A Muslim graveyard in the heart of Mumbai has broken with Islamic tradition and refused to bury the bodies of nine terrorists who were killed during the attack on India’s financial capital.
Normally with these kind of atrocities we get the same faces in the West, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, condemning the attacks, but the rest of the Muslim world is usually strangely silent.
It is gratifying to see these people standing up to be counted. The gunmen may claim that they are representing people like Jama Masjid Trust, but the Trust is making it abundantly clear that it is not.
“People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim. Islam does not permit this sort of barbaric crime.”
It is statements such as this that need to be made more often by influential Muslim leaders. Instead the term martyr is usually bandied around, with high ranking religious leaders keeping silent.
The Jama Masjid Trust has made it clear that the men are not Muslims, and I don’t think that there can be any clearer condemnation than that. It will be interesting to see how this pans out though, as some other Muslims groups are already complaining about it.
Islamic scholar Maulauna Zubair Ahmed said:
“As per the Sharia, the trust cannot say no. The Sharia says whether a Muslim is a drunkard, rapist, criminal, you must offer him a place for burial.”
But this is where the Trust have a point, they are stating that the men in question are not Muslim, not that they will not bury them there. Whatever religion these men thought that they were practising is surely not Islam.
Hopefully the other graveyards in the city will back them up and the bodies will either be incinerated or dumped in an unmarked grave somewhere.
The problem with Islam is that there is no one voice or group dedicated to interpreting the Qu’ran. There is no Pope or Arch Bishop of Canterbury, therefore no one to correct the extremists and terrorists. The Qu’ran itself is wide open to interpretation, and with no one to correct them, these extremists are quite literally able to say and do as they wish, and still claim they are following the Qu’ran.
It almost seems a competition amongst some scholars as to who can follow the most literal interpretation of Islam. I think that Turkey has the right idea, they have set up a council of scholars to re-interpret the hadith for the modern age and remove many that no longer apply.
The argument is that Islamic tradition has been gradually hijacked by various – often conservative – cultures, seeking to use the religion for various forms of social control.
It is a shame that other Muslim countries do not follow the Turkish example and bring Islam into the modern age.