Irrfan Khan's remarks on fasting angers clerics
At a promotional event for his movie 'Madaari', Irrfan Khan questioned the concept of 'qurbani' and practice of fasting during Ramadan. Khan, who is known for his roles in movies like Slumdog Millionaire and The Namesake, was criticized by Muslim clerics who advised him to refrain from making "random comments". After kicking up a controversy, he defended his position through a number of tweets.
The start of the month of Shawwal marks the end of Ramadan and the start of Eid-al-Fitr. This year Eid is expected to fall on July 5th or July 6th, depending on the sighting of the crescent moon.
Khan's musings on Ramadan and Muharram
Khan was quoted saying that religious rituals nowadays are more mockery and less meaningful traditions as the real meaning behind them has been forgotten. Qurbani carries significance only when something close to your heart is sacrificed and not when an animal bought from the market is sacrificed. Muharram is a time of mourning. However, people have made it more about taking out processions.
Muslim clerics' response to Khan's comments
Wahid Khatri of the Jamaat-e-Ulema-e-Hind, slammed Khan for making such statements "for the publicity of his upcoming movie". Zafaryab Gilani of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board condemned his comments. Another cleric, Qalam Nuri advised him to stay within his limits. Sher Qazi Khalid Usmani lashed out by saying that the actor should keep his mouth shut on matters that don't concern him.
BJP's Shazia Ilmi backs the actor's remarks
For Ilmi, the whole idea of fasting and sacrifice has lost relevance in the present age and hence Irrfan's concerns carried weight. She blamed too much of commercialization that is slowly encroaching upon the matters of faith and religion. She did not agree with people imposing their opinions on others but since Irrfan raised a pertinent question, she urged people to think about it.
What is 'Qurbani'?
Qurbani means the sacrifice of a goat, sheep, cow or a camel during the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah, out of which one third of the meat should be donated. It signifies Prophet Ibrahim's devotion to God by his willingness to sacrifice his son.
Backed by many, Irrfan defended his stance by posting a series of tweets. He wrote that his view of religion was one of self introspection which included compassion, moderation and wisdom. In another tweet, he wrote that he is glad to be in a country which is not governed by religious contractors and requested those upset by him to introspect before jumping to conclusions.