Challenged by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to issue a fatwa (religious edict) declaring India a Dar al-Aman (country friendly to Islam), where jihad (holy war) is meaningless, the country’s top Islamic seminary, the Darul Uloom at Deoband, on Sunday did just that.
The fatwa was read out at a large rally in Bhubaneshwar organised by the Orissa unit of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, attended by Chief Minister Navneen Patnaik and numerous other bigwigs. The Jamiat has been holding a series of such rallies across the country in recent months to denounce terrorism.
“The Indian Constitution guarantees equal protection and rights for all communities. Therefore, for Muslims,
India is Dar al-Aman or a Muslim friendly country,” the fatwa said.
In Islamic theology, geographical areas are often divided into Dar al-Islam (country where Islamic law prevails), Dar al-Harb (country hostile to Islam) or Dar al-Aman.
In Dar al-Harb territory, jihad is legitimate. The fatwa added that India had ceased to be a Dar al-Harb with the end of colonial rule.
The VHP had also urged the Darul Uloom to spell out whether Muslims should regard Hindus as kafirs (non-believers). The same fatwa responded by noting that all non-Muslims were indeed kafirs, which should not be regarded as a pejorative term. “Muslims should consider Hindus as their brothers and sisters,” it said. “Islam does not permit injustice against non Muslims.”
The fatwa came from the hand and seal of Mufti Maulana Mahmood Hasan Bulandshehri of Darul Uloom’s fatwa department, in response to questions posed by Maulana Mahmood Madani, who heads the Jamiat.
“We decided to have the question asked and the answer provided before the VHP actually brought such a query to us,” said a source at Darul Uloom. “Had the VHP done so, we would have faced a procedural problem in replying, since fatwas are issued only in response to questions posed by Muslims.”
The meeting also passed a resolution condemning the Mumbai attacks though it stopped short of blaming Pakistan for it.