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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 21 March 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Traditional Indian Ulema's View of Hijab: The High Court Decision That Hijab Is Not An Essential Part Of Islam Is Unacceptable

Muslim Leaders and Scholars on Hijab Verdict of the Karnataka High Court

Main Points:

1.    Darul Uloom Deoband: the court's statement that "Hijab is not an essential part of Islam" was wrong.

2.    Muslim Personal Law Board: The Karnataka High Court's verdict on the Hijab is contradictory to Islamic principles and Article 15 of the Constitution.

3.    President of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind said that the Karnataka High Court's decision on the Hijab is harmful to the country and Muslims

4.    Prof. Akhtarul Wasey on Hijab Verdict: This decision is in stark contradiction to the Qur'an. Along with Article 25, he stated, “basic rights are also being violated. Muslims must present themselves to the Supreme Court in a peaceful manner.

5.    Mufti Mukarram, Imam of Fatehpuri on Hijab Verdict said, “Hijab is not a trivial concern; it is an essential way of Muslim life, as it is addressed in both the Holy Quran and Hadith.


By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam

21 March 2022

The ban on Hijab was sealed when the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday delivered a verdict in the Hijab case. The controversy started with an objection to the Hijab in a college. It lasted for a long time and after an eleven-day hearing, the decision was reached. However, this decision was not accepted by the majority of Muslims, Ulama and scholars of several organizations. They rejected this decision. Not only this, the matter has now reached the Supreme Court. The social, religious and scholarly figures from among the Muslims have strongly opposed it. No one is willing to accept it, from Barelvi to Deobandi, Sunni to Shia, and All India Muslim Personal Law to Darul Uloom Deoband. The following are statements made by religious figures and clerics.

Darul Uloom on Hijab Verdict

Maulana Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, superintendent of Darul Uloom Deoband, termed the Karnataka High Court's decision on Hijab as unacceptable and said that the court's statement that "Hijab is not an essential part of Islam" was wrong. It is obligatory and the Qur'an commands it.

The Darul Uloom reacted quickly to the situation and called on national organizations to petition the Supreme Court to overturn the Karnataka High Court's decision on the Hijab.

According to Mufti Nomani, India is a democratic society where no government-recognized educational institution has the authority to pass laws that are incompatible with any faith or culture.

Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani said he hadn't seen a copy of the High Court judgement yet and couldn't make a definitive statement at this time. However, it has been shown that the Karnataka High Court's verdict is incorrect and should be overturned.

Muslim Personal Law Board said,

“The Karnataka High Court's verdict on the Hijab is contradictory to Islamic principles and Sharia law. The court's judgement also violates Article 15 of the Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, or language. The regulations that must be followed are mandatory, and breaking them is a sin. In this sense, wearing the Hijab is an obligation. If one does not obey this guideline, he does not leave Islam, but he does become a sinner. Therefore, it is incorrect to assert that Hijab is not an Islamic obligation.” Hazrat Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, General Secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board expressed these views in his press statement.

He further stated that many Muslims, due to their carelessness and negligence, disregard some Shariah commandments, such as not praying and fasting. This isn't to say that prayer and fasting aren't required. Every citizen has the fundamental freedom to dress as he likes, to cover some portions of his body as he wishes, and to leave other parts open. In this context, any government restriction is akin to a violation of an individual's freedom.

He said, “It is also true that there are religious groups in our country, and they frequently use their religious symbols; the government would authorise the usage of special religious symbols for certain religious sects. Yes, even the aviation law has been amended for them. In this circumstance, prohibiting Muslim students from wearing Hijab would be a kind of religious discrimination. It's also worth emphasising that schools have the authority to select uniforms, and the case that went to the High Court is about a college, not a school. As a result, the administration did not have the authority to enforce the uniform on its own, according to the rules.”

Harmful To The Country And Muslims: Maulana Mahmood Madani

Maulana Mahmood Madani, president of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, reacted to the Karnataka High Court's decision on the Hijab, calling it harmful to the country and Muslims. He said that this would have a direct impact on religious freedom.

