Darul Uloom of Deoband, one of Islam’s most influential schools of thought to which even Afghanistan’s Taliban owe academic allegiance, will for the first time declare acts of terrorism to be against the religion, a top cleric told the Hindustan Times on Tuesday.
The declaration will come on February 25 at the end of a day-long seminar in Deoband, to be attended by representatives of nearly 6,000 madrasas from across the country, including those from other Muslim sects such as the Barelvi school, and foreign delegates.
“A declaration will be issued to the effect that all acts of terrorism are patently anti-Islamic in light of the Chapter 5 of the Quran (Al-Maidah) which clearly prohibits killing of innocent people,” said cleric and vice-rector of Darul Uloom, Maulana Abdul Khaleque Madrasi.
The Islamic seminary founded in 1866 has always been in the news for its far-reaching “fatwas”. The latest proclamation prepared by the seminary, which Hindustan Times has access to, states: “All acts of terrorism are anti-Islamic.” The declaration also states that anybody involved in acts of terror anywhere will qualify to be called a non-Muslim. Moreover, the declaration will include a hidayat (advice), asking all “Muslims to stay away from terrorists and terror organisations”.
Asked whether suicide bombings were included in its definition of “terror acts”, he said: “…all forms of violence used to kill innocent individuals”.
Mohammed Mukadam, the chairman of the Association of UK Muslim Schools said: “The emerging view is that killing of innocents is not compatible with Islam and this is the basis for the declaration.”
The Darul Uloom has been in talks with Islamic scholars across the world to arrive at a consensus on issues like terrorism and whether such tools of violence are just, a seminary official said.
The declaration would be similar to a fatwa, or a religious edict. “A fatwa is a legal opinion issued when the seminary is approached by any Muslim. This declaration is being issued by Darul Uloom, Deoband itself,” he said.
It will be interesting to see how the Al Qaeda and Taliban react because terror is the logic of survival for them, said professor Rizwan Kaiser of Jamia Millia Islamia.