Mandir-Masjid 3: Kashi-Mathura

August 11, 2020

Rohit Dhankar

[Continues from 10th August 2020]

The BJP and RSS officially have not said that Gyanvyapi Mosque next to Kashi Vishwanath and Idgah next to Krishna Janmbhumi in Mathura should be given back to Hindus. But according to Times Now a “Karnataka Minister KS Eshwarappa said that since the movement behind the creation of a Ram temple had fructified, it was about time that people come together to liberate the holy cities of Kashi and Mathura”. The very language of “liberating” “holy cities” is misleading, emotive, and acrimonious, as if the whole cities are occupied by some alien forces and need liberation. In another news item according to IANS “Kashi, Mathura Our Next Focus” says the Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad. Earlier even BJP leader Vinay Katiyar had said that mobilization for building temples in Kashi and Mathura will gather momentum once Ram Mandir is completed. In June, a Hindu body had moved the Supreme Court of India and challenged a provision in the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, to “reclaim” land that belonged to Hindus. And if OpIndia is to be believed “Krishna Janmabhoomi Nirman Nyas” is set up in Mathura, with 80 sadhus from 14 states named as members. These are enough indicators that once the movement becomes acceptable to the Hindu population the RSS and BJP will officially jump on the bandwagon. Actually, they might be testing the waters by keeping officially aloof but allowing their supporters to initiate these divisive efforts.

These are threats to Muslims issues from time to time by various elements connected with the Sangh Parivar. These are deliberate and nefarious attempts to keep medieval wounds of atrocities open.

This country is a constitutional democracy and not some medieval kingdom under some bigoted despot. The country has an Act called “The Place of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991”. The purpose of the act is stated as “to prohibit conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August, 1947, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.” It further states that “It is hereby declared that the religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August, 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day.” The act was constitutionally passed in the parliament.

Clearly in the light of the constitution and this act the political leaders like Vinay Katiyar and so-called sadhus like the members of Karishan Janmbhumi Nirman Nyas are acting against the constitution. They want to undo history, which is a foolish attempt. You cannot undo past events; all you can do is commit another atrocity in retaliation of some earlier atrocity. And that does not ‘undo’ the earlier atrocity, rather it adds one more to the record of history. This helps only in keeping the gullible public in the state of revengeful state of mind. Which helps no one, and harms all.

The AIMPLB has the backing of theological principles of Islam in proclaiming ‘once a mosque, always a mosque’ and sizable part of the Muslim population; what do these Hindus who want to take up the issues of Kashi and Mathura have? As far as I know there is no statement in Hindu shastras that says that “once a temple always a temple”. Therefore, they have no theological ground for the demand. However, Muslim insistence of ‘once a mosque, always a mosque’ may provide them with a similar rationale; ‘once a temple, always a temple’. Presently, however, it seems they assume a backing of sizable Hindu population, if not immediately then in future as a result of their campaign. They dream of the majority bending the constitutional provisions through its demands; and that certainly is belligerent majoritarianism.

History should be understood, and we should learn from it; but it cannot be undone. The demand for handing over Kashi Gyanvapi Masjid and Idgah in Mathura next to supposed to be Krishna Janmbhumi is unjust and infectious. There are no chances of any government or court or Muslims accepting such demands. Neither is it a just demand in a democracy. Supposing that it is accepted it will certainly fuel dozens, if not hundreds, such further demands. It exhibits a medieval mindset where injustices and violence done centuries back is sought to be redressed through similar barbaric acts today. We became a modern democratic nation when accepted the constitution, which promises equality, freedom, justice and dignity to all citizens. Muslims are as good Indian citizens as Hindus in this respect, and their rights are as important as those of Hindus. In acceptance of the constitution it is implied that India is as it was on 15th August 1947. Yes, this new India was built on the thousands of years old civilization, culture and religion. But is also is a democracy which was never before. This old culture is capable of accepting a democratic polity and further developing it.  But is it not a monocultural theological state. It is a multicultural, multireligious society and secular state. What we have today is brought about by a complex historical process. It is not open to us to undo that process and create India in the image of some ancient ideals, as understood by some people living in the past, be they imaginary or real.

The statements of many leaders who demand Kashi and Mathura sites also support Hindu Rashtra. It is certain that any kind of theocratic state would be a retrograde step. All theocratic states take away citizens’ freedom of thought, expression and right to shape their own lives as they like. Theocracies impose on people their vision of good lives. Examples of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are clear enough. I don’t think Indians want India to turn into a Pakistan.

