New Delhi: Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (M) issued a message to the country at the conclusion of its three-day 34th General Session. The message stated that “Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind perceives religious hatred and sectarianism as the biggest threat to the integrity of the country. And any scheme to sever the brotherly and friendly relationships amongst many religions ought to be viewed as a national crime.
However, the speech of Maulana Syed Arshad Madani, the president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind (Arshad faction) distracted from the event and said that “Om and Allah are the same” and explained everything about the existence of mankind did not go down well with some other faith religious leaders.
In an effort to refute the RSS claim that all Indians are sprung from Hindus, Maulana Arshad Madani reportedly said, “I asked dharma gurus when there was no one, neither Shri Ram, nor Brahma, then whom did they worship? Some people told me that they used to worship Om. Then I told them that this means that there is only one Om or Allah, and both are the same, and it is the only thing Manu (Maano) used to worship. There was no Shiv, no Brahma, but only one Om and Allah that was worshipped Om is called Allah by us, Ishwar by you (Hindus), Khuda by Persian -speaking people (Persian) and God by English-speaking people.”
In a subtle allusion to RSS leaders’ repeated claims of having Hindu lineage, Arshad Madani claimed Adam was the first messenger of Allah to land on Indian soil. And he added that “Hindus and Muslims have been living in the country like brothers for around 1400 years, and we have never forcibly converted anyone into Islam.”
“It is only under the BJP government that we heard that 20 crore Muslims should be sent home. By sending them home, they meant converting them to Hindus. These people don’t know anything about India’s history,” Arshad Madani said, who was speaking on the last day of the general session.
Acharya Jain Muni Lokesh Lokesh objected to Arshad Madani’s remarks as he was delivering his speech on stage. Lokesh Muni interrupted the speaker as soon as he was done speaking to refute the claim, saying, “We only agree with living in peace, but all the mythology around Om, Allah, and Manu are all rubbish. Madani completely wrecked the mood of the session.
“The stories he told, and I can narrate even bigger stories than that. I would even request him (Madani) to come for a discussion with me, or even I can come to meet him in Saharanpur, ” said Muni and adding that the first Jain Tirthankar was Rishabh, and his sons were Bharata and Bahubali, on whose name this country ‘Bharat’ was named. “You can’t erase this. We don’t agree with those statements,” a seemingly angry Jain said.
Jain and a few other Hindu religious leaders subsequently stormed off stage in anger. Even after the walkout, a number of religious leaders from the Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and Sikh faiths stayed. However, two days later the Jain leader tendered an unconditional apology.
It’s interesting to note that Maulana Mahmood Madani, president of his Jamiat faction also made similar remarks in his keynote speech. According to him, the nation is equally his as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s and RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat’s.
Mahmood Madani said it is wrong to suggest that Islam came from outside while claiming that the “first Prophet of Islam Adam descended here”.
He also urged the RSS to nudge its affiliates to shun “hate and enmity” and jointly work for making the country the most developed in the world.
Extending a hand of friendship to RSS and its political wing, Mahmood Madani said “We want to make it clear, that we do not have any religious or ethnic enmity with RSS and the BJP, but our difference is based on the ideology.
He welcomed the recent statements of the RSS chief.
“According to Islamic teachings, a hand extended for friendship should be held firmly and strengthened. Therefore, we warmly invite him and his followers to forget mutual hatred and enmity and embrace each other and make our beloved motherland the most developed, ideal, coexisting, and peaceful superpower in the world”.
Not sensing any plot behind dividing Muslims on the “pasmanda and ghair pasmanda” line, Mahmood faction also welcomed the Modi government’s outreach programme of so-called “pasmanda” communities amongst the Indian Muslims.
The declaration said that “Islam teaches equality and racial non-discrimination, but despite this, the existence of pasmanda communities amongst Muslims is a ground reality.——– We congratulate the government of India for its recent statement to uplift the backward communities and hope that practical steps will be taken soon for the welfare and progress of the backward communities irrespective of their religious affiliations”.
In the plenary session, a message also read out by Mahmood Madani cautions “Muslims that they are the direct target of the internal and external enemies of our country, every tactic is being used to psychologically frustrate, incite and mislead them, but they should not despair, nor should they give up patience. The so-called organizations, which propagate extremist and violent tendencies in the name of Jihad are not entitled to our cooperation and support in terms of the country’s interest or the religion of Islam. They are using ‘Jihad’ in a completely falsified narrative. Sacrifice, loyalty, and patriotism to the nation are our national and religious duties, our religion and our country come first, this is our slogan, to give our lives to the motherland and die for its honor, is what our elders have taught us”.
Commenting on the content of the message, a political analyst underlined that the Jamait (M) painted Muslims and Christians with the same brush. Speaking with Islamic Voice, he asked which Muslim organization is propagating extremist and violent tendencies in the name of Jihad.
Harping on its pet theme of composite nationalism, the message further reads “—————-, the efforts of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind and its leaders are also parts of the golden history of India’s past and present. The thought and philosophy of composite nationalism and Hindu-Muslim unity is the legacy left by our elders.
Against this, the current aggressive communalism being promoted in the name of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity does not match the soil and ethos of this country. ”
Taking strong exception to the message, Prof Baseer Ahmad Khan, president of All India Muslim Majlis, told Islamic Voice that both the factions of Jamiat lack the guts to call spade a spade, otherwise it would have not made such wild allegations against Muslim organizations. “Muslims, Christians and weaker sections of the society are the victims of the aggressive Hindutva communalism while the Jamait is making them the aggressor.”
Prof Khan, who is also a former pro-vice chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University, claimed that the statement was reckless and reeked of official capitulation.
Prof Khan also took exception to Maulana Arshad Madani’s utterances about Adam and his contention about Allah and Om saying it can open a “fitna” (corruption) and mental apostasy in the community. Maulana Arshad Madan’s assertion regarding Manu also attracted Dalit ire. A top Dalit leader said “You Muslims have again proved that you will go with Hindu Upper Castes to save your skin, rather than propagating Islam’s social justice message. Every Muslim ruler in the past 1,000 years has sided with and ruled India via upper castes. It was expected that Muslims would not change their attitude. But you are again at the door of upper castes. And remember, whatever you will do, they will make you dogs, as they did to us, despite doing all the services to them. Good that your Maulanas have now recognized Manu Smirti.. Good for them to keep it along with the Quran at their homes.”
The Jamiat session billed as Centenary Celebration (Jamiat came into existence in 1919 but due to Covid-19 and other circumstances it could not hold the celebrations) was held on February 10 to 12 at Ramlila Maidan here. During the plenary session, a 17-point resolution was also adopted in which madrassa autonomy, Islamophobia, UCC, Auqaf, Kashmir, and other routine issues were included. It warned that any attempt to impose UCC will harm the unity and integrity of the country as India is a very diverse nation on the planet earth.
Yet, the Jamiat stays silent regarding the radicalization of Hindu youngsters, their training in the use of firearms, and their open display of armaments. As mob lynching incidents and violent attacks on Muslims, Christians, Dalits, and tribal groups are not abated. If the assembly had passed a resolution, it would have been understandable that Jamiat was also concerned about the radicalization of Hindu youths.