New Age Islam Special Correspondent
17 March 2021
Recently, the former president of UP Shia Wakf Board, Waseem Rizvi filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking its order to remove 26 verses of the holy Quran. His argument was that those verses promoted terrorism and enmity between communities and terrorist organisations used the verses to radicalise Muslim youth. He also said that these 26 verses were added to the Quran by the three rightly guided caliphs, Hadhrat Abu Bake, Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Uthman (peace be upon them).
This created a controversy as both Sunni and Shia religious leaders and common Muslims condemned Rizvi's act and declared him an enemy of Islam. Both Sunni and Shia clerics and muftis declared him a kafir not entitled to be buried in a Muslim (Shia or Sunni) graveyard. A Muslim lawyer reportedly announced a reward of Rs 11 lakh for any one who beheads Rizvi. A case has been lodged against the lawyer Amirul Hasan Zaidi by a sub-inspector Kapil Kumar.
Waseem Rizvi's statements cannot be defended as they are not factually correct. It is not correct that the aforesaid 26 verses have been added by the three rightly guided caliphs after the death of the holy Prophet pbuh but were revealed to the Prophet pbuh during his life time. Secondly, the verses in question are contextual, revealed during the initial confrontation between the Muslims and polytheists of Makkah. The Quran has clearly said that killing an innocent person is akin to killing the entire humanity and saving an innocent person is akin to saving the entire humanity. However, it is true that terrorist organisations use the contextual war verses to radicalise the Muslim youth and to wage war against peaceful non-combatant non-Muslims and elected democratic and even Islamic governments. But Waseem Rizvi's petition in the Supreme Court seeking removal of 26 war verses was totally based on his wrong understanding of the Quran and his sectarian bias against the Sunnis. Therefore, he had expected that when he would go to the court against the Quran alleging only three caliphs for the verses whom Shias do not recognise caliphs, Shias would support him. But his strategy boomeranged and Sunni and Shias were united in his condemnation.
Waseem Rizvi, instead of going to court and filing a writ petition against the holy Quran, should have engaged with the scholars of the Quran and religious leaders in a healthy debate on war verses and their misuse by terrorist organisations. Here, our ulema and Islamic organisations are also responsible to some extent for this ugly turn of events as Mr Rizvi claims that before going to the court, he had written to 57 Muslim organisations seeking their explanation and opinion on the verses but no one responded. The ulema should have responded and tried to remove his misconceptions about the verses irrespective of his sectarian and political affiliations.
By filing a petition against the Quran in the Supreme Court, Mr Rizvi antagonised the entire Muslim community and also presented the Quran in bad light.
However, despite the misadventure of Mr Rizvi, the reaction and the response of the Muslims was not in accordance with the spirit of the Quran and Hadith. Common Muslims as alleged by Mr Rizvi, hurled all sorts of filthy abuses against him over the phone and in public and swore to kill him. A reward of Rs 11 lakh was announced for his head. The ulema associated with the Raza Academy of Mumbai announced that they would go to the Supreme Court seeking rejection of the petition.
The Muslims claim that God has promised to protect the Kaabah and the Quran. The miracle of the protection of Kaabah in 570 AD is recorded in history. The Christian king Abraha had attacked Makkah with an army of elephants but was he and his army was destroyed by a swarm of birds. Similarly, there have been attempts to corrupt the Quran by the enemies of Islam in every age but Quran has been protected by God against any corruption and alteration. In Quran God clearly says that He has revealed the Quran and He will protect it. And the Muslims claim that they believe in this verse.
But the response of the common Muslims and the Islamic clerics demonstrates their lack of faith in the verse. They have not demonstrated the kind of faith Abdul Mutallib had demonstrated in the power of God when Abraha had attacked Makkah. When Abraha had invited Abdul Muttalib, the leader of Quraysh tribe and custodian of Kaabah for a discussion, Abraha had expected that Abdul Muttalib would plead to him to withdraw his army and not to destroy Kaabah. But to his astonishment, Abdul Muttalib had very calmly requested Abraha to release his two hundred camels his men had captured. Abraha had said, "I have come to demolish the House which has been a religious centre for you and your forefathers and you have enjoyed respect and prestige thanks to your association with this House in the entire Arabia. Still you have no concern for the House and care only for your camels. Therefore, I have lost all respect for you."
Abdul Muttalib replied, “I am the owner of the camels, so I care for them. The owner of the House will protect it. “The meeting ended and Abraha released Abdul Muttalib’s camels. The next day, Abraha attacked Kaabah and the rest is history." Before withdrawing to the hills with his tribe, Abdul Muttalib had said, " I am sure that the owner of the House will defend it against the enemies and will not dishonour the servants of the House."
The admirable calm demonstrated by the grandfather of the Prophet pbuh came from his staunch faith in the power of God for protecting His House. He knew that God will protect His House and so he did not have to plead for Abraha's mercy.
Unfortunately, the response of the Muslims to the petition and to the statements of Waseem Rizvi does not demonstrate the degree of faith in the power of God Abdul Mutallib had shown though they have God's clear verse that He will protect the Quran till the Day of Judgment.
Muslims should recall that in May 1985 Chandmal Chopra had filed a petition against the Quran in Calcutta High Court and his petition was dismissed. Like Rizvi, he had also qouted several verses and alleged that those verses promoted disharmony among communities and sought an order to ban the Quran. But the Attorney General of the Government of India and the Advocate General of the Government of West Bengal had argued against Chopra's petition. Finally the court dismissed the petition. Chopra had filed a review petition in June but it was also dismissed. This had proved that God had protected the Quran according to His promise.
This time too, the Muslims should have peacefully protested Waseem Rizvi's move and calmly watched the situation leaving the matter to Allah as the Quran is Allah's book and He will protect it. The Muslims should adopt Abdul Muttalib’s attitude while responding to Waseem Rizvi's petition instead of demonstrating a violent and abusive behaviour which is against the spirit of the Quran.
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