An attempt to know, understand (and ultimately, transform) that which occurs on the fields of play - India (her politics, media, music) and beyond ...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Subsidy to Haj pilgrims "un-Islamic": Prince of Arcot

Prince of Arcot Mohammed Abdul Ali has appealed to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to consult ulemas, religious scholars and intellectuals in Muslim community before offering Haj subsidy to pilgrims.

In a letter to Dr. Singh, he said subsidy for Haj pilgrims was un-Islamic and against the principles of Shariat. "Haj pilgrimage is one of the obligatory duties to a Muslim, who can only afford it, but not acceptable on somebody's obligation." No country in the world, including Muslim countries, offered the subsidy. Clerics of Saudi Arabia, Muslim high dignitaries and intellectuals had objected to the subsidy.
"There is a need to create opinion among Muslims that going on Haj pilgrimage with Government subsidy is against the tenets of Islam," he said in a press release.

The Haj subsidy is one of those unique features that distinguishes the Indian Government's practice of secularism! In what was probably an attempt to show Muslims (in India and most importantly, Pakistan) that it was more Muslim-friendly than Pakistan, the GoI instituted the Haj subsidy to allow Haj-pilgrims to travel to Saudi Arabia for a discounted fare (the 2005 discounted fare was Rs. 12000 - I'll try to find out what an undiscounted fare might be!). Now, the irony is that this subsidy itself is un-Islamic!

I wish the Prince all the best in his attempts! Indeed, let not the Govt. of India be guilty of inducing apostasy in devout Muslims! Then it would be in the unenviable position of neither being secular nor pseudo-secular!


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