By: Haris Wani & Sajid Bashir
It is 1439 AH: more than fourteen centuries have passed since Prophet Muhammad (SAW) left us. Before his(SAW) egress, he (SAW) provided a road map in front us , that is, the word of God and his own traditions. As it is natural, that with passage of time, issues emerge in every system, so is case with the Muslim community. The essence of the system is already given, and we are only to decide the working procedure without touching the basic principles and tenants.
Therefore, it is but natural that there would be disagreements among people of faith, and such disagreements have been there since the time of Prophet(SAW) himself. In this regard, the disagreements between Abdullah ibn Masood (RA) and Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) are famous. These continued in the times of the mainstream scholars too, Imam Ahmad bin Hambal( RA) disagreed with Imam Abu Hanifa(RA) over hundreds of issues and Imam Malik (RA) disagrees with Imam Shafi (RA) over many issues. This has always been a healthy trend in Islam and this beautifies it. It is the beauty of our great faith because humans cannot be homogeneous group and, therefore, Islam allows the disagreements.
Muslims are spread over a vast geography. Their cultures are different. Their tastes differ. The situations differ. Therefore, there cannot be mutual agreements on everything. The emergence of disagreements is a natural phenomenon.
In the present times, however, conflicts have reached an all-time high in general and the case for sub-continent is no different. However, the disagreements have taken an unusual and unpleasant turn. The disagreements that used to be the beauty of Islam then, divide the Ummah today. The result is mayhem. In the subcontinent, some scholars of different schools of thoughts are fuelling the fire. The case of Kashmir is no different in this regard. The mutual disagreements on different aspects of Islam have divided the Muslim scholarship and the result is that people have stopped talking to each other. Social boycotts have happened. Day in and day out , debates intended to show the other in dark shade emerge from the different geographical positions of valley, which is unfortunate.
Kashmir was a tolerant society, but it has moved towards intolerance. The situation has turned so grim that now even marriages take place between man and woman of the same ideology or the same Madhab; separate schools are set up by every other sects; mosques are being named on the name different Madhab; people of any other Madhab are not allowed to pray in a mosque which is enough unfortunate. The situation sometimes turns so grim that the political leaders must intervene and get the debates closed.
In the present times, netizens take the debates to social networking sites and start using these disagreements to create more divisions among t people. Each time, one opens a social networking site, a plethora of Fatwas welcome him. Some people are called Khawrij; some have been termed as Najdi and even some are called Mushriks. The bombardment of Fatwahs is very unusual to the regular audiences who have very little knowledge of the religion. They quickly jump to conclusions and begin to hate each other. The comments section of almost every post or a video over different issues or differences is abusive to the point that it becomes unreadable. These videos and posts damage and tend to break one of the basic pillars of the religion which is the feeling of brotherhood between Muslims, a concept that makes one Muslim feel good for the other Muslim as well.
When we will revive and awake and will hold again the rope which we have not held but, luckily and fortunately, we still have a chance to hold then a timeout will start at the end of which our dominance will roar out loudly as were the ones whose events still history witnesses. The disunity among is stemmed from ‘interpreting’ something in your own way or choosing one opinion among multiple ones. The interpreting according to oneself is not a new way of understanding and realization, it is Adam(AS’)-aged practice instead. The only difference is that they, after choosing their opinion about something, neither rejected nor disagreed the other ones but we do.
There is much more in these religious debates when they take place in Jammu and Kashmir, a conflict zone. This is the policy to divide the Muslims of the state. In this regard , an editorial of the known newspaper “The Hindu” in the context of the radicalization of the Kashmir university students was of the opinion that the central government should sow discord among Kashmiri Muslims fight on religious differences. The editor was of the view that state should cultivate few of the Muslim groups and make them fight each other which shall lead to inner contradictions in the society.
It is quite interesting to observe that, on the one hand, bloody conflict is taking away the lives of young men and women but , on the other hand, Islamic scholars are debating the essence of Eight Rakah Tarawih. What is the point of debate such trivial issues at a time when the whole of nation mourns the death and devastation is an open question that demands an answer.
Broadly speaking, the only reason for the instability of the ummah is that we concurrently unheld the rope of knowledge of Islam whether we consider the holy, doubtless and most assured book , that is, the Quran, which took about 23 years to complete and was betided in the immense month among all months and the immense night worth about 1000 months while it took just days or months even may be a couple of years for us to live without it, or consider the book where truth of each hadith is evidenced by companions (Sahabas) of Prophet Mohammad(PBUH) while we take no one’s recommendation in declining them.
Upon going through the holy Quran not only triple or quadruple times but multiple times we may find the verses which penalizes each person according to their dreadful deeds of divisions within their religion.
“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided.” (3:103).
Coming to common terms is the need of the hour, a uniformity will save us from drowning into the seas of sectarian wars. Such a unity is not only a religious and moral duty for all us, but a move to save the chastity of those who gave their honor for Kashmir.
The authors can be reached at the composite email: firstname.lastname@example.org