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memri
November 30, 2017 No.
7204

Islamic Fiqh Academy Conference In Mumbai: According To Shari'a, Adolescent Schoolboys, Schoolgirls Cannot Attend Classes In Same Building


A screenshot of the report in Roznama Inquilab on November 28, 2017.

A three-day conference was held in Mumbai, November 25-27, 2017, on the topic of Islamic shari'a, by the Islamic Fiqh Academy (IFA), a leading religious institute founded in New Delhi in 1988 by the late Islamic scholar Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi, who also served as its first secretary-general. The current secretary-general of the Islamic Fiqh Academy is Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, a leading Islamic scholar and a prolific writer in India's Urdu press on shari'a issues.

Over 300 Islamic scholars, from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Bahrain, and the UK, and other places, presented papers at the conference,[1] which was held at the Hajj House of Mumbai. Maulana Shahid Nasri Hanafi, speaking on the first day of the conference to welcome the delegates, noted that "Mumbai used to be called the Gateway to Mecca."[2] Maulana Shaukat Ali Qasmi Bastawi said: "The Islamic Fiqh Academy is God's gift for the Muslims of entire world, especially for the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent."[3]

The Aims And Objectives Of The Islamic Fiqh Academy

In a report on its activities from 1989 to 2014, the Islamic Fiqh Academy lists 15 aims and objectives, including the following:[4]

"To find solutions for the contemporary problems... In the light of the guidelines provided by the Koran and Sunnah and deliberations and interpretations of the companions of the Prophet [Muhammad] and other pious classical jurists and scholars."

"To make collective efforts to find solutions to the contemporary problems or those problems of the past that demand rethinking and research in the changing circumstances in line with the principles and methodology of Fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence]."

"To publish the works of eminent savants and authentic Islamic institutions in the contemporary idiom and style as the common academic and juristic legacy."

"To promote coordination between all juristic and research institutions to examine the judicial verdicts [of the Indian judiciary] vis-à-vis the interpretation and application of Islamic law in India and abroad."

"To appraise the misunderstandings and misinterpretations of different sections of society concerning Islamic jurisprudence and bring forth the true perspective of Islam."

"To prepare literature consisting of the solution to new issues and challenges faced by Islam in contemporary idiom and style."

The Proceedings Of The Mumbai Conference

According to a report on the conference, Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, the secretary-general of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, expressed concern about the Hindu influences being introduced in the schools by right-wing governments. The report stated:[5]

"He said that an innocent child's mind is like a clean blackboard. Whatever is written on the board will be cemented. The [Hindu mythological] stories being introduced in syllabi, when children read them, they will bring home poison. He said that with Allah's thanks and blessings, the trends toward education is increasing [among Indian Muslims]. And this is the reason that the number of graduates among Muslims, which was less, has risen. He expressed concern that attention has turned away from religious education. Earlier, a child used to study the Koran and religious studies before enrolling in a [mainstream] school. Now, the situation has changed. First the child is enrolled in the school, due to which our youths are unaware of religious teachings."

Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani called upon Islamic clerics to stop expecting the government and the courts in India to protect Islamic shari'a. According to a report, he said:[6] "The expectation of the government to protect shari'a is like dreaming in the afternoon. [To expect that] courts will save the shari'a is deception. You have to protect the shari'a... We should cultivate such an environment [of religious piety and justice] that people bow their heads before shari'a."

Another media report on the conference noted:[7]

"The Islamic scholars by consensus decided matters whose important points are the following: the establishment of modern educational institutions imbibed with an Islamic environment is necessary for Muslims; along with high standards of modern education in such institutions, the fundamental beliefs of Islam, the biography of the Prophet Muhammad, and the essential issues of personal and social life should be taught.

"It is not right for Muslims to enroll their children in those educational institutions where corrupt moral environment prevails; and sex education, dance and music, and [Hindu] mythological stories are part of the syllabi... It is the duty of Muslim administrators to protect educational institutions under their management against anti-shari'a and immoral mores.

"It was also said [by the Islamic scholars] that it is not legitimate as per shari'a for boys and girls, near-puberty or post-puberty, to mix in [programs such as] sports, entertainment, physical exercise, and co-education. The standard procedure is that there should be separate buildings for the education of boys and girls; or at the least, toilets, classrooms, and paths to come and go be provided separately. The uniform [for boys and girls] should also cover them."

As per the report, the Islamic scholars further said:[8]

"Wise and post-puberty boys and girls can choose their partners as per their wishes, but the better way is that they take elders into confidence and decide about this important event in life. And it is the responsibility of the elders also not to ignore the wishes of the boys and girls..."

 

[1] Roznama Urdu Times (India), November 26, 2017.

[2] Roznama Urdu Times (India), November 26, 2017.

[3] Roznama Urdu Times (India), November 27, 2017.

[4] Ifa-India.org (India), accessed November 29, 2017. The original English of the report has been lightly edited for standardization.

[5] Roznama Inquilab (India), November 28, 2017.

[6] Roznama Inquilab (India), November 28, 2017.

[7] Roznama Urdu Times (India), November 28, 2017.

[8] Roznama Urdu Times (India), November 28, 2017.