- By now we have all heard about the antics of the Shahi Imam Bukhari, the Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid – the fact that he has gone ahead and appointed his own son as his successor and the fact that he called the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif to his son’s anointment ceremony (dastarbandi) but not the Prime Minister of India. We have also been witness to the unpredictable political flip flops that the Imam has displayed over the years. (Read more on India Opines)
- Reportedly Congress president Sonia Gandhi will also not be attending the investiture ceremony. According to a source, the “question (of her attending) doesn’t arise”. Bukhari is supposed to have invited the Congress preside and her son Rahul as well as other leaders from the BJP, TMC and SP. (source – DNA)
- Fortunately the actions of the Imam have been roundly criticised by other Muslim leaders in the country, with Kamal Farooqi, member of the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board saying that the act of the Imam will give a bad name to the entire Muslim community. Other leaders have distanced themselves from the Imam and his actions by saying that Bukhari doesn’t represent the whole community. (Source – One India). Senior news editor Mohd Asim, has taken exception to the Imam ‘parading himself as the caretaker and leader’ of the community when it has been proven time and again that he has no sway and according to him this time the Imam has “crossed all limits” and has insulted our PM.
- These are also the sentiments of any average Muslim in the country – the community long having suffered the consequences of irresponsible and reprehensible ‘leaders’ such as the Imam. This also brings into question the authority that supposedly vests in the Imam. Who has appointed him? Under what law? What authority does he have to anoint his son as his successor?
- According to the history of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, this appointment of the Imam was originally made by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. At the time Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari was appointed as the first Imam of the Jama Masjid for his outstanding learning and other qualities. The current Imam is a direct descendent of the first Bukhari who has been appointed by the mere virtue of his dynasty and has perpetuated the family’s dynastic domination.
- No authority is conferred on the man by Indian law. Apart from tradition there doesn’t appear to be any Islamic law either, which confers such power upon the Imam to anoint any one he chooses. Typically an Imam is appointed by a designated authority or ruling body such as a Waqf that sustains the mosque, or he may be elected by a local community. In any case, the Imam is supposed to be a person of sufficient virtue and learning to perform his duties and to instruct the faithful about their religion.
- The supposed qualification – namely those of learning and virtue – of the 19 year old son of Imam Bukhari has is not known to us. Other than the accident of his birth – being the son of his father that is.
Image source – 1