Politics of religious sectarianism in Kashmir
“We live in a place where a teen age girl is exploited by the state for her poverty, sex scandal is a reality, widows are product of every sun rise and the half widows of every sunset; where bloody conflict is preying for the chasity, the occupier is exploiting every weakness to drive us away of faith and dignity. Therefore, we can’t invest huge energies and resources in these meaningless debates which don’t yield us anything except the hatred and division”, writes Ubair Ul Hameed.
It is 21st century and more than fourteen centuries have passed since Prophet(pbuh) left us. Before his departure he left his guidance among us i.e. the word of God and his own traditions. As it is natural, that with passage of time issues emerge in every system, so is case with Muslim community. The essence of the system is already given, and we are only to decide the working procedure without touching the basic principles and tenants.
Therefore, it is but natural that there would be disagreements among people of faith, and such disagreements have been there since the time of Prophet himself. In this regard the disagreements between Abdullah ibn Masood RA and Abdullah ibn Umar RA are famous. Disagreements continued in the times of the mainstream scholars too, Imam Ahmad bin Hambal RA disagrees with Imam Abu Hanifa over hundreds of issues and Imam Malik RA disagrees with Imam Shafi RA over hundreds of issues. This has always been a healthy trend in Islam and this beautifies it. It is the beauty of Islam because humans cannot be homogeneous group and Islam allows the disagreements.
Muslims are spread over a vast geography. Their cultures are different. Their tastes differ. The situations differ. Therefore, there can not be mutual agreements on everything. The emergence of disagreements is a natural phenomenon.
In the present times the conflicts have reached an all-time high in general and the case for sub-continent is no different. However, the disagreements have taken an unusual and unpleasant turn. The disagreements that used to be the beauty of Islam then, divide the ummah today. And the result is mayhem. In the subcontinent scholars of different schools of thoughts are fuelling the fire. The case of Kashmir is no different in this regard. The mutual disagreements on different aspects of Islam have divided the Muslim scholarship and the resultant is that people have stopped talking to each other. Social boycotts happened. Day in and day out the debates intended to show the other in dark shade emerge from the different geographical positions of valley, which is much unfortunate.
Kashmir was a tolerant society, but it moved towards intolerance. The situation has turned so grim that now even marriages take place between man and woman of the same ideology or the same Madhab; separate schools are set up by every other sects, mosques are being named on the name different Madhab, people of any other Madhab are not allowed to pray in a mosque which is enough unfortunate. Situation sometimes turn so grim that the political leaders must intervene and get the debates closed.
In the present times, netizens take the debates to social networking sites and start using these disagreements to create more divisions between the people. Every time one opens a social networking site, a plethora of Fatwas welcome him. Some people are called Khawrij, some have been termed as Najdi andevensome are called Mushriks. The bombardment of Fatwahs is very unusual to the regular audience who have very less knowledge of the religion. They quickly jump to conclusions and start to hate each other. The comments section of almost every post or a video over different issues or differences is abusive to the point that it becomes unreadable. These videos and posts damage and tend to break one of the basic pillars of the religion which is the feeling of brotherhood between Muslims, a concept that makes one Muslim feel good for the other Muslim as well.
There is much more in these religious debates when they take place in Jammu and Kashmir, an internationally recognised dispute. This is the policy to divide the Muslims of the state and rule them. In this regard the editorial of a national newspaper The Hindu published some time back is enough to make us understand what the metropole wants us to do. The editorial of the known newspaper “The Hindu” in the context of the radicalisation of the Kashmir university students was of the opinion and urged the central government to sow discord among Kashmiri Muslims fight on religious differences. The editor was of the view that state should cultivate few of the Muslim groups and make them fight each other which shall lead to inner contradictions in the society and shall in turn help the Delhi to break the momentum of the freedom struggle.
The argument can be more elaborated by the debates that usually take place in the intelligentia circles of New Delhi. The recent conference of “Institute of Strategic Studies and Analysis” too discussed the issue at length and in this regard the speeches of guests from Kashmir like S M Sahai and General Hassnain are worth reading. The state is ever ready to divide us on petty and trivial issue and we as a nation succumbed to their tactics.
There is much more for the people of Jammu and Kashmir to understand about these differences, that Jammu and Kashmir is a place where much of the population lives below the poverty line. We live in a place where a teen age girl is exploited by the state for her poverty. Kashmir is a place where sex scandal is a reality. Widows are product of every sun rise and the half widows of every sunset. We live in a zone where bloody conflict is preying for the Chasity, where the ‘occupier’ is exploiting every weakness to drive us away of faith and dignity. Therefore, we cannot invest huge energies and resources in these meaningless debates which do not yield us anything except the hatred and division.
Its quite interesting to observe that on one side bloody conflict is taking away the lives of young men and women and the state excesses are on a serious rise. On the other hand, the Islamic scholars are debating the essence of Eight Rakah Tarawih. The young boys in Kashmir are being mowed down by police vehicles. The orchards are being cut down, the houses of the rebels are set on fire, and the people who resist the Iftar party of armed forces are fired upon and nobody pays the heed and instead engage themselves in the meaningless debate about those issues of Islam which could not even get solved by the scholars of repute. What is the point to debate such trivial issues at a time when the whole of nation mourns the death and devastation is an open question that demands answer.
Brotherhood needs to prevail according to the commandments of the Quran which says, “and hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided.” (3:103). Coming to common terms is the need of this hour, a uniformity will save us from drowning into the seas of sectarian wars. Such a unity is not only a religious and moral duty of all us, but a move to save the chastity of those desdemonas who gave their honour for the movement.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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