Licenses of false scholars will be revoked, warns Islamic Ministry

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs has claimed it will be taking action against religious scholars who spread ‘false information’ about Islam, in a bid to tackle rising concerns over fundamentalism in the country.

State Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed said this action would extend to revoking the licenses of these scholars once the requisite regulation in the Religious Unity Act was returned from the Attorney General’s office this week.

“We will investigate these matters and in the future an advisory board will be appointed to make these decisions,” Shaheem explained.

The first scholar to likely have his license cancelled under the new regulations will be Sheikh Nasrulla, Shaheem said, after the Islamic Ministry received complaints about the Sheikh from the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM).

In a letter to the ministry dated last October, HRCM reported that during a Ramadan sermon to teachers in Gaafu Alifu Villingili, Sheikh Nasrulla encouraged people “to get their daughters married when they are nine years old.”

“We have information that he said ‘my daughter was also married when she was 9 years old’,” HRCM said in the letter, stating that this practice conflicted with human rights.

The commission also noted that “while it is not prohibited to get married at such a young age in Islam, when scholars speak and spread information like this, children’s studies are ruined and they are forced to marry when they are psychologically and physically unprepared for it.”

“We respectfully request [the Islamic Ministry] stop these acts as it confuses people about the Islamic religion and brings intense hatred towards it.”

President of HRCM Ahmed Saleem said today that the Islamic Ministry’s decision to take concrete action against scholars preaching such practices was “very encouraging.”

“I think the ministry has been quietly trying to do things in the background, but it hasn’t been working and they seem to have decided to go public,” Saleem said. “A lot of people have been shifting blame on the Ministry.”

HRCM sent the letter to the Islamic Ministry last year following complaints from the community that young girls were being married, and asked the ministry to investigate the matter.

“I don’t think Nasrulla is the only one preaching it; just taking action against Nasrulla is not enough,” Saleem said.

He agreed that there was “to some extent” conflict between human rights and certain interpretations of Islam present in the Maldives.

“My sense is that people understand human rights as a western concept, but that is not the case,” Saleem said.

“If you talk to some scholars human rights is very much part of Islam – Islam itself preaches human rights.”

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29 thoughts on “Licenses of false scholars will be revoked, warns Islamic Ministry”

  1. Agree with HRCM...And i'm shocked!!! Why do we need these "ISLAMIC SCHOLARS"??? They have no idea what they are talking about.These extremists think they are the only people who have rights, other human beings have no rights, I wouldn't say "SCHOLARS" to them, I would say "Extremist", they believe that they are the only people who know the religion,which they try to control those poor people,and ruin their lives etc. We don't need them here in Maldives. We have dhivehi translation of Qoran. which is detailed more than enough for people to understand. and people have their rights to believe what ever they want to believe, and that is how we've been living since the Maldives was born.

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  2. Can we limit the Islam to a mere religion? The religion should be only a spiritual thing to make people more human. Limited to pray and find salvation.
    Involving religion in worldly affairs invokes religion to be ridiculed.

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  3. ah..now we're talking...
    but lets wait and see what MoIA does... too early to decide if they are acting with good intentions.

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  4. Before the government introduces comparative religion, why don't they educate our scholars?

    If this is the standard of our Islamic scholars, then, we need to first teach them Islam before we can teach other religions to anyone else.

    Why was I fearful that introducing other religions will sway the gullible? Now I am thinking, if this is what our scholars preach, we can expect to see en masse conversions.

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  5. “while it is not prohibited to get married at such a young age in Islam"?

    seriously? and THAT is our Human Rights Commission Speaking?

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  6. Such a regulation, although laudable, would invite a lot of conflict. There is some grassroots support for Nasrullah's interpretation of Islam and the existence of those bases would lead to clandestine congregations, loss of national unity etc etc. Some of us adhere to a certain interpretation of Islam only nominally, while others have an intense emotional connection to theirs. If we define our national character by the myth of being homogenous in our religious convictions then we are bound to break the ties that bind us. Our state has been built on the foundation of the 2008 Constitution but our nation lacks the unifying principles that a lot of other countries take for granted. The disconnect between one island and the other, different neighborhoods in Male' and regional groupings threaten to tear this fragile society apart. The Islamic Ministry is making the best of a potentially volatile situation as I understand but normative regulation cannot guide the emotional dimensions of religion. Perhaps these issues are harbingers of the removal of religion as part of our national identity. If so, it would be interesting to see how the present Ministries for Islamic Affairs and future institutions deal with what continents such as Europe have suffered through decades of chaos and conflict.

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  7. also noted that Nasrulla is a super salafi scholar...disagrees with Adhaalath on issues like supporting terrorism. this is sectarian. adhaalath scholars also preach this.

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  8. NO NO.... if the Wahhabi's in the Islamic Ministry is allowed to block free speech under any pretext, it will be a huge blow to freedom in the Maldives. Let the Islamic Ministry challenge people who call for 9 yr olds getting married if it so chooses, but they really don't and talk only crap. And to allow this Ministry a legal TOOL for example to strangle ant-Wahhabi Islamic thought will be a BIG REGRESSION that should not be allowed...

