HYDERABAD: Islamic seminary Al Mahad al Aali al Islami on Monday issued a fatwa deeming it impermissible for Muslims to chant the expression, "Bharat Mata ki Jai."

The fatwa released from the Darul Ifta of the seminary in Pahadi Shareef, founded by Muslim Personal Law Board secretary Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, noted that the slogan seeks to "deify" the country. This follows a similar fatwa issued by another city-based influential seminary Jamia Nizamia, rejecting the slogan last week.

Explaining the rationale behind the fatwa, which is an Islamic jurisprudential opinion, Mufti Shahid Ali Qasmi said that expressions such as "motherland" signify immense love for the country. However, Muslims cannot worship a country as a Goddess.

An excerpt from the fatwa reads: "Therefore, for a Muslim chanting Bharat Mata ki jai is not permissible as the land of Hind (India) is not a goddess. Every Muslim loves the country and is also willing to sacrifice his or her life for it, but (the Muslim) prostrates only before Allah. (For the Muslims), only Allah should be worshipped."

Confirming that the fatwa was issued, Islamic scholar from the Mahad Omar Abideen on Monday reiterated that love for the country and worshipping it are two separate subjects which should not be confused with each other. "Without worshipping it, one can love the country as much as any other countryman. The person is like any other patriot," he said.

The United Muslim Forum (UMF), a body of religious figures too, on Monday issued a statement expressing outrage over the "environment being created in the country using the Bharat Mata" slogan. The panel sought to buttress its point by claiming that the Supreme Court in 1987 had ruled that singing the national song Vande Mataram is not mandatory. "When the apex court is clear it its ruling of the national song, then the "Bharat Mata" slogan is neither the national song, nor is it mentioned in the Constitution," an excerpt from the statement reads.

Speaking to TOI, UMF treasurer Syed Ahmedul Hussaini Sayeed Quadri said: "We can say "Bharat desh ki jai", "jai Hind" or "Hindustan zindabad", but Bharat Mata symbolises a goddess which Muslims cannot worship. There Islamic scholars are unanimous on the issue."

Courtesy Times of India