24 November, 2020

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Reconstitute ACJU & Reform MMDA

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) once again is reported to be working behind the scene to sabotage the proposed amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) as recommended by the Justice Saleem Marsoof (JSM) committee. After almost a decade of investigation and consultation with different groups and individuals including Muslim women, JSM came out with a set of recommendations, which even though did not go far enough to cover all the complaints against the Act by Muslim women, yet were a commendable achievement.

ACJU immediately decided to sabotage the report and instigated a few members of the JSM committee to do its dirty work. With counter recommendations from these saboteurs, Muslim parliamentarians who needed the support of ACJU for their political survival dillydallied and eventually caved in. This led to further delay. However, after extended discussions and compromises, when those parliamentarians finally accepted some of the recommendations on 11 July this year and decided to recommend them to the parliament, ACJU once again showed its devilish intentions.  This prompted a Muslim women collective to hold a media conference on 26th July demanding the immediate implementation of the reforms.  With a government in disarray, and its Muslim ministers and deputies both in and out of their portfolios, the chances are that MMDA reforms will not see the light until the next government comes into office. ACJU will do all it can to cause further delay.    

Before reforming MMDA Muslims must reconstitute ACJU. In an earlier piece that Colombo Telegraph published on February 19 this year, I said the following: “ACJU’s intellectual fortress is built with bricks of shari’a, fiqh and madhab. Is this fortress (so) impregnable for modern ideas on women, marriage, divorce and family to enter and reshape its structure? Historically speaking, there had been a creative tradition in Islam of discursiveness, disagreements, controversies and compromises in shaping those bricks and that tradition is not closed except in the mind of ACJU hierarchy. Muslim women of the era when … madhahib (plural for madhab) derived their fiqh laws in relation to marriage and divorce were not the women of today. Today, they are more educated, more independent, more professional, and therefore they are a significant component of the nation’s labour force. They are not a piece of property to be protected, (bought) and sold. An intentional reading of the Quran and researches by erudite Muslim women about the actual status accorded to them in Islam is totally contradictory to what the guardians of orthodoxy are advocating. Had ACJU been a forward looking institution changes to fiqh would have originated much earlier from within that apex body. Unfortunately, its retrogressive outlook and intellectual stagnation have force the demand for reforms to come from outside”. 

ACJU, like other such organizations all over the Muslim world, has monopolised the name ulama, and restricted its usage only to denote those who have been educated and trained in the traditional madrasas and officiating as religious functionaries. They have thus evolved into a self-appointed priestly class for which there is no provision in Islam.  The name ulama is the plural for alim, which simply means a learned person.   In its plural form that word occurs only twice in the Quran, in chapters 26:197 and 35:28. In the latter context, if one cares to read the verse that proceeds 35:28, one would understand that ulama covers intellectuals with expertise in other fields also. Therefore ACJU should be reconstituted to include learned people from other intellectual disciplines who are also knowledgeable in Islamic history and exegesis of Holy texts. As it is, ACJU represents what that great poet of Pakistan, Muhammad Iqbal called the mullahs.  It is better to rename ACJU more appropriately as All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Mullahs (ACJM). A number of issues on which the community is currently facing criticism from outsiders could have been avoided had this institution included intellectuals with a capacity to approach and analyse problems from different angles. 

Marriage is not religious but a social institution, and strictly speaking no mullah is required to consummate a Muslim marriage. The parents of the couple and a witness are all that required for the purpose. However, in Sri Lanka the roots of MMDA are the Muslim marriage customs and traditions that remained unchanged for centuries but were compiled early in the 19th century by the British in consultation with Muslim chiefs in and around Colombo. The model for this compilation was already set by the Dutch in Batavia. 

