By Mohamed SR Nisthar –
The above religious entity (ACJU) is said to be the oldest one for the Muslim populace in Sri Lanka. Selecting or electing its members are none of the people’s business. There is no transparency in their activities and accountability for their decisions. The title, Ullema ( scholars/ intellectuals) they carry, given by Madrasa (local Arabic Qur-an/religious schools) or in some cases through qualifications obtained in the sub continent or Middle-eastern Madrasas or(religious) Universities give them some sort of unregulated authority on the people’s religious affairs.
Unfortunately from the Mu’atheen (person who calls for prayers and deputises the Imam (conductor of prayers) to the Mufti (authorised person to deliver Fatwa (religious edict) all are regarded as Ullema by lay people. In this context what a (fake) Aalim (scholar) needs is to memorise some verses from the holy Qur-an and a few Hadeeth (compiled practices and sayings of Prophet Muhammad) regardless of Sunnah (actual practices, sayings and permission given by the Prophet) to earn a living, maintain fame and manipulate innocent people. So getting a certificate as an Aalim is good business for fake Ullema.
However, it’s a fiduciary duty for real Ullema, who enthusiastically learn Qur-an, Sunnah, Hadeeth, jurisprudence along with philosophy and other areas of knowledge, to do research, constantly quest for knowledge and guide society in the right path. Does the ACJU discharge this imperative task to the acceptable standard? My answer is No. My observations are:
While applauding the ACJU for tipping off the authorities in 2014 about the possible threat by extreme elements within the Muslim community and the very recent appeal to the possibly remaining culprits to surrender to the police, this cannot be taken as exoneration for the ACJU’s wrong doing.
ACJU’s political involvement: the ACJU were taken to a United Nations Human Rights session in Geneva by Rajapaksa regime with the support of the Muslim political parties stating that these non native Arab speakers could assist the Arab diplomats in the HR conference in Geneva. As we all know Arab diplomats are capable of speaking English and if they aren’t then in an international conference there are simultaneous translation facilities in place. Therefore the presence of these non native Arab speakers Is futile.
The conference was not to see whether the democratically elected government (?) of Sri Lanka or the Tamil tigers were right during the bloody civil war. It was purely to see whether there were any alleged breaches of Humanitarian law, human rights violations, war crimes, genocide claims by Tamil citizens of the country and to find a reconciliation mechanism. Therefore the ACJU went to Geneva for revenge against the Tamil tigers for the atrocities they did to Muslims. There was a failure to distinguish the difference between Tamil tigers and Tamil citizens of the country and the long time consequence of political ill feeling between Tamils and Moors (religiously Muslims).That was the threshold for me to point the finger at ACJU. I’m still respectfully asking the ACJU to say “sorry” to the Tamil community as this will heal a lot. Until that point the ACJU is meaningless for me.
The holy Qur-an says, if you are entrusted to deliver justice then do justice, even if it is against your parents, your children and you, the judge. You failed blatantly by attending HRC in Geneva.
ACJU’s financial activities: the ACJU without any expertise knowledge got involved in investment/savings banking in the past and miserably letdown the investors to their unrecoverable financial detriment.
ACJU’s Halaal(religiously permitted) certification on food and other commodities (?): this (ethical) business model has been in operation from America via Europe to the far East with the approval of respective governments or regulating authorities. But in Sri Lanka ACJU went overboard issuing Halaal Certification for broomsticks and soap! They failed humiliatingly
ACJU’s usual duty of Moon sighting: the HORIZON space probe has been travelling beyond planet Pluto with preset speed and time. No miscalculation. Following the precise calculations of NASA, Islamic organisations have been printing calendars for years and years to facilitate lunar based religious activity. Tracking past, current and next year’s lunar movements making life easy and there is no room for error. But the ACJU still sit for hours and after almost all their sittings confirm that there is no Moon sight therefore there is no fast and or no Eid (festival).
Just 23 km away from the Sri Lankan coast, the crescent Moon was seen in Tamil Nadu. This was not acceptable, because Tamil Nadu is not Sri Lankan territory, which is an appalling scholarly stance. What will happen if the territory beyond Vavunia is Tamil Ealam and below Vavunia is Sri Lanka. The border village of Vavunia will be in limbo if the Moon is sighted in Tamil Ealam. Failed again.
ACJU’s controversial MMDA reform: this piece of legislation was not Islamic nor totally religious. It was the practice of the coastal area Muslims since before the Portuguese colonised the area. And when the Dutch took control of the area they made it a legal document named “Mohamedian Code”, like Kandian Law and Thesawalamai, all are customary laws.
Therefore reform is a must to reflect the day and age like the Islamic jurisprudence was developed not by holy Qur-an or Prophet, but by the great scholars on the basis of Qur-anic guidance. So it is the present day duty of the scholars to develop it. The ACJU is a blockade to any development. In short they are not fit for the purpose.
