Badruddin Ajmal's Faux Pas in Triple Talaq Debate: Muslim Sectarian Divide Reaches Parliament
AIUDF MP Badruddin Ajmal (Photo credit: IANS)

Badruddin Ajmal, a Member of Parliament from Assam and president of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), stirred up a hornets' nest in the Islamic society by calling Salafis 'terrorists' in Lok Sabha. Debating the Triple Talaq Bill on Thursday, visibly unprepared Badruddin Ajmal, an adherent of Hanafi school of thoughts, said: "You have mentioned Salafi sect, this ideology has been held responsible for promoting terrorism. We don’t follow this sect."

After facing flak, Ajmal issued an apology calling the remarks a 'slip of the tongue', 'unintentional' and 'far from truth'. He also wrote to the Lok Sabha secretariat to expunge the controversial parts of his speech from the Parliament’s record. However, the damage was done. His remarks reignited the fire of sectarian divide within the Muslim community and widened the existing rift between the two largely followed branches of Islam.

What pains Salafis and those who are trying to unite the community is very fact that the regrettable statement came from a person who is sent to the Parliament with a hope that he would represent the entire community. Badruddin Ajmal,  a high-profile member of Darul Uloom Deoband, Asia's largest Islamic seminary, not only humiliated Salafis in Lok Sabha, but also let down Hanafis who had expected him to present a strong case against the Triple Talaq Bill. Badruddin Ajmal Asked on Pre-Election Alliance Ahead of 2019, Replies: ‘Go Dogs…Will Smash Your Head’.

During the debate, Ajmal admitted he came unprepared and looked distracted. Despite being a student of Darul Uloom Deoband, he failed to answer a question about Quran posed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi and went on giving unrelatable examples in his desperate attempt to make a pitch against the Bill. He disappointed Muslims, especially Hanafis, who expected compelling arguments against the Bill from him. Adding to woes, he ended up giving fodder to anti-Muslim powers to malign the community over terrorism.

Badruddin Ajmal's Speech in Lok Sabha on Triple Talaq Bill:

On one hand, the ruling dispensation is hell-bent on suppressing Muslims by unleashing a spree of attacks on their constitutional rights, and smears the community by pushing misinformation, Badruddin Ajmal, on the other hand, acted as an ignorant Muslim who ended up becoming a pawn in the hands of Islamophobes. After social media, where vile and offensive things are being said by Muslims about other Muslims, the sectarian divide has reached the Parliament. Assam: Woman Alleges Rape by AIUDF MLA Nizam Uddin Choudhury, Legislator Terms Allegation as False.

At a time when a national party, driven by hate and bias against Muslim, is leaving no stone unturned to take political advantage of the sectarian divide within Islam, we, Muslims are also contributing to this bigotry by either blaming each other for our problems or by turning a blind eye to growing sectarianism. The sects within the Muslim community have disagreements over Islamic laws and theology since centuries.

But Badruddin Ajmal should know Muslims; whether Sunni, Shia, Hanafi or Salafi face the same challenges. Muslims whether Sunni, Shia, Hanafi or Salafi endure the same attack on their dress code, eating habits and so-called radicalisation and extremism within the community. Fighting the scourge of external sectarianism towards non-Muslims is as important as fighting the scourge of internal sectarianism between Muslims.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author (a Hanafi) and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of LatestLY.)