All those customs and traditions were sanctified with some religious colouring as understood and interpreted from the Quran and Sunnah by a class of madrasa trained religious functionaries, who were all males and whose knowledge on social issues and a society’s progress remained extremely static and confined to what was indoctrinated to  them in madrasas.  Muslim women did not have and were not allowed to have any say in one of the most important stages of growth in their life.  MMDA of 1951 reflected this state of affairs. Amendments introduced later were mostly procedural than fundamental.   However, since that Act came into effect, and thanks to the spread of modern education, growth of literacy and opening of opportunities for employment, the status of Muslim women began to change. As a result, there is at present a class of educated, independent and professional Muslim women who understand the meaning of justice and equality in Islam better than the so called religious functionaries under the control of ACJU. In essence, the struggle for reforming MMDA is a struggle between two different classes, one represented by ACJU and its political backers with a backward looking static social model, and the other represented by intellectual and professional men and women whose idea of Islam and progress is forward looking and dynamic.    

Women are the Future of Islam, as Sherin Khankan has titled her “memoir of hope” (London: Rider, 2017). They have begun to interpret the holy text to understand its original message to liberate women from an environment in which daughters were buried alive. Although their status has improved since then there is yet a lot to change. To liberate women one has to first liberate the Quran from its male interlocutors. This is happening all over the world. It makes one shudder to think for example, that in Saudi Arabia, the fortress of ultraconservative Wahhabism, which ideology recently seems to have infiltrated into the thinking of ACJU hierarchy, the ulama produced more than 30,000 fatwas or religious rulings on women, illustrating the extent of male dominance over women affairs in the name of Islam (Madawi Al-Rasheed, A Most Masculine State, Cambridge University Press, 2013, p. 112). This may be an extreme case, but it shows how patriarchy seeks to control women in Muslim societies.                

The demand for reforming MMDA is only the beginning of Muslim women’s liberation struggle. Madrasas have been in existence in this country for more than a century. Have they produced a single female religious scholar to be recognised as a member of the so called ulama community, let alone be allowed to join ACJU? Are women allowed to pray in the mosques and join in daily congregations? Is it not time for mosques in Sri Lanka to provide separate facilities for women worshippers, as found in other countries. All this need progressive thinking on the part of Muslim leaders, which ACJU lacks. This is why the reconstitution of ACJU to include experts from other disciplines has become imperative.   

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    Mate Amir,

    I am not usually given to proselytism. Although in this instance I may have to pitch something. You may take it onboard or simply walk away. I gravitate towards your posts as they seem above others I read here often.

    There is a Buddha announcing his arrival in another star system right this moment. The Buddha is a naturally occurring phenomena just like the planets rotate around a sun. All religions are offshoots of Buddhism one way or the other.

    The Buddha arrives for one purpose only. In our star system he only appears in this island. The path he reveals is only available here and no where else. Also you were born here not out of an accident but due to a cause you created in the past.

    Before 2009 I would not bother with letting you know any of this. That because even if you considered learning the Buddha Dhamma what existed was so polluted.

    Although something quite astonishing happened. Click on my name and read the last section for instructions. Also give it to all you know as its the greatest gift one can give another.

    Much appreciated.

    • 4
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      Guys take it negative or positive, it is up to you; Quran is word of God (Allah), and it is in its original form, and never going to be revised like Bible. Now tell me, Isn’t talking about reform a waste of time? But I still believe there are a few things that can be changed without changes to Quran like in the case of Sharia Banking where Interest becomes Profit?

      Note: On the other hand, revising or reforming a religion is like camouflaging it time to time to suit the demands of contemporary needs or masses, that doesn’t keep its originality.

      • 6
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        Richard,

        Quran was revealed in the 7th Century to 7th Century Arab Bedouins who were fighting and raiding each other , the culture at that time. The belief then was that the Earth was spread out like a carpet, (meaning flat), the Sun goes around the Earth and sets in muddy waters, and man came from Adam and Eve from clay, and the Iblis, Satan from fire.

        Based on new information, things are different now, contrary to what was revealed in the Quran. Would you use a 7th Century map to get around a 21st Century town or city?

        What the Ulama, ACJU is doing is just that.

        If the world is round and the Earth can rotate on its axis and go around the Sun, the MMDA can certainly be reformed.

        Make your choice. Live in the 15th Century Higra, or the 1 st Century Higra of Arabia.

