Islamists from various sects, numbering around 10,000, were on Saturday administered a Quranic pledge to "stay away from terror" by the rector of influential Darul Uloom seminary Maulana Marghoobur Rahman at a peace conference in the Capital.
"What has been promised, must be accomplished," Rehman said, quoting from the Quran, after "formalising" Darul's anti-terror declaration issued on February 25 into a globally applicable fatwa.
With this, Darul Uloom, led by Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, has officially issued the world's first fatwa against terror. The fatwa, signed by Darul chief Riyasat Ali Bijnori, has been endorsed by all Muslim sects in India, especially the Barelvi, Khankahi and Sufis. In February, HT was the first to report about Darul's intention of coming out with an anti-terror fatwa.
"This fatwa had become necessary to save Islam and stop Islam from being targeted as a religion that propagates terror," Jamiat leader Mahmood Madni said.
The fatwa assumes significance because of the Deoband (UP)-based Darul's wide influence across the Muslim world. After the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Darul is the most important centre of Islamic theology.
Aiming to ward off constant allegations of terror links, the seminary took two decisive steps that could have far-reaching effects in the Muslim world. It not only declared terror activities anti-Islam but also involved top clerics in defining terrorism in the light of the Quran and Shariah.
Madni said clerics from Darul had "analysed terror activities in Islamic light" and arrived at this definition of terrorism: "Any action that targets innocents, whether by an individual or by any government or by a private organisation anywhere in the world constitutes, according to Islam, an act of terrorism."
Saturday's anti-terror conference, held at New Delhi's Ram Lila grounds, was attended by leaders from various faiths.