All mosques belong to Allah and no individual or organisation can give it away: Zafaryab Jilani, Owaisi
Maulana Kalbe Sadiq. Photo credit: Times of India
Two days ago Shia leaders and activists from Mumbai condemned the Shia Central Waqf Board for submitting an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that rebuilding the Babri Mosque some distance away from the disputed site was acceptable to it. Now senior Shia cleric, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq on Sunday has said Indian Muslims will have much to gain if following a Supreme Court verdict in their favour, they voluntarily handed over the Babri Masjid site to Hindus.
Slamming Wasim Rizvi, chairperson of the Shia Central Waqf Board presented little difficulty to many Shias as Rizvi is widely perceived to be an “opportunist” who is close to the BJP. With Maulana Sadiq, however, it is a different matter. A sober, highly respected person, he is also the vice-president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, a body which all along has stuck to the once-a-mosque-always-a-mosque standpoint.
Maulana Sadiq’s comments were made in the course of his speech at the inter-faith World Peace and Harmony conclave in Mumbai on Sunday. Anticipating a hostile Muslim response to his suggestion, he reasoned that if the Supreme Court judgment was not in favour of Muslims they should gracefully accept the decision of the highest court in the land. If however, the verdict was in their favour Muslims should voluntarily surrender their claim and hand over the disputed land to Hindus.
By giving away one thing that is precious, one often stands to gain in thousands, he reasoned. "I would rather urge the community to give away the disputed land to Hindus whose feelings are so deeply attached to the place."
But the maulana’s suggestion found no favour from the convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, Zafaryab Jilani who told The Times of India: "The AIMPLB, which is an umbrella organization of various Muslim bodies in the country, maintains its stand that land of a mosque cannot be given, gifted, donated or sold or exchanged. The same holds true for Babri Masjid as well. We all in the AIMPLB, including board's vice-president Maulana Sadiq, are bound by that decision. I wonder how and why he said this. It appears to be his personal opinion."
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said Allah is the rightful owner of a mosque and therefore no individual or organization has the right to give it away. "Masjids can be managed by Shia, Sunni, Barelvi, Sufi, Deobandi, Salafi, Bohri but they are not the owners. Allah is the owner," tweeted the Hyderabad MP in an obvious reaction to Shia Waqf Board's latest stand.
Meanwhile, the BJP was quick to welcome the statement of Maulana Sadiq. "Maulana Sahab (Sadiq) has won our hearts. Lord Ram is neither of Hindus nor of Muslims. He is soul of India," said Union Minister Harsh Vardhan, who spoke after the cleric at the event.
In a 30-page affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on August 8, the Shia Waqf Board had asserted that the Babri Masjid site was its property and only it was entitled to hold negotiations for an amicable settlement of the dispute. The affidavit further stated that a mosque can be constructed at a place near birth place of Lord Ram.
For Maulana Sadiq apparently the issue is not who – Sunni or Shia – has the rightful claim to the Babri Masjid property but the fact that the place is dear to the hearts of Hindus and therefore it should be given away as a goodwill gesture.