Marxists-Sunnis spat: Can fire destroy (Prophet’s) hair?

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on February 23, 2012

Can fire destroy hair? This seems to be the question Kerala’s CPIM) and Sunni Muslims are most concerned with presently. The Sunnis say fire can’t destroy hair if it belonged to Prophet Muhammad. A particular Sunni faction says the Prophet’s hair won’t burn but it should not be put to such tests. But Marxists say fire would destroy hair, irrespective of to whom it belongs.

The issue concerns a strand of hair kept at the headquarters of the Sunni sect (AP Sunnis) led by Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliar which he says is a genuine part of the Prophet’s body. The AP Sunnis on January 30 started the construction of India’s biggest mosque in Kozhikode which would have a museum for keeping this hair.

The other faction of the Sunnis (EK Sunnis), following the teachings of EK Aboobacker Musliar, disputes this claim. According to them, the hair in Kanthapuram’s custody is a fake and he is on a bid to make money in the name of the mosque, expected to cost Rs 40 crore, by cashing in on the ignorance of the believers.

The EK Sunnis have challenged Kanthapuram and his sect to put the hair into fire so that its genuineness could be proved. If the hair truly belonged to the Prophet, fire would not destroy it, they say. But Kanthapuram was wise enough not to take the chance and retorted that the EK Sunnis were being anti-Muslim by proposing burning of the Prophet’s body part.

The Kerala CPI(M) jumped into this battle between Sunni sects the other day with its secretary Pinarayi Vijayan stating that fire would destroy hair irrespective of to whom it belonged despite the fact that the Marxists had been enjoying the support of the AP Sunnis for the past several elections and that the hair had been with Kanthapuram for the past six years.

Enraged by the communist leader’s statement that could hit his attempts to build a mosque to house the hair, Kanthapuram retorted saying atheistic politicians had no right to speak about the Prophet’s hair and matters of religious faith. “Politician’s interference in religious matters could cause communalism,” he said with a tinge of threat in the tone.

Pinarayi on Tuesday proved his determination to attack his old ally by indirectly accusing Kanthapuram of glorifying “body waste”. “Once separated from the body, hair and nail are wastes, even if they belonged to the Prophet. In matters relating to the Prophet, what is important is not these body wastes but his words,” he said in Kochi.

Pinarayi also warned Kanthapuram not to try to scare the communists with threats of communalism. Opposition leader and CPI(M)’s octogenarian central committee member VS Achuthanandan, who normally finds fault in anything his enemy-in-the-party Pinarayi says, supported the secretary.

“Though we are not against any religion or faith, public servants have the right to speak on issues of social significance,” Achuthanandan said. Kanthapuram, pushed to a tight spot by now, reacted strongly saying that anti-religious statements would not be tolerated even if they came from persons like the Opposition leader.

State BJP president V Muraleedharan said that the CPI(M)’s objections towards Kanthapuram over the “holy hair” issue was part of that party’s political opportunism. The Marxists were criticizing the AP Sunnis on a bid to attract Christian voters, Muraleedharan said in Kozhikode on Tuesday.

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