India tolerant, ISIS danger to humanity, RSS nationalist: Sufi leader

Mr.  M.K. Chishty is the Sajjadah Nashin or the hereditary administrator of the Dargah Sharif of Atodara in Gujarat, India. He is from 42th generation from the Prophet of Islam in the lineage of Chishtia order of Sufi. He is also the Chairman of Gujarat Minorities Finance & Development Corporation. Here is an exclusive conversation with him:

What is your take on terrorism, particularly ISIS and their treatment of minorities like Christians, Shias, Yazidis, sexual minorities and Atheists?

Terrorism is the biggest problem of the world at present. It poses danger to humanity, world peace, and brotherhood. A person, from any background, who indulges in terrorism cannot be termed as religious and spiritual. As per Prophet, a Muslim cannot be a terrorist.  ISIS is the worst terror organization of the world. Prophet foretold about them, he had said that a satanic cult will emerge from Iraq with religious motivation. They will kill innocent humans and will commit barbaric acts. Youth from across the globe will join their cadres. They will capture some part of Syria too. Many innocent will immigrate out of Syria due to them. They will not even be remotely linked to Islam or Koran. Koran and Prophet have strictly prohibited the killing of innocent from any religion so what ISIS is doing is completely wrong with the minorities.

Do you believe that religion should be separate from state? If yes, then what about Islamic nations and if no, then do you think that secular or religion-less countries are on the right path?

I oppose a religiously bigoted state but support the spiritually guided state.

Considering what happened in JNU, what do you think went wrong and what do you feel can correct it?

All went wrong over there. It is shameful from the point of view if an Indian citizen. In freedom of speech, you can oppose BJP but you cannot go against India.

The Government should take strict action against those who intend to divide India or destroy India or even say something like that.

 What is your opinion on the current controversy with Mr. Owaisi saying that he won’t say Bharat Mata ki Jai and now a top Islamic seminary Jamia Nizamia has issued a Fatwa against saying the same.

As per Islam, there are two mothers of the person, one who gives birth to the person, while another is the land of his nation from which the elements of his body are derived. A nation is the motherland and Jai means victory, therefore, Islam does not restrict the chanting of victory for the nation.

Do you believe that RSS is like ISIS as is said by several in the country? What do you think is RSS like and your take on what it should be like.

No RSS is not like ISIS. RSS is a nationalist organization. I feel that network of RSS should further expand in the liberal nationalists across all religious communities of India.

 What do you think that a Muslim youth needs the most today in India? And what is the best way forward?

Muslim Youths in India need education as well as exposure to spirituality, the government should do their best to ensure that, plus social leaders from Muslim community should come forward in this field with full vigor.

Are you happy with the Indian media today? Do you believe that Indian media is doing good work in bringing peace and harmony in the country? This question is important due to extreme criticism of media personnel these days.

Media is one of the four main pillars of the democracy. It has helped to spread awareness in various  parts of the society but at present media covers more negative news like in past, when 10 people were killed by Boko Haram, media made a news while when 2 million people gather at a Sufi Shrine in Senegal for peace but no news is shown. Media must cover the positive news which gives birth to the communal harmony instead of spreading only the negative news.

 What do you think about cow protection campaigns? Do you believe that cow must be a protected being? If yes, then why, and if no, then why. Is Sufism okay with this?

Cows should be protected. Muslim Kings from Babar onward opposed the cow’s slaughter for upholding the religious sentiments of the majority Hindu community of India. In India, Hindu is an elder brother, so Muslim being a younger brother should respect the religious feelings of the elder brother while elder brother should love the younger brother. Prophet has stated that the beef is the cause of ailment while the milk and butter from cow have medicinal values.

 Do you believe that India is more intolerant today than it ever was as some suggest?

I do not believe that India has become more intolerant now, instead, there have been less of communal violence at present, in comparison to earlier times. The 13-year tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat saw less curfew and less terror and… full communal harmony. I hope to see him repeat the same (feat) in the whole of India.

 What is your take on the current spiritual quotient of Indians? Is it good enough or very low? If low then what do you think Indians should do?

As of now, it is on the path of sliding down; people are becoming more and more religious instead of being spiritual. Spirituality is something common in all religion. It becomes a unifying factor to the people of diverse background; it helps a soul to meet the God and to serve humanity. At present more effort is needed to enhance it and take further.