Islamic scholar speak out on Love Jihad: Islam does not permit marriages under duress
After remaining dormant for some time, the Love Jihad issue has again gained prominence in India after the recent Kerala incident.
Although the Supreme Court has handed over the investigation of this incident to the NIA, only time will tell what the outcome of this investigation will be.
Meanwhile, this incident has revived the memory of a similar and hugely disputed incident that happened in Agra a few years ago, where a Hindu girl, belonging to the Punjabi community, ran away from her home and married a Muslim boy who was already married and had two kids. The girl later converted to Islam.
This incident created a huge uproar in the Hindu community of Agra and both the Punjabi Mahasabha as well as the Hindu organizations held numerous demonstrations in the city demanding that the police 'rescue' the girl from captivity.
However, when the police finally intervened and produced the girl before the court, she clearly told the judge that she had gone away by her own free will and being an adult, she had every right to marry anyone she chooses.
This incident shocked the Hindu community to such an extent that it created a deep rift between the local Hindu and Muslim communities. However, the girl who caused this communal tension is now living happily with her Muslim husband in the city itself.
It is often seen that in matters of inter-religion marriages, especially between Hindu and Muslims, the religious organisations of both sides raise the ante to such a level that a simple love affair becomes a matter of communal tension.
The coining of the word 'Love Jihad' by Hindu organizations has a lot to do with this, as even before the right wing took over the mantle of the so called 'Hindu Renaissance', a lot of couples had married across the boundaries of religion in Agra.
Although it created a mild tension in the two families and their close relatives, it never gained the scale of communal tension between two communities.
Islamic scholars blame this sudden shift in the sensitivities of the two communities to the politicisation of a personal issue between two families.
NO CONVERSIONS PROMPTED BY PERSONAL GAINS PERMITTED
Hafiz Ikhtiyar Jafri, an Islamic scholar of Agra told India Today that Islam strictly proscribes conversions prompted by personal gains, either physical or monetary.
Conversion under duress is also treated in the same way and any nikah that is performed under such conditions is not valid as the girl has to give her unfettered consent to the alliance at the time of Nikah.
However, if both the man and the woman are adults and want to marry with mutual consent, even the Constitution of India permits them to do so under the Special Marriages Act.
Islam embraces anyone who comes to its fold with a true devotion towards the faith in their heart but it frowns upon any attempts to convert to Islam only for the sake of marrying a Muslim and every Qazi who performs the Nikah should ascertain this.
Senior BJP leader Rajkumar Chahar, however, had a different view to this argument presented by the Islamic scholars.
Chahar claimed that a lot of Hindu girls were actually deceived and then abducted by Muslim youth in the name of Love Jihad and then were blackmailed into converting to Islam and getting married to them.
The incident that took place in Kerala is clearly a part of the extensive agenda of the terrorist organizations and the ISI, who are recruiting Muslim youths to create unrest in India by causing communal tension.
He said that the central government should take strong steps to stop this communal hatred from spreading in the country.