Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mosques for muslims only?


I recently visited the city of nawabs. Lucknow, like other cities, is changing with an accelerated speed. As of now, the domes and minarets co-exist with the stone world of Mayawati. Gomtiji has also managed to retain and consolidate her identity. In the daylight, one can admire the beauty of the past and after dusk, get smitten by the well-lighted fountains and symbols of Mayawati's 'reign and glory'. Whatever i could get of the existing culture, I loved it as it was quite similar to the culture of my native place.

But I was prevented from falling in love head over heels with this city when my heels stumbled upon the ruins of an ancient mosque and i was asked to control myself.
The signboard read "Non Muslims cannot proceed further from this point". I would have been less disappointed(comparatively less) if the barrier was a gender one. I don't know if this is the case with all mosques or was it because this one belonged to the supposedly more orthodox, shia sect. But it is really farce that the house of God has to be exclusive. And when they say that only Muslims can enter, they should define one. Because according to the Quran, anyone who believes in God is a muslim. If they mean that a Muslim is one who follows the Quran, well then there are hardly any Muslims around.
There are some temples in the south which forbid the entry of lower castes and non-Hindus. But Hinduism acknowledges inequality of castes. So in this case, unlike Islam which emphasis on equality, Hinduism does not contradict itself. I don't know if this discrimination is in the Quran or not. But how does it matter if it is not? For every accusation of rigidity, people say, "this is not in Quran. It is because of the society." I fail to understand that if all religions have developed in the same regions and societies then why are they not so rigid? And if for every god-damn issue, a fatwa is imposed. then when such serious blows like deviation from the Quran takes place, then why are fatwas not issued?
Islam has always tried to be very exclusive. The political scenario in which it originated and developed is the reason for it. It has definitely absorbed from other beliefs and practices but it has always tried to retain a certain degree of rigidity. Even in 21st century, there comes a fatwa that only two Muslims can marry each other. This exclusivity also clashes with modernist forces, most important of which is that of secularism. In an India where the a-political, common people would have agreed for a temple and mosque to co-exist on the disputed Ayodhya site, such discrimination is farce and intolerable. People want to rise above their personal faiths and accept and respect other faiths. This exclusivity will retard this growth. Exclusivity and Rigidity are also breeding grounds for the deadly germs of stereotyping 'the other'. Intermingling of cultures is not only inevitable but also necessary for their survival. Rigid cultures cannot survive and if they do, they decay the society, the economy and ofcourse, politics.

Another point in the case is that these mosques are more of historical monuments. They are of academic interests for many. So they are not just the religious domains. Thus, the personal beliefs of people should not be overriding. Like other historical monuments with mosques, these mosques should also be closed only on Fridays. Monuments are pride of the nation, not exclusive properties of any individual or community.

In the end, i shall conclude by saying that I don't know how far-reaching and equality will be the economic development in Mayawati's Lucknow but weeding out this irrationality and inequality will definitely be one of the real developments.

10 comments:

  1. Love the line-- "Intermingling of cultures is not only inevitable but also necessary for their survival. Rigid cultures cannot survive and if they do, they decay the society, the economy and ofcourse, politics."

    So true!

    And re: "this is not in Quran. It is because of the society."

    Not because of the society, but due to the presence of some egoistic people who claim to be the rehnuma of Islam..and because the Government doesn't act against them, thinking it would hurt 'religious sentiments'. it would only hurt all people if this was done selectively! And As you said, monuments are not for a specific group! And they shouldn't be! Its the fault of the Government. And also of people who get influenced by these dumb people...

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  2. And re fatwas, lol, they are nothing! I wonder why people give importance to them! They don't mean anything :-? Let them say what they want :P They just want attention, that's all.... And the media should ignore such religious leaders because they have no role to play in the administration. They can't dictate what happens in India because ours' is a secular country with a democratically elected Government! An iron hand should be used against all fundamentalist organisation, be it of any religion.

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  3. And re the caste system...the upper and lower thing :-? That's man made you see! hinduisim does accept the caste system, but the concept of lower and upper castes is man made, as far as i know.. (correct me if i am wrong) But that isn't the point.

    And again, in the Ayodhya case, how easily the media and many of us (not you) think that it's a case of Hindus vs Muslims or Islam vs Hinduism...as if those who are fighting are our leaders, or thatour creator/s would fight over a monument!!! And the Sunni waqf board is NOT worth a penny! Nor is the VHP, or any other organisation. Coz if they were trully the 'voice of their people', they would be in power!

    And That sign, itz wrong and humiliating..and i feel sad because at the end of the day, many people do label everyone in the same paint, and i guess it isnot entirly their fault! ..Such restrictions...are man made..it is not written anywhere that only muslims can enter into Mosques, or even Mecca!

    To build walls around ourselves is not a trait of Islam. People tend to just get their ego in..that's all. It's about wrong people..not wrong religion. it is in the Quran that one should respect all religions. The whole thing about islamic rule and what not is bakwaas! People who say this are ill informed fools. And those who build walls around tehmselves to 'protect' their religion are infact doing the opposite... the loss of that particular religion, because restrictions never help, they just help in isolation and death. And i can't comment on the rigidity thing unless i do some research :-? But yes, valid points have been raised.. I hope i have answered some of them. My basic premise is that -

    1. The Govt should be strong enough to ensure such things don't occur.

    2. I'll research on the rigidity thing before i comment :)

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  4. @the caste system
    no...it is supposed to be divine.

    @the fatwa
    er hw effective r these fatwas?are they legal in the sense that people can be jailed or somethng? explain :P i hav no idea!ulama also...

    n i agree wid u... Govt does not act because it thinks it is 'hurting the reli sentiments' of the ppl.. da 'secularism', minority rights crap.

    @the rigidity
    let me clear that i don't mean to say that Islam is the most rigid reli...i can't say this simply coz i don't know abt other religions. bt yes, compared to Hinduism, it defi is. n will be waiting for ur view on it :)

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  5. How can fatwas be legal!! :P Not at all *yawns*

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  6. ohk... there was a case in which a girl n a boy were in a live-in relationship. so the ulama(?) issued a fatwa saying that they hav been thrown out of the community. errr?? n if its not effective, toh fatwa nikalte kyu hai???

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  7. Well, coz they have nothing else to do. In Islam, no Maulana or anyone else can be the 'judge'. They have no right to take decisions like tehse. They are not the creators of Islam, and hence not the Judges.

    What we see, from fatwas, to people not being allowed in mosques, temples, etc is nothing but a twisted version of the scriptures (and in some cases, it seems an altogether different text) ..twisted to satisfy the egos of a few... ;)

    Again, it is the Governments responsibility to main the secular state of our country. Religion is religious and is not human...so humans should just stay out!

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  8. Religion is religious and is not human... hmmmm :-?

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  9. And religion is religious and not political. So they (the so called religious leaders) should not even think about mixing the two. And they should not be allowed to!

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  10. And by "Religion is religious and is not human...so humans should just stay out!"

    I meant that religion is something personal and should not form the basis of politics or economics or anything else because we live in world where many religions exist, hence it is appropriate not to!

    We should practice and preach but peacefully. :)

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