In a recent interview with The Hindu, Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, an Islamic scholar hailing from Hyderabad, discussed the challenges faced by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and the broader issues concerning religious harmony in India. Having succeeded the late Maulana Syed Rabey Nadwi as the president of AIMPLB, Maulana Rahmani emphasized the importance of maintaining the Places of Worship Act, 1991, addressing the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), and dispelling concerns surrounding “love jihad” and the notion of a “bhagwa love trap.”
One of the crucial challenges highlighted by Maulana Rahmani pertains to the Places of Worship Act, 1991. This legislation ensures that the status of religious structures remains unchanged as it stood in 1947, during the partition of India. Maulana Rahmani expressed concerns about the potential consequences if people were to stake claims on different religious structures and incite controversies regarding their historical backgrounds. He emphasized that such actions could pose significant challenges for the entire country, given its vast size and diverse population comprising people of various faiths. To tackle this issue, the AIMPLB is actively exploring all possible avenues, including approaching the courts, engaging with leaders of minority communities, and meeting with opposition leaders to safeguard the continuation of this law.
Furthermore, Maulana Rahmani addressed the topic of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), which has been a subject of ongoing debate in India. The UCC aims to provide a common set of laws governing personal matters such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance for all citizens, irrespective of their religious affiliations. The AIMPLB recognizes the significance of personal laws based on religious beliefs and practices and believes that the implementation of a uniform code should not infringe upon the rights of individuals to follow their religious customs. Maulana Rahmani stressed the importance of maintaining a balance between ensuring equality before the law and respecting the diverse religious traditions of the country.
Another issue raised by Maulana Rahmani was the concern surrounding “love jihad” and the concept of a “bhagwa love trap.” These terms have gained prominence in recent years, referring to alleged conversions through interfaith marriages and claims that Hindu women are being coerced or lured into marrying Muslim men for religious conversion purposes. Maulana Rahmani dismissed such notions as baseless and urged society to approach interfaith relationships and marriages with understanding and acceptance. He emphasized the need to promote dialogue, mutual respect, and harmony among different communities, rather than giving in to divisive narratives that can harm social cohesion.
Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani’s interview highlights the challenges faced by the AIMPLB in maintaining religious harmony and addressing pertinent issues concerning the rights and beliefs of Muslim communities in India. By advocating for the preservation of the Places of Worship Act, 1991, promoting a balanced approach to the Uniform Civil Code, and dispelling unfounded concerns about interfaith relationships, Maulana Rahmani underscores the importance of unity and understanding among diverse religious communities in India.