AMU prof shrugs off fatwa against him

Aligarh:AMU prof shrugs off fatwa against him, Darul Uloom Deoband, a Saharanpur-based Muslim seminary, has issued a fatwa against Aligarh Muslim University teacher Rashid Shaz, claiming he is a ‘kafir’, a non-believer. Shaz, however, is taking the matter in his stride.

Tariq Ayyubi, head of the Madrasatul Uloom Deoband, who claims to have begun a movement in Aligarh to condemn Shaz, said, “People like him are kafirs. Religious leaders have expressed concern over his teachings, which go against the spirit of Islam.” Ayyubi said he would soon be coming out with a book on Shaz and how his views are damaging to Islam.

Rashid Shaz has been in charge of the Bridge Course programme at AMU, aimed at aiding students from madrassas make a smooth transition to the modern university system. Although the fatwa was issued in the month of Ramzan, it is only now that it is gaining publicity. It is being shared on social media and talked about on campus.

The fatwa was issued after a teacher of the Madarsatul Uloom Islamiya in Aligarh posed a few questions about the views held by the university professor. “Can he be the voice of Muslims?” was one of the questions posed.

The Saharanpur seminary considered the views expressed by Shaz in his published works before declaring him ‘kafir’.

Ayyubi said, “We collected his works and quotations. The seminary found his views contrary to the Hadith and Quran. In his opinion, Muslims cannot lay claim to the Masjid Al Aqsa (in Old Jerusalem, considered the third-holiest of Islamic shrines). This is sacrilege, Al Aqsa is our first qibla (direction for offering prayers). He calls maulvis in madrassas purveyors of sectarianism.”

Even though many voices have been quick to condemn Shaz, the university is unperturbed. Vice chancellor Lt Gen Zameer Ud Din Shah said, “I would not like to comment. Shaz was entrusted the job of imparting modern education to madrassa students and he is doing that.”

Shaz too has chosen to shrug off the fatwa: “Deoband keeps issuing fatwas. Questions are posed and the reply is uploaded. This has been on the website for a while. They call me gumrah and kafir. All they know how to do is make kafirs of Muslims.”(indiatimes-com)

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