A prominent section of Kerala’s Sunni Muslims which says it has the holy hair of Prophet Mohammed — and claims to be building India’s biggest mosque to preserve it — has been challenged in court over the authenticity of the relic.
Acting on a petition, Kerala high court issued notices to Sunni Jamiyathul Ulema general secretary Kanthapuram Aboobacker Musaliar and the state government on July 7 and sought their replies within a month.
Petitioner UC Abu contended the Musaliar (a cleric) was exploiting the sentiments of Muslims by making false claims that the hair he had collected from Saudi Arabia was a relic of the Prophet.
According to Abu, the Musaliar has been collecting large sums of money to build the mosque at Kozhikode in northern Kerala to preserve the hair. He had appealed to the court to direct the state government to conduct a probe into the matter.
Work on the mosque, spread across 12 acres, began in January and is expected to be completed in two years. The mosque is estimated to cost Rs. 40 crore and will apparently accommodate 25,000 devotees during prayer time. The complex will have a museum and a library.
Many Muslim groups including Jama’at-e-Islami and Mujahid factions have challenged the Musaliar to prove the veracity of his claim by putting his relic through a fire test, saying if the hair is the Prophet’s, it will overcome the fury of the fire.
The Musaliar, however, has rejected calls for putting the hair through fire, saying it will not be proper to subject such a precious relic to tests. A scholar close to the Musaliar said, “Nobody can question the veracity of the hair. We have thoroughly checked it with the family from which we got it.”
The Hazratbal Shrine in Kashmir has a relic believed by the devout to be the holy hair of the Prophet.