New Delhi/ Bareilly- 25th Sep 2016
Indian Muslim leaders opposed Saudi Arabian authorities decision to impose 2,000 Riyal or Rs 36,000 as tax on those who go on a Haj more than once from October 2 this year.
Leaders met on Friday at Swaley Nagar in Bareilly to discuss the issue. Clerics said way back in 1946, Saudi authorities had tried to enforce this tax but as a Barelvi cleric passed a fatwa terming the tax anti-Shariat, it was revoked. Clerics here said that Sunnis across the world would unite to oppose the decision outside Saudi embassies and mosques.
Maulana Saeed Noori, chairman of Raza Academy in Mumbai who was here to attend a meeting, said, “As Saudi authorities are again going to apply the same tax, Barelvi clerics across the world will oppose it. Sunni Barelvi clerics will address gatherings at mosques on Friday to inform people about it and how this tax is wrong in the light of Shariat. We will approach Saudi embassies across the world to protest against the tax which will soon be levied on pilgrims. More fatwa will be passed in this connection,” said Noori.
Meanwhile the leaders also took serious note of complaints of Hajis that they faced high handedness by the Saudi authorities.
“I have been spat on, beaten and punched while performing Hajj. I was called an apostate and an infidel when I turned my face towards the Prophet Muhammad’s last resting place and called for his intercession. I was slapped in Medina as I read my book of duas [religious supplications] in al-Baqee cemetery where Islam’s saints are buried. My real crime? Doing Hajj ” said Hassan al-Wazir, a pilgrim from Yemen in his testimony to the Baqee Organization.
Hanan Abbas, a British pilgrim recalled how her elderly mother was thrown to the ground by a Muttawa (Wahhabi religious police) when she shed tears at al-Baqee cemetery over the martyrdom of Fatema bint Muhammad, the daughter of the Prophet. “My mum was first told to move away … when she pleaded with police to be allowed to pay her respect to the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad she was pushed violently to the ground. They took her book of supplication and cursed her. As my brother intervened he was hit with a baton in the stomach … I was in shock! My mother spent the rest of her Hajj in tears. I have never been angrier in my life. Hajj is supposed to be a time of reflection and peace. We saw the face of hatred and bigotry.
Under the care of the Saudi regime the Hajj pilgrimage has been turned into a painful and humiliating experience. For millions of non-Wahhabis, every step taken has become an act of resistance against the intolerance of blind extremism.
The leaders also demanded the end of monarchy in Saudi Arabia. “On the occasion of Saudi National Day, which is observed on September 23, we demand that there should be democracy in Saudi Arabia rather than a monarchy. Due to the dictatorship of the Saudi king, human rights are violated. Even Islamic rules are being flouted in mosques and other religious places,” said Maulana Shahbudeen Razvi, national general secretary of the All India Jamat Raza-e-Mustafa.