A new Darul Uloom fatwa may lead to a fresh controversy between Shia and Sunni Muslims in Uttar Pradesh. The Islamic seminary based in Deoband has directed Sunni Muslims to avoid attending Iftar parties organised by members of the Shia community during the month of Ramadan.
Darul Ifta (fatwa department) of the Islamic seminary issues fatwas on the basis of queries sent by the people. This fatwa came in response to two queries by one Sikander Gaur, a resident of Badjia Ulhak locality in Deoband, to Darul Ifta.
Sikander had sought permission for Sunni Muslims to attend Iftar parties organised by Shia Muslims during Ramadan. In his second query, he had sought guidelines on whether to have meals while attending Shia weddings.
Responding to the two queries, a Darul Ifta team of Darul Uloom — comprising Mufti Zainus Islam Kasim, Mufti Fakrul Islam and Mufti Mufti Waqar — said members of the Sunni community should avoid attending Shia feasts whether it’s a wedding or Iftar.
Locals are however not very happy with the order.
“We are brothers. How can we maintain distance from each other and avoid attending each other’s parties,” said young businessman Adil Masood. He said the proposition seemed “unrealistic”.
A similar Darul Uloom fatwa had come a few years ago but it failed to have an impact on the relations between the two communities, said Fatima Begum, a Shia Muslim. She said both Shias and Sunnis had been attending Iftar gatherings, weddings and other celebrations of each other in the past and would continue to do so in future.
A Darul Uloom official, who did not wish to be named, however, said the fatwa should not be misunderstood. He said it was not a ban but only a suggestion to maintain distance.
“Such fatwas from Darul Uloom sure have their relevance,” said another local resident Amir Sikander, who however added that it was not practically possible to keep the two completely apart.