Asaduddin Owaisi: ‘Offering prayers in masjid being built in Ayodhya is haram’

Published : January 28, 2021 16:17 IST

Asaduddin Owaisi, president of the AIMIM. Photo: ASHOK R.

Asaduddin Owaisi, president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), stirred yet another controversy on January 27 when he stated that offering namaz (prayers) at the place of worship now being built at Ayodhya was haram (forbidden). The Hyderabad Member of Parliament also went on to state that that place of worship should not be called a masjid, nor should people donate money for its construction.

In a conversation with Frontline from his Hyderabad home, Owaisi claimed that the masjid at Ayodhya “was being constructed by hypocrites and was a refuge for hypocrites”. The members of his community who were trying to popularise the construction were in his words “playing a game” and “selling their souls”. Said Owaisi: “In my estimate more than 90 per cent of the Muslim community is not for the construction of a masjid there. They will not even look at that so called masjid, forget praying there. It is not only un-Islamic, but also goes against our self-respect. They [the Narendra Modi government] are showing to the world that they have given us five acres of land. But in lieu of what? A mosque that was criminally demolished, and for which act no one has so far been punished? I fail to understand by what loci standi these jokers are accepting the five acres of land.”

Owaisi averred that he had taken the canonical opinions of Muftis and Islamic experts: “I have consulted with both executive committee members of the All India Muslim Personnel Law Board (AIMPLB), of which I am a member, and also with Muftis and even ulema (Islamic experts) who are well versed with Islamic jurisprudence, and even represent different schools of thought, and all of them are categorical that namaz cannot be offered in that so-called Masjid. Zafaryab Jilani, who was the convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee and is also a member of the executive committee of the AIMPLB, has clearly stated that I had raised the issue. So it is not that I am raising any new controversy. These are only facts.”

He drew a parallel with what is written in verse 107 in the ninth Chapter of the Quran, the Surah At-Tawbah, which states: “And [there are] those [hypocrites] who took for themselves a mosque for causing harm and disbelief and division among the believers and as a station for whoever had warred against Allah and His Messenger before. And they will surely swear, ‘We intended only the best.’ And Allah testifies that indeed they are liars.”

Repeating his stand that no donations should be given for the construction of a Masjid on that five acres of ‘gifted’ land, Owaisi raised yet another controversy by pointing to reports that Indresh Kumar, the patron of the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh’s Muslim affiliate, was donating money for the masjid’s construction. “It is an accepted practice throughout the world that no non-Muslim can donate money for the construction of a Masjid.”

Asked whether it would not be better to lie low and accept the Supreme Court’s verdict of November 2019 in the interest of ending the festering dispute, Owaisi said there was “no more place for members of the Muslim community to lie low. Yes we accept the Supreme Court’s verdict. But how much further into the abyss do you expect Muslims to go?”

‘Other masjids under threat’

Added the AIMIM leader: “You build whatever you want at the site where the Babri Masjid once stood. But to me and millions of Muslims like me that will always remain a land where there was a Masjid. We can never forget the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, by the Sangh Parivar. And we will tell this to our children. In fact, the November 2019 judgment of the Supreme Court has opened more doors, created more problems. Not solved anything. The Kashi and Mathura controversies are not ending, like many said it would once the Babri Masjid controversy was settled. Other masjids are under threat. In many States, Imams have complained to me that they are not even being allowed to renovate their mosques. Forget building new masjids and mosques.”

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