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Mosque not essential in Islam: Why today’s SC verdict will be legally and politically significant

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New Delhi, Sep 26: The decision of the Supreme Court on a question whether a Mosque is an integral part of Islam would have a major bearing both on the Ram Temple case as well the political scenario.

While hearing appeals against the order of the Allahabad High Court on the Ram Janmabhumi issue, the Muslim appellants had requested the court to revisit a 1994 SC verdict which had held that a Mosque is not an essential part of Islam. The 1994 verdict in the Ismail Faruqui case had also said that namaz could be offered anywhere by Muslims.

Mosque not essential in Islam: Why today’s SC verdict will be legally and politically significant

The appellants said that this question of law must be answered before the SC goes into the main title suit. The court could either hold the contention in the 1994 correct or decide to revisit it.

Also Read | Mosque integral part of Islam? Will matter be referred to Constitution Bench?

If the court upholds the observations in the Ismail Faruqui verdict then hearing on the title suit would get underway soon and one could expect a judgment by the end of the year. However if the Bench decides to revisit the question, the matter could be referred to a larger Bench as a result of which the hearing on the main appeals would get delayed.

The main challenge before the Supreme Court is the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court. The HC had divided the land into three equal parts among three parties- Muslims, Hindus and Nirmohi Akara, which is Hindu group. The Muslim appellants had challenged the HC verdict in the SC and argued that the judgment was unfair to them. They contended that the Faruqui judgment of 1994 was key in informing the 2010 division of land into three parts.

If the SC were to uphold the contention that a Mosque is not an integral part of Islam, then it would have a direct bearing on the title suit. The Hindus could argue that since a Mosque is not essential to Islam, then there is no significance of a Babri Masjid. If the court were to reverse the 1994 contention, the relevance of a Mosque would emerge and arguments on the title suit would demand that a Mosque be built.

The Ram Temple issue is a political significant one. The BJP had committed that it would build the Ram Temple at Ayodhya ahead of the 2019 elections. This issue was also an important part of the manifesto of the BJP in 2014. It was also part of the manifesto of the party in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections.

Also Read | Is a Mosque essential for Islam and Namaz: De-coding the 1994 SC verdict

The UP government had contended before the SC that some Muslim groups were trying to delay the hearing in the case by seeking a review of the 1994 contention. If the court decides to revisit the question, the hearing would be delayed beyond this year and it would be difficult for the BJP to keep up its promise on the construction of a Ram Temple.

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