        • 1
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          Quran is for mankind and only one version bad not 72 versions.if someone wants to agree Saleem marsoof we equally agree to faiz mustpha.people living in an alien country can write anything and we in the ground would face long term.consequences

          • 3
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            Roshan rayed ,

            One version, the version of Uthman, the Uthmanic Codex.

            In the begging of several chapters, there are single letters. Example, Alif, Lam, Meem, Noon etc.What does it mean? Are they Codex notes of Uthman, the authors who put it together or initials of those scribes who put those Chapters together?
            The Ulama explanation is that those letters are divine and only God knows their meaning. Were those letters revealed to Prophet Mohamed as well? Do they appear in the Uthmanic Codex only?

          • 2
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            Roshan rayed,

            “Face long term consequences “

            You have to be brainwashed from early childhood at home, st the Madrasas and in the Mosques, in order to believe that you have to face long-term consequences, in afterlife, for eternity, with no evidence. Examples are the Earth spread out like a carpet, and the Sun going around the Earth and sets in muddy waters.

        • 1
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          Corrected the understanding of Quranic verses for you as below:

          “The belief then was that the Earth was spread out like a carpet”(meaning how it is observed, as a wondrous thing – not ‘flat’)

          The flat earth idea is refuted clearly in
          “It is God who has created several heavens and of the Earth, the like of them.” 65:12
          (look up to the sky (heavens) and do you see flat objects or spherical ones?)

          “The Sun goes around the Earth and sets in muddy waters”
          (Zul Qarnain PERCEIVED the sun as though it set in murky waters, perceived is the word you are looking for. The murky waters is likely to have been the Yellow River in China btw)

          “and man came from Adam and Eve from clay, and the Iblis, Satan from fire.”
          (Something LIKE clay and Something LIKE fire. Not actual clay or fire)

          Remember the Quran was addressing an ancient Arab community, and spoke in words that they could understand. Your literal interpretations ignore the context of the times. Cheers!

          • 3
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            Rizwan,

            The literal interpretation by the Ulama and the fundamentalists, by the Ulama was challenged by one of the greatest Islamic Scholars and Philosophers, Mohamed bIbm Rushd, in 22th Century Andalusia, Spain. The Ulama got the ruler, Caliph, to exile him, ban his works and burn his works.
            Today, theMuslim MPs are puppets on strings, for the Ulama , and the Government MPs are puppets of the Muslim MPs and therefore, indirectly the puppets of the Ulama.

            A Land like no other, where the mean IQ is 79.

        • 5
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          Amarasiri, earth is spread like a carpet, but Earth is not. So, Earth is a planet, and “earth” is surface of the land which is spread like a carpet, of course. How can you be sure Quran talked about Earth or earth?

          • 2
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            Rishard,

            They were all 7th Century Bedouin Arabs.They knew about the moon, that goes around the Earth, they knew about the Sun that rises in the East and sets in the muddy waters of the West, Mahreb.

            However, they did not know what the Greeks knew. The Earth was round and the librarian of Alexandria measured the circumference in 250 BCE.

    • 3
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      Dr. Ameer Ali.

      RE: Reconstitute ACJU & Reform MMDA

      Thanks for the Article. You are one of the few sensible Sri Lankan Muslim intellectuals who can see it through. Have the Ulama of ACJU ever heard of Mohamed Ibn Rushd, aka Averroes of 12th Century Spain? He said that the Ulama and Theologians are NOT the people of knowledge, but, it is the philosophers. (Quran 3:7)

      https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/artsandculture/2015/4/9/ibn-rushd-in-his-darkest-hour

      Puppets on a string, pulled by the Ulama of ACJU. What s the mean IQ of the ACJU Ulama? Less than 79? Idiots are pulling the strings.

      “ With counter recommendations from these saboteurs, Muslim parliamentarians who needed the support of ACJU for their political survival dillydallied and eventually caved in……However, after extended discussions and compromises, when those parliamentarians finally accepted some of the recommendations on 11 July this year and decided to recommend them to the parliament, ACJU once again showed its devilish intentions. ….. With a government in disarray, and its Muslim ministers and deputies both in and out of their portfolios, the chances are that MMDAreforms will not see the light until the next government comes into office. ACJU will do all it can to cause further delay. “

      Puppets on a string, pulled by the Ulama of ACJU.

