The Grand Mufti of Kashmir, Bashir-ud-din Ahmad, is in the line of fire of singers’ community who want the controversial cleric to apologize for allegedly forcing young girls to disband their rock-band, Praagaash, five months ago.
Mufti Bashir was caught on tape enjoying music at a public function despite issuing fatwa calling music un-Islamic practice. The video, which has gone viral, has put the Mufti in an embarrassing situation.
“Mufti sahib is seen enjoying the music — the same activity for which he imposed ban on these girls. It is hypocrisy. We should not have restricted the girls at that time... It’s high time he apologized to those girls,” Waheed Jeelani, chairman of Kashmir Music Club, an apex body of singers and musicians, told dna.
Praagaash was disbanded in February after the Grand Mufti, who heads the self-styled supreme court of Shariat, issued a fatwa saying music is un-Islamic and asked the girls to stop their activities. “Mufti sahib is a human being and he too can enjoy music... But the decision to issue fatwa against young girls was wrong. The issue got so much hype that the girls have refused to rejoin the field. He has demolished their career,” Waheed said.
Qaiser Nizami, another noted singer who sang gazals and Sufi kalams during the function attended by the Grand Mufti, said he asked the Mufti Bashir about the fatwa and he replied that “he had opposed the way the girls were performing because it was not acceptable to the society”.
“If the Mufti issues fatwa that music is haram (forbidden) then people like me who have no other source of income than singing will die of hunger,” Nizami said.
However, a spokesman for the Mufti said there would be no compromise regarding the verdict against Praagaash.
“There will be no compromise with regard to the fatwa announced regarding the rock band. The conference (Mufti attended) was purely of religious nature. There was neither any kind of rock band nor musical programme during the conference,” the spokesman said.
The Dukhtaran-e-Milat (DeM), a hard-line women separatist group, said the fatwa issued against Praagaash was according to the tenets of Islam. “However, if the Mufti has attended a function where music was played then he needs to explain otherwise it will construed as duplicity,” said Aasiya Andrabi, chief of DeM.