Iraq-based top Shia cleric issues fatwa over Ayodhya issue, says no shrine can be built on waqf land

Iraq's top Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a fatwa ruling that it was against Islam to construct any temple or any other shrine on the land belonging to Waqf properties.

Published: 29th August 2018 01:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th August 2018 01:37 AM   |  A+A-

The Babri Masjid at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh which was razed to the ground by Hindutva activists who claimed it stood on the birthplace of Lord Ram. | File Photo

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: Adding a new angle to vexed Ayodhya dispute, Iraq's top Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a fatwa ruling that it was against Islam to construct any temple or any other shrine on the land belonging to Waqf properties.

The fatwa is basically seen with reference to the stand taken by UP Central Shia Waqf Board chairman Waseem Rizvi who has been advocating that disputed site in Ayodhya was associated with religious sentiments of crores of Hindus and it should be handed over to them for constructing a grand Ram temple over it and the mosque could be built in some Muslim dominated locality of the temple town.

However, the title suit of disputed land in Ayodhya is pending with the Supreme Court of India and hearing is going on in it. Notably, Al-Sistani, a revered highest religious authority among the Shias world over and heads Shia seminary at Najaf in Iraq, issued the Fatwa in response to a plea of a Kanpur based scholar and educationist Dr Mazhar Abbas Naqvi, who had sought some clarity from the Shia cleric on the issue and directives for Rizvi.

However, the fatwa from Iraq has evoked sharp reactions both from Muslim community and the political circles of UP.

"Shia Waqf Board will work as per the tenets of the Constitution of India. I am not going to buckle down by any such fatwa which I refuse to accept as it is nothing but mounting an international pressure on Shai Waqf Board to back Muslim side in the litigation," said UP Central Shai Waqf Baord chairman Waseem Rizvi.

"This fatwa from Ayatollah Sistani is a part of that tactic. Shia Waqf Board will not be cowed down to any pressure from terrorists or any fatwa issued by who so ever. We are not ready to abide by the cleric's opinion," Rizvi said claiming that the fatwa was issued after the top Shia was misguided by the person who approached him.

"Ram Temple in Ayodhya is a question of faith for Hindus and Shia Waqf Board is concerned about development of the society and the country. Hindu's should get their right and Muslims should refrain from taking away anyone's right. Shia Waqf Board will maintain its stand even if all the Muslims of the world stand to oppose me," added Rizvi.

The UP Shia Waqf Board had cited historical references to Mir Baqi, the person who built the Babri mosque, as being a Shia Muslim and hence the mutawali (caretaker) of the mosque was also the Shia Waqf Board.

Meanwhile, while all the major political parties including the BJP and the SP felt that it was an interference in the internal issue of the country and the courts and countrymen were capable enough to settle it, Muslim religious leaders came out in support of fatwa against Rizvi.

"Waseem Rizvi is a right-thinking man. Al-Sistani is the highest religious authority and he could not be opposed by Shias. Now it's time for Rizvi to fall in line and follow the fatwa issue by the cleric in Iraq," said Maulana Yassob Abbasi, a prominent Shia cleric based in Lucknow.

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