The curious silence of Maldivian religious scholars

  • The pledges of post Nasheed tenure fell flat following coup

K. Male' | Rushdha Rasheed | 03-February-2017 | Friday 10:33 | rushdhar | Report | 1,460

Scenes from the 23rd December 2011 movement -- Photo by: google

Back in 2011, the anti-Government protests began on the platform that the then President Mohamed Nasheed was moving the nation from a truly Muslim nation to that of a secular nation. The rallying calls spoke of how Nasheed was impacting the centuries old Islamic heritage of the nation. How he was encouraging the 100 percent Muslim nation to move away from the roots that held this nation strongly.

Unlike the popular uprisings of Egypt, the Maldivian version was led by religious scholars, both self-proclaimed and self-taught. They were followed by women, echoing the same spirit and vigor of the women who had removed British Empire’s Dave from the capital Male’. All clamoring the same thing: in the defense of the nation and Islam. The movement was led by figures from group and populist sheikhs.

All this culminated in a massive rally in Artificial Beach area on December 23. Both men and women prayed together in congregation that day, cried over the fate of the nation, which they said was going the same way as that of Andalusia.

The aspirations of the public on the groups that toppled the Government was extremely high. At the least, they had hoped that this movement would have brought in a Government that will govern according to Islamic principles.

However, the Government that came next was the physical embodiment of the phrase out of the pan, into the fire. Parallels were drawn between Maldives and highest ranks of paradise. Speeches on purchasing women for sexual gratification, corruption being part of human nature were common. They spoke of getting money, without checking where it was coming from. They spoke of how they will implement an act passed by the Parliament, even if it was an illegal act.

It was not just heard from podiums. It translated to action in the country. The public had no faith in judicial justice system. While many of European nations were advocating for a woman’s right to choose, Maldives stripped women of their right to don the full-face veil.

Amazingly, the same sheikhs who condemned the Nasheed administration for their sacrilege, is now silent in the face of such actions. One would expect even a slight reaction, a word against these actions. None.

The rules, commandments and guidelines in religion are fixed. Neither a leader nor an individual is exempt from them or has the power to declare one aspect legal and the other illegal. There is no room for anyone to misinterpret the Quran and Prophetic sayings to fit the situation. In Islam, the role of scholars is clear. Educate the public on religion. Tell right from wrong.

Attaching a political bias to this only degrades the importance Islam gives to education and scholars. Furthermore, this only serves to fulfill an immediate need at the expense of the moral compass of the entire nation. Unfortunately, whether we choose to believe this or not, this is what has befallen this nation.

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