Raising voice against all injustices, not just against Muslims, is the fundamental requirement of Islam/Muslims. This principle is clearly established in Qur’an:
“And when you speak/judge, be just/truthful. Even if the matter relates to your closest relative.” [6:152]
Fairness demands that every human life is valued equally. Strong views have been expressed, against the death sentence of Yakub Memon, by those who seem to know well the legal intricacies of this case. In their view, his execution is illegal and therefore incorrect. Assuming that they are right and an innocent life is being taken by this verdict, still we need not get carried away; and must not forget that Yakub is only one among thousands of innocent Indians killed in communal riots. Right from the partition of Indian subcontinent in 1947, tens of thousands of anti-Muslims riots have occurred claiming hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. And counting…
The Mumbai bomb blasts were heinous crimes as killing even one innocent person is strictly prohibited in Islam. So there is no question of taking hundreds of innocent lives through large-scale bomb blasts. But the very same heinous crime for which Yakub is being hanged tomorrow (30 July 2015) was preceded by a bigger and more heinous crime in which fascist forces – had killed many more Muslims than did the Mumbai serial bomb blasts.
In social media discourse, a deliberate attempt is being made to create an impression that Muslims are against this death sentence. It is completely erroneous to assume that Muslims are protesting against the hanging of Yakub. They are not !
In fact, our faith dictates that if he is innocent then he will be rewarded, in his eternal life, for this injustice. But Islam also declares that if he is indeed party to that horrendous crime, then he is being rightly punished. What Muslims are essentially (and rightly) objecting to is that not a single murderer, of about 1000 Muslims who were slaughtered on the streets of Mumbai just months before the serial bomb blasts, has been hanged! This is a travesty of justice. And this is being rightly felt and expressed across the country and beyond.
In line with their religious teachings, Muslims would have welcomed the execution of a mass murderer, if that is what Yakub is. But what is not acceptable – even though Muslims are completely helpless and can’t change the course of events at the moment – is the gross injustice!
In fact those anti-Muslim riots in Mumbai in January and February of 1993 were preceded by another mega-crime – probably the biggest crime to have occurred in the post-independent history of India till date. And that was the demolition of 16th century built Babri Masjid on 6th December 1992 . (In this essay, I am sticking to only Mumbai riots followed by serial bomb blasts and not opening the issue of Gujarat massacre. Any death sentence for that genocide? Nope!)
What about slaughtering of thousands of innocent Sikhs in 1984 in the national capital, New Delhi? Any death sentences? Nope!!
But only this much about the subject line.
What about the lives lost by poverty, hunger, alcohol, lack of medicine and shelter? Are those lives less precious than the life of Yakub? Absolutely not!
What about feeling sad (in fact agitated) on the precious lives lost due to a range of unnatural and perfectly avoidable causes? Aren’t these lives worth grieving for – just because these thousands pass away every year without any political angle or religious color?
I think in the coming days and weeks this is exactly what each of us should be debating and discussing instead of celebrating or mourning the death of Yakub Menon!
If we ignore the overall sufferings of average Indians and disregard the quantum of losses indicated in the above table; and remain focused on one death sentence then there will be no difference between us and the fascist forces!!
Inna’lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’oon – To Allah we belong and to Him we return!!!