Saturday 10 December 2022
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PoliticsIndiaQur'an does not ask for mosque in every nook and corner: Kerala...

Qur’an does not ask for mosque in every nook and corner: Kerala High Court

It is not necessary as per the Qur'an that there be a mosque in every part of the world, the Kerala High Court observed today, conceding albeit that mosques are important to Muslims. The court was hearing a petition seeking to change a commercial building to a mosque to enable Muslims in the neighbourhood to access a mosque to offer prayers five times a day. 

Refusing to entertain the plea, Justice PV Kunhikrishnan of the Kerala High Court noted that the state already had a large number of religious structures and the ratio of religious structures to population was already very high.

"Because of the peculiar geographical situation of Kerala, it is known as ‘God’s own country’. But we are exhausted with religious places and prayer halls and we are not in a position to allow any new religious places and prayer halls except in the rarest of rare cases," the court said in its verdict.

Referring to the verses Juz 10 Surah 18 and Juz 1 Surah 114 of the Qur'an and Clause 1064 of Riyadussaliheen, the Kerala High Court said that the verses clearly highlighted the importance of a mosque to Muslims. "But it is not stated in the above verses of the Holy Quran that a mosque is necessary in every nook and corner… It is not stated in the hadiths or in the Holy Quran that a mosque is to be situated adjacent to the house of every Muslim community member. Distance is not the criteria, but reaching the mosque is important," the court observed.

The Kerala High Court said that there was no need for another mosque within the vicinity since 36 mosques already existed in the area.

The court referred to the findings of a study on religious structures based on the 2011 Census 2011 that said that Kerala had 10 times the number of religious structures as villages and 3.5 times the number of hospitals.

The court further said that in the current case in question, reports by the intelligence and the state have flagged the threat of disharmony if the present conversion of the commercial building to a religious prayer hall is allowed.

"It is true that Article 26(a) of the Constitution of India states that subject to the public order, morality and health, every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes. That does not mean that they can construct religious places in every nook and corner of the country. Kerala is a very small State", the court said.

Furthermore, the Kerala High Court invoked its powers under Article 226 of the constitution and issued directions to the state government and authorities to take necessary steps to close down any religious places functioning without obtaining permission from the competent authorities. The court also asked the authorities to consider all applications seeking to start religious places and prayer halls in a strict manner and prohibit the change of category of a building to a religious place except in inevitable circumstances.

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