Dr. MUHAMMAD RAZIUL ISLAM NADVI, a noted Islamic scholar and author of many books, is Secretary for Islami Muashirah, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, and Secretary Shari’ah Council of the Jamaat. He is Vice President of Idara-e-Tahqeeq-o Tasneef-e Islami, Aligarh. A member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Dr Nadvi is also on the Board’s Darul Qaza Committee. In an interview with MOHD NAUSHAD KHAN, he said the focus of the Ruju ilal Qur’ān (come close to the Qur’ān) campaign is to ask the people to read, understand and follow the Qur’ān as well as to bring the Muslim community closer to the Book of Allah.

First of all, please tell us about Ruju ilal Qur’ān campaign for our readers and well-wishers.

Muslims are very well attached with the Qur’ān emotionally. This display of attachment with the Qur’ān has become more ritualistic than practical in all walks of life round the clock in order to serve the purpose it was revealed for. But when anything wrong is said about the Qur’ān, Muslims speak against it rather strongly and go all out to defend the Book, sometime in the strongest possible words. But reading, reciting regularly, understanding the Qur’ān and following it accordingly is somewhat largely missing. Keeping this in mind, the Jamaat in its current term decided to launch a campaign Ruju ilal Qur’ān (Come Close to the Qur’ān) during the last month of 2019 or first month of 2020. But due to pandemic it was delayed and now we have decided to launch this campaign for 10 days (from 14 to 23 October) in various states of India where Jamaat has established its branches. The focus of this campaign will be Muslims only.

However, we have always maintained that the Qur’ān is a Book of Guidance for all and it is not confined to Muslims alone. This campaign will address all sections of Muslims, be it students, youth, Ulama, girls, women, businessmen, professionals, intellectuals and people from all walks of life. At state levels also, awareness programmes will be organised to address large and small gatherings, including corner meetings. There will be programmes for women. Programmes will also be organised in schools, colleges and universities. Social media platforms will be widely used; e-stickers, e-posters have been designed for this purpose. Small video-clips on the importance, guidance and teachings of the Qur’ān have been codeveloped and throughout the campaign we will use all these to connect with our target audience.

It has been also decided to distribute copies of the Qur’ān with translation during this campaign. Booklets having the message of the Qur’ān on various topics of the Qur’ān will also be distributed. The focus of this campaign is that people come close to the Qur’ān and the relation of every Muslim with the Qur’ān be strong, theoretically and practically. During this campaign, Qur’ān learning centres will also be established at various places which will be functional throughout the year.

You have said that Muslims will be the only target audience of this campaign. Is there any specific reason for that?

Various platforms of the Jamaat have organised campaigns of various nature every now and then. Generally, the campaigns of Dawah Department target non-Muslims and from time to time they are made aware of the various aspects of the teachings of the Qur’ān. Programmes are organised for them on the guidance of the Qur’ān and they are also provided with translated version of the Qur’ān in order to make them aware of the teachings of the Qur’ān and to clear any doubt, misconception and created narratives of the verses from the Qur’ān. The various departments of Jamaat work as per their pre-defined areas and target audience. However, the responsibility of Ruju ilal Qur’ān was given to Islamic Society Department of the Jamaat as per the policy and programme and therefore it is confined to Muslims only. It is the responsibility of the Muslims to read, learn and understand the Qur’ān and after doing that they are supposed to spread and make their fellow citizens aware of the teachings and guidance of the Qur’ān.

On the face value it may appear that we are focusing only on Muslims but eventually these Muslims after knowing the Qur’ān will be spreading the message of the Qur’ān among non-Muslim brothers because ultimately the guidance and teachings of the Qur’ān is for all mankind and for every society. Although non-Muslims are not our target audience yet they will be the beneficiaries in one way or the other from this campaign.

Why the need for such a campaign was felt and what kind of impact it is going to have on the people?

As I told you earlier, the kind of attachment people should have with the Qur’ān is missing. We can see the attachment particularly during Ramadan or on some other occasions. There are many among Muslims who used to read the Qur’ān regularly. But not all of them try to understand it. During Ramadan people read it many times. But they remain ignorant of what is said in the Qur’ān. There is common belief that by reading the Qur’ān more and more people will get more reward, which is true also. But we, during the campaign, will try to explain to them that the Qur’ān is a Book which should be read with meaning to serve the real purpose. Simply reading the Qur’ān is beneficial but reading and understanding the Qur’ān is far more important, beneficial and rewarding.

