By Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam
20 July 2022
In The Garb of Sufism & Rishism, Illiterate Mullahs Are Misleading the Masses and Reinforcing Superstitions
1. Most mullahs have foot in mouth disease.
2. The curriculum and pedagogy in madrasas has not changed for more than a century in South Asia.
3. Muslims have their own set of demagogues both in politics and religion.
4. The demand for taming a tiger by mullah has been mocked and joked.
5. The pulpits of mosques are being used to articulate ludicrous views and opinions.
Most mullahs have foot in mouth disease. They do not know what to speak, how to speak, when and where to speak. Being poorly literate and scantly read they cannot understand the nuances of our current times and trends. It needs a lot of dedication, hard work, research, analysis and above all the steak of Ijtihad to understand Islam and present it in a current idiom. Most mullahs are not trained in such a context, because the curriculum and pedagogy in madrasas has not changed for more than a century in South Asia. Most madrasas teach their students to blindly follow (Taqlid), the doctrines of their school of thought and sect instead of Islam, so even if they answer some query or indulge in some interpretation it is bound to be within the precincts of their school of thought. So nothing great can be expected from mullahs. But they do have the power of demagogy, so they attract huge crowds and congregations.
Demagogues hold the power to render their audience mindless. They lose the power of intellect and rationality. So they follow the demagogue blindly. Demagogues work best for cults and sects, so they enjoy great following among the masses. Muslims have their own set of demagogues both in politics and religion. They are interested more in creating blind followers and unquestioning disciples. Rationality and critical questioning/thinking is something that they detest and discourage.
Among this new breed of demagogues in Kashmir, some Allama Owais Qadri is making headlines with his childish, immature but provocative statements. Further, this trend of using Allama as a prefix with any mullah is something that needs to be condoned. Allama is someone who has expertise in multitude knowledge systems and is a polymath. But now the trend is to title anyone with a beard, Turkish headgear and long cloak as Allama. In reality most of these mullahs are unaware even about the basic tenets of Islam. But they do speak hearsay, recite some poetry in melodious tones, quoting few Quranic verses out of context and then arrive mostly at ludicrous interpretation.
Earlier this demagogy and mockery was confined to the mosques whose pulpits have been hijacked by the mullahs. But now due to the advent of social media, these mullahs are having a wider audience that is dividing the Muslims and taking them to the dark ages. Islam did not witness any dark ages like Europe but thanks to mullahs we are passing through the same era. It ultimately will lead to our doom and no intellectuals, theologians, academics, scholars can exist in Muslim society. The spaces have been hijacked by mullahs whose followers are ready to kill and destroy any vestige of Islamic rationality.
So this Allama Owais Qadri, in a recently viral video requested his followers to arrange a Tiger for him because he feels lonely. He then confesses that he is sad because such taming of a wild animal is prohibited by law. Then in another sermon, he says some person from a nomad tribe contacted him and he was ready to pay hard cash of rupees five hundred thousand for the tiger. This was quite ridiculous but I could understand and read between the lines about his desire. There are huge number of folk tales in circulation about the Sufis and Rishis, riding tigers as a part of their miraculous powers. Some express that tigers do visit shrines of these Rishis and Sufis to pay obeisance to them on particular days every week. For others these Sufis and Rishis fought these tigers as a part of their spiritual prowess. These stories are a part of folklore that develops an aura of spiritual divinity and miraculous powers around the personalities of these missionaries of Islam and Sufism.
Such stories have been attributed to every religious person in variegated religions. They often form a whole school of Karamaat (miracles) actions. Huge tomes have been written about the miracles performed by these religious personalities and men of God. The hagiographies of Sufis and Rishis are full of these events and incidents of Karamaat performed by them. Even now it forms the litmus test of the spirituality and position of any Sufi. Although very little or rare miracles about the companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) known as Suhaba can be found mentioned in the hadith or historical books or hagiographies. So Muslims can understand their activism and lives at pure human level and think about emulating them while many times questioning their actions as they were humans too.
The case with Sufis and Rishis is quite different. One cannot question these stories and miracles but is supposed to blindly support and believe them. So this Owais Qadri, also claims to be a follower of Sufis and Rishis in Kashmir, hence people should believe in him and his whims unquestioningly. So this demand and desire for a tiger is only a means to clandestine and camouflage his real intentions of ‘Sufi mobility’. It is to elevate his status as a real sufi by trying to move upward in the hierarchy and Sufi ladder by relating himself with a tiger. He also speaks that he will reveal his purpose of taming a tiger only when he gets one.
Mullah Owais Qadri, appears ignorant of the fact that tigers do not exist in Kashmir. For a common Kashmiri (Sehh), Sher in Urdu and Tiger in English encompasses every member of the cat family including lion, leopard, snow leopard and tiger. So our mullah too thinks about it on these lines. He may be confusing snow leopards found in Kashmir with tigers. Such is the sorry state of affairs of these mullahs. These wild animals are banned and restricted from being tamed. So our mullah needs to invent some other story for taming another animal. Monkey as an option I can suggest. It will also help the mullah to remain engaged while finding a good engagement for his monkey brain.
A New Age Islam columnist, M.H.A. Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir
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