Subramanian Swamy has selectively quoted judgments to argue that temples and mosques are not the same as far as sacredness is concerned (“Fundamental issue in Ayodhya case,” Oct. 8). While he is right that prayers of Muslims can be offered anywhere and mosques around the Muslim world have been shifted for public convenience, he is economical on facts in quoting judgments out of context to prove the sacredness of temples. If all temples are so sacrosanct, why has the Supreme Court ordered the removal of all religious places, including temples, obstructing roads and public places? If this analogy of every Hindu temple is to be accepted, any mischief-monger can plant some idol surreptitiously in anyone's property, and start offering prayers and deprive the property owner of his rights. Such one-sided writings will only strengthen the victimhood syndrome of the minorities.
The Almighty Allah has commanded the faithful to offer compulsory prayers. According to the Traditions of the Prophet, it is compulsory for Muslim men to offer obligatory prayers in congregation in mosques established for the purpose. Establishing a mosque means it should be established permanently, and maintained properly. It should remain open to every believer of Islam to offer his prayers. The congregational prayer offered every Friday noon is a must for every Muslim and thus a mosque is an essential component of Islamic practice. It is true that Muslims can offer prayer at any place, but it is only a concession for those who cannot go to a mosque.
M. Haja Mydeen,
If a mosque is “just a facilitation centre for reading namaz,” isn't a temple also just a place for offering pujas? The sacredness of a mosque can be established from the fact that Muslims the world over offer their namaz facing the ‘Kaaba', which is a mosque, and it is obligatory for every Muslim to protect a mosque from any kind of attack by whatever means he can.
Imtiyaz Rasool Yetoo,
The Prophet himself observed that a mosque is the “house of God.” Mosque is a place where individuals learn what piety is and are prepared for a life of devotion to the Almighty. The biggest flaw in Dr. Swamy's argument is his reference to the Prophet's Mosque. It is the Wahabbis of Saudi Arabia who desecrated the tomb of Prophet Mohammed. Dr. Swamy echoes their argument to define what is Islamic and what is not, thus supporting their doctrine to assert the non-essentiality of mosques in Islam. His article is a boost for the ideologues of Wahabbism.
To most Muslims, a mosque is a sacred place. One of the tactics used by land-grabbers in Pakistan is to build a mosque on empty plots, knowing full well that no Muslim would ever think of demolishing it. While there have been a few instances in Saudi Arabia of mosques being pulled down and rebuilt, they are very rare in other Muslim countries. Secondly, if we accept that any property built on the ruins of a temple is illegal, almost all mosques, churches and gurdwaras are at a risk of destruction. Anyone can plant idols in the vicinity of any property owned by a non-Hindu and claim that it was built over a ruined temple.
The first judgement in March 1886 (by an Englishman), “It is most unfortunate that a Masjid should have been built on land specially held sacred by the Hindus. But as the event occurred 358 years ago, it is too late now to remedy the grievance,” was the correct one, although it is not known how the judge concluded that the mosque was built on sacred land.
The issue here is not whether Hinduism or Islam is more sacred. India is a secular country and secularism cannot be confined to the Constitution. It should be practised by all. No one who is criticising the Allahabad High Court verdict is doing so because it does not allow for the reconstruction of the Masjid alone on the site. The argument is ‘let the judgment be delivered on the basis of facts and reasoning, not theology or myth associated with a religion.' Let us leave the issue as it is and, if need be, let the parties to the case approach the Supreme Court for a much more dynamic verdict.
Dr. Swamy's views on the sacredness of mosques will not find acceptance among those who value democracy and secularism. No nation can call itself democratic unless it provides a sense of security to its minorities. It may be relevant to point out that Hindu temples enjoy full protection in a number of western nations although the percentage of Hindus is negligible.
How the court could use the ASI finding to conclude that a temple existed at the site where the Babri Masjid was built is still something our historians are unable to understand. It is bad logic to apply the Constitution Bench's contention in the specific case of Ayodhya. Everyone knows what happened to public order, public health and morality after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Our Constitution clearly says historical monuments should be protected.