      This is what you have. The Ulama of the ACJU, have the Muslim MPs, the FIRST PUPPETS, on strings. Then the Muslim MPs have most of the non-Muslim MPs, especially the Govt MPs, on strings. So, DIRECTLY, All the Muslim PMs and INDIRECTLY quite a handful other non-Muslim MPs are all PUPPETS controlled directly or indirectly by the Ulama of ACJU.

    • 2
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      I read What Jambu has written. I think, he is some enemy of muslims who wants to set up muslims against buddhists.

      • 1
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        There is only the correct view and incorrect view holders.

        There are incorrect view holders from all camps including the traditional Buddhists.

        There are correct view holders from all camps including those who were Muslim.

  • 8
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    So sorry to see that Muslim clerics do business with this theological organization….
    All those who are in leadership of ACJU are from Tabligh groups.
    We know how they learned and what they have learned on Islam.
    I think sufi will do better than this groups.
    Make it open to all

    • 2
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      ‘All those who are in leadership of ACJU are from Tabligh groups’ – That is why the Muslims of this country have been saved from getting annihilated by those who want to destroy Muslim culture and identity in this country, solely by the grace of Allah and leadership provided by this Organization. They have always stood steadfastly and never swayed under pressure to the whims and fancies of some politicians and – so called modernists, or are they called, who are out to destroy the ultra sensitive, near and dear social norms of Islamic lifestyles and practices. Long life to them. Muslims in Sri Lanka are in safe hands. The Sufi’s are welcome to join as long as they keep their biddhat practices at the doorstep, and not rock the boat to capture leadership.

      • 3
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        We are against the so called ‘reformists’ and ”modernists’, after Allah has revealed in His Holy Book, ‘This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. (Quran 5.3) – So that divine and eternal message is Final. – no more no less.
        /
        Prophet’s final message (last part of it, emphasis on completion of his mission on earth):
        /
        All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white; [none have superiority over another] except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.
        /
        Remember, one day you will appear before God and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
        /
        O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me, and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O people, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah, and if you follow these you will never go astray.
        /
        All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and it may be that the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people.”
        /
        Thus the beloved Prophet completed his Final Sermon, and upon it, near the summit of Mount Arafat.

        • 3
          1

          Marwan,

          The completed holy book, the Quran, was completed, during Prophet Mohamed’s time, but the written Quran, what we have today is the Uthmanic Codex, completed about 22 years later.

          The Uthmanic Codex, the current Quran has letters in the beginning of several chapters, such as Alif, Laam, Meem, Noon etc. Are they bored of Uthman, notes of the scribes or codes to indicate from which Version of the Quran it came from.

          Prophet Mohamed never got a chance to edit it. Some claim that Prophet Mohamed did not recite the Quran with those unknown letters. The Ulama claim that only God knows the meanings, as the Quran existed from eternity as a tablet .

          Mohamed Ibn Rushd aka Averroes claims that the Ulama are not the people of knowledge. Only Philosophers are.

          What is your take on those beginning letters, Alif, Laam, Meem, Noon etc?

      • 2
        3

        No one is against Islam or being Muslim but not this recently imported Gulf Arab Wahhabi Islamic aggressive , extremist Islamic culture, behaviour and dress forms now trying to be passed off as local Islamic culture. You are not Arabs or people of Arabic/Moorish descent . A little bit of Arab or other western Asian ancestry among a few hundred Muslim families does not make you or the Sri Lankan Muslims Arab . You are still ethnically Tamils who are Muslim by religion. Your Muslim culture and heritage is the Tamil Sufi Islam that you brought from your original South Indian homeland a few centuries ago and your dress and customs are Tamil Islamic not Arab or anything else. Just because you are Muslim does not mean that your culture , history , heritage, customs and dress forms have to be Arab. Arabs are only a minority among the Muslims. Most of the Muslims in the world originate from the Indian Subcontinent and Indonesia /Malaysia. Non of them identity themselves as Arabs or with Arabic culture just because they are Muslims nor do other non Arab Muslims. Only you South Indian Tamil origin Sri Lankan Muslims have this obsession to identify yourselves with the Arabs and Arabic culture , behaviour and dress forms all in he name of Islam and this is a very recent trend . This is causing a lot of disharmony in the island and is clashing with the island’s native Sinhalese Buddhist and Tamil Hindu cultures. Your native traditional Tamil Sufi culture , customs, dress forms never caused this culture but beautifully blended with these cultures and were part of this. This is what we object to.Got it not to Islam or being a Muslim but to being a pathetic carbon copy of a Gulf Arab , to extremist aggressive Arab forms of culture , dress form, behaviour , customs and Wahabbi/Salafist Islam.

