By M Ghazali Khan
It was quite a while ago when I watched a gentleman on an Islamic channel. Dressed in a rather strange saffron colure attire he was being treated with the utmost respect by his followers from which it was obvious that he enjoyed a very high status among the followers of a particular Muslim sect. I then listened to some of his speeches on YouTube. I had better not comment on the impression I got after listening to these speeches. However, I cannot resist copying his response to a question in one of the interviews. When asked how he got time to study as most of the time he was busy attending conferences and meetings, with his peculiar broad smile on his face, he said: ‘Sahi baat bata duN? MeN Padhta hi nahiN.’ (Shall I tell you the truth? I do not study.’) Perhaps, implying the intuitional sources of his information!
The interview in question must be available on YouTube. But these stunning revelations did not shock or surprise the interviewers. In their appreciation and admiration for this ‘brilliant response’, they exclaimed: ‘SubhanAllah! SubhanAllah!’
After a bit of more research on the internet, I found out that the ‘learned man’ was Maulana Hashmi Mian who had also been given the title by his followers of ‘Ghazi-e-Millat’ [warrior of the community].
What reminded me of this old incident is a bizarre and most untimely interview of Hashmi Mian reported by some newspapers and also going viral on social media.
Some more serious individuals in the community believe that such statements should be ignored. But will ignoring such divisive and irresponsible statements and speeches solve the problem? He has a large following not only in Indian subcontinent but in many other countries where Urdu/Hindi speakers exist. For them each and every word coming from his mouth becomes part of the faith.
For the readers who have not heard his statement below is the English translation of some of the excerpts of Hashmi Mian’s interview. He said:
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and ‘All the countries affected by Wahabi-virus are the strength of Tableeghi Jamat. That’s why they find it hard to make arrest [of the Ameer of Tableeghi Jamaat Maulana Saad]. Section 304 has been applied on him, but they can’t arrest him. Whole of India is watching that he is a Jahil [uncouth] leader, but he has the support of the Arab world that has become Yazidi [the supporters of Yazid], has been infected by Khwariji [thinking and] is a terrorist. All of the terrorists that pose to be Muslims… be it Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, Taliban, Al-Qaida and all the terrorists the world over, all of them follow Wahabi ideology. Saudi Arabia finances them. And listen! Don’t take the Wahabis lightly… They have created various organisations keeping in view the demand among Muslims. For Sunni youths who are interested in religion, they have established Darul Uloom Deoband. For the youths interested in [acts of worship like] prayer and fasting, they have created Tablighi Jamaat. To cater to needs of those with an interest in education and academic pursuit, they have established Jamaat-e-Islami. For those with the destructive and mischievous mindset they have created SIMI. They create organisations as and when they feel the need for it. They look different from each other though. I thank my Lord as I see Tableeghi Jamaat being supported by Jamaat-e-Islami, Nadwatul Ulema, and the Sheikhul Hadeeth and Sheikhul Tafseer of Deoband. Today we can see the live interpretation of ‘Al-kufr-o-millatun waahidah [all unbelievers are one nation]. What we are emphasising upon is that mischief will end only when you strike at its roots, not by cropping leaves. Instead of arresting the Tableeghis, go to their roos and uproot them from there so that [in future] neither poisonous leaves would grow nor would they able to spread the poison.’
Almost every Indian Muslim who keeps himself abreast of community affairs is aware of Hashmi Mian’s hateful speeches against other sects of Muslims. However, let it also be said that he is not the only culprit. Scholars belonging to other sub-sects of Sunnis are not letting any opportunity slip by to give vent to their intolerance and hatred and to misuse current Islamophobic atmosphere to their benefit. Before him, an Ahl-e-Hadees scholar, whose name I cannot recall, had attacked Deobandis two or three years ago. Only after sometimes this was followed by an onslaught in the parliament by Maulana Badruddin Ajmal on the Ahl-e-Hadees, who tried to convince the government that Ahl-e-Hadees are terrorists. Of all the aforementioned scholars, Maulana Hashmi Mian is a more eloquent and more powerful speaker and naturally his attacks are sharper and more vicious too.
Maulana Badruddin Ajmal is a successful business tycoon and a known political figure as well. Allah SWT has blessed him with abundant wealth as well as a big heart to be able to spend his money on several important charitable and welfare projects. He has established hospitals, schools and educational institutions, including engineering and medical colleges. He spends a large part of his money on public welfare. Following his attack on Ahl-e-Hadees, when he was criticised from all corners, Deobandis included, he retracted his words, issued an apology and got his comments expunged from the parliamentary proceedings.
Notwithstanding his qualities, what must be noted is the fact that from an ordinary citizen to the level of the Prime Minister, seriousness of every person’s mistakes is determined by the position he holds in the society. The seriousness and consequences of everybody’s mistakes are not the same.
For the time being Maulana Badruddin Ajmal’s apology had helped in cooling down the differences and easing the tension. But what he said in the parliament is now part of the history of sectarianism among Muslims of India. Whenever sectarian differences among Indian Muslims will be discussed, Maulana Badruddin Ajmal’s speech would be quoted and referred to. His speech was shown on various channels and was seen by all Indians live on Rajya Sabha TV.
This should also be borne in mind that Maulana Badruddin Ajmal might view Ahl-e-Hadees as misguided, but he regards them as Muslims. On the contrary to Hashmi Mian all the organisations and institutions he has referred to are worst than polytheists. Therefore, this is almost unlikely that he would apologise and mend his ways.
What the aforementioned speakers said in their speeches on different occasions was not uttered on impulse nor was it a slip of the tongue. Surely before making these statements, they would have constructed plans in their minds on what and how they were going to say what they said. And what each one of them said is the reflection of their mindset.
For as long as Muslims do not change their mindset such stupidities would continue to be committed and those who would do it out of habit would be the gatekeepers of Islam, the ulema. These are the guys who do not get tired of quoting the Qur’an and Hadees on the importance and virtues of unity, tolerance and forbearance. But it is these lot who seem to have no respect for these rules and show flagrant disregard to the Divine rule? One really wonders what do these Qur’anic verses mean to them:
‘Hold fast together to the cable of Allah and be not divided.’ (3:103)
‘Surely you have nothing to do with those who have made divisions in their religion and become factions. Their matter is with Allah and He will indeed tell them (in time) what they have been doing.’ (6:159)
This is high time that educated Muslims play their role and expose anyone who tries to create divisions in the community. If we continue to violate the Divine rules no one can save us from more persecution and more humiliations, for in his last sermon the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had warned the Muslims: ‘I have left two matters with you. As long as you hold to them, you will not go the wrong way. They are the Book of Allah and the Sunna of His Prophet.’