Several mainstream media outlets published a misleading story, based on spurious reports that a fatwa has been issued against actor-turned-MP Nusrat Jahan, by clerics at Darul Uloom Deoband University.
The story started after a Deoband-based Mufti Asad Qasmi spoke to ABP News Hindi and said that Jahan’s marriage to a person from the Jain community was against Islam, as Muslims can only marry within the community.
This statement by Qasmi was given a false twist with several news outlets adding unsubstantiated and misleading claims, that the Darul Uloom Deoband clerics had issued a fatwa against Jahan.
How A Mufti’s Quote Turned Into A Fatwa
On June 28, 2019, Deoband-based mufti, Qasmi gave a statement to ABP News Hindi, where he said, “I got to know from the media that she (Jahan) was wearing sindoor in the Parliament. Upon enquiry, I also found out that she had married a Jain. Islam states that a Muslim can only marry a Muslim.”
“I am just conveying to the media what the Sharia states,” he added.
The story did not mention issuing of fatwa against Jahan, nor did it mention the involvement of Darul Uloom Deoband.
However, when News18 Hindi reported on this matter, they added a new fact – that a fatwa had been issued against Jahan by a “Deoband Maulvi”.
Darul Uloom Deoband is a prominent Islamic University in India, and is the birthplace of the Deobandi Islamic Movement in 1867. Darul Uloom Deoband has been in the limelight in the past for issuing controversial fatwas.
In 2010, the institute issued a fatwa that barred woman from working in the same space as men. In 2012, the Deobandi officials drew controversy for opposing the visit of writer Salman Rushdie to India, as they claimed that his works had hurt Islamic sentiments. In 2013, another fatwa was issued by the institute to ban photography as un-Islamic.
A story by news channel Times Now included the fatwa, while using the same quote Qasmi had given to ABP News Hindi. Times Now on June 29 tweeted, “Days after newly elected TMC MP Nusrat Jahan applied sindoor and wore Mangalsutra for the swearing-in ceremony, Deoband clerics have issued a fatwa to the actor turned neta and said that Muslim marry only Muslims”
BOOM watched the entire video of the segment – which also carried a video recording of Qasmi’s statement – and found no mention of a fatwa anywhere in Qasmi’s quote.
Qasmi said, “She (Jahan) can do whatever she wants. I do not want to interfere with her life in anyway. I’m just conveying what the Sharia states.”
Zee News also ran a similar story, where they claimed that “Deoband clerics have issued a fatwa against Jahan”, which included Qasmi’s opinion on Jahan’s marriage to business man Nikhil Jain.
While Zee News led the story by stating that a fatwa was issued against Jahan, they did not mention any details about the fatwa, or by whom it was issued, in the rest of the story.
Misreporting A Misquoted Statement
The News Indian Express in a story published on the evening on June 29, carried a headline, “Fatwa-loving Dar-ul-Uloom objects to TMC MP Nusrat Jahan’s marriage to non-Muslim”.
While The New Indian Express does not directly mention the issuing of fatwa against Jahan, it describes the university as “fatwa-loving” and “always in the limelight over its ‘fatwas’.
According to The New Indian Express, clerics at Darul Uluum Deoband had objected to Jahan’s wedding. However, the story contains no statement from any university official, but has the same quote by Qasmi given to ABP Hindi and misreported by Times Now and Zee News.
Is Qasmi a member of the Darul Uloom?
“Not at all, he (Mufti Asad Qasmi) is not affiliated to our institution in anyway,” claimed Ashraf Usmani, incharge of media relations at Darul Uloom.
The only thing that Qasmi and the university have in common is that they’re both based out of Deoband.
Usmani also stated that Darul Uloom was in no way involved in commenting on Jahan’s wedding or issuing a fatwa against her. “We condemn such fake news being reported by the media to create false impressions,” Usmani added.
This has been debunked earlier by fact checking website Alt News.