According to Maulana Madani, no society can be ruled solely by legal details; it must also be socially and traditionally acceptable. He said, “This decision would have a number of negative consequences, particularly for Muslim girls' education, and that they would lose their independence and trust in the existing scenario. Our country has a long and illustrious history and culture. For generations, Muslim women's ideas and concepts have emphasised the significance of wearing a veil and remaining modest. A judicial decision alone will not be enough to put an end to it.”

Maulana Madani stressed that religious decisions should be founded on the established ideas of the religion's authorised scholars and jurists and that the courts should not adopt a different course in this regard. Maulana Madani urged the country's state governments and the federal government to uphold their responsibilities to maintain the country's Muslim culture and tradition. If the problem is not addressed by the court, the parliament and assembly have the power to establish laws in a democracy. As a result, the legislature must act in the national interest (Rashtra Heet). Maulana Mahmood Madani appealed to the youth to refrain from protesting on the streets and taking the law into their own hands and showing patience.

Not According To Islamic Teachings And Sharia Law: Maulana Arshad Madani

Maulana Arshad Madani, President of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, while reacting to the decision of the Karnataka High Court regarding the hijab, said that the decision of the court is not in accordance with Islamic teachings and Shariah rules regarding the hijab.

“Disobedience to the required commands is a sin. In this perspective, wearing the hijab is an essential rule; if one does not obey it, he does not renounce Islam; instead, he is a sinner who deserves Allah's displeasure and punishment in hell. As a result, claiming that the veil is not a necessary aspect of Islam violates Shari'ah. These individuals believe it is important to state that anyone who disobeys this order would be ejected from Islam, which is incorrect. However, Maulana Madani also stated that Muslims do not give prayers or fast due to their negligence, which does not negate the importance of prayers and fasting”, he said.

Maulana Madani also said “Only schools have the authority to impose uniforms. The case before the High Court was not about the school, but about the college. The issue is that the Constitution provides that every person of the country enjoys full freedom of religion, adherence to religious law, and worship under the authorities given in Article 25 of the Constitution and its sub-clauses.”

He further said, “The government has no official state religion, but it allows all residents to exercise and worship whatever religion that they believe in, according to Maulana Madani. Yes, secularism demands that the government not impose the religious identity of any specific religion on all citizens. Hijab is a religious obligation based on the Qur'an and Sunnah, as well as a natural and sensible demand for us.”

Hijab Issue Is Not The Job Of The Court: Statement Of The Ameer Of Jamaat-E-Islami Of India

The Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami India (JIH), Syed Saadatullah Hussaini, has stated that it is not the role of the court to decide on the necessary rituals of any religion. In response to the Karnataka High Court's Hijab judgement, he stated that JIH did not agree with the verdict.

"We disagree with the Karnataka High Court's verdict," Hussaini stated. "We feel it is not the role of the courts to decide on a religion's basic religious activities," he stated. "The Supreme Court will make the necessary modifications in this ruling and will not allow any incorrect precedent to be formed," he hoped.

“We are gravely worried by some sectors of the media's misreporting that the court has imposed some form of Hijab prohibition. The decision has nothing to do with whether or not women should wear the Hijab in public or private. He noted that "this (judgement) is restricted to the accuracy of the government order permitting the management of publicly supported institutions to recommend dress rules. It is not good to try to create any kind of discrimination or mistrust among the citizens through such misinterpretation of court decisions” he said, expressing that JIH is not against the practice of uniform in educational institutions.

He urged that when deciding on the clothing code, public-funded institutions maintain impartiality and respect for the religious and cultural practises of the pupils involved, taking into account their religious principles, cultural inclinations, and conscience. 

“We are gravely worried that this verdict may prevent Muslim women from receiving an education and that it contradicts the government's declared aim of including all communities and social groups in the development process. Education is a top concern for the country, and it tries to provide a climate where everyone can pursue their education without having to sacrifice their beliefs or conscience”, he said.

Maulana Ahmad Wali Faisal Rahmani’s reaction

The Ameer-e-Shariat of Bihar, Odisha, and Jharkhand, Maulana Ahmad Wali, stated that it is the role of theologians to interpret religion. In response to the Karnataka High Court's recent judgement on the topic of Hijab, he stated that the court stated that the veil is not necessary in Islam, which he believes is completely false. “It is the role of theologians, not the courts, to interpret religion,” he said.

