RTI Query leads to issue of a fatwa by Bareilly based Qasim-ul-Uloom
India is no stranger to power thefts which is described by the power distribution companies more commonly as “transmission and distribution losses”. Losses worth millions have been reported due to power thefts and unrealised dues from big business houses and religious places. Many religious places are on the defaulters list of the state electricity boards but action is not initiated for the fear of a religious backlash.
A recent decree by a Muslim religious body says that free electricity in religious places is against Islam as it is haram (against Islam) on the part of religious places to use free power.
The issue arose when the RTI activist Mohammed Khalid Jilani pointed out that many important religious places had been using power free of cost and asked whether it was proper in the eyes of Islam. Mufti Muhammad Usmani Quasmi, a senior cleric with the Bareilly based Islamic seminary Qasim-ul-Uloom has said “Not paying for power used by religious places is not only illegal but also against shariat and is haram”. The fatwa further said that said those visiting such religious places to offer prayer using free electricity were as much responsible for sin as are caretakers of the religious places.
This is one of those fatwas invite which is being welcomed by all sections of the society. Hopefully, not only some of the Muslim religious bodies would follow the fatwa and pay their dues, but organisations belonging to other religions may also follow the suit. Use of ‘hooks’ by the different organisations during festivals and ceremonies is fairly common.