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Abu Marwan Abdal Malik Ibn Zuhr: ‘Avenzoar’

Abu Marwan Abdal Malik Ibn Zuhr, known in the west as Avenzoar, was

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Maulana who opposed stone pelting - and died for it

Friday April 08, 2011 03:55:27 PM, Sarwar Kashani, IANS

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New Delhi: Maulana Showkat Shah, who was killed just ahead of Friday prayers in Srinagar, was the Kashmir Valley's most vocal critic of stone pelting protests and even issued a fatwa against it, earning for himself abuse, death threats and the tag of 'Indian agent'.


The maulana, who headed the Jamiat-e-Ahlihadith, an organised religious group with cadres even in all parts of the state, was also known for his links with the moderate faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference.

"Stone pelting cannot be justified. Islam is about discipline. If the leaders are asking people to refrain from stone pelting, then they should adhere to these directions. Prophet Mohammed too has asked us to refrain from it," the maulana had said at a seminar in Srinagar in April 2010.

The event was held just weeks before an intifada-like revolt erupted in the valley. For days youths hurled stones at security force. At the end of it all, over 115 people lay dead, in firing by security forces.

Shah, in his 50s, repeatedly told people in his weekly sermons at his Srinagar mosque -- where a blast Friday claimed his life -- that he would apologize for his words if anyone could prove that Quran and the Prophet supported stone pelting.

Shah enjoyed the backing of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who heads the moderate faction of the Hurriyat - Kashmir's separatist political conglomerate.

But the hardline Hurriyat faction of Syed Ali Shah Geelani justified stone pelting as a resistance movement against "the occupation of Kashmir by India".

"People throw stones when they are showered with the bullets. Under no circumstances can bullets be the answer to stones in a civilised state," Geelani, also a religious scholar, thundered days after Shah's fatwa.

Shah, who sported a long flowing beard, represented a fundamentalist school of thought that advocated a puritanical Islam; his followers claim their beliefs and practices are the same as those of early Muslims.

However, the maulana was not averse to the use of technology in spreading his message. He created a 'public figure' page on the social networking site Facebook.

It became a platform for people to vent their ire, with some threatening to lynch him in public.

One Facebook message warned that stone pelters would blow up him up if he did not delete his page. "How dare you call stone-pelting un-Islamic?"

The maulana's last update on his page was a prayer and wish for the youth in Kashmir.

"Mujhe bade dukh aur afsoos ke saath yeh kehna padraha hai ki hamari ummat ke kuch nawjawaan Qazi bangaye hai aur khud hi fatwa jaree karne lagay hain. In chand nawjawano ki wajah se hi maashre mai tabahi fel rahi hai. Allah inhe bhi aur mujhe bhi hidayat farmaye. (Regretfully I have to say that some youths in our society are turning into self-styled judges and issuing fatwas. The rot in the society is because of these few guys. May God show them and me the right path)."

The maulana wrote this March 28, little knowing that he would fall victim to the venom in just 10 days.

(Sarwar Kashani can be contacted at





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Prof Abbas Rizvi along with Principal of the College of Teacher Education, Bhopal, Prof Mahmood Siddiqui going round the exhibition on the life and work of Maulana Azad. The exhibition had some rare photographs and sketches of Maulana Azad's portraits put up by the students of the B. Ed. college on the occasion.



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