Islamic jurists (muftis) belonging to the Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind have issued a fatwa against Central government’s Sukanya Samriddhi Yojna (SSY) by declaring it “unislamic.”
Explaining the reason behind the fatwa, Kamal Faruqui from the All India Muslim Personal Law Board said, “Islam calls for earning through business and participataory transaction. It does not approve of living off interest generated out of Capital sitting in a bank,” he added, reported Times Of India.
The resolution passed by the muftis states that “under ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana’ a bank account is opened in the name of girl child of less than ten years of age by her parents. The parents keep on depositing money in the account for certain age of the child. The bank annually increases the amount by adding annual interest up to nine percent etc. It is because that this scheme involves interest; it is clearly un-Islamic.”
When asked that would this not deny genuine beneficiaries from low income families financial benefits, Niaz Ahmed Farooqui, secretary JUH said, “Irrespective of how idealistic the vision behind a scheme providing interest is as per Islam it is unlawful. It is for people to follow or not follow.”
However, the JUH resolution has evoked a sharp reaction from Firoz Bakht Ahmed, Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, told TOI, “ By bringing such resolutions in the name of religion such clerics are deterring the extension of benefits of such schemes to beneficiaries. The fatwa diktat in itself is a U-turn on the Islamic law that talks of educating and equating the girl child to boys in all walks of life.”
Hilal Ahmed, associate professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, makes some very critical assertions. “Firstly, everyday life of a Muslim is not entirely determined by religion. Secondly, it is impossible to survive in today’s economy if one rejects the interest on cash deposits. Thirdly, the timing of this resolution is questionable. I see this as an attempt by these clerics to find legitimacy in media discourse in election times by invoking religion.”