Holy Hair Controversy

Holy Hair Controversy

Holy Hair Controversy, (also known as Mudi Vivadam-Hair Controversy in local Malayalam) surrounding the construction of the "largest mosque in India"refers to an ongoing controversy and debates among the rival factions of Muslims of Kerala state, India. According to the powerful A. P. Sunni faction, India's largest mosque, Sha’re Mubarak Grand Masjid, is being built in Calicut, Kerala, under the patronage of Kanthapuram A. P. Aboobacker Musalyar, the supremo of the faction.[1] He claims to have the prophet Muhammad's hair to preserve in the mosque, but their traditional rivals, the other Sunni outfit, the E. K. Sunnis, Mujahids (Salafis) and Jama'at has contested this move openly. Some streams of Islam have a tradition of venerating the relics attributed to the prophet Muhammad. The most genuine relics are believed to be those housed in Istanbul's Topkapı Palace[2][3][4]

Kanthapuram receives the hair

The E. K. faction even asked the A. P. group to return the money collected in the name of the mosque as it was a way of cheating people. The two Salafis groups, A. P. Mujahids and Madavurs, began their campaign against the project explaining that preserving Muhammad’s hair was not in the basics of the religion. Currently, in spite of this criticism from rival factions, Kanthapuram is going forward with the construction.[5]

Addressing a press conference in Kozhikode E. K. Sunni leaders dubbed Kanthapuram's claim that he was in possession of a "holy relic" as "false"[1] and he will be cheating people showing it in the mosque as a blessed exhibit. The leader of the rival E. K. Sunni faction and Muslim League leader, Panakkad Sayed Hyderali Shihab Thangal, had while speaking at a Sunni (E.K. Faction) scholars' conference in the city accused Aboobacker Musaliyar of “cheating the believers” in the name of sacred hair for business motives.[5][6] Some allegations said that a letter reportedly from the family which handed over the hair to Kanthapuram is saying that the hair is not actually Muhammad's. Dr. Bahaudheen Muhammed Nadwi, vice-chancellor of the Darul Huda Islamic University of E. K. Sunnis, at Chemmad, said at a press conference that a member of the Qasraji family had written to him stating that the hair with Kanthapuram Musliyar was not really the prophet’s. Sheikh Hassan Muhammed Qasraji, brother of Dr Ahmed Qasraji who handed over the hair to Kanthapuram, is said to be written to Nadwi that the hairs with his brother were not the ancestral property of the family. And he also argues that his father has not mentioned about such hair.[5] E. K. Sunnis also argues that devout Muslims are being taken for a ride to raise money.

But, Kanthapuram argues that the Markaz, centre of the Samastha AP group, was safekeeping the “holy hair” not to worship, but as a mark of respect to Muhammad.[6] According to Kanthapuram, it was Shaikh Ahmad Al Khazraji of Abu Dhabi, son of Shaikh Muhammed Al Khazraji, former Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (former Director of the Heritage Department and Waqf Minister in Abu Dhabi), United Arab Emirates, who had handed over one of the “holy hair” to Markaz during its last annual convocation conference in January 2011.[6] Only a member of the family has denied the fact, and he is not a popular figure. The prophet’s hair with Ahmed Qasraji is exhibited every year under his leadership, Kanthauram added.[5]

The other accusations point towards real estate business motives behind the construction of the new mosque. However, the AP faction denied the reports that the real estate business was behind the project, explaining that the mosque and the Knowledge City were "different projects". And they added that the Knowledge City aims to collect funds for the running of the education institution like Karanthur Markaz education complex. It is said that the organisation wishes to keep the mosque as a pilgrimage centre like the Hazratbal Mosque and Ajmer Dargah. And the mosque would act as a binding unit for the organisation even after Kanthapuram. Religious writer O Abdullah had written several articles on this issue and was facing a ‘death threat’ from some radical groups.[5]


Hair in Islam

Muslims regard Prophet Muhammad as the best example to live by, and try to emulate him whenever possible. The Islamic Prophet Muhammad reportedly in Sahih Muslim had hair that "hung over his shoulders and earlobes".[7] Sahih Bukhari, regarded the most authentic of hadith, also supports this.[8] The Prophet Muhammad has also described Jesus as "having long hair reaching his ear lobes."[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b Ananthakrishnan, G. (26 March 2011). "Kerala Sunni bodies challenge scholar's claim to 'holy relic'". The Times of India. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-03-26/india/29192120_1_relic-largest-mosque-islamic-scholar. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Topkapi Web Page
  3. ^ The 2002 Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Connecting Culture, Creating Trust
  4. ^ Islamic Picture Gallery - Home > Islamic Relics
  5. ^ a b c d e "Kanthapuram’s hair-raising story continues in India". Gulf Daily Mail. 23 May 2011. http://www.gulfdailymail.com/?p=1842. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Sunni leader: end smear campaign". The Hindu. 13 May 2011. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/article2014555.ece. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Sahih Muslim Book 30 Number 5773: "Qatada reported: I asked Anas b. Malik: How was the hair of Allah's Messenger? Thereupon he said: His hair was neither very curly nor very straight, and they hung over his shoulders and earlobes."
  8. ^ Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 7 Book 72 Number 788: "Narrated Al-Bara':I did not see anybody in a red cloak looking more handsome than the Prophet Narrated Malik: The hair of the Prophet used to hang near his shoulders. Narrated Shu'ba: The hair of the Prophet used to hang down to the earlobes."
  9. ^ Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 9 Book 87 Number 128 : Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar: Allah's Apostle said, "I saw myself (in a dream) near the Ka'ba last night, and I saw a man with whitish red complexion, the best you may see amongst men of that complexion having long hair reaching his earlobes which was the best hair of its sort, and he had combed his hair and water was dropping from it, and he was performing the Tawaf around the Ka'ba while he was leaning on two men or on the shoulders of two men. I asked, 'Who is this man?' Somebody replied, '(He is) Messiah, son of Mary.' Then I saw another man with very curly hair, blind in the right eye which looked like a protruding out grape. I asked, 'Who is this?' Somebody replied, '(He is) Messiah, Ad-Dajjal.'"

External links

  • The Holy Hair from the blog of A. P. faction [1]

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