Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Muslim State in India Today

from Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India

" . . . a large number of Hindus who were converted to Islam by force now regard themselves as the descendants of those Muslim rulers and demand a gross distortion of Indian history."

. . . Muslims by their personal law and separate identity represent a separate system within the secular Indian state, if not a separate state within the Indian state.


The idea of Muslim exclusiveness and preservation of a separate identity is nothing new. In Islam all human beings are not treated as equals. It makes a distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims. This distinction has been repeated in passages after passages both in the Quran and the Hadis and observed by Muslims the world over. A non-Muslim is a Kafir, an inferior being. Non-Muslims do not enjoy any human rights in this world; they cannot enter Paradise after. death. Let us repeat some of the "revelations" about non-Muslims to drive home the point. "The unbelievers among the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of creatures." "When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads." "Do not yield to the unbelievers but fight them strenuously." "Muhammad is Allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.' "Make war on them (the idolaters)." "Allah will chastise them through you and humble them." 'Allah has promised the hypocrites, both men and women, and the unbelievers the fire of Hell. They shall abide in it forever - the curse of Allah is upon them. Theirs shall be a lasting torment." "With chains and shackles round their necks they shall be dragged through boiling water and burnt in the fire of Hell." "Scalding water shall be poured upon their heads, melting their skins... They shall be lashed with the rods of iron." "Whenever in their anguish, they try to escape from Hell, the angels will drag them back, saying: 'Taste the torment of Hell-fire'."1 On the other hand, Muslims will repose in Paradise as portrayed in the Quran. "They shall recline on coaches lined with thick brocade... They shall dwell with bashful virgins - virgins as fair as corals and rubies." "They shall recline on jewelled coaches face to face, and there shall wait on them immortal youths with bowls and ewers and cups of purest wine." "The righteous (i.e. believers) shall dwell in bliss... their Lord will shield them from the scourge of Hell. He will say: Eat and drink in joy. This is the reward of your labours."2

All this and much more has already been cited before. The need to repeat it is to emphasise the Islamic injunction that Muslims and non-Muslims are distinct entities and the two cannot meet on terms of equality. This separate identity was crystallized in the twenty conditions laid down by Caliph Umar for the governance of the Zimmis. The Zimmis (originally Christians and Jews and later Hindus) were those subjects whose life was spared and who were a protected people (although no punishment was awarded to a Muslim who attacked a Zimmi). The conditions are like this. The Muslims are to be respected. The Zimmis are not to dress like Muslims. They must wear a humble dress so that they may be distinguished from Muslims. They are not to give each other Muslim names. They are not to ride on horses with saddle and bridle. They are not to possess swords and arrows. They are not to wear signet rings and seals on their fingers. They are not to rebuild any old buildings which have been destroyed. Muslim travellers are not to be prevented from staying in their temples. They are not to mourn their dead loudly. They are not to buy Muslim slaves. They are not to propagate the customs and usages of polytheists among Muslims. If any of their people show any inclination towards Islam, they are not to be prevented from doing so.3

One of the important condition was that the Zimmis were not to build their homes in the neighbourhood of those of Muslims. There are clear injunctions in the Quran for Muslims not to befriend infidels. "Believers, do not choose the infidels... for your friends." The danger in the living together with unbelievers is clearly spelled out in the Quran. "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends... whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number... if you yield to the infidels, they will drag you back to unbelief and you will return headlong to perdition..."4 The Prophet ordained: "Momins do not marry infidel women until they accept Islam. A Momin slave girl is better than a mushrik woman however pleasing she may look to you. (Similarly) do not give a Muslim woman in marriage to an infidel until he becomes Muslaman. Because however good a mushrik may look to you, a Muslim slave is better than an infidel."5 This is one very important reason for treating the non-Muslims as aliens, even enemies. Their contact could contaminate. The life promised by Islam in this world and the next is full of material comforts women, wine and rich food. A Muslim whose soul hankers after spiritual elevation may be attracted to move over to 'infidel' cultures and become one with them. Hence there is persistent command to keep away from them. The tablighis in India are ever face to face with this problem.

