Uttar Pradesh BJP MLC Bukkal Nawab has been ‘expelled’ from Islam for worshiping Lord Hanuman. According to Maulana Saalim Ashraf Qasmi, head of Madrasa Darul Uloom Ashrafia, Nawab deserved to be thrown out of the community for engaging in Idol Worship. He said, “Islam forbids idol worship. Any Muslim paying obeisance to any other God other than Allah ceases to remain a Muslim. It is not an Islamic act and such a person should be thrown out of the Islam and Muslim community.” He went on to add, “He will be welcomed back to Islam after he purifies himself by offering an apology to Allah and reading the Kalma thrice.”
Bukkal Nawab, a former Samajwadi Party MP, said that he wasn’t bothered by the remarks made against him, despite being expelled from Islam. Earlier, he had advocated for the construction of the Bhavya Ram Mandir at Ram Janambhoomi. He has stated that besides being a Muslim, he is also a devout Bhakt of Lord Hanuman. The words of the Maulana are obviously consistent with the core tenets of his religion. Tolerance and harmony is after all a two-way street.
The constant tirade by religious fundamentalists of green hue against simple exhibits of mutual coexistence and appreciation for the beliefs and faith of others has constantly proven to be detrimental towards the relationship between the two communities. While it is generally observed that spiritual leaders generally exalt the oneness of all faith, religious leaders of one particular community have perennially refrained from engaging in such mutual acts of piety.Sections of the political spectrum who are constantly on the prowl for an opportunity to attack the Hindu community for its alleged intolerance are conspicuously maintaining silence over this particular incident.
Of course, none of this surprises any of us as the hallmark of Indian secularism is the persistent appeasement and tolerance for the intolerant bits of the beliefs of the minority community at the expense of the majority. We remember the manner in which the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, was attacked for emphasizing his Hindu identity and asserting that he shall not participate in the celebration of Eid as he is a Hindu. If we compare the reaction of the secular brigade over Yogi Adityanath’s remarks and the ex-communication of a BJP MLC from Islam, the reaction appears to be appallingly muted.The incident goes on to show that although there is a certain percentage of people from the minority community who have no problem with celebrating Hindu festivals and even engaging in worship of Hindu Gods as a mark of respect for the beliefs of the majority community, it is the fundamentalist Maulanas and the Maulvis and the great sway they hold over the community that often hinders the peaceful coexistence between the two communities.
A Muslim man getting expelled from the Islamic community for merely worshiping Lord Hanuman in good faith only goes on to show that fundamentalist clerics still hold an overwhelming influence over the minority community. Bukkal Nawab is not the only victim of such diktats. A fatwa was issued against BJP Minister Mohsin Raza as well for offering prayers at a Hanuman Temple. And former Union Minister Salman Khurshid was expelled from Islam as well after he was spotted offering prayers to a Hindu God.