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A Masjid on illegal land? Impossible!

Saturday, June 26, 2010 12:19:45 PM, Aleem Faizee,

Shiv Sena Executive President, Udhav Thackeray, who inherited the politics of abuse and hatred from his father, speaking at a function in Mumbai dared the Maharashtra government to demolish the Masajid and Madaris (plurals of Masjid and Madrasa) constructed on illegal and encroached lands. “The government which is hell against the construction of Shivaji Maharasj Chabutra does not have courage to touch illegal Masajid and Madaris flourishing across the state”, Jr Thackeray reportedly said in the function held to commemorate the 44th Foundation Day of the Shiv Sena at Shanmukhanand Hall in Mumbai on June 19. The Masajid and Madaris received his wrath reportedly because there are legal hurdles in the construction of Shivaji Maharaj Chabutra near Raigah.


Interestingly, at the time when newspapers with the Sena leader’s outburst were on the stalls, some 300 kms away from Mumbai, thousands of people in Malegaon – the Muslim dominated textile town in North Maharashtra known for the chain of beautiful Masajid and state of the art Madaris - were having Ta’am-e-Ta’aun. It is a special meal served to help collect the needed fund for the construction of a Masjid. The land and half the amount for the construction of this Masjid was donated by Mohd Ayyub, who died few years back. The Masjid is named after him. The atmosphere around the venue was impressive and the enthusiasm of the people overwhelming. The volunteers were awake the entire night yet their faces were shining. The cook had volunteered with his entire team free still not one man was showing any sign of fatigue. And those coming for the meal were generously donating their hard-earned money. They had just one agenda in their minds - to contribute something and in any form for the Masjid.


Somewhat similar scene is witnessed in another part of Malegaon where expansion work of Hayat Masjid is going on. It continues till late in the night as people pre-occupied elsewhere, come and join after the day’s work. And the same thing can also be seen in Utica, New York in the United State where the Muslim immigrants from Bosnia are busy in renovating a desolate and crumbling church into a Masjid following a deal with local civic authorities. And, this was the first thing Prophet Mohammad – peace be upon him did when he migrated to Madinah Al Munawwara from Makkah. After reaching Madinah, when he decided to build Masjid An Nabawi, the land chosen for the purpose belonged to two orphans of Bani Najjar. The Prophet – peace be upon him, purchased the land by paying a handsome amount though they were not ready to take it, and when the construction work began, he too participated along with his companions.


There also is a long list of Muslim rulers who ruled a substantial area in the world including the Indian subcontinent for years. They were also engaged in battles to seek control over territories and grab power. But one cannot give single evidence to prove if anyone of them used force or resorted to illegal means for converting places of worships belonging to other faiths into a Masjid. In fact Omar Farooque – the second Caliph, was so particular about Masajid that when during his visit to Jerusalem, the priest offered him to pray inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, he refused and prayed outside its gates. After finishing the prayers he said, “I declined to offer the prayers inside the church fearing later generation Muslims might use my action as an excuse to convert it into a Masjid.” Omar, under whose control was Jerusalem now, did not stop here. He declared a rule that the place outside the church where he had performed the prayers could never be used as a Masjid.


These are the glaring examples to show how particular Muslims are about Masajid – their places of worships. It is a strongly believed - and firmly in practice - principal that a Masjid would be constructed only on lands legally purchased and acquired, and using hard earned money of the community members. In fact everyone, richest or poorest, consider it a blessing to contribute in any form for holy sites. Still, if there is an illegal Masjid or there is one constructed on land that is not legitimately bought or acquired as Thackeray claims – for the sake of what world knows better – Muslims will in no time demolish them. And if there exists none, the government will be failing in its constitutional duties if it does not stop people like Thackerays from spreading lies and spewing venom against Muslims.






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