace and not violence. “This move is deliberate, aimed at provoking Muslims and feeding into the agenda of Islamophobes who are hostile towards Islam and full of hatred. Quran is the fountain-head that promotes humanity, love, unity and harmony,” added Rao.
The Supreme Court should not entertain this obnoxious petition with blasphemous remarks and hurting the religious sentiments of billions of Muslims across the globe and must tell Rizvi to apologize, suggested Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, the Chief Imam of India.
---
*Chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

Comments

Does-not-matter said…
Didn't courts interfere in Sabrimala tradition, Diwali, Holi and almost every Hindu festival? What's wrong if it debates 'war verses' in Quran? Why kill the debate? is it an admission that Quran indeed teaches hatred & violence against non-muslims?

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