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  9. yes. finally action against extremism. Hope Fareed is also taken care off coz he has admitted that he is just an llb holder and has become a religious scholar on different aspcets of Islam which is not right. You need proper education and years of research to exercise preaching of Islam at the level fareed is doing now.

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  10. Freedom of speech is not a blank cheque to say whatever a person thinks. The right to free speech ends when it encroaches on others' rights. And that sort of encroachment must be stopped. You see, you cant allow an unlicensed psychiatrist to talk to patients under the banner of free speech. And if psychiatrist proves incompetent his license also should be revoked. If a panel of experts from a diverse pool sit and decide that a person is incompetent to preach, then that's upholding law and order.

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  11. @seena
    Seriously? Jealousy of your dear Nasru? I assume you wouldnt mind being married off at 9 years, after all women are just walking wombs, right? I dont know who is more delusional, Nasrulla or people who actually believe him!

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  12. shaikh nasrulla is jealous of shaheem, that why he is doing alot of things against shaheem. and trying t replace shaheem ... this is vry big story ..if u want know the reallity ask janaab abdullah

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  13. Agree with Hamza. However, I also believe it has to start somewhere, and that this is a good initiative, and hope that an objective, 'well-rounded' advisory board is put in place soon. The question arises once again - where is the Fiqh Academy? What is their mandate? Are they not an advisory board in matters of Islam?

    There is also some merit in Robin's argument. How and what some supposedly Islamic scholars preach has been so lacking in the essence of humanity at times, that anyone with a conscience and an inherent sense of morality would be hard pressed to believe them.

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  14. Shouldn't the courts of law be empowered to do this sort of thing? Deciding what is hate speech, inappropriate or unconstitutional?

    I wonder if the same principles cannot be applied to more modern, liberal interpreters of Islam, and be used to revoke licenses to such people in the future?

    While I do believe this Nasrullah character is better of without a public dais, I wonder what the ramifications of this would be.

    How does one group of Mullahs get to say that the other is 'wrong'?

    What if Nasrulla formed a party and jumped into bed with a mainstream political party to seize power - the same ways the Adhaalathu party did?

    Does Nasrulla then get to ban Shaheem and Baree from speaking in public?

    Why is there this need to homogenize a religion as diverse and varied in interpretation as Islam - and worse, make it THE national identity?

    Like another commentator pointed out, these are growing hints that religion be dropped as a National identity, and thus remove this political exploitation tool from the hands of ever-selfish politicians.

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  15. I know Shaheem to be a good person and patient when it comes to uneducated people who criticize Islam.

    One comment said that we cant call those preaching Islam as 'scholars', but if they themselves look at the English dictionary meaning of 'scholar' they would find something similar to:

    "a learned or erudite person, esp. one who has profound knowledge of a particular subject."

    I am pretty sure most of the preachers have studied Islam in depth compared to a few of those who go on Minivan to condemn it. If one is to make a statement using English words, best to check what it exactly stands for beforehand. If someone studies science in depth, then that person would be counted as a scholar in that field, not from what I say, but from the meaning of the English word 'scholar' itself.

    In regards to HRCM, it is pretty obvious that those in charge of the Humarn Rights commission are anti-Islamic people themselves. If you look at the western Human Rights declaration, it states as follows in one point:

    "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty."

    http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

    If lets say the Maldives HRCM was really impartial as it is supposed to be, then it would not have spoke so much against the growing popularity of conservative Islam as each individual has a right in practicing Islam as they see fit. If someone does not want to be religious and pray five times a day, that is their own right according to the Western concept and at the same time it if someone wants to fully dedicate their life to Islam by learning the Quran by heart, preaching, or giving public speeches, that is his right as well. Hence both sides should actually have their rights.

    Ofcourse there will be a minority on both sides which does not like the idea of giving the same right to the other one, but when an organization such as HRCM criticizes the Islamic side only, then they are being hypocritical to the same charter which it supposedly follows.

    To me this is not surprising since the West does not follow their own popular rules of freedom of the individual which they spent decades promoting.

    Making a rule is very simple, but following it isn't that easy when politicians or organization leaders are corrupt in the heart or maybe to be polite we could say weak at heart.

    The Americans who played a big role in the Human Rights Declaration are the main abusers of their own rules now. They expect other countries to follow these rules, but does not like even the suggestion that their own soldiers can be questioned or arrested by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in any case at all. This includes cases of torture the world knows well about and has video and picture evidence to convict US soldiers of war crimes.

    USA refuses to sign up to the ICC saying their soldiers should not be subjected to these type of systems - while asking the ICC to prosecute other nationals for violation of the UN Human Rights Convention. Very disturbing to any educated person but some actually goes along with this as they are too busy with their own life without actually keeping up to date with world events and double standard foreign policies from countries which once supposedly pioneered the word "freedom".

