When an ‘appeal’ becomes a ‘Fatwa’ by Mahmodul Hassan
Nahid Afreen is one of the most popular singers of Assam whose achievements are indeed appreciable. At the age of 16, her contribution to the society as a singer is wholly a triumph. For the first time, Nahid Afreen came into the limelight through the famous reality TV show Indian Idol for her wonderful performances.
Controversy prevailed across the state after when a number of news reports said that 'Fatwa' was issued against Nahid Afreen by 46 Muslim Clerics, warning her to stop singing as it was "against the Sharia". The same issue was also raised in national news channels.
What is Fatwa?
A fatwa is an Islamic legal pronouncement, issued by an expert in religious law (mufti), pertaining to a specific issue, usually at the request of an individual or judge to resolve an issue where Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), is unclear. Thus the anger about a Fatwa on Nahid Afreen is not informed exactly following the track.
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY:
Nahid was about to perform at a 'Musical Night' programme organised by a local sports association at Udali in Hojai district on 25th March. People were excited and most of the seats were already booked, they were eagerly waiting for the day.
While all these preparations were in progress, leaflets signed by 46 Muslim men were distributed in the districts of Hojai and Nagaon.
The leaflet headlined 'Gauhari' (appeal), expresses sadness following the tasks "against the Sharia". It further terms the magic, drama, dance, theatre etc as the tasks against the Sharia.
The pamphlet also makes reference to a magic show which was recently held in the venue (Udali Sonai Bibi College playground in Lanka in Hojai district) where Afrin was scheduled to perform on March 25. It terms the magic show as against the sharia.
The pamphlet further says that there was Masjid, burial ground, khannka, Markaz and Idgah near the venue.
"If we don't keep our children away from such things, Allah will not spare any of us," it says. Referring to the 'Musical Night' that was to be held on March 25, the pamphlet warns that such an event so close to religious places would "definitely anger Allah".
"We humbly request you to prevent not only yourself from attending such an event but also encourage others to do the same," – it ends with this sentence.
However, the singer Nahid Afreen's name was not mentioned anywhere in the article nor did it indirectly targeted her. The pamphlet focuses on the issues of the place (Udali or the venue for the programme) itself, particularly concerning the Magic show and the Musical Night.
Nahid Afreen broke down in front of the journalists while speaking on the issue. Many organizations and artists have decried the incident.
While all these issues were taking social media by a storm, the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal tweeted, "We strongly condemn putting restrictions on performance by young talented singer Nahid Afreen by some organisations."
Freedom of artists is the essence of democracy. Spoke to Nahid and reiterated our Govt's commitment to provide safety and security to artists, CM Sonowal tweeted.
After getting fatwa from 46 mullahs in Assam, 16 yrs old Nahid Afrin said she'll never bow down and will never leave singing. Bravo girl, – widely known Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen tweeted.
by Mahmodul Hassan
Opinions expressed in this article are the writer's own and TNT-The Northeast Today may not hold the same views