He added saying, “By relying on an analysis of essentiality, the court misconstrued the necessity of Hijab. We are not in disobedience to the court. However, we recognise that the court's jurisdiction does not extend to the interpretation of religious rules. The court is responsible for ensuring religious freedom, whereas the process of interpreting religion inhibits it. The unavoidable result of doing both would be that the courts would be unable to effectively protect religious freedom.”

He further said, “The court's determination on what is and is not essential in religious rulings amounts to a violation of religious liberty. Because courts are legally secular, they should not interpret religious laws. The professionals in this religion are responsible for the interpretation of religious laws. The Supreme Court is also responsible for the interpretation of the constitution. Declaring Hijab as a non-essential aspect of Islam is certainly a wrong decision. This will erode public faith in the court, and a loss of public confidence in a country's judiciary is not a positive indicator for that country's democratic system.”

He urged the government to implement a clothing code in schools and universities based on regional traditions and religious tenets, so that every citizen feels comfortable and secure, and that personal freedom, including freedom of expression, is protected. As a result, all Muslims in the country should read the Qur'an and Hadith in this respect, study the country's constitution regarding freedom of expression, and freely transmit their message to local public officials and administrations, as well as defend their Islamic culture.

Qari Altaf-ur-Rehman the Imam of Eidain in Kolkata

He said "It would be incorrect to assert that Hijab is not an obligation of Islam. It could be a lack of knowledge. It's unclear who failed to inform the judges about this aspect or who conveyed it to them. But let me make it clear that the Hijab is addressed in Surah Noor and Surah Ahzab, and the Qur'an is extremely clear about it. I believe there is an attempt to entrap Muslims in one issue after another. However, the law is the only hope and Muslims have to fight this battle legally within the ambit of the constitution.”

Prof. Akhtarul Wasey on Hijab Verdict

“This decision is in stark contradiction to the Qur'an," argues prominent scholar and Padam-Shri Prof. Akhtarul Wasey. The veil is clearly mentioned and explained in Surah Noor and Surah Al-Ahzab of the Holy Qur'an. Along with Article 25, he stated, “basic rights are also being violated.”

Prof. Akhtarul Wasey further said, “Muslims do not need to protest or demonstrate against it; this is a legal battle that must be fought. Muslims must present themselves to the Supreme Court in a peaceful manner.”

Mufti Mukarram, Imam of Fatehpuri on Hijab Verdict

Dr Maulana Mufti Muhammad Mukarram Ahmed, Imam of Fatehpuri Mosque, Delhi and eminent Islamic scholar, said “He has no choice but to show regret. However, there is no need to be sentimental. The most crucial thing is to keep your foot in place. This is a legal battle that will be fought democratically and according to the law. Of course, we revere justice but justice must also be visible. The court appears to have authored a well-considered decision. Surprisingly, the defence counsel's arguments and reasoning failed to persuade the High Court.”

Mufti Mukarram Ahmed further said “Hijab is not a trivial concern; it is an essential way of Muslim life, as it is addressed in both the Holy Quran and Hadith. This is the Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) rule. This is a piece of history that dates back about 1450 years. In any event, I am hopeful that the court will ease the Muslims' distress.”

Translated from Urdu Report

Maulana Kalbe Jawad, the general secretary of Majlis-e-Ulama-e-Hind on Hijab Verdict

Maulana Kalbe Jawad, a prominent Shia cleric and the general secretary of Majlis-e-Ulama-e-Hind, said on Saturday that the Hijab controversy was an "example of Islamophobia" and that Muslims should establish as many educational institutions as possible so that they do not have to rely on others for their education. “Hijab is a fundamental element of Islam," he remarked. We respect the court, but it appears that no genuine effort was made to comprehend the situation.” “The hijab is not an impediment in any way. Different religions are permitted to utilise their religious symbols in social and public settings. He inquired, "Why are Muslims being prevented from doing so?”


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