        • 5
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          Dear SSS,

          You naughty boy, you don’t try to understand what we keep saying. WE ARE NOT ARABs NOR TAMILs. We’re simply MOORs, no BUT no IF.

          • 1
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            You are no bloody Moors or anything else . Moors are from North Africa. There is no history of Moors from North Africa , travelling for trading to any part of South or South East Asia. You people are pathetically clinging on the incorrect name the Portuguese gave ” Moors” . This name had nothing to do with your ethnicity but was a religious description. More than 90% of you are descended from low caste Tamil Hindus who converted to Islam to escape the Hindu caste system . The rest of the 10% is a mixture of Arab , Afghan , other but still of predominant Tamil ancestry. This is the truth. Check your DNA and there will be hardly any Arab. Moor or anything else but it will be more than 90% Dravidian Tamil DNA from South India and this has been proven.

        • 6
          1

          Siva Sankaran Sharma,

          “Gulf Arab Wahhabi Islamic aggressive , extremist Islamic culture, behaviour and dress forms now trying to be passed off as local Islamic culture”
          .
          Muslims should have learnt from Tamils, and did exactly what they did like this: Being imported slave laborers by the Dutch to work on tobacco farms from Tamil Nadu, they tricked their originality, and differentiated themselves from their Tamil Nadu brothers & sisters, and created an identity called ” Indigenous Tamils”.
          .
          But the best part is, all what it cost them was just pulling the tongue tip towards opposite side of Tamil Nadu tongue tips when pronouncing Tamil words that gave them a brand new accent, voila! Otherwise how? The same language, same literature, same culture, same arts, and the same looks & features…

          • 1
            2

            Fake Arab low caste convert from South India , or Sinhalese Buddhist Fascist ,repeating the same lies on and on and again and again will not make this the truth. There is enough and more evidence with regards to the ancient history and antiquity of the Sri Lankan Tamil population in the island. 90% of the names denoting to the island. . Serendib/Cheran Theevu. Taprobane/Thamaraparani, Ceylon/Sinhala/Chingkalam are of Tamil origin. The native language of the island Elu is a simple semi Tamil dialect. The ancient five Ishwarams and Kathirkamam and various other prehistoric Hindu shrines dotting the island , that Sinhalese Buddhist Fascists and fake Arab Wahhabis are trying to destroy in the name of Buddhism and Islam , are all proof of the antiquity of the Sri Lankan Tamil people in the island. The King who converted to Buddhism was a Tamil Naga. There is historical evidence of the Tamil Jaffna kingdom that ruled the north north west coast and Trincomalee north of the Mahaveli. The eastern Tamil Vannimmai chiefs ruled the rest of the east. It is they who gave these ungrateful Muslims refuge in the east not king Senarath. King Senarath only requested them to give refuge, as the Sinhalese did not want them., but refuge was given in Tamil lands. 99% of the Slave imports from South India during the Portuguese and Dutch era became Sinhalese and now they make up half the so called Sinhalese population. DNA proves this . Sri Lankan Tamils share 17% DNA with Indian Tamils , whereas Sinhalese share 70% DNA with Indian Tamils , proving who is descended from Indian Tamil invaders and immigrants. So called Sri Lankan Moors share more than 90% DNA with Indian Tamils but claim to be Moor/Arab

