Islamic Minister resigns from chairmanship of Adhaalath Party’s Religious Council

A day after he was asked by the Adhaalath Party to resign from the position of Islamic Minister, Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari has resigned from the chairmanship of the party’s Religious Council.

In a statement issued on the party’s official website, Adhaalath said that the resignation letter was today sent to the party’s President Sheikh Imran Abdulla.

The statement mentioned no further information about his resignation or what was in the letter.

The Adhaalath Party decided this week to break off its coalition agreement with the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), after the party’s consultation council voted 32 to 2 to approve a resolution to leave the government.

Dr Bari and current State Minister for Islamic Affairs Sheikh Hussein Rasheed Ahmed are both appointed to the government under the coalition agreement.

Along with Dr Bari,  Sheikh Hussain Rasheed, who was the former President of the party, was also asked by Adhaalath to resign, but replied he was under no obligation to do so.

Former State Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, who earlier resigned from the government after expressing unhappiness with the current government’s religious policy, today told Minivan News that Dr Bari’s resignation was not an issue and that he would not comment on the matter.

Dr Bari and Sheikh Imran did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.


Islamic Ministry, MDP religious council condemns Salaf’s taxation fatwa

Religious scholars of different political allegiances have moved to refute and condemn NGO Jammiyathul Salaf’s claim earlier this week that taxation is haram (forbidden) in Islam.

Deputy Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Farooq told local media that there was no religious grounds to declare taxation prohibited.

“When you say something is forbidden in religion, it should be clear under what principle or rationale that it is forbidden,” he explained to newspaper Haveeru. “You can’t just declare something forbidden on a whim. You cannot say something is forbidden when it is not clearly and definitely forbidden.”

He added that Zakat (alms for the poor) were being collected as before and old forms of taxation, such as varuvaa and import duties were not prohibited in Islam either.

Sheikh Farooq condemned the issuance of such fatwas (religious edicts) “without considering” either its validity or social impact.

Meanwhile the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) religious council condemned Salaf’s claims as an attempt to mislead the public over taxation.

“Human beings cannot forbid something Allah has allowed or allow something Allah has forbidden,” the council’s chair al-Hafiz Ahmed Zaki told the party’s website.

Hafiz Zaki explained that Islam specified steps to be followed before religious judgments or rulings could be made: “One cannot just arbitrarily declare something forbidden,” he said.

Zaki warned that such fatwas could lead to civil unrest and social divisions over religious issues. He said that Islam was a religion of moderation that did not encourage extreme actions.

Zaki urged the public and businessmen to clear any doubts with the concerned authorities instead of “listening to press releases issued by individuals soaked in self-interest.”

Meanwhile Adhaalath party spokesperson Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed told Miadhu newspaper that taxation was practiced in many Islamic countries while there was consensus among scholars that it was not prohibited.

“There are narrations that have reached us that tax was taken by the state during the time of Caliph Umar. He collected tax from wealth,” he said.

Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Afrashim Ali, chair of the party’s religious council, meanwhile told private broadcaster DhiFM that there was no grounds to declare taxation forbidden in Islam.

However NGO Salaf insisted in its press release Monday that, “Without doubt, using a person’s property or profiting from the property without the consent of the owner is haram in Islam. Only the compulsory Zakat (alms for the poor) portion can be taxed from a Muslim’s property.”

The religious NGO contended that “formulating a law and taking people’s property whatever name it is done under is for a certainty haram.”

“Jamiyyathul Salaf would remind the Speaker of Parliament and all MPs that those who formulate such laws and those who assist them will without a doubt have to bear responsibility before Almighty Allah,” the Salaf statement warned.

It adds that there is consensus in the Islamic ummah (community) that “stealing property by compulsion with laws on taxes, duties and pension imposed on a Muslim’s property is definitely haram.”