Demand for Kashi-Mathura then is not a simple demand of taking back some temple land. It is an attempt to change the political character of the country, it is to say ‘no’ to democracy and rule of law.

But the real issue is: why sizable numbers in the two communities harbor suspicion and animosity towards each other? Unless we understand the causes and reasons behind this acrimony, we will not be able to find the right solution.



11th August 2020



Mandir-Masjid 2: AIMPLB response

August 10, 2020

Rohit Dhankar

[In continuation from 9th August 2020]

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s statement on this occasion is an important indicator of thinking of many Muslims, I am not saying all, but very many. Similar statements from Owaisi (a popular Muslim politician), Maulana Madani, (a widely respected Muslim scholar) and Maulana Sajid Rashisi (a TV personality and President of All India Imam Association) show that the AIMPLB statement has a very wide support in the Muslim community. And many of the readers of this blog will not agree with me but the AIMPLB’s statement is a statement of Islamic supremacy, is a direct threat to Indian democracy and secularism, and to Hindus. (Please see the Appendix-1 for original Urdu Text, transcribed in Devanagari.)

To substantiate my above assessment of the AIMPLB statement we have to pay detailed attention to some portions of its text. I cannot read Urdu, therefore, am using here a transcription of the original text in Devanagari. Transcription is done by a friend, and may still have some typos, but I am sure does not change the purport and nuance of the document.

The statement undoubtedly threatens to destroy the yet unbuilt temple, convert India to Islam, declares Supreme Court judgment unjust and only tactically and grudgingly accepts the judgment. It has two threads of arguments which are intertwined in justifying these threats and declarations. One of these threads is purely theological and forms the basis of the whole declaration; the other one is about supposed to be unjust judgment of Supreme Court. Since the theological argument is the main argument and would have stood ground independent of criticism of SC judgment; I will deal first and in greater detail with the theological argument.

The theological justification of threat to destroy unbuilt Ram Mandir

The opening paragraph of the press release states the theological position clearly (rough translation, see the original in the Appendix-1): “Now that foundation of a temple is being laid down at the place of Babri Mosque, AIMPLB finds it necessary to reiterate its position (on the issue). In the light of Islamic Sharia, when a Mosque is built at any place it remains a Mosque till kayamat (the day of judgment and end of the world according to Islam). Therefore, Babri was a mosque yesterday, is a mosque today, and God willing will remain a mosque in future as well. By placing idols or starting pooja-path or banning namaaz for a long-time, status of a mosque cannot be altered.”

Note that it is an absolute (unconditional) theological statement. The validity of this statement does not depend on any court judgment or what was there before the mosque was built. It is a simple and plain ‘fact’ that ‘once a mosque, always a mosque’ irrespective of the status of the land earlier or subsequent court judgments. This is Sharia, as per the AIMPLB, pure and simple; and naked. We should thank AIMPLB for being so simple, direct, and candid on Sharia position.

The theological argument is strengthened and substantiated after a scathing critique of the SC judgment (which we will consider later in this article). It states: “… however dangerous the present situation maybe, we should not loose heart and keep trust in Allah. (We) should prepare (ourselves) to live in adverse conditions, situation does not remain the same for all times to come. The Allah has said in Quran Majid ‘व तलक अल्ल याम नदाव लहाबिनि अ‍ॅल बास. ( ये  तो ज़माने का  नशीब और फराज़ हैं जिन्हें हम लोगों के दरमयान गर्दिश देते रह्ते हैं).’ Therefore, neither do we need to be disheartened nor do we need to hide the situation. The Hagia Sophia of Istambul is a self-proclaiming picture of the truth of this ayat (Quranic verse). I appeal to the Muslims of India that they should not become at all sad-hearted (?) (दिल बर दाश्ते) due to the Supreme Court judgment and building of temple at the place of the Mosque. We should also remember that even the (Islamic) global centre of monotheism (Kaaba) was a centre of infidelity and idol-worship for a long time. After victory of the dear Nabi this became a centre of monotheism again. God willing, we have full hope that not only the Babri masjid, but this whole garden will be embellished with words of monotheism.”

We need to clearly understand three specific points in this long quote: 1. Full meaning of the quotation from the Quran, 2. Meaning of reference to Hagia Sophia, and 3. Meaning of reference to Kaaba.

