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Current Affairs ( 21 Sept 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Vande Mataram Controversy and Fatwa of Darul Uloom, Deoband

A Frank analysis of the Fatwa over the controversial song composed by Bankimchandra Chattyopaddhay

By Maulana Nadeemul Wajidi

Translated from Urdu by Raihan Nezami


Darul Ifta of Darul Uloom, Deoband was established to respond to all kinds of scholarly and spiritual questions sent to the organization from within the country and abroad. The issues are resolved in the light of Quran-e-Kareem and Sunnah. The Deobandi fatwa over the song Vande Mataram which raised a huge controversy recently in Marakpur in Deoband had been delivered 12 years ago by the Muftiyan. It is quite tragic that an old controversy is raised again; supposedly any anti-social elements who might have obtained the fatwa and issued it to press as any journalist would gladly like to publish a controversial fatwa issued by Darul Uloom, Deoband against Vande Mataram.


A particular section of the country considers singing of this song the sign of patriotism. The citizens who do not sing this song are considered traitors. After this fatwa was published recently in a Hindi daily in Meerut, the anti-national elements got an opportunity to attack the patriotism of Muslims as well as the status of Darul Uloom, Deoband.


A communal leader of Hindu Gujjar community of Marakpur in Deoband conducted a panchayat in the premises of Inter college and decided to organize a demonstration in Saharanpur district against the so-called anti-national attitude of Darul Uloom, Deoband and burn an effigy of the concerning organization on the 25th of Aug 2009. On that day, about 70 (seventy) people only from a village of 80 (eighty) houses gathered to demonstrate at the pre-announced site whereas their number was expected to be in thousands. It shows the majority of the Hindus are still peaceful-minded who believe in secularism and solidarity of the country. This malicious attempt was made by the supporters of the communal parties only, who keep trying to destroy inter-communal harmony by their anti-social activities. The demonstrators could only shout anti-Muslim slogans, but failed to burn the effigies as the Muslims had taken a hard stand. The district administration, too, was quite alert and sought to avert any untoward occurrence. The unholy mission was foiled but this left a few questions behind.


How long will this dirty game of communalism be played by communal forces in the name of democracy and liberty?


Is there no agency of the government capable of unveiling the conspiracy behind it and finding out who opened this Pandora’s box of an old fatwa? Why and from where?


Who got it published in the newspaper and encouraged the communal elements of Marakpur to create a volatile situation arising from inter-communal tension?


Had they succeeded in burning the effigies, the inter-communal violence and riot would have perhaps erupted in the entire country. The administration of Saharanpur deserves accolade for defeating the unholy intentions of the rioters and averting any unpleasant incident.


Hazrat Maulana Marghoobur Rahman, the supervisor of   Darul Uloom Deoband, while issuing an explanatory note over the fatwah, mentioned that the history of Vande Mataram is quite old. Had it been the symbol of patriotism, it would not have been ignored and “Jana Gana Mana” selected as the national anthem. An unsuccessful attempt has been made for the last 60 (Sixty) years to prove that Muslims are against Vande Mataram – which is considered a mark of patriotism. On the basis of such fatawas, the communal forces claim that the Muslims as well as the authentic institutions like Darul Uloom, Deoband are devoid of patriotic feelings and love for the motherland.


Let us see the contentious content and the reason behind the Vande Mataram issue as to why Muslims do not like to sing it and to some extent, oppose it.


Vande Mataram is a part of the famous Bengali novel “Anand Math” written by Bankimchandra Chattyopaddhay. In his childhood, he got his initial education through the charity given by Haji Muhsin Fund of Kolkatta. After completing his graduation, he got a job in East India Company. He was a multi-lingual person and a scholar of Persian, English, Hindi and Sanskrit. He probably wanted to pay back the gratitude he felt for Muslims; so he used the history of Muslims as the central theme of his Bengali novels and tried to incite the readers’ emotions by presenting it in a negatively.  “Anand Math” was also penned to create communal hatred between Hindus and Muslims. He wished to provoke the Hindus of Bengal to raise mutiny against the Muslim government having read the fake stories of torture and atrocities heaped over the Hindus.


