By Prof. Akhtarul Wasey
Imarat Sharia, (Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand) is one of the institutions of the Indian Muslims in which they can rightly take pride. This institution is different and unique from many other institutions with respect to its wide objectives and universality. June 26, 1921 is the memorable day when the first Ameer-e-Shariat was elected under the president ship of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in the Patthar ki Masjid at Bankipur.
In fact, the collective life of the Indian Muslims had been affected in many levels due to the loss of political power. Especially their religious life had disintegrated in the same way as the beads of a garland scatters when its thread snaps up. The Lack of collectivity was posing problems in the observance of many Shariah based duties and ordainments of their religious life. The absence of the Emir of the Muslims had created a chaos in the system of Islamic jurisprudence and especially the religious issues of the women had become complicated. In these circumstances, the proposal for the establishment of Imarat-e-Sharia came forward in 1921. The main brain behind the proposal was the general secretary of the Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Hind, Maulana Abul Hasan Md Sajjad. Due to some reasons, the Imarat Shariah was formed only on Bihar level instead of on the national level. Maulana Abul Hasan Md Sajjad was not only an authority on the Islamic Shariah but was also selflessness and sincerity personified. He succeeded in getting a consensus on the name of the Sajjada Nashin of Khanqah Majiriah of Phulwari Sharif Syed Shah Badrudding Qadri as the head (emir) of Imarat Shariah. His election was approved by Maulana Syed Md Ali Moonghyri of Khanqah Rahmani, Moongyr.
Therefore, around 1920, when the Jamia Millia Islamia was being built by Maulana Mahmood Hasan Deobandi with the purpose of providing contemporary education along with the Islamic education to the Muslim youth, at the same time the dream of the establishment of the Imarat Shariah, Bihar (now Jharkhand and Odisah too) for the reorientation of the collective life of the Muslims was being realized.
The basic objectives of Imarat Shariah were:
4) The establishment of Islamic Shariah on the principles laid down by the holy Prophet (PBUH).
5) To implement the Islamic laws as far as possible and paving the way for its implementation, for example, implementation of the laws relating to Nikah, Talaq, khula’ wakf etc. correctly.
6) Uniting the Muslims only on the basis of the Kalima (La Illaha Illa Allah Mohammad ar Rasool Allah) irrespective of their sectarian affiliations and beliefs.
Apart from these, the objectives also included providing guidance to the Muslims in the field of education, employment and development, establishment of social welfare organizations for humanitarian services, supporting peace initiatives of various religious communities of the country by treating them with love and respect and generating the spirit of respect for other religious communities.
The establishment of Imarat Sharia has not only set a glorious example of implementing the Islamic Shariah in the collective life of the Muslims but has also presented a model for emulation by the people of many pluralistic societies of the modern Muslim world. The establishment of Imarat Shariah also made it clear that Shariah and tariqat were not separate ways but the convergence of the two can become a vibrant truth as the first emir of the Imarat Shariah was the Sajjada Nashin of Khanqah-e-Majiriah, Phulwari Sharif to whom all the elder experts of Shariah and religious scholars paid allegiance. The second emir of the Imarat-e-Shariah was also the Sajjada Nashin of the same Khanqah, Syed Shah Muhiyuddin Qadri who represented the unity of shariah and tariqat for a long period of 33 years. The third emir of Imarat Shariah was also from the Khanqah Majiriah Maulana Syed Shah Qamruddin Qadri. The fourth emir was elected from Khanqah Rahmani, Moonghyr Syed Shah Minnatullah Rahmani who served on the post for 34 years. After the fifth emir Maulana Abdur Rahman, the sixth and the current emir Maulana Syed Nizamuddin was appointed in November 1998.
It is also a beautiful coincidence that it has lent strength and co-operation to other organizations of the country. A prestigious organization of the Muslims, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s general secretary has also been the emir of the Imarat Shariah from its first general secretary Minnatullah Rahmani to the current general secretary Maulana Syed Nizamuddin. The founder of the Islamic Fiqh Academy and the prominent expert in Islamic Jurisprudence Maulana Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi was originally the main Qazi of the department of Jurisprudence of Imarat Shariah and a responsible member of it.
Recently, the Imarat-e-Shariah celebrated its foundation day to which I was also invited to speak. Even after 90 years of its establishment, the Imarat Shariah has maintained its prestige and reliability within its purview. Imarat Shariah has till now succeeded in organizing eight thousand five hundred villages and localities of Bihar and Jharkhand under the Shariah based guidance by appointing responsible persons called Naqeebs in every populace. It is an achievement that it has 12 departments working under the Imarat Sharia, most important of them being the department of Baitul mal, department of jurisprudence, department of religious and modern education and relief fund.
The department of jurisprudence of Imarat Sharia is very active, organised and strong. Till now more than 40 thousand cases have been adjudicated according to the Shariah under it. These adjudications are not only according to the Islamic Shariah but also less expensive and easy to get. They are administered swiftly with the mutual agreement of the parties involved. The arbitrations of the Imarat Shariah are so well conceived with the help of evidences, witnesses and legal procedures that most of its judgements have been corroborated by the courts of law of the country. This department has set up 43 sub- courts within its ambit which serves thousands of people of these three states.
In the field of education, many ITI institutions, paramedical, computer and electronics institutions are being run efficiently for years. For religious education, the Imarat Shariah has been running primary Maktabs, schools and Darul Uloom (Universities). Maulana Sajjad Memorial Hospital has been working since 1968. Help to the poor and the widow is provided from the Baitul mal and relief work and the rehabilitation work is also carried out by the Imarat Shariah.
The reason behind the success and performance of the Imarat Sharia, apart from the sincerity and hard work and dedication of those associated with it, is the fact that Imarat Shariah had in its very beginning laid down some principles that guided it in the right direction channelizing all its energies towards only constructive work avoiding all the internal differences. The principles deserve to be mentioned here so that we can learn from them to use all our energies for the welfare of the community and avoid all the disputes and differences. Some of the principles that were laid down at the time of the foundation of the Imarat Shariah are as follows:
1) The emir will not have any say in those issues that are not related to the collective and social life. It means he will not issue any negative or positive statement on such issues. For example
a) The issue of Meelad or qayam-e-Milad
b) Majlis-e-sama qawwal
c) Kissing of the graves
d) Covering them with chadars
e) Urs of religious personalities or Sufis
f) Fatiha, neyaz
i) The issue of occult sciences etc.