Cow slaughter on Id by Muslims is the issue that has been agitating Hindus for decades. But it has never been opposed by Muslim intellectuals leading to deepening conflicts between Hindus and Muslims.
The recent fatwa issued by the Darul Uloom, Deoband urging Muslims to “desist from sacrificing cow on Id in the States where it is banned,” has developed the hope that the longstanding contentious issues between Hindus and Muslims can be resolved amicably.
Leaders of both the communities have, however, widely welcomed the step of the Deoband School of Islamic theology; they feel it would have been more appropriate if the fatwa had covered all the States and Union Territories of the country.
The impact of the fatwa is yet to be seen. The VHP General Secretary, Dr Pravin Togadia has appreciated the step of the Muslim community stating that ?such a bold step has not been taken during the last one thousand years?. “It is good that Muslims have at least accepted the significance of the cow for Hindus and have started taking concrete steps to stop cow slaughter. We hope the Darul Uloom will also ensure that the Muslim masses respond to the fatva positively and no cow is slaughter on Id.
The fatwa is a good beginning and this type of approach can resolve other pending disputes between both the communities, – said the senior Vice-President of VHP, Acharya Gririraj Kishore.
However, Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri mosque of Delhi, Dr Mufti Mohammad Mukarrm Ahmed, does not feel the need of any such fatwa. He termed it “just a formality”. He says after Independence Muslims have themselves discouraged cow slaughter and today it was not been in practice in the country. “There may be some people who indulge in cow slaughter, we ourselves discourage and stop them. We also want peace and communal harmony in the country. Since 1971, the day I took over as Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri Mosque in Delhi, I always advised Muslims to keep in mind the sentiments of Hindus and not to indulge in any activity that hurt their sentiments. I think no Muslim should adopt rigid attitude on this issue. Undoubtedly, cow has religious importance for Hindus and their sentiments should not be hurt,” he said.
Shahin Khan, social activist and a teacher in Delhi Government school, feels the need to propagate the fatwa more in rural areas where people due to lack of education usually indulge in cow slaughter. “The Hikamt dictates us that the milk of cow is useful for health and the beef is harmful as well as causes various diseases. Most of the educated Muslims are aware of this fact and they usually avoid it. Islam teaches respect for others? sentiments. If Hindus regard and worship the cow as mother, it becomes the duty of every Muslim to respect their sentiments,” she said advising Muslims to perform qurbani away from the locality where the non-Muslims are in majority. It will bring both the communities closer, she added.
Veteran Islamic scholar and director Islamic Centre, New Delhi, Maulana Wahiddudin Khan described the fatwa as “useless and irrelevant”. He said it is incomplete and will have no effect. “Cow slaughter is not compulsory in Islam. It has already banned it by teaching its followers not to indulge in any act that hurts the sentiments of their neighbours. If anyone is found indulging in any such practice anywhere in the country, he should be condemned unitedly. We need to maintain cordial relations with the communities with whom we have to live.
The Samajwadi Party MP and editor, Nai Dunia, Shahid Siddiqui, said Muslim society, as a whole was certainly not in favour of cow slaughter. Even those who are found indulging in such practices are opposed by the society itself. He claimed that it was not for the first time that the Darul Uloom, Deoband issued a fatwa to discourage cow slaughter on Id.
“It has been issuing such fatwas every year since 1947. Posters are pasted on mosques and other important places by the Darul Uloom every year requesting Muslims not to kill cow on Id as the matter is directly linked with the religious sentiments of Hindus. This year it is the media that has made it an issue,” he said.
All India Muslim Personal Law Board member and a Chartered Accountant by profession, Kamal Farooqui, describes the fatwa as – a good move on the part of Darul Uloom to win the confidence of Hindus. He said Muslims should not slaughter the cow not only in the states where it is banned, but also in other parts of the country. “If cow slaughter is legally banned all over the country by the Central Government, Muslims will not oppose it. Central legislation in Parliament seeking ban on cow slaughter has not been postponed because of Muslims but due to several social and economical compulsions,” he said.
Vice-Chairman of the National Minority Commission, Dr M. S. Usmani, feels that the fatwa should have covered all the states and Union Territories of the country. “The spirit of this fatwa should be voluntarily accepted by all Muslims even in the areas where cow slaughter is not banned. It will help in achieving communal harmony in all parts of the country.
Muslims today need to take a pledge to respect the fatwa and willfully refrain from cow slaughter. Such a gesture from Muslims is need of the hour for strengthening brotherly, harmonious and cordial relations between Hindus and Muslims and also to resolve many other contentious issues through dialogue.
The leaders of majority community should also reciprocate such gestures,” he said pointing out that several Muslim rulers in different parts of the country, particularly in J&K, had banned cow slaughter realizing that sentiments of Hindus are adversely affected by it. However, this ban was lifted after the British Government.
The Muslim League also in its annual session in 1919 at Amritsar had unanimously passed a resolution pledging not to slaughter cow. The proposal was brought by its president Masih-ul-Mulk Ajamal Khan. This resolution was widely appreciated by Gandhiji in the Young India on January 5, 1920, he said.