The quoted portion figures in verse 3:140 in most editions, however in one Hindi translation it makes part of the verse 3:139. The literal translations of the quoted phrase use somewhat different words but the meaning remains the same. For example, The Noble Quran translates it as “And so are the days (good and not so good), We give to men by turns …”. Maulana Azad translates “We make these moments go round among men …”. Ibn Kathir translates “And so are the days, that WE give to men by turns …”. In all these and other translations the good and bad days are circulated among men by Allah. Presently we will see why he does that.

In Quran this is not a simple message of hope. It is much more than that, and that is why it relates so well with examples of Hagia Sophia and Kaaba. To grasp the full meaning of the phrase one must read carefully from verse 3:137 to 3:141.[1] This is Allah’s promise of victory of the believers on infidels and of complete destruction of non-believers. It is also Allah’s test of imaan of the believers and to ascertain their worthiness to enter the Jannat. Today the situation might be adverse, it says, but if the believers keep their faith, the Allah will “destroy the disbelievers” and believes will be victorious. Victorious in what? Well, victorious as in making Hagia Sophia a mosque and as cleansing Kaaba of idol worship; and in making the “whole garden” sing the song of Islamic monotheism.

Those who are interested in the history of Hagia Sophia can read in Britannica. In a nutshell it was built as a church in 6th century CE, Ahmed II turned it into a mosque on conquest of Constantinople, Kamal Pasha secularized it and made it a museum in 1935, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan turned it into a mosque again in August 2020. Captured Church to masque to museum to mosque, till kayamat.

About Kaaba, Britannica states that “The early history of the Kaaba is not well known, but it is certain that in the period before the rise of Islam it was a polytheist sanctuary and was a site of pilgrimage for people throughout the Arabian Peninsula.” Further “When Muhammad’s forces conquered Mecca in 630, he ordered the destruction of the pagan idols housed in the shrine and ordered it cleansed of all signs of polytheism.”[2] Thus the centre of Islamic monotheism was established on deliberate destruction of idols of disbelievers. And acts of Mohammad are ideals for Muslims, therefore, destruction of idols and conversion of others’ places of worship into mosques is legitimised by the prophet himself.

One should keep in mind the history of the above mentioned two shrines while reading the position of Sharia as understood by AIMPLB. It says: “[I]n the light of Islamic Sharia, when a Mosque is built at any place it remains a Mosque till kayamat (the day of judgment and end of the world according to Islam).”

It does not require much analysis to note that, as per these statements:

  1. Islam has the right to convert a church (Hagia Sophia) and a place of polytheistic idol worship (Kaaba) into an Islamic place of worship.
  2. Once such a place is turned into a mosque, it will always remain a mosque; thus, others have no right to turn a mosque into anything else.

This is as strong a statement of Islamic supremacy as they come, which is being issued boldly by Islamic scholars and prominent Muslims. Mr. Owaisi says the same thing in somewhat muted tones. Maulana Madani states it absolutely clearly. Maulana Sajid Rashidi says the same thing. And many more maulanas and common Muslims say the same thing.

The press release of AIMPLB is not content with its future plan to turn yet unbuilt temple into a mosque again; it says “God willing, we have full hope that not only the Babri masjid, but this whole garden will be embellished with words of monotheism.” This whole ‘garden’ of India will be embellished with the Islamic monotheism. This comes on the strength of the quotation from the Quran. In most tafsirs the quote is explained with reference to the battle of Badr in which disbelievers suffered, and battle of Uhud in which believers suffered. The destruction of disbelievers is no metaphorical spiritual victory, it is very much the kind of destruction which is wrought by battles.

The Supreme Court judgement

My views on the judgement can be read in my blog of 18th November 2019. I still think that the Muslims had as good a possession on the Mosque building as the Hindus had on the outer part within the compound wall. Muslim possession also included the right of way through the part occupied by the Hindus. Thus, considering Hindu possession as “exclusive” and continuous and not accepting Muslim possession so, does not make sense to me. However, AIMPLB is wrong in claiming that the SC accepts that no temple was destroyed to build Babri Mosque. What the court concedes is that it cannot be proved on the basis of available evidence, whether the 12th century temple was earlier destroyed, or was destroyed for Mosque or was simply collapsed because of disuse and non-maintenance. This is not the same thing as issuing a certificate that no temple was destroyed to build the mosque.

