The government, the Opposition and the public in general are rightly in panic awaiting the verdict on Babri Masjid by the Allahabad High Court – a situation brought about by the faltering non-secular stand by the governments concerned. The High Court is to give its verdict on the following points: (1) Was the place under Babri Majid the birthplace of Lord Ram? (2) Was there a temple on the land on which Babri Masjid was built? Now it is obvious to the meanest intelligence that it is impossible to prove that the birthplace of Lord Ram was under the masjid — it may be a matter of faith, genuine or contrived or otherwise, but that is no proof, nor can it ever be put forward as a legal ground to take away the land from the mosque. If the finding is that the masjid was not built on a temple, then the Muslims get the land back and will be free to use it in any way, including the building of the mosque. In the alternative it may be held that there was a temple on the land of Babri Masjid. But even with this finding the suit by the VHP/RSS has to be dismissed. Admittedly, Babri Masjid has been in existence for over 400 years till it was demolished by goons of the VHP/RSS in 1992. Legally speaking, the Sangh Parivar would have no right even if a temple had been demolished to build Babri Masjid. I say this in view of the precedent of the case of Masjid Shahid Ganj in Lahore decided by the Privy Council in 1940. In that case there was admittedly a mosque existing since 1722 AD. But by 1762, the building came under Sikh rule and was used as a gurdwara. It was only in 1935 that a suit was filed claiming the building was a mosque and should be returned to the Muslims. Read the rest of this entry »
Monthly Archives: September 2010
By Irfan Engineer,
The dispute over Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid, it is said, is creation of the colonial rule. It is difficult to be very sure on how far direct is the hand of the colonial rule in inventing and or sustaining the dispute between some elements from both the communities. However, there is little doubt that the colonial rule benefited from the dispute and therefore did not seem to take effective steps to see the dispute resolved. The authorities under the Colonial rule allowed the dispute over title of the land to acquire communal overtones. Whatever the former colonial masters did, or omitted to do, the post-Colonial state fared even worst in the matter. Post-Colonial State allowed the dispute over the land title to almost completely polarise the two communities. Essentially a title suit between the plaintiffs and the defendants over a piece of land was allowed to acquire religious and communal colour with competing all India mobilisations by political leadership belonging to both the communities. Even the most secular Prime Minister of the country – Jawaharlal Nehru found himself unable to resolve the dispute and / or stop it from acquiring communal colour, when he had the opportunity in 1949.
There are no two opinions that in the year 1528 a mosque was built by Mir Baqi by one of the Governors of the Mughal Emperor Babar. The Sangh Parivar maintains that this mosque was built after destroying a Ramjanmabhoomi temple, which existed on the land whereas the Muslim political leaders as well as most reputed historians of integrity insist that there is no credible proof that there was any Ramjanmabhoomi temple.
After the anti-British rebellion in 1857, the crown proclaimed that it would remain aloof and would not interfere in the religious matters of people of the Country. The Colonial power however, was often called upon to mediate disputes between communities. The Colonial State did not prove to be an honest mediator in the disputes. The state had its own axe to grind – legitimising the rule of the intruder being the uppermost. At times, the state even invented and created new disputes so that it was called upon the mediate. Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute appears to one of such disputes created by the Colonial rulers. The District Gazetteer of 1905 notes that till 1855, Hindus and Muslims prayed in the same premises which is now contentious Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site. After 1857 rebellion, an outer enclosure was put in front of the mosque and the Hindus who were forbidden access to the inner yard raised an outer platform (chabutra). The first signs of the dispute sometime in 1861 appear too close after the 1857 rebellion to warrant such a conclusion. A British officer who was officiating as a Commissioner and Settlement Officer, Faizabad, in 1861 wrote a book A Historical Sketch of Fyzabad Tehsil Including the Former Capital Ayodhya and Fyzabad. The book was based on what he found was “locally affirmed” and his own surmises – Ayodhya must at least have possessed a fine temple in the Janmasthan. The dispute was initially only regarding Chabutra adjoining the Babri Masjid. He further wrote: “It seems that in 1528 Babar visited Ayodhya and under his orders this ancient temple was destroyed”. There is slender evidence to conclude that Babar ever passed Ayodhya.
Hindu priests wanted a temple constructed on the Chabutra to be able to conduct their worship without vagaries of weather, as Chabutra was an open platform. It is not clearly known as to when and how the Chabutra came to be constructed, and whether the Chabutra was raised on a land having legal title or an usurped land adjoining the mosque called Babri Mosque.
