Courtesy: New Age Islam http://www.newageislam.com/
The problem of caste among Indian Muslims Islamic Society 11 Jan 2009, New Age Islam
1. Book: Hindustan Me Zaat Paat Aur Musalmaan (Caste System In India And The Muslims)
Author: Masud Alam Falahi - Year: 2007, Pages: 640, Publisher: Al Qazi, New Delhi.
Apart from social intercourse, the caste-based discriminatory praxis among Muslims find expressions in at least five forms: khilafat, imamat, kufu/kafa'at, employment and education. Majority of the ulama consider khilafat a prerogative of the descendents of the Prophet while it is only ashrafs who jurisprudentially qualify for the imamat (to lead the prayer in the mosque). Further, the ulama deem the observance of 'Kufu" mandatory for the islamicality of a marital alliance. Literally meaning eligible/suitable/equal, the kufu in its hermeneutical sense, stands for the following: four castes of the ashrafs (Syeds, Sheikhs, Mughals and Pathans) are generally considered suitable marriage partners for each other, making it a complete endogamous affair while the ajlaf (communities based on professions) can marry only among themselves, not the ashrafs. The arzals (the untouchables) form the socially and physically excluded lot of the Muslim society. Moreover, no Jadidul Islam (new converts to Islam) can marry a Qadeemul Islam (a person whose family has been within the pale of Islam for more than a generation), due to the temporal distance which comes to characterize their association with Islam. The textual Islam (the Qur'an and the Hadiths) does not conceive social organisation of the Muslims in terms of these stratifications however majority of the Indian ulama have been justifying the same in the jurisprudence, through interpretations of the Qur'anic verses which serve their purpose and also with the help of concocted ahadith.
Dear Sultan Sahab,
Racist Face of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan or not, not only his Racism and Bigotry towards Newly Converted Muslims [who used to be scheduled caste before their conversion to Muslims faith] but also the Racist Behaviour of Spiritual God Father of Deobandis i.e. Hakeemul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi [amongst one of rare Deobandi Sufi Mullahs who supported Pakistan and Secular Jinnah but I wonder where did Thanvi Sahab find Ashraf and Ajlaf [Elite and Schedule Castes] class division in the so-called Humanist Sufi Literature of Ibn Arabi, Hallaj, Mohasibi, Baghdadi, Rumi, Juwaribi...]. Isn't it strange that Mullahs of India [Deobandi, Ahle Hadith, Barelvis and Shias] had declared that Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was Deviant because he rejected the Hadith and Sir Syed interpreted Quran as per his whim and desire but these Elite Class Mullahs of India [because of their connection to Rampantly Lecherous Mughal Court] and SirSyed Ahmed Khan had one thing in common that both of these were Extremely Prejudiced towards Ajlaf [as per them the Lower Class] and here they violated the very basic spirit of Islam [equality] and message of Quran [supremacy is as per piety not colour and creed]
It is true Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, an ardent advocate of modern education among Muslims and founder of Mohommedan Anglo-Oriental College (MAO) opposed Muslims joining the Congress but it was because of his priority to modern education rather than politics and not because of lack of patriotism. Also, he was representing the interests of upper classes of Muslims i.e. ashraf. Sir Syed was Quran Aloner [means no need of Hadith] but Sir Syed and Mullahs even violated a very Quranic Verse which is openly against any kind of Racism and Racial Supremacy.
Quran alone logic says this about the equality of Human Being:
O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. [AL-HUJRAAT (THE PRIVATE APARTMENTS, THE INNER APARTMENTS) Chapter 49 Verse 13]
The position of the Julahas had got thoroughly undermined and this inferior-lowly people (badzaat) were most active in the uproar(1857 rebellion).(Sir Syed Khan 1958:60)
Sir Syed had only the Ashraaf interests in mind when he started his educational movement. In an address at the foundation laying ceremony of ‘Madrasa Anjuman-e-Islamia’ in Bareli where children from the so-called ‘low-caste’ communities used to study, he said that he finds no use in teaching English to them. “It is better and in the interests of the community that they are engaged in the old form of study… It appears appropriate if you teach them some writing and math. They should also be taught small tracts on everyday affairs and through which they know basic beliefs and practices of the Islamic faith.
Sir Syed Ahmad was Flagrant Racist and Bigot and he hated the Ajlaf [Working Class of India particularly Bengalis]
Sir Syed pioneered the cause of English education and rational and scientific thought amongst Indian Muslims. He was concerned only with the future of Muslim Ashraf ; not with the future of all Muslims i.e including the poor. This is not widely realised. He looked upon 'low born' people with contempt. For example, commenting upon qualifications for Membership of the Viceroy's Legislative Council, Sir Syed expressed his deeply rooted class (caste ?) prejudice when he said that 'It is essential for theViceroy's Council to have members of high social standing. Would our aristocracy like that a man of low caste or insignificant origin, though he may be a BA. or an MA., and have the requisite ability, be placed in a position of authority above them and have the power of making laws that affect their lives and property?
All those Deobandi, Barelvi and Ahle-Hadith Mullahs like Ashraf Ali Thanvi, Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi, House of Shah Waliullah and even Rationalists like Sir Syed Ahmed and Company who Claim the Lease of Islam in Undivided Sub Continent, were Bigot Racist to the core while Deobandi, Bareliv and Ahle-Hadith of India also carried this Filthy Baggage of Sufiism with them in the name of Islam. Their thoughts are as under:
Sayyads, Ashrafs, Ajlafs, Jolahas, Rajputs, etc. Marriages were disallowed between the high caste Ashrafs, Sayyads, Sheikhs or Pathans and the low caste Ansaris, Kunjras or Qureshis. The founder of the Aligarh Muslim University, Sir Sayyad Ahmad Khan, denied backward Muslims entry into AMU and kept its door open only for the Ashrafs. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi wrote a book [Bahishti Zewar - Heavenly Ornaments] in which he said that the Sayyads are the highest caste and after them Ansaris, Qureshis, and Sheikhs but Mughals and Pashtun though High Caste but cannot be compared with Syeds.
Three groups found in Indian Muslims of Bengal:
Ashraf or better class Muslims ? The Syeds, Sheikhs, Pathans, Moghul, Mallik, and Mirza.
Ajlaf or lower caste Muslims ? Cultivating Sheikhs, and others who were originally Hindus, Darzi, Jolaha, Fakir, Mallah, Kula Kunjara, Kasai, Kalal, Dhunia, Abdal, Bako, Chamba, Dafali, Dhobi, Hajjan, etc.
Arzal or degraded class ? include Bhanar, Halalkhor, , Kasbi, Lalbegi, Maugta, Mehra.
These Rascal Maulvis of India had no sense at all that there is no such thing called High Caste in Islam. If you would go through Holy Scripture of all the three Known Revealed Religions you will be amazed to know that many such professions which are considered low caste Professions were the Professions adopted by Prophets [PBUT] and Companions of the Prophet Mohammad [PBUH]
1 - S M Jain:The Aligarh Movements, Its Origin and Development, 1885-1906.
2 - Paul R Brass.Language, Religion, and Politics in North India Cambridge 1974.
For More Reading:
1 - Hayat-e-Jawed by Altaf Hussain Hali.
2 - Maqalat-e-Sir Syed [Published in Lahore]
3 - Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal (eds.), Nationalism, Democracy and Development: State and Politics in India, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998-9)