The name given to the unbeliever or infidel in Islam is Kafir. It was freely used for non-Muslims by Muslim historians, rulers, elites, soldiers and common men in medieval India. The non-Muslims were treated as inferior beings in the theocratic Muslim state. In today's Indian republic the Hindus are in a vast majority. They cannot be openly addressed with contempt like this. But among Muslims, they are. Mr. Ram Nayak of Bombay has brought out a booklet wherein he asks how come there is no law to prevent 87 per cent Hindus from being abused as Kafirs whereas there is a law known as the civil protection act to prosecute anyone abusing Dalits.6 The problem is whether Muslims should have the Kafirs treat them as they treat the Kafirs. Anwar Shaikh's important work, 338-page Eternity, rejects the division of humanity into believers and infidels or heathens. He lives abroad under fatwa of death. Dr. Abid Raza Bedar, liberal Indian Muslim also advocates that the word Kafir should exclude the Hindus from its purview. There are not many Muslims who support him because the Quran contains clear cut injunctions regarding Kafirs. It is free from any vagueness about the treatment to be meted out to the non-Muslims; it believes in their complete subservience or total annihilation. Muslim scriptures lay down that the faithful must live separately and exclusively and not form part of the mainstream of the social and political life of a non-Muslim majority country like India. Their exclusiveness is so acute that nationalist Hindus constantly exhort the ,minorities' (read Muslims) to join the national mainstream by laying emphasis on the tolerant principle of sarvadharma samabhava while Muslims insist on their separate identity. Islam lacks any doctrine of coexistence, and the Shariat stifles free discussion. Muslim madrasas cannot shed their Kafir complex. That is why the majority of Muslims keep quiet on such issues as raised by Abid Raza Bedar. The present adjustment for coexistence is a temporary expediency in India. In Kashmir, in Assam, and in regions where Muslims are in a majority or are growing in numbers, the plan is to claim a separate state for Muslims. In Muslim countries, even in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the non-Muslims are by and large accorded the status of only Kafirs.7 Dr. Zafar-ul-Islam Aslahi of the Department of Islamic Studies, Aligarh Muslim University, says that in the light of the Shariat, imposition of Jiziyah on non-Muslims is justified.8

To conclude. There is a keen desire on the part of the Muslims, bordering on determination, to maintain their separate identity. They talk of composite Indian culture only to emphasise that it is Muslim culture. Harsh Narain therefore rightly argues that there is no composite culture in India.9 The ghetto mentality of poor Muslims living in Mominpuras of all large and small cities, is shared by the highest elites in Muslim society. The situation is best described by Ram Swarup in his inimitable style. "In his book My Eleven Years with Fakhruddin Ahmad, Mr. Fazle Ahmed Rehmany quotes an incident which throws interesting light on the psychology of secularism and its need to keep Muslims in isolation and in a sort of protective custody. During the Emergency period some followers of the Jamaat-e-Islami found themselves in the same jail as the members of the RSS; here they began to discover that the latter were no monsters as described by the 'nationalist' and secularist propaganda. Therefore they began to think better of the Hindus. This alarmed the secularists and the interested Maulvis. Some Maulvis belonging to the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i-Hind met President.. Fakhruddin Ahmad, and reported to him about the growing rapport between the members of the two communities. This 'stunned' the President and he said that this boded an 'ominous' future for Congress Muslim leaders and he promised that he would speak to Indiraji about this dangerous development and ensure that Muslims remain Muslims."

For Muslims to remain Muslims it is necessary that they are not governed by any laws except their own Shariat. It is the teaching of Islam to shun contact with non-Muslims except with a view to converting them. This should clear the doubt in the minds of those who wonder how a converted people can claim to form a separate nation. Muslim separatism expresses itself in multitudinous ways. One is Muslim Personal law.


Muslims constantly harp on their personal law. India is a land of many religions and followers of all these religions have their own religious or personal conventions or rules relating to marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance, wills etc. Therefore it is realised that there should be some sort of uniformity in the civil laws of the land so that no community is discriminated against or favoured by the state in the eyes of the law. Moreover, for the progress of the Indian society as a whole, it is necessary to have a common civil code for all citizens. For example, as per the Indian Penal Code a Hindu or Parsi or Christian husband can be convicted for bigamy. But Muslims are excluded from this law because polygamy is recognised as a valid institution amongst their community.

Continued at

Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India

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