Tablighi guidebook ‘Fazail-e-Amaal’ shown as ‘Jihadi Literature’ in Amazon Prime web series Pataal Lok

Mumbai: Internet video on demand service Amazon Prime new web series Paatal Lok has shown Fazail-e-Amaal as ‘Jihadi Literature’ while depicting a press briefing scene in the crime thriller premiered on 15 May 2020.

The series is produced by Anushka Sharma’s Clean Slate Films. The story is about a down and out cop who lands the case of an assassination attempt gone wrong.

Police Inspector Hathiram Chaudhary along with fellow junior ‘Ansari’ together is investigating the case after four goons including one Muslim man are caught by the Delhi police when their plan to assassinate a prominent prime time journalist failed. Later, the case gets transferred to CBI.

During press briefing CBI discloses that it was larger conspiracy of terror attack by Pakistani intelligence agency ISI. The evidences shown include Muslim Man’s Pakistani passport, weapons and terrorist literature.

The books which CBI shows as evidence in the name of Terrorist Literature are Fazail-e-Amaal, Dawat and Jannati Zewar (All in Urdu). Chaudhary and Ansari sitting in the press conference know that the CBI theory is false.

They both get up and goes outside, Ansari does point to Chaudhary that Muslim boy does not know Urdu but conveniently ignores the fact that the books shown doesn’t provoke for waging ‘Jihad’ rather they talk about Islamic belief/rituals in general.

All these books, especially Fazaile-e-Amaal, a guidebook of Tablighi Jamaat – recently caught up in COVID-19 news for wrong reasons – are often found in mosques. People associated with Deoband School-of-Thought usually read this book and it is one of the most read books in Muslim homes across South-Asian countries.

Questions must be raised as to how a popular religious book is being depicted as a tool for inciting terror. Why these books were chosen by the makers of the series? Did they just went to an Islamic bookstore and picked some random most selling books or was it a deliberate attempt to paint all Urdu religious books as the ‘Jihadi literature’?

Sharjeel Usmani, a social activist demanding the apology from the makers said that, ”They should come up with an unconditional apology & also delete the scene which portrays leading Islamic books as ‘terrorist literature’.”