In the year 1885, one Mahant Raghubar Dass, claiming himself to be the Mahant of Janam Asthan had filed a suit on 19-1-1885 in the Court of Sub-Judge Faizabad, Pandit Hari Kishan (Suit No. 61/280 of 1885). It was alleged in the said Suit that Chabutra of Janam Asthan was a platform of 21 feet towards East and West and 17 feet towards North and South. It was further alleged in the said Suit that as there was no building over it and the Mahant and other priests had to face grave vagaries of the weather. The Mahant therefore wanted permission to construct a temple over the said Chabutra of 21 X 17 feet, which had been prohibited by the Deputy Commissioner of Faizabad. The Suit 61/280 of 1885 was dismissed on 24-12-1885 by Pandit Hari Kishan, Sub-Judge of Faizabad. Relying upon the site plan prepared by Gopal Sahai, the Learned Sub-Judge observed:
“The entrance to the enclosure is under a gateway on which appears the superscription of “Allah”. Immediately on the left is the platform or chabutra of masonary occupied by the Hindus. On this is a small superstructure of wood in the form of a tent. This chabutra is said to indicate the birthplace of Ram Chander. …
“… in between the mosque and Chabutra, there is a wall…and it is clear that there are separate boundaries between the mosque and Chabutra and this fact is also supported by the fact that there is boundary line built by the Government before the rent dispute”.
It was further observed that if temple was allowed to be constructed on the Chabutra at such a place, then there would be sound of bells of the temple and sankh, when both Hindus and Muslims passed from the same way. If permission was given to Hindus for constructing temple then one day or the other there would be rioting and thousands of people would be killed. Thus, the learned Sub-Judge opined that awarding permission to construct the temple at this juncture is to lay the foundation of riot and murder, hence in view of the policy and also in view of justice the reliefs claimed should not be granted. The Sub-Judge also rejected the reliefs sought on the ground of adverse possession and observed that:
“It is most unfortunate that a masjid should have been built on the land specially held sacred by the Hindus. But as that occurred 356 years ago, it is too late now to remedy the grievance. All that can be done is to maintain the parties in status quo.”
The Appeal of Mahant Raghubar Dass against the judgement of the Learned Sub-Judge before the District Judge of Faizabad and the Judicial Commissioner, W. Young (Civil appeal No. 27 of 1886) was also dismissed. In his judgement dated November 1, 1886 observed:
“This spot is situated within the precinct of the grounds surrounding a mosque erected some 350 years age owing to the bigotry and tyranny of the emperor who purposely chose this holy spot, according to Hindu legend as the site of his mosque. The Hindus seem to have got very limited rights of access to certain spots within the precinct adjoining the mosques and they have for a series of years been persistently trying to increase those rights and to erect buildings on two spots in the enclosure namely (1) Sita ki rasoi (kitchen of Sita) and (2) Ram Chander ki Janmabhoomi (birthplace of Lord Rama)… I am further of the opinion that the civil courts have properly dismissed the plaintiff’s claim. Read the rest of this entry »
Surat Al-‘Isrā’ (The Night Journey) – سورة الإسراء
And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.
And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin.
நீங்கள் வறுமைக்குப் பயந்து உங்களுடைய குழந்தைகளைக் கொலை செய்யாதீர்கள்; அவர்களுக்கும் உங்களுக்கும் நாமே உணவை (வாழ்க்கை வசதிகளையும்) அளிக்கின்றோம் – அவர்களைக் கொல்லுதல் நிச்சயமாகப் பெரும் பிழையாகும்.
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“And now verily We shall make you turn (in prayer) toward a Qibla which is dear to you. So turn your face toward the Inviolable Place of Worship (the Kaaba of Makkah).” (Al Baqarah 2:144)
The Quran commands the Muslims to face the sacred precincts in Makkah during prayer which is a fundamental tenet in slam. The legend of this purely Islamic development of a sacred stone structure dates back to the fall of Hadhrat Adam (alayhis salaam) from Paradise onto earth at Makkah. It has been reported by Al-tabari that Hadhrat Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) flapped his wings to uncover a foundation laid in the seventh fold of the earth. Angels paved this foundation with stones and Hazrat Adam went round this structure following the example of the Angels. Therefore it stands to reason that Allah Ta’ala contemplated and designated the Ka’aba before the creation of the earth. It is said that the Kaaba is a prototype of Baitul Mamoor, a house in the seventh Heaven situated immediately over the Kaaba.
The Kaaba with respect to the inhabited parts of the world is like the centre of a circle with respect to the circle itself. All regions face the Kaaba, surrounding it as a circle surrounds its centre; and each region faces a particular part of the Kaaba. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) adopted the Kaaba as a physical focus in prayer as well for other acts of worship such as burial of the dead, recitation of the Qur’an, announcing the call of prayer, the ritual slaughter of animals, etc. Thus, Muslims have been spiritually and physically oriented towards the Kaaba and the holy city of Makkah in their daily lives.
Circumbulation of The Kaaba
‘Tawaf’ or cicumbulation (the ritual encircling of the Kaaba) starts from the Hajar Aswad – the Black Stone. The circumambulator, if possible, may kiss the stone or may direct his hand towards it saying, “In the name of Allah, Allah is great.” He must circle the Kaaba seven times with the Kaaba to his left (in anti-clockwise direction).
