After criticism and fatwa for singing a bhajan, Muzaffarnagar singer Naz finds support
Muzaffarnagar-based singer Farmani Naz recently gave her voice to a bhajan ‘Har Har Shambhu’ following which a few hardliners criticised the singer and Darul Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa
After being in the eye of a storm for singing a bhajan, Indian Idol fame Muzaffarnagar-based singer Farmani Naz has found support from many Muslim scholars and clerics. Naz recently gave her voice to a bhajan ‘Har Har Shambhu’, which had become viral on YouTube and other social media platforms. This didn’t go down well with a few hardliners who criticised the singer with Darul Uloom Deoband issuing a fatwa.
However, many Muslim clerics, scholars, and poets have come out to support Naz. The scholars said that clerics and institutions like Deoband should refrain from issuing fatwas unless someone asks for clarification.
Imam Aishbagh Eidgah and head of Islamic Centre of India Darul Uloom Farangi Mahal, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali, said, “We live in a country where Shakeel Badauni pens a bhajan, Naushad composes it, Mohammed Rafi sings it, and the song gets picturised on Dilip Kumar, all Muslims. Was it wrong? Was it Un-Islamic? It was unfortunate people are issuing fatwas against an artist for singing a bhajan. However, if clerics start issuing fatwas like this, then their value will not remain the same. Clerics should not issue fatwas (advice) unless they are asked. Quran says we have to work for Deen and Duniya both, but if clerics start intervening in the Duniya (world) of individuals without being asked, then respect for clerics would come down. It was up to an individual to practice a particular art form for livelihood.”
The singer also clarified that it was wrong to associate everything with religion and pass judgement on artists.
“Singing ‘Har Har Shambhu’ was not a crime, and I have sung another song on Shri Krishna on the occasion of Janmashtami and have sung ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’. I am not going to bow down to the demands of the hardliners,” said Naz.
Talking on the phone, Shia cleric Maulana Yasoob Abbas, who was participating in a Moharram procession in Mumbai, said, “I condemn the clerics who have made the life of Farmani Naz a hell. She is facing a fatwa for no fault of hers. Singing is her profession, and if she earns her bread and butter from singing then what’s the harm? Why did they never issue a fatwa against singers like Mohammed Rafi or Javed Ali, who are singing bhajans in movies?”
Noted scholar and Urdu writer Sharib Rudaulvi said, “I pity the girl facing flak from clerics in a town like Muzaffarnagar. I fail to understand what crime she has committed. From the era of emperor Akbar, till now, hundreds of Muslims have translated Geeta into Urdu and Persian. They have written bhajans in praise of Lord Ram and Krishna. Everyone knows about Malik Mohammed Jayasi and his Krishna bhajans. Recently noted poet Anwar Jalalpuri translated Geeta into Urdu. He was posthumously given the Padma Shri for his work. We have been living in a plural society for years, and now the clerics are trying to change it.”
Rudaulvi further noted that he also recites Gayatri Mantra, and it’s placed on the walls of his drawing room. “I also have its translation in Urdu in my drawing room. This doesn’t change the way I believe in my religion. There has been a tradition of reading and reciting religious scriptures of different religions in our Islam. We have been progressive enough to read and translate various religious books. At the same time, we have some clerics who believe singing of ‘Har Har Shambhu’ is an un-Islamic act.”
Noted poet Zubair Ansari reminded the clerics and hardliners about bhajans like ‘Man Tadpat Hari Darshan ko aaj’, penned by Shakeel Badauni, composed by Naushad, sung by Mohd Rafi and pictured on Yusuf Khan aka Dilip Kumar. “I also enjoy singing bhajans, and there is no fault in that. But I don’t sing bhajan during religious congregations. Unilateral fatwa in the case of Farmani Naz is uncalled for.”
Naz said she was thankful to everyone who came out in support of her. “I am from a Muslim-dominated village, and village head Parvez Siddiqui is also supporting me. Today BKU president Rakesh Tikait met me at my residence, and on August 13, Sanjeev Balyan, Union minister of state (MoS), is scheduled to visit me. There are a few who oppose my singing bhajans, but now I feel I have a lot of support too,” Naz added.
Naz contended that some people are trolling her, but artists don’t have any religion. “I will also sing Qawwali with the same zeal as I sing bhajans,” the singer added.