From the news desk

Rasool wedding: No act of kufr was committed

The following is the official statement by the Muslim Judicial Council, following its Special General Majlis Meeting held at the MJC on Saturday: 

Decisions were made and steps were taken in the run-up to, and the aftermath of the
wedding of Ebrahim Rasool’s daughter has necessitated deep introspection within our
community, with specific regard to inclusivity across the religious divide, and our manner of
responding as a community to situations of this kind.

Having for centuries existed in harmony and peace with people of other faiths, we
understand and continue to advocate the need for harmonious coexistence. There are,
however, areas of recognized sanctity in which the inclusion of extraneous religious rituals
must be acknowledged to be controversial and divisive rather than cohesive and inclusive.
One of these is the ceremony of Nikāḥ.

It is acknowledged that Ebrahim Rasool, in including the Seven Steps ritual into the
proceedings at his daughter’s wedding, went to great lengths to divest this ritual of religious
significance. The amenability of the Sharīáh to the inclusion of a sanitized version of what is
acknowledged to be a religious ritual and invoking the principles of Úrf and Maqāṣid to that
effect are matters in which there ought to have been much broader prior consultation.

It is precisely the failure to have had those broader consultations that precipitated the
present lamentable situation in which irresponsible statements of Takfīr have come to be
made to most disastrous effect. Responsibility for this failure rests with Ebrahim Rasool
himself, and for this, we believe that atonement and a public apology from him would be

An equal, if not greater burden of apology, both to the Rasool family and the community,
rests upon the shoulders of those whose lamentable discourse of Takfīr, based upon the
flimsiest of a rumour that flies brazenly in the face of the Qurānic imperative to verify, has
tarnished the image of Islām and Muslims. We advise that those who pronounced Takfīr on
those who were present at the Rasool wedding atone for what they have articulated and
make a public apology.

Charging someone with kufr deserves the highest degree of circumspection. When, in acts
of seemingly unambiguous and almost unmitigated kufr, the Sharīáh still enjoins that the
mindset of the actor be considered together with the appearance of the act and that
we find every reason to withhold judgement until we have satisfied ourselves of the required
amount of information.

This is precisely what the MJC has done in this instance: having satisfied ourselves that a
great deal of effort went into an attempt to sanitize the ritual under question from any
polytheistic connotations. We can declare with confidence that no kufr has been committed.
Having said that, the inclusion of the ritual remains, despite the attempts at sanitization,
impermissible in light of the Sharīáh, and mitigated by neither Úrf nor Maqāṣid.

The presence of two of our senior members at the event understandably raised eyebrows.
It must be understood that there has been no prior disclosure of everything that would
transpire at the wedding. Our members were as surprised as anyone else, and as unaware
of the full origin and significance of the ritual as most other guests. Retrospective directives
on how one ought to have acted are easily given with the benefit of hindsight; for those
caught in the moment of occurrence, it is often not that clear. Even so, it is hoped that an
infraction of Sharīáh is acknowledged by our two senior members whose presence has
been the topic of much anxiety and that it will help to assuage the indignation.

The MJC appeals to the community to allow the young couple to begin their married life in
peace and harmony. Let not the consequences of this unfortunate furore plague them any
more than they already have.

Finally, the MJC impresses upon its members, the Úlamā fraternity in general, and the
Muslim community to exercise due care in matters of our religious observances. By bringing
the Nikāḥ back to the Masājid and upholding the Sunnah of Rasūl Allāh in it, much of
the pitfalls of religious and cultural assimilations may be avoided.


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