Notes and Comments: Common Sense and Religion

The Young Islam, 15th August 1934 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 6, pp. 2, 4)

The city Magistrate of Karachi has recently dismissed an appeal. An application was filed by influential Dawoodi Borah leaders who tried to secure the Court’s protection against some Muslims entering a mosque on the plea that the latter had been declared kafirs [non-Muslims] and were excommunicated by orders of their High Priest. Dismissing the appeal, the learned Magistrate remarked:

“A mosque once con­secrated cannot in any case revert to its found­er, and every Muhammadan has a legal right to enter it.”

It was well that the worthy Magistrate also defined the word ‘Muhammadan.’ In the course of his judgment he says:

“Every person believing in the Unity of God and the Mission of Muhammad as a Prophet is a Muhammadan. It is a well-known and recognized principle that if a person has established his legal right to say prayers in a mosque a Court cannot refuse to recognize that legal right merely because it is anticipated that a breach of peace is to be committed by the other side. Those disturbing others at prayer in a mosque bring themselves within the grasp of the criminal law.”

The Quran declares clearly:

وَ مَنۡ اَظۡلَمُ  مِمَّنۡ مَّنَعَ مَسٰجِدَ اللّٰہِ اَنۡ یُّذۡکَرَ فِیۡہَا

“And who is more unjust than the man who prohibits others from remembering Allah in mosques” [The Holy Quran, 2:114].

It may be noted that the Quran accords sanction for worship in mosques to all, and it was in accordance with it that the Holy Prophet [Muhammad (pbuh)] allowed Christian adversaries to say their prayers in their own way in his mosque.

But obviously there could be no question at all of Muslims praying in a mosque. Where common sense however is lacking, the ulama [cleric] of today can persuade their followers to take every action against those whom they dislike. We are reminded of a parallel case some twenty years back where Ahmadis were sued for saying prayers in a mosque. The maulvi [cleric] leading the case was asked by the Magistrate the reason for prohibiting Ahmadis to say their prayers, and he said:

“Well, Sir, the reason is not far to seek. Please ask these Ahmadis that if they had a mosque of their own, will they allow a Hindu to say his namaz [prayer] in it.”

The Magistrate turned round to the other side for an answer. The leading man on the Ahmadi side replied that not only would they allow a Hindu if he were to say namaz in their mosque, but that they would give him every facility to entreat the Hindu if by doing so he were induced to do such an act. There was laughter in the Court and the Maulvi Sahib looked bewildered.

The ulama had better take upon themselves the duty of inducing people to enter mosques rather than prohibiting those desirous of praying. But common sense and religion are two factors entirely opposed to each other in the eye of our present ulama.