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I am a Salafi, and I am not a terrorist

The Salafis, believing in the principles of Islam and preaching of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), consider terrorism a crime against humanity

Sunday December 30, 2018 0:59 AM, Aleem Faizee, ummid.com

Salafi, Not A Terrorist

So the debate started with “all Muslims are terrorists” has finally zeroed on “all Salafis are terrorists”. This regrettable task has been done by Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi – a Member of Parliament from Assam who claims to have graduated from Darul Uloom Deoband - the hotbed of worldwide Hanafis which in itself has a curious foundation history.

Hours after making the hateful comments against the “Salafis”, Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi realized his blunder, and not only backtracked from his unfounded, deplorable, brazenly derogatory and insulting remarks but also wrote to the Lok Sabha secretariat to expunge them from his speech and records of the Parliament proceedings. Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi, in the signed statement followed by a video, said his remarks were unintentional, false and were result of the “slip of his tongues”.

The Salafis have rejected his apology. For, they feel that Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi’s outburst against them was a counter narrative brewing in the private meetings and discussions of a group of Muslims in India and their fold abroad ever since Saudi Arabia openly started working against the extremist groups within the Muslims. This started with the blockade of Qatar soon after Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh in 2017. But, it’s unfortunate impact was a virtual split among the Muslims – one siding with Saudi Arabia and the other with Qatar and Turkey – which under Tayyip Erdogan is desperate to reclaim its lost leadership of the Muslim world.

Moreover, there are also the reports that a group within a group of Muslims is hobnobbing with the present dispensation against the Salafis out of the frustration and unrest because with easy access to information more and more Muslims are refusing to dance on their tunes and blindly following their religious diktats. Amidst all this came the debate on triple talaq. The question which Meenaskhi Lekhi posed to Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi during the debate about the existence of the Quranic sanction of the un-Islamic practice has been haunting the Indian clergy ever since the debate started. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) was able to bring hundreds of thousands of women on the streets. But it could not satisfy them and answer their queries about the Quranic sanction of instant talaq. Hence, Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi got infuriated when Meenakshi Lekhi posed the same question. Unable to reply Lekhi, Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi started spewing venom against the Salafis.

Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi was in fact behaving rudely from the beginning itself. He started his speech pronouncing wrongly the name of Meenaskhi Lekhi, the women MP sitting with the ruling side. When interrupted, instead of humbly accepting his mistake, which should have been the case looking at his “stature” and his “religious background”, he mockingly refused to acknowledge the mistake, went ahead with a passing comment and then leveled unfounded allegations against the Salafis.

All this happened in the Parliament which has once seen the likes of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who is not only revered as a respected leader of the country and Indian Muslims, but also as the most prominent face of the Salafis. Because of their own compulsions, there are people who try to hide this fact but it is a reality that Maulana Azad was born to a Hanafi father, but regretted the path his father was following at a very young age, went on to become President of the All India Ahle Hadees Conference and died as a Salafi (Not as a terrorist, please note). In the process, he left behind him such a glowing legacy of which the likes of Qasmi are still jealous of. For, they have none among them to match his stature, and the contributions and sacrifices he had made for India during the freedom movement and after the independence. Simultaneously, he added value to Islamic scholarship and knowledge, and also to the Urdu literature.

And, not Maulana Abul Kalam Azad alone! The Salafis are proud of having among them besides others the Ulema of Sadiqpur Patna, Bihar many of whom were hanged to death, their properties confiscated and their residential homes demolished. Praising them none other than former Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru had once said that their entire efforts for the country become worthless in comparison with the sacrifices made by the Ulema of Sadiqpur. Qasmi and the likes have nothing of this sort to celebrate except the fabricated stories to take credit and satisfy their followers. Hence, they get infuriated at the mere mention of the Salafis from private or public platforms. Meenakshi Lekhi committed the same mistake. She had in the presence of Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi dared to quote the Salafis to justify her stand. He had no answer to prove her wrong. Hence he linked the Salafis with “terrorism” – a handy tool and worldwide fashion nowadays to silence opponents and critics.

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While doing so Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi forgot the fact that India’s, and with the same logic world’s, terrorism story in itself is a telling account of lies and fabrication, laced with perverted and negative politics deliberately created to demonise the entire Muslim fold, and not the Salafis alone. Surprisingly, while leveling the unfounded charges against the Salafis, he ignored that the names of people mentioned as kingpins of terrorism in India are not Salafis. Mentioning here just few names is enough to expose Qasmi. But, the Salafis are against naming and shaming people, let alone on fabricated ground.

Perhaps blinded by his animosity towards the Salafis, Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi could not see the fact that the Salafis had in the form of the debate on instant and concurrent triple talaq an opportunity to propagate and spread their faith. But, for the sake of Muslim unity, they chose the other option and stood with the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) even as its stand was against their belief. There has also been a regular demand to establish an Ahle Hadees Personal Law Board. But, the Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadees Hind always turned down these demands. On the other hand, Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi, quite unfortunately, preferred his sect over Islam and the interests of Muslims as a community.

Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi should know that terrorism is the result of frustrated and perverted mindset. The Salafis, believing in the principles of Islam and preaching of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), consider terrorism a crime against humanity. At the same time, they are opposed to linking it with any particular religion, sect or community. A positive and constructive approach has always been their hallmark. There can be few misguided people as can be a case with any religion, caste or sect. But you can’t typecast all Salafis as terrorists. By doing so, you have caused a damage to the Muslim unity that will not be repaired easily.

[The writer, Aleem Faizee, is Founder Editor of ummid.com. He can be reached at aleem.faizee@gmail.com.]

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