Among many characters, the central character is of a saint Bhavanad whose mission was to get Muslims banished from the country. For the accomplishment of his mission, he wandered from place to place and taught the innocent people that the Hindu religion was under great threat from the Muslims. Till the Muslims were present in the country, the Hindu religion was unsafe. To attain this goal, he had founded a secret organization, whose thematic song was Vande Mataram.


Bhavanand believed that he would succeed in admitting 300 million Kar Sevaks in his organization to get India freed from the clutches of Muslims. He also, believed either Muslims would escape voluntarily from the country or perish when 600 million swords would be raised by 300 million Kar Sevaks. He says to Mahindra, one of his disciples, “The Muslims have become powerful due to your timidity and inactivity; otherwise they cannot stand before you and fight”.  He narrated an imaginary scene showing Muslims running hither and thither to save their skin in a great hullabaloo, the Kar Sewaks were shouting, “Kill the Muslims” “Kill the Muslims” and the song Vande Mataram was being played in the background. They asked Bhavanad about the day when they would demolish the mosques to build the temples of Radhe and Mahadev. He asked them not to worry as the English had invaded the country and they would save their lives and property from the Muslims.


As per the summary of Anand Math’s story, this novel is entirely based on anti-Muslim feelings. The author considers the British his savior and Messiah. Many characters in this novel sing this song before Durga who is considered “Mother” by the non-Muslims. He has mentioned India as Durga in this song. This novel had become controversial even before independence due to its communal theme and pro-English nature. It considers India parallel to Durga – that is against even the religious belief of the Hindus. So the patriotic and intelligent leaders like Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose and Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia had opposed this song. When the national anthem of India was being selected, in spite of a fervent effort by a section to get Vande Mataram selected, the pure patriotic song “Jana Gana Mana” by the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore was  selected as the national anthem of India which glorifies the motherland without hurting anyone’s feelings.


Vande Mataram cannot be accepted by Muslims due to its anti-Islamic content, meaning and sense, even if the context in which it was included in Anand Math is ignored.


The English version of Vande Mataram is given below:

Mother, I bow to thee! 
Rich with thy hurrying streams, 
bright with orchard gleams, 
Cool with thy winds of delight, 
Dark fields waving Mother of might, 
Mother free. 
Glory of moonlight dreams, 
Over thy branches and lordly streams, 
Clad in thy blossoming trees, 
Mother, giver of ease 
Laughing low and sweet! 
Mother I kiss thy feet, 
Speaker sweet and low! 
Mother, to thee I bow. 

Who hath said thou 
art weak in thy lands 
When the sword flesh out in the seventy million hands 
And seventy million voices roar 
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore? 
With many strengths who art mighty and stored, 
To thee I call Mother and Lord! 
Though who savest, arise and save! 
To her I cry who ever her foeman drove 
Back from plain and Sea 
And shook herself free. 

Thou art wisdom, thou art 
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath 
Though art love divine, the awe 
In our hearts that conquers death. 
Thine the strength that nerves the arm, 
Thine the 
beauty, thine the charm. 
Every image made divine 
In our temples is but thine. 

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen, 
With her hands that strike and her 
swords of sheen, 
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned, 
And the Muse a hundred-toned, 
Pure and perfect without peer, 
Mother lend thine ear, 
Rich with thy hurrying streams, 
Bright with thy orchard gleems, 
Dark of hue O candid-fair 

In thy soul, with jewelled hair 
And thy glorious smile divine, 
Lovilest of all earthly lands, 
Showering wealth from well-stored hands! 
Mother, mother mine! 
Mother sweet, I bow to thee, 
Mother great and free! 

(Translation by Shree Aurobindo Ghosh)


This song may be a religious song, but it cannot be considered a national song. One of the many reasons is - the native soil in the form of Durga Maa is considered the creator of all blessings and entire knowledge, power and art has been attached to it. The reader is kneeling down at her feet in supplication and declares in reverence that he worships her. Any Muslim who believes in the Oneness (Monotheism) of the Almighty Allah-e-Kareem cannot tolerate this song even for a single moment, no question of singing it. A Muslim can consider his native land like his precious beloved, but absolutely not his creator to be worshipped.


There are 11 (eleven) such characteristics mentioned in this poem which can not be related to any other than the Almighty Allah-e-Kareem which are being mentioned below.