    • 3
      1

      The reforms suggested in this thought provoking article will not materialise as long as the current head of ACJU who is Wahabi leaning and reactionary and his cohorts continue to hold office in this, nor religious but a business oriented institution. This institution should have more intellectuals, technocrats and women’s representation in its board rather than Ulemas who can only read the Quran and interpret same, the way as had been taught by Wahabi elements called in Arabic and Quranic Schools. They do not want to see the reforms in many Arabic and North African countries which were known if not citadels of Quranic studies for centuries. The officials in ACJU are like frogs in the well and when crisis occur shove their heads under the sand and hope they will pass away or die away. These reactionary forces must be make way for reform minded intellectual and women to alleviate the sufferings of the poor, unfortunates, female children and exploited parents of marriageable women.

      • 2
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        Jumbo Mann,

        The Wahhabies and clones follow Satan, Iblis per prescient Hadith of Najd, that clearly show that the Wahhabis follow the Horn of Satan, Devil.

        Just Google the Hadith of Najd.The Wahhabies are the Followers of Satan. They submit to Satan .

  • 7
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    If Muslim women don’t like the oppressive rules of the MMDA, they should leave the religion and possibly convert to Buddhism. Such a situation is exactly what happened to low caste Tamilian Hindus who converted to Islam to escape the oppressive rules of Hinduism against low caste people.

  • 1
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    Clicking on Jambus’ name certainly brought results, and I hope I’ll be able to read it all, sometime.
    .
    For some people, the horrors of Easter 2019 may have made a huge difference, and certainly, we wish all that mayhem had not occurred.
    .
    However, we must be grateful that wise people like Dr Ameer Ali began agitating for change many years ago. I’m also glad that a number of us added our voices because it seemed the proper thing to do.
    .
    Let’s hope that ACJU and others realise that early, voluntary, and positive responses from them will be effective. The majority of us Sri Lankans want peaceful evolution to a more just and happy society. We have no desire to create problems for other sections of our society.

  • 3
    3

    Muslims in Sri Lanka should be very caerefull of “DECEPTIVE and HOODWINKING MUNAAFIQUE” Muslim politicians and ULEMA/ACJU. Being pushed to aside in politics by the National Political Party Leaders, these types of personalities are now trying to creep back to gain favours from political party leaders and the humble Muslim voters to acertain a position in “SOCIETY”.
    These are the Muslim guys who all presidential candidates should be alert and careful in dealing with. These guys have “NO” place in the Muslim community anymore, ALHAMDULILLAH. The Muslim Vote Bank has already begun to act on it’s own disregarding these “MUNAFIQUES” and signs of changes in the voting paterns of the Muslim Vote bank is already taking place, especially among the learned and youth generations, Insha Allah. “THE MUSLIM VOICE FULLY ENDORSES THAT THERE IS A NEED FOR CHANGE MAN MADE SECTIONS “MUSLIM MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE ACT (MMDA)”. Not only the changes in the MMDA that meets the consensus of the general Muslim community in Sri Lanka, within the religion of Islam, “CHANGES” in the ACJU is also an URGENT need today, and the ACJU has to be asked to keep away from “POLITICS”. THE ACJU MINGLING IN DIRTY POLITICS, IS FORCING ADVICE ON PM RANIL WICKREMESINGHE THESE DAYS TO WITHDRAW THE MMDA AMENDED LAWS WHICH HAD BEEN BROUGHT TO AN ACCEPTABLE “CLOSE” BY THE CONCERNED MUSLIMS AND LEGAL EXPETRTS ON SHARIAH LAW. The ACJU has to “STOP” this nonsense once and for all. Let the ACJU put it’s house in oeder from now, Insha Allah.
    The ACJU received a large block of land in Colombo 12 from former President Mahinda Rajapaksa when they were politically flirting with the UPFA/SLFP government and no one knows what happened to this block of state land that the ACJU got from Mahinda.

