ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Yoginder Sikand

Deobandi Patriarchy: A Partial Explanation

Through its gendered vision, Dar ul-Uloom, Deoband, provides a partial explanation of the stridently patriarchal interpretations of Islam that are projected by its clerics as normative and binding. But these interpretations are fi ercely contested by many other Muslims, including prominent Indian Muslim women's groups, as both unjust and un-Islamic. This study focuses on such an interpretation by a well-respected cleric Ashraf Ali Thanvi (1863-1943) in Nikah [Marriage] in Islam, which deals specifi cally with issues related to Muslim women in the context of various rules concerning Muslim marriage.

Jihad, Islam and Kashmir: Syed Ali Shah Geelani's Political Project

Syed Ali Shah Geelani is back at the centre stage of Kashmir politics. Based on an analysis of his Kashmir: Nava-e Hurriyat ("Kashmir: Voice of Freedom"), this article lays out Geelani's understanding of the genesis of the Kashmir conflict, his critique of Indian rule, his advocacy for Kashmir's accession to Pakistan, his opposition to independence for Jammu and Kashmir, his understanding of the relation between Islam, politics and the state, and his views on jihad, nationalism and inter-community relations. All these issues are central to the ongoing conflict in and over Kashmir. The article also discusses a central paradox: If only a minority of the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir support the state's accession to Pakistan, why is it that Geelani, who has consistently advocated the state's merger with Pakistan, continues to be regarded as the icon of the Kashmiri Muslim resistance movement?

Deoband's Fatwas on Women

The Deoband Dar ul-Uloom's recent fatwa on Muslim women working outside the home and a host of other women-related fatwas close almost all sources of employment. An accepted principle of Islamic jurisprudence holds that fatwas must be related and responsive to the social and temporal context which they intend to address. It is because the Deobandis are hardened followers of the Hanafi school of Sunni jurisprudence and insist on blind imitation of past juridical precedent that they seem unwilling to understand the need for contextually-relevant fatwas.

Dangerous Portents: A View from Doda

After enduring acts of militancy and communal tension for years, Doda in the Jammu region had recently begun to enjoy a semblance of normalcy with cordial relations between members of different communities. Now the land for Amarnath protests have once again affected life in Doda and they threaten to engulf an area where Hindus and Muslims live in large numbers.

Reforming Traditional Muslim Education

There is a strong feeling among Muslim activists, scholars, the government and international actors that there is a need to modify traditional madrasa education and introduce basic "modern" subjects into the curriculum. This article discusses the efforts of one educational programme in Gujarat that attempts to do so and finds that not only does this benefit those participating in the programme but also a larger section of the community.

Reflections on Deoband's Anti-Terrorism Convention

The crucial issues surrounding the increasing Islamophobia across the world and in India, raised by the Dar-ul-Ulum Deoband's recent anti-terrorism convention, were not reflected in the media reports, nor were its shortcomings critically appraised. The non-Muslim media focused solely on the "terrorism is anti-Islamic" resolution, while the Muslim press concentrated on blaming the "enemies of Islam" for fomenting terrorism.