However, one must note that the theological argument and examples the AIMPLB gives in its statement to illustrate that statement are not affected by the fact of whether there was a temple earlier or not. Hagia Sophia was a church, and Kaaba was a polytheistic idol-worshippers place; they had never been Islamic places before Islam usurped them on the strength of sward. Islam was not deterred by these facts that they were places of worship of others. And present day prominent Indian Muslims consider conversion of both these places justified as per Sharia. Thus, the position of these Muslim leaders is no different from Mohammad, the conqueror of Macca; and Ahmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople.

That brings us to the issue of Kashi and Mathura, as some Hindus are raising that demand.

Continues tomorrow ….



बाबरी मस्जिद मस्जिद थी और हमेशा  ही रहेगी ग़ासिबाने (plundering/  usurping) कब्ज़े से हकीकत खत्म नहीं होती

सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने फैसला जरूर दिया मगर इंसाफ को शर्मसार किया है.

आल इंडिया मुस्लिम पर्सनल लॉ बोर्ड


नई दिल्ली 4 अगस्त 2020: आज जब कि बाबरी मस्जिद के मुकाम पर एक मँदिर की बुनियाद रखी जा रही है. ऑल इंडिया मुस्लिम पर्सनल लॉ बोर्ड अपने और  दरये यीने मौकिफ (position) को  दोहराना  जरूरी समझता है कि इस्लामी शरीयत के रौशनी में, जहाँ एक बार मस्जिद कायम हो जाती है, वो ताकयामत मस्जिद रहती है. लिहाजा बाबरी कल भी मस्जिद थी, और आज भी मस्जिद है, इंशा अल्लाह आइंदे भी मस्जिद रहेगी. मस्जिद में मूर्तियां रख देने, पुजा-पाठ शुरु कर देने से, या एक लंबे अरसे तक नमाज पर रोक लगाने से, मस्जिद कि हैसियत खत्म नहीं हो जाती.

ऑल इंडिया मुस्लिम पर्सनल लॉ बोर्ड  के जनरल सेक्रेट्री ह्जरत मौलाना मोहम्मद वलि रहमानी ने अपने एक प्रेस बयान में कहा है कि बोर्ड का हमेशा  ये  मौकिफ (position) रहा है कि बाबरी मस्जिद किसी मँदिर या किसी हिंदू इबदत्गह को तोड़  कर नहीं बनाई गई। अल्हमद अल्लह  सुप्रेम कोर्ट ने अपने फैसले (नवंबर 2019)  में हमारे इस मौकिफ को तस्दीक़ (attestation) कर दी है.  सुप्रिम कोर्ट ने ये भी कहा है कि बाहरी मस्जिद.के निचे से खुदाइ में जो आशार मिलें है  वो 12 वीं सदी की किसी इमारत के थे, यानी बाबरी मस्जिद की तामीर (निर्माण) से चार सौ कब्ल (पहले), यानी  कि लिहाजा किसी मंदिर को तविज/ तोड़ कर बाबरी मस्जिद नही बनाई गई.  सुप्रिम  कोर्ट ने साफ तौर पर कहा कि बाबरी मस्जिद में 22 दिसंबर1949 कि रात तक नमाज होती रही . सुप्रिम कोर्ट का ये भी मानना है कि 22 दिसम्बर 1949 में मूर्तियों को रखा जाना एक गैर-कानूनी और गैर-दस्तुरी अमल था. सुप्रिम कोर्ट अपने  फैसले  में ये भी  मानता है कि 6 दिसंबर की बाबरी मस्जिद कि शहादत गैर कानूनी गैर दस्तुरी और मुजिरमन फे’ल (कृत्य /action)  था। अफसोस कि तमाम वाजेह (apparent) ह्काइक (truths) को तसलीम (स्वीकार/honour) करने के बाद कोर्ट ने एक इंतहाइ गैर मुंसिफाने फैसले में हकीकतों को नज़र अंदाज़ करते हुये हिंदुस्तानी मुसलमानों के जज्बात अ अहसास पर ज़र्फ लगाते हुये मस्जिद की जमीन उन लोगों के हवाले कर दिया जिन्होंने मुजरिमाने तरीके से इस में मुर्तियाँ रखी, और इसके शहादत के मुर्तकिब (दोषी/guilty) हुये.  बोर्ड के जेनेरल सेक्रट्री  ने आगे कहा कि चूँकि ये अदालत मुल्क की आली तरिन अदालत है लिहाजा  इसके हतमी (final) फैसले को तसलीम करने के अलावा कोई चारा नहीं है. ताहम (however )  ये जरूर कहेंगे कि ये एक जुल्माने और गैर मुंसिफाने फैसला है जो अक्स रियती  जम (influenced by majoritarianism) में दिया गया, सुप्रिम कोर्ट ने 9 नवम्बर 2019 को फैसला जरूर दिया पर इंसाफ को शर्म सार किया है.

