All India Faizan-e-Madina Council, a socio-political group based in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, recently announced a monetary reward of Rs 100,786 to anyone that agrees to bring them the hacked head of Mufti Mohammad Ilyas Qasmi, a Muslim cleric who had earlier said that the Hindu god Shiva was the first messenger of Islam.
After Qasmi’s comments led to a heated controversy within the country’s Muslim community, the council’s chief Mooen Siddiqui Noori said the person who kills Qasmi would be given not only the monetary reward but also an honorary sword.
“Qasmi made these strange remarks against the Sharia on insistence from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. If he really had any knowledge, his comments would be backed by the Holy Scriptures.… For teaching such people a lesson so they never make such remarks again, I have decided that any Indian Muslim who gives me the head of Qasmi will be given a cash reward of Rs 100,786. He will also get an Islamic sword,” Noori said.
Qasmi, leader of Jamiat Ulema e Hind, found himself in a soup after referring to Lord Shiva as the first prophet of Islam at a mass gathering in the city of Ayodhya. He also went on to say all Indians, including those belonging to the Muslim community, are children of Shiva and Parvati, a notion radically promoted by members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
“We Indian Muslims are followers of Islam. We believe in ‘Allah’, but we are, traditionally, Hindus…. Lord Shiva is the first messenger of Muslims. We are all Indians and children of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and there should be no reservations in accepting the truth,” Qasmi had said at the gathering in mid February.
The cleric went on to explain how Muslims are in fact followers of Sanatan Dharma and thus should have no reservations in accepting Shiva and Parvati as the first of the 124,000 prophets that have apparently been sent to earth to establish world peace, true religion and God’s rule among mankind.
Other equally prominent Muslim leaders were quick to denounce Qasmi’s claims.
Hafiz Irfan, secretary of Jamiat Ulema Hind, referred to the controversial comments as Qasmi’s personal views.
“There were, indeed, a series of one lakh twenty four thousand prophets sent by Allah to Earth. Lord Rama, Lord Krishna or Lord Shiva may be one of them, but none of this finds mention in the holy Quran. Only God is the creator, not his messengers,” he said.
Another renowned Muslim cleric, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, said that while Islam respects all other religions, it does not say anywhere that Lord Shiva was one of its own prophets.
Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, Imam of Fatehpuri Masjid, rejected Qasmi’s claims as well.
“What he has said, is totally wrong and unacceptable. It's nowhere written in our holy book. This could be his political statement,” Ahmed said. “We revere only the 'nabis' (Prophets) mentioned in the Quran.”
“Maulana Iliyas is right. This should be welcomed by Muslims, too. It will bring us together like brothers,” he said.
Another priest said Qasmi’s claims could be backed with evidence that is available in Hindu scriptures and mythology.
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