By Asma Anjum Khan
Fatwa is just an opinion but when an out of work, publicity hungry Barelvi Mulla, on a rather empty Friday afternoon, decides to work, what does he do? He issues a fatwa against A. R. Rahman, the blue eyed boy of the Indian music. You won’t find any fatwa against abusive husbands, against those who make little children work in their businesses for long hours or against the corrupt educators minting money through education or those who made merry, despite seeing their people going through pogroms.
Not sure about their rate card now as it was years ago when I had got a 21 rupee fatwaesque opinion against my grandpa for forcibly feeding me fish curry. But I tell you if they go for Honey Singh, they have all my support. At the protest march, I am even ready to shout slogans and burn candles absolutely free.
This Fatwagiri business is as old as you can guess. Few years ago in Moradabad some Deobandis had read the funeral prayer of a Barelvi. Naturally they had to be declared infidels. What’s more it was not the common daily prayer but the funeral prayer!
They were asked to renew their faith and marriage licenses as well.
But my poor Ghafoor uncle, who has been hallucinating since the beef ban, had already reached Moradabad.
Hereby I declare you (re)-marry. A fatwa was announced.
He was mumbling. You hear it in awkward silence.
[No, I won’t ask if you were secretly happy about it.]
He held forth and I had no option but to hear.
So ladies and gentlemen, the people of Moradabad once had such good luck. They were told their marriages had become invalid as the imam of the prayer was not from their group.
I really don’t understand people’s nitpicking of this issue. What the hell if they were told to re-tie their nuptial knots? What the hell if they were made to re-assert their marital woes, sorry, vows?
On the other hand, think it this way. How wonderful it must have felt to all those ‘nikah-tod’ couples. A new marriage on the cards! That too all unexpectedly and what’s more the insistence on it! Aah, I can see that blushing pink glow, that lovely sparkle on those Barelvi visages! Sigh…what a sight it must have made! Henna colored beards of Deobandis and Barelvis [note the one similarity: both color their beards with henna. Period.] And, oh, yes…that intoxicating thought of a new beginning after years and years of the same stale fare. Aah, the agonies of a new love…err…marriage.
[Aah the pain…? Who said that?] Oh…the ecstasy and the culmination!
Sigh…why was I not born in Moradabad? O, Cruel fate…thou art treacherous! Ghafoor uncle was unstoppable.
I really don’t get why people make such a hullaballoo of a simple straightforward fatwa, which was issued for the benefit of some already groomed brides and their bridegrooms. In one shot their marriages went outta window…Vrroom…vroom and in a split second brought back too! What is a Moulvi, who doesn’t have a solution for his own fatwa?
Poison that kills poison!
Why don’t people see the positive side of this tragi-comic issue? Thank your stars [metaphorically, of course]. Please, take care, Barelvis that you don’t thank Deobandi stars, by mistake or else, the stars may have to be declared unlawful and might burst into meteoric showers. The divine wrath, you know! Also thank your respective stars, for your issues were not declared illegitimate and your marital affairs [so far], illicit. This habit of Teeka tippanni at the drop of a Fatwa is surely too much to bear and grin about. This does not behove you guys. Can you imagine the huge gains for the Moulvi clan for performing the new ceremonial nikah? Should we not think about them, whose beard, bread and butter [less beard and more bread and butter] depends upon such feats? Why deprive their beards of butter when all they get to eat is the bread and not even one soul to console them asking, how do you guys eat only bread if you have beards?
Beards and breads, I am getting tired of this mismatch all the time.
Now may I hope sincerely for no fatwa on this word, ‘guys’? Some sharp analytical-minded Moulvi may decode it differently and replace the alphabet, ‘u’ with alphabet ‘a’ and all hell might break loose! Did someone just say Astaghfirullah or Lahola wila? …Oh… [The Barelvis go mostly with the second and the Deobandis with the first, according to the PEW research centre]. Some years ago a few Muslims had gathered in Bengaluru demanding a ban on Dante’s The Divine Comedy, penned 700 years ago. Don’t call them Johnnies come lately; the rightest time is when they decide to do it. May Allah keep all the Fatwa gUys safe, Amen.
People should also keep in mind the ‘benefits’ of a Fatwa. Have you given a thought to the aspect of Dawat feasting during these ventures? Try to imagine those plates full of qormaas, kebabs and, of course, biryanis. [Which Muslim can imagine a feast without the quintessential biryani? Show him to me and I will issue a fatwa!] I don’t understand why you people have got no appropriate concern for an intensely meaningful situation like this? Why does it seem pointless to you?
Coming back to the original issue of sectarianism, do you know of any fatwa prohibiting selling and buying from Deoos or Barells? May I rent my home to a person from a different sect? May I make friends with a Deoo or Barell? May I eat goodies prepared by them? May I donate blood to a Salafi or may I have Barelvi blood in my veins, if I meet with an accident?
Our, “Us vs Them” is stronger than George Bush’s.
Despite all our differences, I soo luvv the Barelvi jalebis and Deobandi malpuas. Now the problem is to find out the guy who sold them both the oil; was he a Salafi or a Tableeghi? Because if he was a Tableeghi, then the oil might go rancid; in case, he was a Selfie Salafi, the oil would go into burping hot vapors, getting ignited in no time!
Shia, Sunni, Salafi, Tableeghi, Deobandi, Barelvi, Hanafi, Shafai, and differences among them – these are our own Weapons of Mass Destruction. Move away, O, you Bushes, Tonies, Obamas and Netanyahus, or our very own homely homemade fundos. The fire is found within us, burning the Ummah bushes down to crispy cinders.
While I was talking to you, my Ghafoor uncle has been informed by my Grandpa that the re-tying of the knot has to be done with the same former spouse; his own wife, who is [or was?] already his wife.
Feeling dejected, he starts humming, Why this Fatwagiri-Di!
While Ghalib uncle hummed and hummed:
Rahiye abb aisi jagah chal kar jahan Fatwa na ho!
Asma Anjum Khan teaches English, dreams a lot and talks more than a lot. Read her at your own risk.
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