  • 2
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    It is time the ACJU included moderates and women. These officials who keep pushing for Saudi Arabian style Islam, is not suitable for Sri Lankan Muslims, and they deserve better than that. Oppressive laws and rules do not belong in a multi religious nation, and women especially should be given the benefit of the same laws as the other women in this country. The leaders of this country must make sure that they take care of the interests of the Muslim women, give them equal rights, and empower them, so that they can take care of themselves, when their husband ditches them. They should also make sure that little girls are protected and not given in marriage when they are still playing with their dolls. Raise the age limit to equal the other women in the country.

  • 2
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    After almost a decade of investigation and consultation with different groups and individuals including Muslim women, JSM came out with a set of recommendations/////

    Is this set of recommendation satisfactory. when people set up there will be loop holes. Because every marriage and divorce has different stories . you cannot impose rule like traffic lights every on follow one rule.
    With one rule still traffic jam happens. Divorce after 30 yrs, 50, 80 yrs all have different stories.

  • 3
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    Dear Doc. Ali,

    Thanks for your suggestion. From now onwards I’m going to use the word ACJM instead of ACJU and encourage my circle to do the same. They not only diminish the meaning of the word “Ulema” by their approaches to the issues that community faces, but also adamant not excepting that they are not learned to be called ” Ulema” .

  • 2
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    A A
    Sensible commentary and well written.
    Sadly the SL Muslim Community has been influenced significantly politically by the ACJU and continues to be influenced. The ACJU is a political entity and is a self-proclaimed religious hack propagating a desert culture disguised as Islamic in cahoots with ill-informed and opportunistic local politicians.
    Fortunately, Justice Marsoof has made significant recommendations in his long due report to help the SL Muslim women although gerrymandering by vested groups continues. It’s time that the MMDA is significantly changed inline with Justice Marsoof’s suggestions.

  • 0
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    While the author is advocating an aspect of change in the Islamic society in Sri Lanka, may things are taking place that alienates that society from the rest in Sri Lanka. One such issue is the marriageable age. The Dutch-British rule recognized that a man or woman having attained puberty is eligible for marriage, taking into account the practices that prevailed before. Modern Sri Lanka, raised that age to 18 considering the health and welfare, especially that of the girl. But the Islamic society here, represented by very conservative thinkers portray that such a move to raise the marriageable age is against Islam. In fact an Islamic scholar told me that the religion requires that a person must attain puberty to marry. In other words there is a prohibition for children who have not attained that age to marry. We all know the ill effects in general of these child marriages although there can be exceptions where it is a success story. So why not the Islamic society follow the general law of this country instead of seeking exception? There are many instances to talk of but I would confine this comment to the marriageable age. Though a tolerant society as a whole in a given country would respect religious beliefs of various parts of the population, such parts of the society should not alienate it self from the rest in the name of religious beliefs to look fanatic cum fundamentalist and make such tolerances ridiculous. The result is disharmony in society in general finally resulting in violence.

  • 2
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    Brother Ameer Ali has misunderstood the marriage in Islam. It is a command by Allah and sunnah of the prophet. It is not merely a social institution. Rather more important religious obligation.
    May Allah grant him understanding of Islam.

  • 2
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    Ameer Ali, sir have you learnt Arabic language? Are you an expert on Arabic language? How many hadees books have you read? How much knowledge do you have about Islam overall? How many tafsirs of Qur’an have you read? Can you do what an Islamic scholar does? This is the same for those Muslim women reformists. Changes are required to MMDA but that should be done by qualified people.

    • 2
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      Gays and Nakeeb,

      The Qualified people in Islam are the Philosophers, and not the Ulama and Theologians, per one of the greatest Islamic scholars, Mohamed Ibn Rushd, in the 12 th Century.

      The ACJU Ulama are like frogs in the well. Have they heard the Prescient Hadith of Najd, given in Bukhari and Muslim, that says that the Wahhabis follow Satan.

  • 0
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    Ameer Ali

    “The name ulama is the plural for alim, which simply means a learned person.”

    How would you define or describe a “learned person.”? Bear in mind that the word “Alim” is an Arabic word and I understand that Arabic is not an easy language to translate and more so with the Qur’anic Arabic.

    I don’t expect you to reply my question as that is NOT your style. You probably think that you are a know-all and that others must accept everything you write WITHOUT Question. Anyone who dares to question you can go to Hell, for all you care.

