With the disturbing media report of Islamic State (ISIS) calling upon youths to launch jihadist attacks on Christians and “non-Muslims” during Christmas and the same global terrorist outfit openly calling for the destruction of idols of Hindu deities in India, it is essential for the Indian authorities to immediately launch extended intelligence surveillance and actions on jihadist operatives in the country while outlawing Tablighi Jamaat, which is being used as a convenient vessel of jihadist recruitment by a number of radical Islamic militancy groups such as Al-Qaeda, Islamic State etc. It may be mentioned here that most counterterrorism experts have branded Tablighi Jamaat as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
According to reports, the latest cover of the Voice of Hind magazine, a mouthpiece of the Islamic jihad terrorist organisation, has recently surfaced online; from the looks of it, it does not augur well for India. The now-viral cover features the 123-feet-tall idol of Hindu deity Shiva installed at a temple in Murudeshwara, Karnataka. It is a major pilgrimage destination and a tourist attraction in South India. The iconic idol was digitally torn down and beheaded in true ISIS-style; the black ISIS flag was planted at the apex, and the message “It is Time to Break the False Gods” was written underneath.
The cover raises serious security concerns. India is surrounded by Muslim neighbours and has numerous jihadi elements within it; they could team up to take down one of the largest secular democracies of the region.
Voice of Hind, a joint venture by the pro-ISIS media outlet Al-Qitaal Media Center and Junudul Khilafah al-Hind, can be defined as an India-centric online propaganda magazine. Launched in February 2020, it has been a regular menace, with a strong and obvious hatred for India. It canonises the jihad terrorists of the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISIS-K, or ISKP) and has made a saint of Pakistani national Huzaifa-al-Bakistani, who was a key recruiter for the Islamic State and was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan in 2019.
In its previous editions, the magazine wrote extensively about attacks on the Indian security forces, sought revenge for the 2020 anti-Hindu Delhi riots, and elaborated on how to make most of the pandemic situation by attacking India when the country of 1.3 billion was at its weakest.
The Ghazwa-e-Hind notoriety
For the last several years, the notorious agenda of Ghazwa-e-Hind has been on the rise, especially within Wes Bengal in India, where the ruling
Trinamool Congress party is accused of maintaining deeper ties with a number of jihadist outfits, including Hizbul Mujahideen.
There is a phrase that Pakistani militant leaders have used against India for decades – Ghazwa-e-Hind or a holy raid of India. Ghazwa in Arabic implies a war that is guided by faith rather than materialistic or territorial gains and is widely attributed to an Islamic concept derived from the hadiths — a set of sayings by Prophet Mohammad. The phrase is used to refer to Muslim warriors conquering the Indian subcontinent.
Both radical Islamists in Pakistan and jihad-confronters have propagated this meaning. It is also frequently used as a trope to put devout Indian Muslims on the defensive. Their loyalty is questioned – will they put religion first or India?
Now, ‘Ghazwa-e-Hind’ has made a noisy return among scholars, security analysts and rabble-rousers, especially after the Narendra Modi government’s action on Article 370 and Pakistan’s isolation in the international theatre.
But what has gone largely unnoticed is that the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, a leading body of Muslims in India, has already called out the error in this popular interpretation. The group has supported the government’s decision on Kashmir.
Maulana Mufti Salman Mansoorpuri, a Jamiat scholar, insisted late last year that Pakistan has been erroneously and mischievously linking the term to their rift with India. Mahmood Madani revealed this at an Observer Research Foundation (ORF) conference last month, sparking renewed interest in the theological interpretation of the phrase.
In a video posted on Facebook on August 31 by Zaid Hamid of Pakistan, a radical who fancies himself as a security analyst, said: “We are entering Ghazwa-e-Hind, the war which Prophet Muhammad prophesied.” The video shows him brandishing a Kalashnikov as if ready to march off to the “Great War between believers and non-believers”.
Deoband Opposes Saudi Arabia’s Stricture
On December 6, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Saudi Arabia issued an order asking its Maulanas to preach about the dangers of Tablighi Jamaat, calling it the first door to terrorism.
One of the most influential Islamic seminaries, Darul Uloom Deoband, issued a statement on December 12 criticising Saudi Arabia's decision, saying that linking Tablighi Jamaat with bidat (religious invention) and terrorism is baseless. It asked Saudi Arabia to review the ban. Darul Uloom Deoband Vice-Chancellor Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani said the Saudi stricture was wrong as the Tablighi Jamaat was only working for the well-being of the Muslim society and improving the religious observance. He added that they're doing it very successfully.
Syed Sadatullah Husaini, president of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said the stricture by the Saudi authorities against the Tablighi Jamaat was un-Islamic.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had asked all Imams to preach about the dangers the Tablighi Jamaat poses to society. It had explicitly mentioned that any association with the Tablighi Jamaat is prohibited in the Kingdom.