1. The reliever

2. The bestower

3. You are strength of my arms

4. You are my knowledge

5. You are my hidden self

6. You are my ambition

7. You are life within body

8. You are truth within the heart

9. Mighty and Powerful

10. Permanent and Sustainable

11. Pious


The reader has been mentioned as the slave and worshipper in the song time and again; that also goes against Islamic teachings.


According to a Hadeeth Shareef, “None of you should say my “Banda” or my “Bandi” because you all are “Bande” of the Almighty Allah-e-Kareem and your all women are His “Bandiyan”, you should say “My slave” or “My maid”, my son or my daughter. The slave should say “My owner” in place of “My Rub”. According to a Riwayat, a slave can say “My owner” “My Maula”. According to another Riwayat, a slave should not refer his owner “My Maula” The Maula of you all is the Almighty Allah-e-Kareem.

 (Muslim 17644, Hadeeth No. 2249)


In this song, all the idols are supposed to be equal to motherland, and the soil of motherland is considered Durga Devi and Kamala Devi and equivalent to religion – that is purely anti-Islamic faith. The Muslims’ religion is Islam only, hence how can a Mulim pray before the soil of motherland cum Goddesses; this song is begun by offering flowers to the map of India absolutely against the Islamic teachings.


Once a Sahabi (May Allah be pleased with him) refused to bow before the emperor of Rome in supplication of “Ruku” and asserted, “He would be ashamed and unable to face the prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him) after engaging in such anti-Islamic activity in front of a disbeliever.

(Nesabul Ihtesab, Part-49, Page 98)


The majority of India is committing an unpardonable blunder by putting a question mark on the patriotism of Muslims on the basis of their refusal to sing Vande Mataram. The organizer of Darul Uloom Deoband has rightly asserted that the sacrifices given by the Muslims for the sake of the country are unforgettable. It is absolute meanness and madness to doubt the patriotism of Muslims who have struggled for centuries for the motherland, offered all sorts of supreme sacrifices for the love of native soil. Ironically, people with anti-national feelings are prosperous and honourable here, harvesting the fruits of the hard works of Muslims.


Muslims consider the love for motherland a part of their faith (Eiman) – that is quite natural so that it is not prohibited in Islam. According to a Hadeeth Sshareef, “the prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was quite disturbed by the torture and atrocity in Makkah perpetrated by disbelievers. By the permission of the Almighty Allah-e-Kareem, he decided to migrate from Makkah. While coming out of Makkah, he asserted, “O’ Makkah I would not have separated from you, had your inhabitants not misbehaved with me”. He (Peace be upon him) and his companions badly missed their beloved motherland in Madina and kept remembering even trifling things of Makkah. On the change of direction of Qibla, by accepting it as a divine order they felt quite pleased to face their native land during supplications. The prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had established Madina as his native land so his heart was filled with the love for Madina so much that  he used to say about Mount Ohad, “Ohad loves me and I love Ohad”.

(Bukhari 1498/4, Musannad Ahmad bin Hambal, 424/5, Hadeeth No.23652)


In the light of the above Hadeeth Shareef, a Muslim’s attitude towards his motherland cannot be negative. A Muslims is person whose prophet had loved and honoured his motherland to this extent. But this love can not be adorned and accepted at the cost of the faith (Eman) and Deen-e-Islam.


The content of this song is absolutely against the concept of Islam and the belief in Oneness (Monotheism) of the Almighty Allah-e-Kareem. In Islam, the Almighty Allah-e-Kareem only, is capable of being prayed before Him and deserves all praises and gratification. No one can even be imagined to be involved within the power and authority of the Almighty Allah-e-Kareem.


India is a multi-religious and multi-lingual country consisting of the inhabitants of mixed culture of varied nature – this is its beauty and uniqueness. It is held in great esteem throughout the world for its great heart and the practice of secularism. Anyway, the attempt by a particular section to destroy this unique integrity is absolutely condemnable. They want to demolish the unique characteristics of the country by expecting from the Muslim to taint their religion (Islam) and faith (Eiman) for the sake of respecting these feelings and maintaining their nationalist identity. It is really shameful and sheer stupidity to promote and propagate anti-national feelings threatening to shatter the thread of unity among the citizens in an exemplary secular country like India.

Translated from Urdu by Raihan Nezami

Source: Hindustan Express: 31 August 2009