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      Muhandiram,

      ““Alim” is an Arabic word and I understand that Arabic is not an easy language to translate and more so with the Qur’anic Arabic.”

      Alim, singular, in Arabic meaning: ” Intelligent, Educated and Intellectual”.

      ACJU are misusing the term. Alim and Ulama. They are not Intelligent, Educated and Intellectual, and wise.

      However, according to one of the greatest Islamic scholars, Judge ,Jurist and Philosopher, Mohamed Ibn Rushd, who lived in 12th Century Spain, the Alims, Ulama are NOT the people of knowledge only philosophers are,. How can one expect the Sri Lankan Mullahs, Moulavis and Lebbes to be Intelligent, Educated, Intellectual and people of knowledge?

      If you claim the ACJU Ulama to be people of knowledge, ask them if the Earth is Flat, if the Sun goes around the Earth, he Sun sets in muddy murky waters, and if man came from Adam , and not by evolution. Ask them how many chromosomes they have, 46 or 48, and how come their chromosome #2, was formed by the fusion of two primate chromosomes.

      Also ask the Ulama, the meaning of the letter at the beginning of some Quranic chapters such as Alif, Laam, Meem, Noon etc.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadith_of_Najd

      Per prescient Hadith of Najd, only those who fallow Satan, Wahhabis and clones will go to Hell.

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        Amarasiri

        Trying to help Ameer Ali? My question to him was about his translation of the word “Alim” – “learned person”. You are coming out with more words and I don’t want to get involved in an argument with you.

        As I indicated earlier, Ameer Ali NEVER responds to questions or comments and I will be surprised if he replies me. But, I wouldn’t put it beyond him to use this to write another article or hide his reply in one of his future articles.

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    Dear Marwan and Nakeeb,

    No one is suggesting to reform or correct the Holy Qur-an, but what we are suggesting is to reform the MMDA, which is neither Qur-an nor totally Islamic. The MMDA is merely a code of customary practices prevailed during the Dutch and English colonial period in the coastal area of Sri Lanka with heavy traditional impact of Tamila Nadu along with some basic Islamic principles.

    Marriage in Islam is simply a contract between a man and a woman, who have capacity to conclude such a (private) contract and it’s not sacrament.

    Islam is a way of life which keeps the door open to reforms reflecting the time and age. If we are not prepared to reform/progress in a right way then there is no meaning to be Muslims.

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      Thanks Nadvi,
      My point is that the reform should be proposed by people with Eeman and Yaqeen ( faith and fear of Allah). Not by any Tom Dick and Harry who supports the Western concept of liberalism in social life.

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    Dear Muhandiram,

    You say, “,…Arabic is not an easy language to translate and more so with the Qur’anic Arabic”. But God says, ” We have made this Qur an easy for you to understand and reflect upon it” .

    If the Qur-an is not understandable then what is the big idea of the God to reveal it to the mankind? Wake up Muhandiram.

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      Ahmad Nadvi

      I was referring to TRANSLATION of Arabic into other languages and NOT understanding Arabic language. Of course, it is easy for Arabs to understand just as it is for any language for native speakers. I hope that clarifies the matter

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    If sombody wanted to know the meaning of Quran it better to read the Tafseers. Thripitakaya was written after 500 year or after 5 generation from the demise of Lord Buddha. Therefore 22 year is not a big issue. Let us discuss the matters relevant to the subject. MMDA is not a property of ACJU or the MPs. It is with the life of Muslims in Sri Lanka. Please do not drag any more and both parties in conflict come together and come to a consensus or loose everything and go to general practice of law like other communities. Do we want get this done?. So called Mullas and other need to think where they can come to a consensus today. Not tomorrow.

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    We can’t read and understand Quarn leave alone interpret it. All we can see from outside is either ACJU is interpreting in correctly OR those who demanding reform are interpring it correctly. There is also the possibility that both parties are interpreting it incorrectly or may be Wahabis are interpreting it correctly. We don’t know.
    It looks like Quran is not a clear, self consistent document.
    Business of the government is to protect our life and limb from all these groups.

    Soma

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