Coronavirus Pandemic : Why have the Molvis failed us, yet again?

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By Syed Faizan Bukhari

A lot of us are aghast at the reactions of the majority of Maulanas and Muftis who have displayed a colossal disregard towards the palpable threat of the Corona virus epidemic. Their ludicrous sermons filled with passionate exhortations to the believers to attend congregational prayers goes on to show how far the clergy in Islam has strayed from its own creed. Faith has suddenly become the arch nemesis of rationale. While “knowledge” and “science” are not reduced to a mere curiosity and analytical speculation in the Islamic worldview that seeks a more

contemplative and gnostic understanding of the created order, the two need not be at odds with each other. Doing so, I am afraid, undermines the essence of Tawheed – of oneness and Unity – the fundamental belief of Islam. Ironically enough, the self-proclaimed guardians of the message of Unity have created water-tight compartments of the sacred and the profane. Therefore, I say this with great confidence that the Muftis and Maulanas are simply incapable to constitute a competent hermeneutical authority for Muslims.

How did we reach here, you ask?

A simple one line answer will suffice. Our schools of traditional learning have no academic and philosophical rigor. They have become cesspools of narrow and pedantic debates regarding the trivialities of Fiqh. A cursory look at the curriculum and pedagogy of any Madarsa will leave you with no doubt about the barren dessert that it has become. Their concerns and their “training” is so far removed from the times that we live in that they don’t and must not have any religious or moral authority to interpret the faith in a relevant fashion for Muslims. Had they been perceptive and reflective about the spaces and times that we inhabit, the Muftis who are eager to dole out unsolicited Fatwaas regarding the acceptable length of a Tennis players skirt, would have said a word or two regarding climate-change, deforestation, wage-gap, environmental degradation, inclusive growth, mental health, marine pollution and social transformation. No Sir. But first we must establish the correct position of tying our hands when standing in supplication before God. Because that’s what matters to God – the position of our hands. The rest can wait.

Where do we go from here?

Let’s start by not listening to them. Let us start by holding them accountable for what they say and what they don’t say. Let us start by calling them out on their incompetence and ineptitude. Let us not fall for religious chicanery. We are all capable of Ijtihaad at the level of the individual. Let us exert our intellect.

While the absence of a crystalline hierarchical hermeneutical authority ensures a certain fluidity in the understanding and practice of faith, there also exists a need to collectively interpret faith in a relevant fashion while keeping its essence alive. There is a long road ahead. Islam, especially Sunni Islam needs a through structural reform. Making traditional Islamic education open, dynamic, rigorous is an arduous task. The relevance of the encompassing Deen of Islam relies upon the competence and wisdom of its jurists – the Fuqahaa. The consensus of the learned within the community, Ijma; analogical reasoning, Qiyas; and the welfare of the community, Istislah are various practices that assure that Faith informs all facets of the Muslim life while establishing balance and justice, Meezaan. Therefore, creating progressive institutions of academic rigor that produces wise polymaths who can reflect and contemplate upon the human condition ensures the welfare of the Muslim individual as well as the Islamic society. It is time that you and I strive towards liberating the faith from the clutches of mediocrity, obstinacy, apathy and lethargy of the Molvis.

(Syed Faizan Bukhari is a writer based in New Delhi. His interests include South Asian politics and contemporary Islam)

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Idiots who wrote this blog will stop at nothing at insulting scholars. They are influenced by shaytaan to pave the path of appointing jahils to lead them in the direction that is about to realisr the prophesies of the Holy Prophet peace wherein he states: Then will come a time wherein people will unite to appoint the most ignorant amongst them to lead them and they who are astray will lead the masses even further astray! And the the hadith that states: “When the matter is handed over to the people who are not for it, await the final hour!”

    We may on the one hand contend on the mode of electing leaders from the various theological bodies by all means which greatly owes to the already existing disunity amongst Muslims, but we object on the masses pronouncing ulama as idiots and incompetent on the basis of their own whimsical fancies and delayed action in arriving at a decision that is based on the medical profession and their close interaction with medical experts inasmuch as they the masses are to blame for being picky about who leads them. A case that reverts back to the virus and disease of racism within Islam and Muslims of South Africa which is far more detrriment to their health than Covid19. Before they start pointing fingers at the scholars and using derogatory terms like “molvis” they need to resolve their stinking viral disease of racism and facisim.

  2. This Mirror is murky. And looking into it should show only one face on reflection. It’s founders. Please don’t call this blog or whatever it is a Muslim Mirror. I will have no alternative but to sue it’s authors for deformation of the character of Islam and Muslims.

    • Itni mirchi kyun lag rahi haye Firqaparast bhai?

      Quraan nahi padha?

      “If you don’t know, ask the men of knowledge!”

      Heart attack ya accident hone par dargah moulvi ya Nizamuddin Ameer jamaat se treatment lete ho kyaa?…

      Apni “Aqal” ko bank ke Andh-bhakti ke fixed deposit me daal rakhkhi haye kyaa?

      Ek Ummat, Nek Ummat, Balanced Reasonable Rational Ummat…

      A pandemic of this severe nature by such a dangerous killer virus needs adequate scientific and hygienic precautions alongwith good tawakkul from Allah…

      And genuine mainstream Muslims do not believe “hyperacting rockstar moulvis” making sensational statements; but believers only believe in the Deen of the last Prophet Mohammed sallallahu alayhi wassalam and research the Quraan and sunnah-saheeh Hadees themselves as well as seek guidance from Ijmaa-consensus of experienced, humble, QUALIFIED, wise, soft-spoken balanced Islamic scholars…so as not to be misguided…

  3. so liberating to find a light in a smoke filled room that not only dimmed the light for us to see clearly but also affecting the thought processes of the molvis who in my opinion is the face of a neo muslim clan emerging along side the wahabi sect

  4. Solution: An exit centralised high-quality international level EXAM for all Aalim students before they get title of “Aalim” or ” Maulana ” or ” Mufti”…
    Must have good English knowledge too in addition to Urdu and Arabic, to be able to interpret and convey the Deen well to all sections of society.

    Only few qualified and sincere should be given authority to give fatwa or balanced opinion..

    Every significant question should have IJMA consensus statement by AIMPLB scholars…

    Penalty of withdrawing license and public apology for a single mufti or Aalim; if giving “harmful” fatwa without consulting AIMPLB and seniors…

    Yes, mini-skirt of tennis, shorts of badminton and other ladies sports like swimming in swim-suits, etc are clearly HARAAM in Islam for girls and ladies….no confusion, and it is important to maintain dignity.

    Why the world is cancelling and postponing Olympics and IPL cricket in Corona virus epidemic?
    So it is clear that competitive commercial sports are non-essential fads in society.

  5. Presently we have some problems with us.
    1. For all issues we approach madrasa educated ulema.
    2. Madrasa education is very old.
    3. It’s syllabus was designed long back when philosophy and mantiq (logic) were prevalent. That’s why they included these subjects in their course of study.
    4. The world has chaged a lot since then. For example from philosophy we got science then engineering later technolog and now AI, genetics and so on…….
    5. Presently to get solutions we need to have specialised committee including ulema, area specialists (like, scientific feternity, economists, educationist, medical specialists, etc depending upon the problem) and community leaders (or political leaders).

    For example for this corona issue we should have had a committee consisting of ulema, epidemologists/virologist and political leaders.

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