ACJU’s would-be leader: who is the person in waiting to grab the chair of Mufti Rizvi, the head of ACJU? Mr. Ahgar Muhammad, who has positive views about our national flag, importance of cohesion among all citizens and respecting multi–culturism etc. However, his background is questionable. He is from Jamath-e-Islami. This organisation, among other things, provides free catarrh clinic for all citizens free of charge, encourages people to donate blood, offers vocational training for early school dropouts etc. But his former boss was one of the “Caliphate” promoters and possibly anti Western , regardless of whether what the West is doing is a good thing or bad. For him the West means an anathema, which is the mindset of “Boko Haraam” of Nigeria. And to get financial support , including for Catarrh clinics and free nose glasses, they keep changing allies. From Iran to Egypt to Turkey to Qatar. The respective countries’ political view is the view of this organisation, Jamath-e- Islami. A dangerous game inviting unwanted troubles.
The main concern for me is this group’s backdoor political ambition. The former chief of this religious organisation, Jamaath-e-Islami, Uzdhaath (teacher) Rasheed Hajjathul Akbar while condemning SLMC (Sri Lanka Muslim Congress ), ACMC (All Ceylon Makkal(people) Congress) and other fringe Muslim political parties, even though these parties deserve to be criticised from all angles, does not allow equally nefarious “new kids in the ring”, the NFGG (National Front for Good Governance) to be praised beyond limit before they are proved to be worthy for any credit. .
NFGG: surprisingly the National Organiser/General Secretary of the NFGG, Mr. Najaa Mohamed, has been an important member of the Jamaath-e-Islami and closely connected to Uzdhaath Hajjathul Akbar. The NFGG has not reached the majority Sinhalese or major minority Tamils. They place their horse on the Muslim (political) race course. I demanded them to openly declare if the NFGG is the (political) proxy of Jamaath-e-Islami. No direct response, but Jamaath-e-Ismami made the point that any citizen may have political affiliation of their own choice regardless of their religious belief. While accepting the above my question deserves a definite and concrete answer. Yes or No. The people’s right to know override your right to hide (in a private capacity). So the ACJU’s future hangs in the balance.
SLMC: from the inception of the party, a replica of former TULF – Tamil United Liberation Front, I have been a critic of the party simply foreseeing more chaos than solutions not only to the Muslim community, but to the whole country. However, before the pre meditated assassination of its leader late Mr. Ashrof, by a helicopter crash caused by an alleged technical fault, he offered a more mature political view of forming an inclusive NUA(National Unity Alliance). Unfortunately it has not materialised yet. Hence SLMC is a burden to the Muslim society.
ACMC: no actual or apparent difference from SLMC. The leader of the party is screwed by all types of people with vested interests. I only respect him as he confronted a TV presenter saying, “ I’m a minister of the Sri Lankan State and not a minister for Muslims. If anyone has a concern then go to the authority and make a complaint, let them investigate and bring charges against me.. If I’m found to be guilty then let the law does its duty. Until that point you media people behave responsibly”. I’m behind you Minister to find the truth, nothing but the truth.
My dear (Muslim) youngsters! you are our country’s future leaders and if you behave like our current clueless leaders you won’t see a stable country. Sri Lanka is going to be in the list of fragile states. How can you contribute to our motherland?
Stop listening to fake Ullema. Your reach to the wider world is in your hands. A smart phone can do all that is necessary. Stop participating in five star hotel Iftar (breaking fast), beach Iftar, swimming pool Iftar, high way Iftar etc. This Iftar nonsense (arranged by political parties for Muslims and non Muslims who do or don’t fast) can be observed by Donald Trump at the White House. Stop longing for free Saudi third class dates, tell them we have our Malwaane Peni Ramuttan or Kuttan Karrupity of Jaffna or pure water would do the job. Stop spending millions on rolls and “Kanchgi” for breaking fast. Divert the money to the churches demolished by the suicide bombers and send the money to the needy survivors and children affected.
Finally, youngsters for your 21st century problem we need 21st century answers. The below are the preferred list of committed Ullema, even though thousands upon thousands of ullema are in the arena from China to Argentina and North Pole to South pole, try my list. I’m not their agent or promoter but I found them to be credible for the job.
1. Mufti Abu Layth ( voice of reason) (based in the UK) he has answers to your questions from cosmos to quantum , same sex marriage to marital rape, your niqqab wearing to tattoo wearing, your mortgage to interest, cyber crime to suicide bombing, your religion to someone else religion and your democratic government to utopian Caliphate.
2. Uzdhaat Nouhman Ali Khan (based in America) interpretation of holy Qur-an. He will tell you real stuff simply and precisely. No confusion.
3. Dr. Sabir Ali (based in Canada), academic style preaching through decent exchange of knowledge with other religious prominent people.
4. Uzdhaat Mansoor (based in Sri Lanka- native Sri Lankan) very good in Sri Lankan context.
5. Pro. Thariq Ramadan (Oxford Uni. UK) bit philosophical, but relevant to the day and age
6. Aalim Akram Nadvi (based in the UK) practical solution provider.
7. Mufti Ismail Menk ( from Zimbabwe ) interesting, but most of time conventional.
And last not least and commendable for his memory of verses from Vedas, Scriptures – Old and New testaments- and holy Qur-an. He can give you snake oil to grow shiny hair on the head, but cannot give any warranty for not losing your teeth. He is
8. Dr. Zakir Naik (not my cup of tea anyway)
Try this every carefully tailored list for your religious guidance. You will see the difference and won’t be misguided by any fake Ullema.
Part – 1 – Conundrum: Caliphate & Killing Spree!