CAIRO – A verdict by India’s Supreme Court declaring that Shari`ah courts have no sanction of law and has no legal status to issue fatwas has drawn sharp criticism from Muslim scholars who asserted that the Constitution allows them the right to work and act according to Muslim personal law.
"We are not doing anything parallel to the judicial system and we don't say that any order passed by a Qazi is binding on all,” Zafaryab Jilani, member of the Muslim Personal Law Board, told Times of India.
“Our sole motto is to resolve a matter with the consent of two parties involved in accordance with Shari`ah."
On Monday, the Supreme Court said there is "no doubt" that such a court has no legal status to issue a fatwa and order against a person who is not before it.
The SC was hearing a petition filed by Delhi-base advocate Vishwa Lochan Madan.
He filed his petition in 2005 and cited a case in which a woman was told to leave her husband and children and live with her father-in-law who had raped her.
A bench headed by justice CK Prasad said that no religion, including Islam, allows punishing the innocent and ordered that no 'Darul Qaza' should give verdict which affects rights of a person who is not before it.
"Shari`ah courts are not sanctioned by law and there is no legality of fatwas in this country," said Prasad as he read out the judgment from a two-judge bench.
The court decision angered Muslims who stressed that the Indian constitution gave Muslims the right to work and act according to Muslim personal law.
"Indian Constitution has given us the right to act and work according to our Muslim personal law,” Khalid Rasheed Farangi, a Muslim scholar, said.
"One must also keep in mind that Sharia Application Act, 1937, has very clearly said that in those cases in which both parties are Muslims and the matter is related to nikaah, talaaq, zihar, lian, khula and mubaraat, the decisions will be taken in the light of the Muslim personal law," he said, adding that the verdict needs to be studied properly before a final statement can be given.
Maulana Mohammad Sajid Rashid, president of Kul Hind Imam Association, said the plea filed in the apex court is itself wrong as it is a religious matter.
"If a person is practicing a religion, he/she has to follow its preaching. A Muslim who does not follow the Shari`ah is not a true Muslim," he said.
Muslims account for 160 million of India's 1.1 billion people, the world's third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.
In Islam, Shari`ah govern issues in Muslims’ lives from daily prayers to fasting and from to inheritance and marital cases to financial disputes.
The Islamic rulings, however, do not apply on non-Muslims, even if in a dispute with non-Muslims.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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