On examination, it will be found that the entire universe which is in constant circular or elliptical rotation, is in actual fact moving in the pattern as the Tawaf. The electrons of an atom revolve around its nucleus in the same manner as making Tawaf, in an anti-clockwise direction. The ovum, prior to fertilisation actually taking place, surrounded by sperms, turns remarkably in anti-clockwise direction, thereby resembling the Tawaf. Considering the globe as a whole, it could be found that the earth has two movements. It rotates on its own axis in 24 hours causing day and night. The various seasons of the year are due to the earth’s simultaneous revolution around the sun in 365 days. It is really astonishing to note that the earth, in both these movements, rotates anti-clockwise. The entire universe from the atom to the galaxies is in constant circular rotation like a circumambulator who encircles the Kaaba in the anti-clockwise direction. All objects in the universe, atoms, moon, stars, electrical current, galaxies, etc. are rotating in the same way. Moreover, the angles encircle the heavenly Baitul Ma’mur in an ever-lasting Tawaf. In the same way, the Kaaba in Makkah is never free from circumbulators. “Know that the world has come to an end when no soul will circlembulate the holy Kaaba.”
“Do Muslims Really Worship the Kaaba?”
This was one question, among others, propounded by certain non-Muslim student groups at a university rally not very long ago. This kind of obnoxious thinking and behaviour is the direct result of villifying and being abusive towards other religions. Islam, known by many a western thinker as the ‘champion religion’ condemns the idea of disgracing and mocking any religion, but rather promotes the idea of showing respect. How else would the world see good in a religion so perfect as Islam. Our aim in this world should be to convey the magnificent teachings of Islam with love and honour, so that the word of Allah Ta’ala reaches the four corners of the world.
Do Muslims worship the Kaaba by merely prostrating towards it?
Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayhi), in his book ‘Ashraful-Jawaab’, carefully probes the matter by providing logical and simple facts.
1. It is a known fact to Muslims that we don’t worship the Kaaba but only worship Allah Ta’ala and Him alone. There is sufficient evidence to substantiate our stand and belief. Categorically, we explicitly deny worshipping the Kaaba nor the structure of the Kaaba. Hence, no worshipper (in his right frame of mind) can deny the thing he or she worships. In other words, Muslims deny worshipping the Kaaba and it is not a symbol of worship. The Kaaba is only a direction of worship.
2. When performing Salaat, even if the thought of facing towards the Kaaba is absent from the mind too, the salaat is valid. However, many Musallies that enter the masjid and begin performing salaat without having the faintest idea that they are facing the direction of the Kaaba, still have their salaat intact. Had we been worshipping the Kaaba, then it would have been a prerequisite condition to first intend facing the Kaaba before beginning any salaat.
3. If at anytime the structure of the Kaaba is destroyed then too, it will be compulsory to perform salaat facing the direction of the Kaaba . Therefore, we can say without a shadow of doubt that Muslims do not worship its stone structure, otherwise by its destruction Salaat would immediately come to a temporary stop.
4. If a person decides to perform salaat on the roof of the Kaaba, the Salaat will be valid. Therefore had we worshipped the Kaaba then Salaat performed above it would be incorrect; because firstly, the thing worshipped must appear in front and secondly, it is utterly disrespectful and disgraceful to the thing worshipped by standing on top of it. Imagine anyone standing above their Creator and Maker of this universe.
In addition, Moulana Thaanvi (rahmatullah alay) further discusses other related matters on the same subject – the Kaaba. Did you ask yourself at any time, ‘Why do we face one direction, and not many directions?’
Imagine if there was no one direction to face then everyone would have faced all directions which may have caused dissent and disunity in the heart of the Muslims. Therefore it was essential to provide a common direction for the Muslims throughout the world.
Why do we face toward the Kaaba in particular and not any other selected direction?
No one has the right to ask such a question. However, Allah Ta’ala is omniscient and He alone knows toward which direction His Noor (light) descends. Whichever direction this light is greatest, we are directed to face.
How do we know the Noor of Allah descends toward the direction of the Kaaba? Only those who possess eyes may be able to get a glimpse of that Noor descending onto the Kaaba. Therefore, Salaat may be read above the Kaaba structure, because in actual fact, it is the Noor of Allah Ta’ala that we face in prayers and definitely not any object or likewise.
The Jurist have commented that the Kaaba, although seen to a certain height, reaches upto the heavens and right down to the earth’s bottom.
Furthermore, the secret in facing toward the direction of the Kaaba is the spirit of worship (Ibaadat), and contentment and serenity of the heart. Without this contentment there exist no spirit (rooh), which is the reason we are instructed to focus our sight on the place of prostration in Salaat so that we may be able to concentrate with heart and soul entirely.
Talk delivered by
Moulana A Kathrada in Durban (1995)