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A True Muslim

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The question is: Who is a Muslim? The answer is: Any person who professes the religion of Islam is a Muslim. The requirements to profess Islam are: (1) Belief in unity of God (Allah) and (2) the acceptance of prophetic character of Muhammad. To say it in Arabic


(La = No, Ela-ha = a God/any God, Ilia = Except, Allah = The God, Mohammad

= Name, Rasool = Messenger)

(There is no any God except the God and Muhammad is His (God's) messenger)

This is an indispensable minimum belief. A belief in excess of this is redundancy for the purposes of law. Although, strictly according to Islam, there may be many other requirements for calling one to be a true Muslim but the Courts have not accepted them as the requirements of Muslim. Because, the courts are not concerned with the peculiarities in beliefs like offering of number of prayers, manner and method of offering prayers, believing or not believing the first three Caliphs etc. Therefore, so long as the minimum belief exists, it must be held that person is a Muslim.

Testing on this measure rod, we find that despite peculiarities in beliefs, certain communities like Bohras, Khojas, Shiites (Shias) are treated as Muslims. In one landmark case it was contended that Shias (Shia) who use abusive language against the first three Caliphs, are not true Muslims and should not be allowed to pray in a Sunni Mosque. It was held: first of all, a mosque belongs neither to Sunnis nor to Shias. Secondly, as Shias accept the belief in one God and prophetic character of Muhammad, they come within the pair of Islam and hence they are very much Muslims. In another landmark case a Moplah husband became an Ahmedia. Moplahs are strict Muslims whereas Ahmedias are not. Hence, when the husband became Ahmedia, it was taken as if he had renounced Islam. According to Islam, change in religion would severe marital tie. The woman, under these circumstances, married another man.

Thereupon, it became a matter of public importance to the Muslim community; some holding that there was no bigamy whereas the Ahmedias always claiming to be Muslims asserted that this was a clear case of bigamy. On prosecuting wife for bigamy, the lower court held that conversion (to the Ahmedia faith being considered by generality of Muslims as an act of Apotasy) has the effect of severing the martial tie and hence the second marriage by wife was not bigamy.

The High Court then held that conversion to Ahmedism is not an act of apostasy on the part of a Muslim and therefore the second marriage by the woman was bigamy on her part. For our purposes, the paramount question is: Would peculiarities in belief in any sect, take away that sect from the fold of Islam? The answer provided



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