This refers to the report that Amina Wadud’s lecture in Madras University was cancelled due to threats from some intolerant fringe groups. That she was denied her right to express her views in a democratic society is indeed deplorable. Dr. Wadud is an expert in looking at Islamic scriptures in a modern perspective. She has consistently advocated gender equality through her writings and speeches.
She recently delivered many lectures in Kerala on various subjects, and I was present in one of them. Nobody raised any voice against her opinions on reformation because she expressed her views in a mature and un-provocative manner. Her book has been translated into Malayalam and readers have appreciated her work. People who want tolerance to prevail must raise their voices now.
It is sad that Madras University submitted to extraneous pressure. Is one a Muslim only when his or her views on Islam are in conformity with the perceptions of the Thowheed Jamath? Dr. Wadud is an academician, an Islamic scholar, and was invited to address a select group which, in the opinion of the host, was capable of comprehending what was said and would be in a position to debate the views propounded. Dr. Wadud was to discuss her views only with this group and it was no public meeting.
Are Jamaths the custodians of Islam? Let us assume for argument’s sake that Dr. Wadud’s views do not reflect the teachings of Islam. Does she not have a right to hold her views and express them in an academic circle?
Islam is a strong religion and does not need any Jamath to protect it. On the other hand, the Jamaths have, unfortunately, portrayed Muslims as an intolerant set of people.
Zaffarullah Khan, Zaheer Ahmed Sayeed, A.J. Jawad,
Azim A. Khan,
Keywords: Amina Wadud