O, You the Rioters of 24 Parganas ‘#Not In My Name’

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By Mufti Yasir Nadeem Al Wajidi

True, those who were lynched in various parts of the country belonged to your community. I agree that the youth that were rounded up and beaten on the streets were part of your community. It were you who were illegally detained and arrested. Yes it were your properties that got ransacked and looted.

But, you are the followers of a religion that enjoins to establish peace and exercise forgiveness even at the cost of your own interests. You are the followers of the Prophet (PBUH) of Islam, a role model and an embodiment of how an Allah fearing human being should behave.

You have been enjoined to present the best character. You are the ones who are required to display the highest moral standards. Yours is the religion that asks you to respect law of the land. What is it then that a Facebook post makes you, O! the youths of my community, behave like the ones against whose behaviour we have been complaining for the last two years.

You have been enjoined to present the best character. You are the ones who are required to display the highest moral standards. Yours is the religion that asks you to respect law of the land. What is it then that a Facebook post makes you, O! the youths of my community, behave like the ones against whose behaviour we have been complaining for the last two years.

Their hooliganism in the name of cow protection is deplorable and challengeable. Agreed they have become morally bankrupt. But you are not meant to be like them. You have before you the life of the Prophet (PBUH) then what made you burn and destroy the properties of others? Have you forgotten that this action of yours is not only against the law of the land but against the Shari’ah you believe in and claim to follow as well?

Our religion enjoins us in clear term, ‘Believers! Be upholders of justice, and bearers of witness to truth for the sake of Allah, even though it may either be against yourselves or against your parents and kinsmen, or the rich or the poor: for Allah is more concerned with their well-being than you are. Do not, then, follow your own desires lest you keep away from justice. If you twist or turn away from (the truth), know that Allah is well aware of all that you do.’ (Qur’an, An-Nisa, 4:135)

Sorry, we should not act like hypocrites to be vociferous in our protest against their illegal acts and turn a blind eye when the same crime is committed by members of our community.

Our religion enjoins us in clear term, ‘Believers! Be upholders of justice, and bearers of witness to truth for the sake of Allah, even though it may either be against yourselves or against your parents and kinsmen, or the rich or the poor: for Allah is more concerned with their well-being than you are. Do not, then, follow your own desires lest you keep away from justice. If you twist or turn away from (the truth), know that Allah is well aware of all that you do.’ (Qur’an, An-Nisa, 4:135)

You are entitled to a peaceful protest against the blasphemous Facebook post specially when no action against the culprit is taken. But  when an action against the guilty has been taken, a protest has no meaning. Even if no action was taken, what  would be the justification of targeting the whole community in an act of revenge?

One wonders if these youths are even aware of what they have done? Let them read this Qur’anic injunction and reflect: ‘Believers! Be upright bearers of witness for Allah, and do not let the enmity of any people move you to deviate from justice. Act justly, that is nearer to God-fearing. And fear Allah. Surely Allah is well aware of what you do.’ (Qur’an, Al-Ma’idah, 5:8).

One wonders if these youths are even aware of what they have done? Let them read this Qur’anic injunction and reflect: ‘Believers! Be upright bearers of witness for Allah, and do not let the enmity of any people move you to deviate from justice. Act justly, that is nearer to God-fearing. And fear Allah. Surely Allah is well aware of what you do.’ (Qur’an, Al-Ma’idah, 5:8).

One wonders who are these people who are never seen in the mosques praying but suddenly appear from nowhere donning caps on their heads to burn shops. The only time their ‘religious fervour’ wakes up is when with their actions they can tarnish the image of Islam and shame the Muslim community.

Let it not be forgotten that you are a minority. For burning one shop of the other community, you will in return get tens of your shops and other property torched. If you kill one person then will have hundreds of your kinfolk slaughtered in return.

It’s now up to you whether you want to live peacefully, present a positive and true image of Islam or help your detractors in spreading Islamophobia. Intoxicated by being in majority in a certain area you dared violate the law exactly in the fashion they have been doing  all the time in rest of the country. What is the difference between you and them then?

In areas where you are in majority the protection of the minority is your moral responsibility. Our Prophet had warned that whosoever metes out cruelty to a Mh’ahid (non-Muslim citizen) or deprives him of his right and takes anything from him by force, then on the Day of Judgement he would in the Court of Allah plead for him against such a Muslim. (Abu Dawood).

In areas where you are in majority the protection of the minority is your moral responsibility. Our Prophet had warned that whosoever metes out cruelty to a Mh’ahid (non-Muslim citizen) or deprives him of his right and takes anything from him by force, then on the Day of Judgement he would in the Court of Allah plead for him against such a Muslim. (Abu Dawood).

In another hadith he said, ‘Whoever killed a Mu’ahid shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of travelling).’ Sahih al-Bukhari.

In the light of these ahadiths there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that within India or in a Muslim majority country protecting non-Muslims against harassment becomes the moral and religious responsibility of Muslims.

Few months ago the Muslim youths of this very country had protested against a blasphemer of the Prophet (PBUH) without burning tyres or shops or anything like that. The protest was successful and effective because burning shops in reaction to a Facebook post by an ill-bred youth cannot be called a protest.

This is now the moral responsibility the Muslims of this area to compensate those whose shops have been burned. If ‘#Not in My Name’ protest was against Sanghi rioters, we will not hesitate the same in protesting against the rioters who are blaspheming against the Prophet by rioting in his name.

Mufti Yasir Nadeem Al Wajidi is a Chicago based Imam. A postgraduate of Darul Uloom Deoband. He holds Ph.D. from International Islamic University Malaysia.

(Translated by Urdu Media Monitor.Com)