EGO BUBBLES, prayers for a dead leader and quickie bachelor parties vaulted Ahraula village of Moradabad into TV headlines several hours before the Sunday sun went to bed.
Early in the day, Sunni sect leader Abdul Mannan Kalimi bombed Ahraula with a fatwa (edict) that all those who had offered prayers in a congregation led by his rival Qari Abdul Hamid, of the Wahabi sect, had turned ‘kafir’ and their ‘nikah’ had lost sanctity!
Hamid had led a ‘namaz-e-janaza (prayer after death) in memory of Nazakat Hussain Turk who died on August 11.
Courtesy Kalimi, by sundown, more neo-bachelors (octogenarians, septuagenarians and youngsters et al) had (re)solemnised their ‘nikah’ in the village in a single day than possibly anywhere in the world. But, even before editors cordoned off a couple of acres in newsprint for this fresh fatwa fiasco, reactions began pouring in.
Naib Imam Eidgah Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahli saw red with a “RIDICULOUS!” He added, the incident “has brought shame to the entire Muslim community. There is no question of declaring any nikah void because of prayers having been offered with a leader of another Islamic sect”.
For Muslim Shias, it’s a “non-issue”. Prominent Shia clerics Maulana Agha Roohi Abaqati and Kalbe Jawad asserted in unison that “nikah could not become illegal by namaz-e-janaza”.
However, Sunnis and Wahabis now, are surely on a collision course.
Both belong to the Hanafi ‘maslak’ (school) of thought but differ on approach to Islamic practices. Wahabism was a reform movement dubbed “anti-Islamic” by rivals. The controversial sectarian history of the two sects is already riddled with several similar fatwas.
Muslim countries have witnessed bloody battles between the two sects. In modern times, with the Wahabi sect receiving official patronage by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a reconciliation between the two sects appears impossible.
“There will be no end to such edicts,” lamented Khalid Rashid, adding that, “Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeni had already decreed that Shia and Sunnis could offer prayer together”.