The Supreme Court on Monday, April 12, 2021, dismissed a Writ Petition filed by Former UP Shia Waqf Board chairman Syed Wasim Rizvi seeking removal of certain verses from the Holy Quran that are allegedly preaching violence against non-believers.
A bench headed by Justice RF Nariman dismissed the writ petition claiming, "this is an absolutely frivolous writ petition". Additionally, The Court has also imposed Rs. 50000/- as costs on the petitioner for filing the petition.
Quoting, "My submission is that these preachings advocate violence against non-believers. Children are kept in captivity at madrasas at a tender age. Students are not to be indoctrinated. These preachings cannot be in the market place of ideas. I have written to the Central Government for action, but nothing has happened...Senior Advocate R K Raizada, appearing for Rizvi, replied that he was confining the prayer to the regulation of Madrassa education. He submitted that the literal interpretation of certain verses preached violence against non-believers, and therefore teaching them can lead to the indoctrination of children.
The bench, not at all inclined to entertain the matter proceeded to dismiss it with Rs 50,000 costs, after terming the petition 'absolutely frivolous'. The plea filed by Syed Wasim Rizvi impugns 26 verses from the Quran which he states are used as "justifications" by Islamist Terrorist Groups for attacks on non-believers/ civilians.
The plea states,
"On account of the verses of Holy Quran, (more particularly described in the Writ Petition), the religion of Islam is drifting away from its basic tenets with a fast pace and nowadays is identified with violent behaviour, militancy, fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism."
The petition refers to the following verses:
Verse 9 Surah 5; Verse 9 Surah 28; Verse 4 Surah 101; Verse 9 Surah 123; Verse 4 Surah 56; Verse 9 Surah 23; Verse 9 Surah 37; Verse 5 Surah 57; Verse 33 Surah 61; Verse 21 Surah 98; Verse 32 Surah 22; Verse 48 Surah 20; Verse 8 Surah 69; Verse 66 Surah 9; Verse 41 Surah 27; Verse 41 Surah 28; Verse 9 Surah 111; Verse 9 Surah 58; Verse 8 Surah 65; Verse 5 Surah 51; Verse 9 Surah 29; Verse 5 Surah 14; Verse 4 Surah 89; Verse 9 Surah 14; Verse 3 Surah 151; Verse 2 Surah 191
In his plea, Rizvi states that Islam is based on the concepts of equity, equality, forgiveness and tolerance is drifting away from its basic tenets of equity, equality, tolerance and forgiveness. However, due to extreme interpretations of the above-said verses of the Holy Book, the religion of Islam is drifting away from its basic tenets at a fast pace and nowadays is identified with militancy, fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism. He further alleges that after the demise of Prophet Muhammad, there was a dispute regarding the genuineness of some of the heavenly messages of God-the Almighty revealed to Prophet Muhammad and that the Caliphs made a mistake in compiling the Holy Quran.
The plea mainly draws the Court's attention towards two types of verses in the Holy Book:
Messages of Allah which are positive and promote peace, harmony, brotherhood, tolerance and forgiveness (attached as Annexure P-3 to the petition).
Messages of Allah which are negative and promote violence and hatred (attached as Annexure P-4 to the petition).
"Why such wide differences in the messages of God-the Almighty (Allah) in Holy Quran itself ?" the plea remarks.
"the dictates of religion which are not in consonance and overlap with the Law of Land of any nation and any Country passed by the competent elected representatives in the form of parliament/ state legislature and the laws and rules made by the United Nations shall have no strength of Law and are violative of the Law of the land and the same should not prevail over the same."
Rizvi goes on to allege that several Islamic Madrasas are making a contribution to Muslim terrorist activities, stating "There are many Muslim madrasas all over the world where young children are taught Islam and Holy Quran is explained to the Islamic students who are working for terrorist activities, in the Quranicsurahs as detailed in the preceding paragraphs. It is like poison in the raw minds of young children in the name of the message of Allah, which leads him to a radical mindset and from his early age when they become young, they hate people of other religions because of their mindset, and many youths get involved with terrorist organizations in some way under this mentality, the wrong messages of Allah Has been filled in the name of Islam."
He insists that as per Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution, religious institutions have the freedom to teach with liberty. However, they do not have the liberty to teach anything illegal, which violates the Law of the Land or the Indian Constitution.
Furthermore, the plea further states,
"as per the provisions of Article 25 and 26 of Constitution of India, the freedom of conscience and religion as per clause 1 is subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion. Further, any religious custom/ belief has to be in accordance or within the balance of Constitution of India and as the Law is already settled."