In what’s likely to stir a hornet’s nest, Mufti Muhammad Ilyas of the newly-formed Muslim body Jamaat Ulama-e-Hind on Thursday said Lord Shiva was the “first prophet of Islam” and Muslims are “followers of Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism)”.
As part of a delegation of clerics that visited Ayodhya on Wednesday to garner support for a communal harmony seminar - National Qaumi Ekta Conference - to be organized by the group on February 27 in Balrampur, Ilyas told journalists, “Lord Shiva was first prophet of Islam and Muslims are followers of Sanatan Dharma.”
He even went on to add that Muslims should have no reservation in accepting that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are their creators. “We are all Indians and children of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and there should be no reservations in accepting the truth,” he said.
Ilyas also said he is not opposed to the RSS’ idea of declaring India a Hindu nation. “The citizens of China are called Chinese. The people of Japan are called Japanese. What’s wrong in terming Hindustani as Hindus. We are not against declaring India a Hindu country,” he added.
While Muslim intellectuals rubbished Ilyasi’s statements as his personal views that is “baseless and have no proof”, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) hailed cleric’s words. The Bharatiya Janata Party too has termed it his personal comments.
“The Holy Quran asserts that every community has its prophets, but mentioning the name of (Lord) Shiva as a prophet of Muslims has no proof. We condemn and completely disagree with the comments made by Ilyasi,” Jamaat-e-Islami Hind secretary general Maulana Nusrat Ali told Firstpost.
Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JuH) made it clear that Ilyasi has no association with it and none of its delegation has visited Ayodhya. “First, be clear that it is not Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind but Jamaat Ulama-e-Hind, which was formed by some maulvis (clerics) with vested interest before 2014 Lok Sabha elections with an aim to improve Narendra Modi’s image in the Muslim community. It was used for Modi’s PR theatrics before the general elections and now, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is using it to spread a false message,” said JuH chief Maulana Mehmood Madani.
Terming the statements “irresponsible”, JuH Secretary Maulana Neyaz Ahmad Farooqui said Ilyasi’s controversial remarks have hurt the religious sentiments of both Hindus and Muslims. “Prophet Adam was the first prophet and Prophet Mohammad was the last one. Quran has mentioned very few of them. But Lord Shiva was a Prophet has no proof in Islam. By declaring him as a messenger of Islam, he has hurt the sentiments and Muslims. On the other hand, Hindus worship Lord Shiva as their God; therefore, by calling him as a messenger of God is his disrespect,” he explained.
Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali dubbed Ilyasi’s statements as “un-Islamic”. “It must be his personal statement. It has nothing to do with Islam. In other words, the statements are un-Islamic,” said All India Muslim Personal Law Board member Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali.
Rejecting Ilyas’s remark, Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, imam of Fatehpuri mosque, said, “His statements are politically motivated. He should explain for whom he is working.”
Meanwhile, the VHP has welcomed the statements and said it is in the interest of nation. “Although we disagree with Ilyasi’s statement that Lord Shiva was a prophet as he is a God, but we welcome the cleric’s statements. Rising above religions, he has tried to unite people and take them away from self-centredness,” VHP spokesperson Vinod bansal told Firstpost.
“Why a hue and cry being raised when he (the cleric) is talking about all Indians are Hindus. The arguments he has given to establish his points are extremely logical,” he said adding that “those who oppose ‘Vande Matram’, hoist Pakistani flags in India, disrespect Amar Jawan Jyoti (a war memorial dedicated to soldiers) in Mumbai and raise voice against Batla House encounter and the execution of Afzal Guru have no right question Ilyasi”.
However, the BJP has termed Ilyasi’s statement as personal. “This is his personal comments and we don’t want to make any comment on the issue,” UP BJP President Laxminkant Bajpai told Firstpost.
Old Delhi's Daryaganj-based Jamaat is close to the RSS and the BJP and has worked for the saffron party in Kashmir to bridges with the local clergy and market Modi’s development plan for the Valley.
Several attempts to contact Ilyasi failed as he did not respond to our phone calls and text messages.
Updated Date: Feb 20, 2015 13:02 PM