oppn parties Protest Against Imam Barkati's Waywardness

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  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
oppn parties
Protest Against Imam Barkati's Waywardness

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Imam Nurur Rehman Barkati loves to be in the limelight. His colourful remarks and ill-advised ‘fatwas’ have often landed him in controversy. Most recently, Barkati was in the news for issuing a ‘fatwa’ against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he announced a reward of Rs 25 lakh for anyone who could shave the beard of Modi and blacken his face with ink. This was done from a public platform in the presence of TMC leader Idris Ali, who did not protest. Barkati has become extra adventurous after his good relation with the state government.

But Barkati perhaps does not know the real significance of fatwas in Islam. They can only be issued by a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence. The Islamic Supreme Council of America says that “A fatw? is an Islamic legal pronouncement, issued by an expert in religious law (mufti), pertaining to a specific issue, usually at the request of an individual or judge to resolve an issue where Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), is unclear.” People like Barkati are reducing the religious value of such pronouncements by not adhering to religious fine print and issuing fatwas at the drop of the hat. Also, he is letting his personal pique or bias creep into his official duty, which goes against the behavior expected of a supposed jurist.

More than 100 Muslim shopkeepers who are either tenants of the mosque property where Barkati presides or are located nearby have stood up in protest against Barkati. They observed a day’s closure, asking the Imam to keep the mosque free from politics. Much is being seen in this protest. If it is a genuine protest, it needs to be supported. But it could also be a landlord-tenant dispute, since the shops are located on mosque property. Comments should be reserved till the picture is clear.

What defies comprehension is why the state government did not act after Barkati issued his obnoxious ‘fatwa.’ Inciting anyone to do such a thing to the prime minister of the country is a crime. Announcing a reward for it compounds the crime. Still, the state government remained a mute spectator. Barkati, whose name means blessed or one who can bless, is not a blessing for the Muslim community. His remarks are strictly personal and cannot be construed to have the backing of the community. Hence, he must be warned and restrained.