A fatwa was issued against Aligarh BJP leader Ruby Khan for worshiping Ganesha. While people are asking whether a fatwa will be issued against actor Salman Khan too, as he does Ganesh Aarti as well, Khan has chosen her own way to respond to the situation.
In Aligarh, BJP leader Ruby Khan installed a murti — "idol" is a wrong translation — of Ganesha in her house on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. She conducted the rituals as per the Hindu scriptures, it was reported.
Khan's husband and the rest of the family were seen collaborating with her in the puja arrangements. "Islam teaches communal harmony and we are thus practising Islam," she said.
A large section of Muslims and the clergy of the community were disturbed by the images of the puja Khan conducted at her place. This was followed by the fatwa that sought to banish her from the community.
A fatwa is generally a theological opinion a believer seeks from a seminary in response to a situation. Based on the Qur'an, a hadith and/or the Shari'ah, the Islamic authority then tells the seeker what he should do in the given circumstances.
While a fatwa is binding for all Shi'ahs if issued by Khomeini in Iran and for a Sunni only if he is affiliated with the mufti who issued it, Muslims in the subcontinent by and large do not go by this technicality and take fatwas rather seriously.
In the case of Ruby Khan, Mufti Arshad Farooqui ruled that idol worship was not recognized in Islam and so the act of Ruby Khan was against Islam. This decree holds against those who do this, which is for those who go against Islam, the mufti opined.
This mufti belongs to the Deoband seminary, Dar ul Uloom, which Muslims who reject idolatry even by fellow Muslims who believe in pirs owe allegiance to. The larger population of subcontinental Muslims are Barelvis who visit mausoleums and offer shrouds to the tombs of sufis, but Deoband is taken more seriously in theological matters.
Ruby Khan's initial reaction was mild. "I don't care for such fatwas. I have faced fatwas a lot many times in my life," she said.
But as the pressure of the community built on her, Khan turned more assertive. She said today, "The clerics who issue such fatwas are terrorists."
She said those issuing fatwas were trying to divide the country. "I will continue to work for Hindu-Muslim unity," Ruby Khan affirmed.