Chennai, Jan.20: The culture of alcohol consumption in Muslim societies is being debated across the globe. But when a Tamil writer attempted that six months ago in a literary monthly magazine Uyirmmai published from here, not only the writer but also his family was excommunicated by the local jamaat. Award-winning Tamil poet Mr.H.G.Rasool (47), his wife Ms.Fareeda Begum (45), his children Nasrin (18) and Ruhi Parveen (8) are living amid hostility at their residence in Thuckalay in Kanyakumari district. They cannot attend family get-togethers such as marriages or the annual urs in the local dargah.
Mr.Rasool’s essay was titled “culture of drinking in Islam.” He discussed the culture of drinking in the light of quran, hadith and Islamic history. The teetotaller poet concluded that “mild drinking” was accepted in many Muslim societies and also inferred that “drinking is not a punishable offence in the light of quran.” That was reason enough to “provoke” the local jamaat to the extent of excommunicating him.
“Mr.Rasool has to write an apology letter in the same magazine for having underestimated the intelligence of crores of Muslims in the world,” Mr.Jehabar Sadiq, president of Anjuvannam Peer Mohammadiyya Muslim Association (APMA), the jamaat which ostracised him, told this journalist.
The irony is that Mr.Rasool was Vice-President of APMA jamaat for five years till he was expelled in May 2007 following the controversial essay. “I was not saying anything on my own. I deduced from various available literature that mild drinking is not a punishable offence in Islam,” said the poet.
The poet was under attack from the ulema five years ago for a controversial poem which wanted to know if there were any women prophets in human history.
Social ostracism in Tamil Muslim community meant complete exclusion from community life. “We are psychologically disturbed by the isolation. We are grateful to the relatives and friends who are still standing by us. I hope things will be alright soon,” said Nasrin who is studying second year in a college at Nagercoil, 16 kms from Thuckalay.