    Now that is just looking at things from a western point of view. Its full of hypocrisy with uneducated people supporting it with without any references to proof their points - again something which would give them an F in any university assignment.

    From an Islamic point of view, at least to me the western concept of Human Rights is a shame and disgusting to the last drop of innocent blood it spills in the name of democracy, neo-colonialism, imperialism or what ever name one would like to call it. It is not worth even to spit on it as the relevance it might once have had is now completely obsolete or simply too primitive.

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  16. Courts don't issue and revoke licenses! lol
    But yes, ppl can sue others on hate speech matters in a court of law! But all practice licenses like for trade, lawyer, doctor, preacher, etc are all done by the administrative branch.

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  17. Robin! Did you say EN MASSE CONVERSIONS? To which religion? Are you the writer of this article itself; JJ Robin(son)?

    I don't think there is any religion in the world which prohibits girls of puberty getting married - not even Christianity and Judaism! So it's like you have to check where you land before you fly off from Islam!

    My belief is that when Islam was revealed girls of 9 years were pretty much looked upon as adults as they had to keep up with the then accepted norms. If society in the olden days had to wait till their girls were 18 to qualify them as adults then they will be considered as more than middle aged women! I don't think life expectancy in the modern day was similar to the time when Islam was being revealed. Most probably not even 40 years due to lack of gynaecologists, womens 'girlish' problems became more and more severe and probably died off too soon!

    In the modern world a girl of 9 years is just a baby - but someone (parents)should check their facebook chat also, whether it falls to that (baby) category!

    A girl of 9 years would be in grade 4 at some primary school today - whereas in those days she would have to face ridicule if she said she did not know how to cook and keep the house clean!
    The credentials of a 9 year old greatly varies from olden to modern day.

    So I don't think (just thinking as I have no religious qualifications) that the argument of Islam not prohibiting girls of 9 years getting married holds any grounds because in my view divine law prohibits something when it is absolutely essential! Music is NOT haraam if it is limited to drums and voice only - that's what I know of.

    If Islam specifically prohibited under 18 children from getting married - then what if most if not all of the adults and babies died off due to a natural disaster or disease and only the under 18s were saved to fend for themselves?
    Then would you criticise Islam for not allowing under 18s to have the option of getting married?! Would they go on strike to allow nuptial rights?

    So LOGICALLY thinking it's not a problem in Islamic faith itself - not even remotely, BUT it's a problem of incongruency in man-mad(e) law!

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  18. Heck got something seriously wrong. Agree that life expectancy 1400 yrs ago was much less than nowadays... but what DOES it matter? In 2010, a 9 year old girl is a child. Period.
    That a child can be married off is CRUEL in 2010 - whether it was "normal" those days or not.

    Do you want to justify child marriages in the name of Shari'a, because Mohamed married Aisha?
    Do you want to justify that a man can kill his wife-to-be's husband, brother and father, just because Mohamed did it to Safiya?
    Do you think you are the Prophet Himself and justify everything what he did? He was not a lovely man dear!

    NOW, in 2010, we are trying to protect human rights, and the hell we HAVE to protect childrens'/women's/disabled's rights! If it means to abolish Shari'a, fine! The Maldives has anyway learned that Shari'a cannot be enforced in it's fuel cruelty.

    Wake up, we are living in the 21st century and we have to adapt ourselves to that!

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  19. "I don’t think there is any religion in the world which prohibits girls of puberty getting married – not even Christianity and Judaism! So it’s like you have to check where you land before you fly off from Islam!" (heck)

    THIS IS WHY in most of the countries, marriage is a STATE matter, and marriages in the church f.e. are nothing else than ceremonies, they are not legal unless complemented by a state wedding. And the court will not allow a 9 year old child get married!

    Understand now how secular countries deal with that?

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  20. Marina, Cool down! Looks like you are in the heat - I thought you joined your jungle cousins by now!

    Yes agreed that modern day 9year old's getting married is cruel - why? Becuase they do not qualify as adults in modern day.

    Twenty years ago 7th standards got the most high profile jobs easily, but not today - I think the same logic applies. Today we have much more qualified people with A'levels queueing up for the same jobs - why?

    What guarantee do you have that in future 18years will not be revised?

    Agreed. Man mad(e) laws will always need to be amended.

    But when all laws are grounded by a natural disaster - then what law?

    When all planes are grounded by smoke -go back to trains?

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  21. As humankind evolves (or devolves!?), human law has to be amended. That just shows how much nonsense the "divine" law is!

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  22. Marina!
    There is no discrimination bewtween divine law and man-mad(e) law when humankind defies any laws that they don't agree with!

    So what is the significance of singling out divine law as nonsense!

    I think man-mad(e) laws are also treated as bull and NONSENSE - look around and see for your self. The demonstrations and conflicts going on because of man-mad(e) laws!

    Got it?

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  23. Marina, What is that familiar smell in your posts? Are you related to Hillath in anyway? Or may be you are..!?

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