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Islamic Scholars Back Family's Decision to Refuse Terror Suspect's Body

Saifullah's father Sartaj had refused to accept the body of his  son.

Saifullah's father Sartaj had refused to accept the body of his son.

Saifullah was killed in Lucknow on Monday in an exchange of fire with the police after a 12-hour stand-off. He was suspected to be linked with the blast in the Bhopal-Ujjain train. After the police tried to hand over the body to his father Sartaj, he refused to accept his body saying "a traitor" is no son of theirs.

New Delhi: Islamic scholars have welcomed a trend that started from 2008 when the mother of a Lashkar militant refused to take the body of her son for burial as he was guilty of anti-national activities and now slain Saifullah’s body too was rejected by his father for burial, calling it ‘a symbolic act of upholding an essential teaching of Islam’ and that is to ‘love the land they live in.’

Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, executive member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), told News18 that’s Saifullah’s fathers’ refusal to take his body for burial upholds the Islamic teaching of loving one’s own country dearly.

Also Read: Will I lose My Job Because of my Son, Asks Terror Suspect Saifullah's Father

“The fact that Saifullah’s parents refused to take his body back is certainly Islamic. In Islam, a love for one’s own country has been given a lot of importance. It cannot be compromised at any cost. Hence when a Muslim goes against this principle and attacks his own countrymen, he is violating a fundamental principle of Islam and thus refusing to take the body of such a person for cremation is certainly not barred in Islam,” said Rasheed.

Saifullah was killed in Lucknow on Monday in an exchange of fire with the police after a 12-hour stand-off. He was suspected to be linked with the blast in the Bhopal-Ujjain train. After the police tried to hand over the body to his father Sartaj, he refused to accept his body saying "a traitor" is no son of theirs.

"One who indulges in anti-national activities can't be my son. Look, someone who's a traitor cannot be our son. We will absolutely not accept a traitor's body. He has brought infamy not only to us but to the whole nation, therefore we will not accept his body for last rites" said Sartaj.

Similarly in 2008 when four militants were killed in an encounter in Kashmir’s Kupwara district, one of them was Abdul Raheem from Malappuram. But his mother refused to accept his body.

“If my son was involved in anti-national activities, he deserved the fate he met.… My prayers are that no woman should face the fate of being called the mother of an extremist,” Raheem’s mother had said.

Even the chairman of the Imam Council of India, Maulana Masood Ul Hassan Qasmi agreed with Khalid Rasheed and told News18 that the act of not accepting the body back is ‘certainly not against Islam.’

“No certainly it is not un-Islamic as the rationale given by the family fits the bill of not violating the principle of Islam. Certainly the love for one’s own nation has been accorded great importance in Islam and a refusal take back the body of a person who has gone against the country is a personal choice and does not violate the religion at all,” said Qasmi.

He also expressed concern as to the probability of Saifullah being later declared innocent by the courts and chance for the parents to repent their decision.

“But there is a possibility that the parents might repent their decision at a later date because there are hundreds of fake encounters which take place in India. If there is an investigation and 10 years and if 10 years down the line it is proven that Saifullah was innocent was just planted by agencies then this decision would be repented. But nonetheless the parents have displayed a very symbolic gesture,” said Qasmi.

However, another member of the AIMPLB, Zafaryab Jilani, differed with the above scholars and told News18 that this refusal amounts to insulting the dead and ‘this is certainly not allowed.’

“This is definitely not a trend is only a very rare instance. Even during the time of the holy Prophet there used to be wars and enemies used to be killed, but there is no mention of insulting a dead body. A human is guilty only till he is alive and after his death, the decision lies with the almighty to convict him. But insulting a dead body is not allowed and refusing to bury is a personal call,” said Jilani.

first published:March 10, 2017, 08:47 IST