अल्हमुद्लिल्लह( praise to be on god) हिंदुस्तानी मुसलमानों के नुमाइंद (representative) इजित्मा (congregation)  प्लेटफॉर्म आल इंडिया मुस्लिम पर्सनल लॉ बोर्ड और दिगर फरिको ने भी अदालती लड़ाई में कोइ दकिके ( minute) नहीं उठा रखा. यहां ये बात भी कहना जरूरी है कि हिंदुत्व अनासिर (elements/तत्व) की पुरी तहरीक जुल्म, जब्र, धोनी (gloom), धाँधली, किज्ब (lie, Falsehood) औ इफ्तिरा (calumny/defamation) पर बनी एक तहरीक थी, ये सरासर एक सियासी तहरीक थी जिसका मज़्हब और मज़हबी  तालिमात से कोइ तालुकात नही  था, झूठ और जुल्म पर बनी इमारत कभी पायदार (durable) नहीं होती. जनरल सेक्रेटरी सहब ने अपने बयान  में आगे कहा कि हालत चाहे जीतने भी खतरनाक हो हमें हौसला नही हारना  चाहिये. और अल्लाह पर भरोसा रखना चाहिये. मुखालिफ (odds)  हालत में जीने  का मनराख बनाना  चाहिये। हालत हमेशा एक से नही रह्ते हैं. अल्लाह ताले  ने कुरान मजीद में इरशाद फरमाया है  “ व तलक अल्ल याम नदाव लहाबिनि अ‍न्नबास. ( ये  तो ज़माने का  नशीब और फराज़ हैं जिन्हें हम लोगों के दरमयान गर्दिश देते रह्ते हैं). लिहाजा हमें न तो मायूस होना है और न तो हालात के आगे सिपर (shield/पर्दा) डालना है, हमारे सामने ईंस्तबुल  कि आया सोफ़िया मस्जिद की मिशाल इस आयत की मुँह बोलती तस्वीर हैं. मैँ मुसलमन-ए हिंद से अपील करना हूँ कि वो सुप्रिम कोर्ट के फैसले, और मस्जिद की जमीन पर मँदिर की  तामीर से हरगिज दिल बर दाश्ते न हों. हमें ये भी याद रखना चाहिये कि  तौहिद (monotheism) के  आल्मी (global ) मरकज और अल्लाह के घर खाने -काबा भी एक लंबे अरसे तक शिर्क  (infidelity, polytheism) या  बुत परसती का मरकज बना रहा. बिल्लाह ख़ैर फतह मक्के के बाद प्यार से नबी ससल्लि अल्लाह अलिये व सल्लम के जरिये दोबारा मरकजे तौहिद बना. ईंशा अल्लाह हमें पूरी तवक़्क़ो ( hope) है सिर्फ बाबरी मस्जिद ही नहीं, ये पूरा चमन  नग़में तौहिद (words of monotheism) से  मामुर ( embellished) होगा . हमारी जिम्मेदारी है कि ऐसे नाज़ुक मौके पर अपनी गलतियों से तौबा करें. अपनी अखलाक और किरदार संवारे. घर और समाज को  दीनदार बनायें और पुरे हौसले के सात मुखलिफ हलात में आगे बढ़ने का फैसला करें.




[1] Read for yourself: “137. Many similar ways (and mishaps of life) were faced by nations (believers and disbelievers) that have passed away before you (as you have faced in the battle of Uhud), so travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who disbelieved (in the Oneness of Allah, and disobeyed Him and His Messengers). 138. This (the Qur’an) is a plain statement for mankind, a guidance and instruction to those who are AI-Muttaqun (the pious – See V.2:2). 139. So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers. 140. If a wound (and killing) has touched you, be sure a similar wound (and killing) has touched the others. And so are the days (good and not so good), We give to men by turns, that Allah may test those who believe, and that He may take martyrs from among you. And Allah likes not the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers). 141. And that Allah may test (or purify) the believers (from sins) and destroy the disbelievers.”

[2] (8th August 2020)