There is no book in the entire world which is read without knowing its meaning. The purpose of any book is to read, understand and practise accordingly. Similarly, we will ask people to read and understand Qur’ān and to follow what is said in the Qur’ān at every step, in all walks of life. It is true that the Qur’ān is the most read book in the world but it is also true that the followers understand it very little. So, the focus of the campaign will be to ask the people to read and understand the Qur’ān in order to serve the purpose. We hope that this campaign will have positive impact on the Muslim society as a whole.

Keeping in mind the prevailing atmosphere in the country, how do you think the Qur’ān can guide us. How this campaign will guide the people to deal with such kind of atmosphere?

We have the guidance from jamaat. We have asked the state units to make people aware of 10 dos and don’ts given in the Qur’ān. In state and local unit programmes important personalities, Ulama other than Jamaat will also be invited to participate in the programmes. We have also suggested the state and local units to ask the speakers in their programmes to talk on the guidance from the Qur’ān on the prevailing situation in the country. Also, they will talk on the guidance from the Qur’ān on issues Muslims have been confronting from time to time and on all contentious issues pertaining to Muslims. 

Will the campaign also deal with the issue of social reform in Muslims?  

It is true that politically, economically and educationally Muslims are far behind. It is also true that among Muslims there is social decadence. Relationship within Muslim community is on the decline, there is lack of unity, there are many sectarian divides and family life is also not in accordance to the guidance of the Qur’ān and Sunnah. Egoism, personal interest has overshadowed relations in the family. At all levels we can see there is decline. In this campaign efforts will be made for social reforms at all levels. Keeping in mind the very objective of the Department of Islami Muashirah, all efforts will be made to reform Muslim society.

Will the campaign also address the issue of hate-filled atmosphere in the country and how to deal with the situation?

The teachings of the Qur’ān are not against the establishment of a plural society. Allegations are made that the Qur’ān teaches alehdagi (separation), they should remain aloof from the disbelievers and their relation should be based on enmity. Through this campaign we will try to convey that the Qur’ān teaches Muslims to live with their fellow citizens in peace and harmony no matter which faith they belong to. Who obeys and disobeys will be judged by Allah. No one on the face of the earth, not even Muslims, have the authority to decide on it and it will be decided only by Allah. Instead Muslims have been advised to live with the countrymen in peace and harmony with good atmosphere. The teachings of the Qur’ān to promote peace and brotherhood will also be part of the campaign. 

Will the campaign also touch upon the differences within the Muslim community?

Yes, during the campaign, efforts will be made not only to bring Muslims closer to Islam but also to Muslims by burying their sectarian or any other differences. As per Fiqh, there can be difference but when it comes to the Qur’ān there is no difference of any kind. All Muslims obey all commands of the Qur’ān without any dispute. No matter what differences are there within the Muslim community, we can do away with these differences if we can bring them closer to the Qur’ān. The closer the Muslims come to the Qur’ān, the lesser difference they will have. We hope that the attachment with the Qur’ān will surely help the Muslim community to placate their age-old difference as per the teachings and guidance of the Qur’ān. Even if the widening of the differences is not bridged considerably, it will be narrowed down remarkably.

There are some terminologies in the Qur’ān like Jihad, Kufr which have been dragged into controversies every now and then. Will the campaign educate the people in this regard? 

Yes, it is true these terms are used to create difference among the communities and to create hatred towards Muslims. It is said so repeatedly and vehemently that some Muslims too start to think in that direction. The Muslims sometimes find themselves in a very difficult position to defend such terminologies. During this campaign, efforts will be made to make people aware as to how to answer the controversies raised on the pretext of these terminologies in a convincing manner. They would be educated to dispel false narratives and give right answer through reasonable arguments. For example, the reference of Jihad in the Qur’ān is given in the verses related to war only. When two nations are at war, the call for jihad can be given. If you show compassion during war then you will lose the war. Jihad is not called in the context of the society we live in. In such a society, the teachings of the Qur’ān are of mutual respect, love and respect of fellow citizens, care and compassion for our neighbours, of peace and brotherhood.

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