By: M Hasan
Lucknow: The death of chairman All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) Maulana Mirza Mohammad Athar has sparked fresh controversy causing the split in the board. While late Maulana Athar’s group has installed his younger brother Maulana Mirza Mohammad Ashfaq as next board chief, rivals led by Maulana Ali Hasan Qummi have announced to breakaway from the parent body to float another Shia board.
Thus a raging controversy has been going on in the Shia community over the issue with the possibility of some senior clerics, who are not in the board, to prop up the dissidents. As the hapless community has been silently watching the unfolding drama between two groups of clerics serving their personal vested interest, charges and counter charges are being slapped against each other.
In fact right from its inception in 2005, the board had been like a rudderless boat with large number of prominent Ulema (clerics) staying away from it. It could never become a unified body of the community. While several prominent clerics continued their association with Wahabi-controlled All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), some other distanced themselves from Shia board because of its style of functioning. Thus soon it lost its sheen.
At a time when AIMPLB had been grossly ignoring the interest of the Shia community the board was launched with much fanfare and had raised the expectations among the people. But it virtually proved a “pocket organization” to serve few people and their kin. According to information the highly emotional and sensitive community provided huge funds to sustain its activities but after nearly a decade of its existence the board hardly has anything to show. Its so-called model “Nikahnama” has simply turned out to be a piece of paper with no relevance.
Now with the formal split in the board another round of deceit and deception has begun with two groups of so-called Ulema (clerics) joining the battle for supremacy. Seniors and well-meaning clerics are watching from their windows. When the community is being taken for a ride once again by rootless people, themselves claiming to “represent and guide” the silence of seniors is also unpardonable. This “Taqayya” is dangerous to the health of whole community.
Even as Nadva-led AIMPLB flourished and also succeeded in gathering lots of political clout, the Shia board, asserting to represent around five crore Shias, lost all its relevance because of complete lack of unity and honest intention. The split has now further worsened the situation and the community seems to have lost faith in the board.
Unfortunately Lucknow has become battleground of Shia Ulama with each trying to pull down other and “Ulama-e-soo” are have captured the pulpit. The community’s younger and well-educated lot needs to ponder over the prevailing situation before irretrievable damage is done.
(M.Hasan is veteran journalist his blog http://waragainstextremism.blogspot.in/ is very popular amongst serious circles.)