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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Apology of Muslim Minister from Bihar and our reaction to it

In Bihar, the third largest state in India in terms of population, a political turmoil came to fore last week that is unique in the seventy years of history of independent India. Within twenty four hours the state government went saffron. The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) that had only 53 out of 243 seats became an important part of the new state government formed in Bihar, whereas Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal), despite being the largest single party in terms of number of electoral seats, became the opposition party in the state assembly. Following this incident, various national parties of India are busy criticising and condemning Bihar Chief Minister, Mr. Nitish Kumar. However, it is quite likely that by taking this decision, Nitish may have achieved quite a lot for him and his successive generations. That said, what cannot be denied is that this action has stained his political career in such a way that genuinely secular people of India will not be able to forgive him for a long while. Moreover, political commentators are of the view that this decision has negatively influenced Nitish Kumar’s political stature. With the support of BJP, the newly formed government under the leadership of Nitish Kumar has only one Muslim leader named Khurshid Ahmad commonly known as Feroz Alim. He was offered the Ministry of Minority Welfare. After taking oath for this allotted portfolio, the statement he gave in front of media is not only to be condemned but what it also merits is that, in the light of the verses of Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), every Muslim believes that such a statement can very well push the speaker outside the borders of Islam. The way in which he spoke before the media and the kind of words he used in the course of his briefing rightly deserve the Fatwa given against him by Mufti Suhail Ahmad Qasmi, something that is also endorsed by Imarat-e-Shariah of Bihar. What is more saddening is that even after the Fatwa was issued against him, neither did he express any regret over the statement made by him nor did he take it back. Instead, he stubbornly held on to his words. However, being a Muslim he should have been mindful of the eternal life that all of us have to face after death and, therefore, should have immediately sought repentance before Almighty Allah. In order to bring them into confidence, Nitish Kumar organised a meeting in which he invited all the MLAs (Members of Legislative Assembly) of his party associated with the minority groups. In that meeting, there was a lot of noise and uproar over the statement made by the Minister for Minority Welfare. When Nitish Kumar got a clear understanding that the recent statement made by his sole Muslim Minister Khurshid Ahmad (Feroz Alim) could turn Muslims angry and against him (Muslims are almost 17 percent of the total population of Bihar), he instantly urged the Minister to apologise for his words. As a result, the concerned Minister visited Imarat-e-Shariah of Bihar, took his statement back, sought repentance before Almighty Allah and, for reviving his faith and belief, recited the Kalimah Shahaadah once again. As of now, rather than indulging in some extra pondering over his statement and the repentance he sought following the entire controversy, we should only pray to Almighty Allah to help us remain steadfast with respect to our faith in Him. In the Holy Quran, in Surah Al-Zamar, verse no. 53, Almighty Allah says, “Say (on My behalf), .O servants of Mine who have acted recklessly against their own selves, do not get despaired of Allah‘s mercy. Surely, Allah will forgive all sins. Surely, He is the One who is the Most-Forgiving, the Very-Merciful”. Similarly, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Almighty Allah stretches out His hand by night so that those who commit sin during the day can repent in the night, and He stretches out His hand by day for those who commit sin during the night can repent during the day” (Muslim).

On this occasion, I want to specifically outline few things before my Muslim brothers and sisters, especially young ones, because as of now the entire world is dominated by forces of evil and untruth and the Muslim community as a whole is quite weak. In both the directions of the world (the East and the West), the fundamental purpose of life is somehow all about achieving good status, house, car and wealth (as much as one could accumulate). In our educational institutions, there is a serious dearth of the desired and ideal framework for right upbringing. In fact, our educational institutions have now become more of business centres. These days, just the way it is with Muslims living in other countries, Indian Muslims too are facing issues of various kinds. What is well known to all of us is that the sickening acts of saffron organisations and so-called cow protectors have posed a serious threat to the secular character of our country. If these atrocious acts and practices are not checked as soon as possible, it will become extremely difficult for Muslims residing in several parts of the country to follow the fundamentals of their religion. Moreover, in the times we live in, educational resources and a significant portion of the media are owned by others. Our children should very much enrol at universities and colleges and receive education from there, however, what is required on our part alongside all this is that we must strengthen our connection with mosques and learned scholars of Islam. We must provide modern education to our children, however, what is mandatory for us is to protect their faith and belief by acquainting them with basic education related to the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). For this, we will have to tell our children that the sole purpose behind the creation of humans and jinns is worshipping of Almighty Allah, One who is by Himself the Master of the entire universe. In order to turn our worldly lives into sustained acts of worship, Almighty Allah selects few of his bondsmen and makes them prophets and messengers. Through His Angels, Almighty Allah conveys His commandments to His prophets; what is to be done, what is not to be done, what is to be eaten and what is not to be eaten and so on. Prophets and messengers guide the people through their words and deeds. The series of prophets started with Prophet Adam (AS), passed on through the exemplary prophets such as Prophet Ibrahim (AS), Prophet Musa (AS) and Prophet Eesa (AS), and ended at Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) prophethood is not specific to any tribe, region or period. Instead, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has been gifted with prophethood for the entire world. In the same way, it is our faith that once this worldly life is over we will embark upon our other life wherein success is solely based on the good deeds performed by us in our worldly life, as repeatedly mentioned in the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that in the Hereafter successful ones will enter the paradise where Almighty Allah has made such wonderful arrangements for the inhabitants that we cannot even imagine, whereas the unsuccessful ones will be thrown in the ever-rising fire of Hell, the fire that will be 70 times hotter as compared to the fire of this world. In the light of the verses of the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the entire Muslim community agrees that to attain success in the Hereafter the fundamental condition is faith in Almighty Allah and His Prophet (PBUH) and departing from the world as a faithful. Since in India followers of various religions live together, we must respect the followers of other religions but our head should bow down only before Almighty Allah. Followers of other religions can very well go to their own places of worship and worship as per their religious tradition, however, in our case, it is obligatory on our part to worship strictly as per the instructions laid down by the Islamic Shariah, and seek help from Almighty Allah with respect to our needs.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (