On October 1, The Wire columnist Arfa Khanum Sherwani expressed her dismay as Hindus have been showing resistance to the entry of non-Hindus, especially Islamists, from entering Garba Pandals. In several locations, Hindu organisations like Bajrang Dal have asked the Garba organisers to check ID cards before letting anyone inside the Garba pandals. In a tweet, Sherwani wrote, “Hindutva Fascists are mocking, discouraging, threatening and even beating up Muslims who are/want to participate in celebrations of Hindu festivals. They are destroying the last bit of whatever has remained of India and its composite culture.”
Hindutva Fascists are mocking, discouraging, threatening and even beating up Muslims who are/want to participate in celebrations of Hindu festivals.— Arfa Khanum Sherwani (@khanumarfa) October 1, 2022
They are destroying the last bit of whatever has remained of India and its composite culture.
Idol worship is a sin in Islam and the garba events during Navratri are a form of worship to the Goddesses. While many have tried to appropriate the religious festival as a cultural one, the fact remains Navratri is a Hindu festival celebrated across India and beyond by Hindus.
Arfa’s tweet, however, triggered a large section of Muslims who were not happy with the idea of Muslims participating in the garba and Navratri festivities. AIMPLB member and President of Sharia Committee, Hyderabad, Dr Asma Zehra Tayeba said, “Surah Kafiroon clearly says “Lakum Dinukum Waliya Deen”.Tumhare liye Tumhaara Deen Hamare liye Hamara Deen. Why are you Dancing in their Religious festival?”
Twitter user Misrai Ali said, “When Hindu Festivals have become toxic pockets of concentrated Hindutva pride and violence against Muslims, you should be more critical of participating in such places.”
Twitter user Ahadun said, “At least for the sake of self-respect people like Arfa should stop participating in the festivals of other religions.”
Twitter user Shahid Raza said, “Why Muslims want to go in their festivals?? For Muslims isn’t permissible to attend other religions’ rituals. Recently some Bajrang Dal people beat Muslim men for attending/watching Garba. If Muslims didn’t want their festivals then this incident not happened.”
Reportedly, the Muslim youth who were allegedly beaten up had entered the garba venue under fake Hindu names.
Twitter user Hamad said, “Sorry Arfa but what’s the need for Muslims to participate in Hindu festivals. A true Muslim must be far away and least bothered about them. For you is your religion and for me is my religion. (Surat Al Kafiroon).”
Twitter user Abubakar Sheikh said, “Beating anybody is not fair but Why u want to participate in other religion’s festival. U must respect their faith but why do u need to participate in it.? Is anybody stopping you to celebrate independence day together?”
Twitter user MuslimPain said, “We don’t want to participate in H festivals as islam doesn’t permit it so stop selling things on our behalf. Just say you wanted to go and they are mocking you.”
Twitter user Shifa Seeker said, “SHAME on this mentality of yours,where you want to defend this unislamic & sinful act under the garb of culture. Muslims protect ur #Imaan that is the last bit & the only thing that can, save you from facing the wrath of Allah.”
Twitter user Talktoamuslim said, “Why would sane Muslims go in places where they are not welcome? In present majoritarian set-up, it’s foolish to insist on joining their festivities.”
Twitter user Omar Abbas Hyat said, “Why would/should any Muslim impose himself/herself in someone else’s religious festivals?”
Twitter user Mohammad Salman condemned Arfa’s desire to attend the Hindu festival and questioned why she wanted to attend festivities of other religions. He further added that a person’s self respect in his/her own hands.
Twitter user Israil Shaikh said a Muslim should not go to a Hindu festival. He emphasized that a Muslim should not even look at a Hindu festival.
Surah Al Kafiroon is the name of 109th chapter of Quran invokes the ‘unbelievers’ (kaafirs) where Prophet Muhammad had declined to compromise on idolatry.
Sherwani has spewed venom against the Hindu religion and culture
Sherwani spewed venom against the Hindu religion and culture in the past. Not too long ago, in December 2018, Arfa Khanum Sherwani called chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ communal. In her tweet, she said, “Yes ‘, Bharat Mata ki Jai’ is communal. Because it forces a certain mythological idea of the motherland being a Devi, a deity, this may suit your faith and religious philosophy but not people who believe in monotheism- one God. It is a majoritarian slogan.”
She clearly showed her anger over the “forcing” depiction of the country as a ‘deity’. Interestingly, Garba is a form of worshipping Maa Durga during the Navratri festival. Maa Durga is a Hindu Goddess, a deity of the highest form. On the one hand, Sherwani was irked that Muslims were asked to worship a deity, and on the other hand, she wanted Hindus to let Muslims come and join the festivities of worshipping a deity. The way Sherwani wanted to have ‘ladoo in both hands’ is astonishing.