Azhar Vadi – Cii News – June 21, 2012
Difference of opinion amongst the South African Ulama on the appearance of religious scholars on television stations has prompted the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa based in Johannesburg to issue a press release clarifying their position.
The full statement issued in the name of the President of the organisation , Moulana Abbas Ali Jeena, reads:
“The Jamiatul Ulama South Africa is acutely aware of the impact of media on society. It is equally conscious of the overwhelming harms of the different forms of electronic media in general, and television in particular.
“The pervasive impact of the media, has prompted some Ulama to appear on television with a view to protect the Imaan of the unwary masses. Jamiatul Ulama South Africa however does neither promote nor condemn the appearance of Ulama on television in their individual capacity as a means of combating widespread misinformation and propaganda against Islam.
“The Jamiat’s position must not be interpreted as an endorsement of television itself, but rather as the outcome of divergent views of our senior Ulama who had deliberated on the matter. A synopsis of these deliberations of our senior Ulama is available from the Jamiat’s Offices.”
The statement follows the appearance of senior South African Ulama in their individual capacity, despite being aligned to the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa, on the newly launched television broadcaster, ITV.
The television, as a medium, has since its inception been shunned as a source of vice with Ulama and religious scholars in South Africa discouraging people from watching it. The sudden appearance of some scholars on the station prompted a sharp response from those who have held on to the traditional view of ostracising the medium.
Mufti Abdool Kader Hoosen, during his Q and A programme aired live on Cii on Monday this week, categorically opposed the view that Ulama should become television presenters.
“The Ulama appearing on the TV should ask themselves, have they not disappointed their teachers?” he said. “There is not a single senior mufti or alim (scholar) in South Africa that has said it is permissible. They try and give you some fatwa (ruling) from India. All this means nothing for us. We have thousands of Ulama here in South Africa. We have many senior muftis here. How come not one has said it is permissible?”
He went on to enumerate: “To me, it is also a disservice to the organisations they are serving. Hassan Basri (RA) was asked; what is the punishment for the Ulama? He said when the Ulama search for the glory of the world and their action outwardly seems for the hereafter. They will tell you that they are doing it for propagation and if they don’t do it others will. So you cannot prevent anybody (from appearing on tv). But why should you. It’s like one person steals and so you want to steal. That analogy has no common sense in it. We make dua Allah give them and us guidance. So we totally distance ourselves from those Ulama and we say you are doing Islam and the Muslims a great disservice and disgracing yourself in the process.”
His view was also supported the Majlisul Ulema based in Port Elizabeth. In a statement published on 11 May 2012, the article called on senior Ulama, junior Ulama and the ordinary members of the Muslim public to protest against the decision of Ulama to appear on TV.
Secretary-General of the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa, Moulana Ebrahim Bham, speaking to Sabahul Khair on Thursday morning said: “There is no doubt that the Ulama have had divergent views on the matter. The Jamiatul Ulama has an article in which the Islamic Fiqh Academy and the Jamiatul Ulama Hind (India) had gathered the Ulama of India to debate and discuss this issue. There were prominent Ulama who gave their views on both sides of the spectrum. Some said don’t legitmise the medium because there are harmful aspects on the medium. Some said given the pervasive impact, under certain circumstances, it should be allowed for people to explain the true views of Islam on this medium otherwise it will be open to other people who would use it to distort the message of Islam.”
Moulana Bham was very strong in emphasising that the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa is not legitimising a ‘free for all’ scenario that would allow everyone to get on to television. “Given the fact that there are divergent views, the Jamiatul Ulama has not taken the view to promote it. Keeping in mind that we are not saying it is carte blanche to go and promote (television) and everyone must go on. But at the same time we are not going to condemn those, who keeping in mind the pervasive impact, keeping in mind that it could be used for wrong, it could be used to distort Islam, the enemies of Islam are using this medium and they are getting across to many people, we are not going to condemn those Ulama who are going to use this medium to propagate the correct picture.”
Tags: Fiqh Academy, ITV, Jamiatul Ulama, Jamiatul Ulama Hind, Jamiatul Ulama South Africa, Majlisul Ulama, Moulana Ebrahim Bham, mufti abdool kader hoosen