The order issued by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs said, “his Excellency the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Abdullateef Al-Sheikh, the preachers of mosques in which Friday prayers are held, are instructed to dedicate the next Friday sermon 6/5/1443 AH to warn against (the Tablighi and Da'wah group)."
It said, the preachers are directed to talk about four major points about the group:
The Ministry explicitly mentioned that association with the Tablighi Jamaat opens "the gates of terrorism". In March last year (2020), when the Union government announced lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19, hundreds of Tablighi members were detained from a mosque in Nizamuddin. It included many foreign members of the Jamaat. The last batch of the foreign members of the Tablighi Jamaat, who were serving their sentences for flouting Covid-19 norms, left the country on December 10.
The Tablighi Jamaat is “a conduit and a fertile recruiting ground for jihadi organisations such as Al-Qaeda and Lashkar-i-Taiba,” the Milli Chronicle quoted political analyst Shireen Khan Burki. Islamists in India and abroad defend Tablighi Jamaat, claiming it only asks its followers to stick to Islam's “true teachings”.
He then added: “After what Narendra Modi and the infidels of India have done to Kashmir, no one should have any doubt that in the coming times. The final battle of the Ghazwa-e-Hind will soon be fought between Muslims and infidels.”
Zaid Hamid may be from the fringe, but over 13 lakh viewers have watched his video. More mainstream Pakistani individuals like minister of state for parliamentary affairs Ali Muhammad Khan made a reference to Ghazwa-e-Hind while speaking in parliament and thundered: “Pakistan didn’t make an atom bomb for fun and games [khel tamasha]. We will show you if it becomes necessary.”
Pakistan-based terror groups, notably Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), have been using Ghazwa-e-Hind as a Hadith to recruit, fund and justify its audacious terror strikes as a religious holy war against India. The Jaish and others falsely propagate that Jihad against India is considered holy in Islam and that those participating in it [the battle against “infidels”] will be granted an easy entry into paradise.
In a widely-circulated note by Jamia Qasmia Shahi of Moradabad, Maulana Mufti Salman Mansoorpuri had debunked Jaish’s assertions and argued that prophecies and sayings of Prophet Mohammad should not be used for political or material gains.
Not to be left behind, actress Veena Malik also tweeted a Hadith on Ghazwa-e-Hind on 1 September. In a recent interview with Samaa TV, she said: “If you look at history, Ghazwa-e-Hind is mentioned…. It is also true that there comes the point when Muslims had to raise their swords and had to fight.” Veena Malik is now a born-again after famously posing with a grenade and an ISI tattoo for an Indian magazine.
Amir Rana, director of Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, told Samaa TV: “It has been going on for years… whenever things get bad in Kashmir, you will hear it”.
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, firmly rooted in Islam, is a leading body of nationalist Muslims and clergy in India. It had opposed the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan, and since 2001, is effectively using renowned Islamic seminary Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband to issue comprehensive fatwas declaring terrorism as un-Islamic. Last month, it had adopted a resolution backing the Narendra Modi government’s decision to abrogate the special status given to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Hadiths on Ghazwa-e-Hind, according to Mansurpoori, reads: “The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said—‘Allah has saved two groups of my Ummah from the hellfire; the group that will invade Al-Hind (the subcontinent) and the group that will be with Eesa (Jesus), the son of Mariam.’ Quoting the narration of Abu Hurairah [the narrator of over 5,000 hadiths]–‘The Messenger of Allah promised us the conquest of Al-Hind (the subcontinent). If I am able to join it, I will spend on it my wealth and my life. If I am killed, I will be the best of martyrs, and if I return, I will be Abu Hurairah, the freed one (i.e. from hellfire)’”.
The Hadiths are a primary source of guidance in Islam. Muslims unanimously agree that the authority of the Hadith is second only to that of the Quran.
VHP Demads complete ban
Calling it a manufacturing hub of radical Islamism, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has called for a complete ban on it in the country. Welcoming the ban imposed by the Saudi Government, VHP's Central Working President Shri Alok Kumar said that by finding out the financial sources of the Tablighi Jamaat, Bharat and the entire world community should freeze its bank accounts and seal its offices and operations.
VHP’s list of demands:—
According to Mansoorpuri, several Hadiths mention Ghazwa-e-Hind and its virtues, but the chain of narrators is weak, confusing and relies upon persons who are little known in the authentic collection of Hadith.
India at risk
The latest information of the Islamic State calling upon its members for the destruction of idols of Hindu deities in India is a matter of grave concern. Indian authorities should understand that this clearly is a declaration of so-called jihad against the 97 crore Hindu populace in India and millions of Hindus around the world. It is time for India to declare an all-out war against radical Islam and jihadist notoriety. At the same time, India should immediately cease its relations with Palestinian terrorists and distance itself from terror-patron Iran. First of all, for the sake of national security, India should impose a total ban on the activities of Tablighi Jamaat and dismantle Tablighi bases in New Delhi and other parts of the country.