Maulana Salman Nadwi suggests Babri site shift, Muslim Personal Law Board rejects

Hyderabad: Amid controversy, 26th plenary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) began in Hyderabad on Friday. The day before, a top cleric from Lucknow’s Nadwatul Ulema seminary stoked a controversy suggesting that land for a mosque and a university away from the disputed site in Ayodhya could be an option for Muslims.

Maulana Sayyed Salman Hussaini Nadwi, who is also executive member of the AIMPLB was part of a team of six Muslims that met Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Bengaluru on Thursday to find a solution to the Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi dispute.

The video clip where Maulana Nadwi says the Hanbli School of Islamic jurisprudence allows ‘shifting of’ mosques and that Muslims will agree to the plan has gone viral.

AIMIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi said Muslims believe that ‘once a mosque it’s always a mosque’. Speaking before AIMPLB’s formal meeting, he said, “I expect the board to decide on these lines.”

Distancing itself from Nadvi, the AIMPLB said that it is his personal opinion and does not reflect the stand of the board. In a statement issued later, the board said, “once again emphasises the basic level of Shariah that the land dedicated for Masjid cannot be sold, gifted or in any way alienated. If once dedicated, it vests in Allah.”

“All the attempts to negotiate the settlements in past have been infructuous and there is no proposal offering settlement without sacrificing the basic tenet has ever been put before the Board,” the statement said.

Zafar Sareshwala, chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, however defended Nadwi’s statement saying “His statement has been blown out of context. What he said makes sense.”

The three-day Hyderabad plenary session of the board will end on Sunday evening with a public address. The agenda includes Triple Talaq, Babri Masjid, Importance of Social Media and Society reform etc.

The Supreme Court, which has started final hearings on the Ayodhya dispute, on Thursday said the case was purely a “land dispute” and will be dealt with in normal course.

A 2010 verdict of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had ordered the disputed land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.