Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1: The domination of 'high' caste Muslims that parallels the Hindu case
Masood Alam Falahi
[Translator's Note: Very little has been written on the existence of caste and caste-based discrimination among the Indian Muslims. 'Upper' caste Muslims, who, although a very small minority among the Indian Muslims, generally deny the existence of caste and caste-based discrimination in the larger Muslim community by arguing that these have no sanction in Islam. However, although these do not have legitimacy in the Quran, their reality cannot be denied. Nor too can the legitimacy that these have sought to be given by numerous supposedly leading Indian Islamic scholars be ignored.
In 2007, Masood Alam Falahi, a graduate of a madrasa and then a 27 year-old M.Phil. student at Delhi University, wrote a voluminous, almost 600-page, Urdu book titled Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman ('Casteism Among Muslims in India'). Weaving together insights from fieldwork and key writings by influential Indian Muslim scholars, including Muslim clerics on the subject of caste, the book is a pioneering study of caste-based discrimination among the Indian Muslims and of the continued domination of 'high' caste Muslims that parallels, in remarkable ways, the Hindu case.
Realising the importance of this pioneering book, I have begun translating key portions of it, which I plan to send out as articles once every few days. Once the translation is complete I hope to publish it as a book.
This instalment is a translation of the first thirty pages of the book titled 'Why I Have Written This Book'. ~ Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com]
Why I Have Written This Book
By Masood Alam Falahi
[Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com]
O humankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted (Quran 49: 13)
There are two things that, if they are found among people, take them to the level of infidelity: one is to consider others to be low-born [...] (Saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad contained in the Sahih Muslim)