Billboards with pictures of Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and the Islamic symbol of the crescent moon and star have come up in an Ahmedabad locality with a message from the Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board of the Gujarat government, quoting a verse it claims is from the Quran to back its case for the protection of the cow. The billboards appeared in Bapunagar, greeting Muslims on the occasion of Janmashtami.
The verse on the billboard “Akramul Bakra Fainaha Saiyedul Bahaima” has been translated as “Show respect to cows as it is the leader of all bovines. Its milk, ghee and butter have therapeutic properties and its meat is the cause of several diseases’’.
But Mufti Ahmed Devlavi, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said there is no such verse in the Quran. “I have never come across such a verse in the Holy Quran. It is possible that it may be an Arabic statement, wrongly attributed to the Holy Quran. It appears to have been used to mislead Muslims,’’ Devlavi said.
Ghulam Mohammed Koya, a religious leader, too said no such verse exists in the Quran. Asked about the source of the verse, Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board chairman Dr Vallabhbhai Kathiria, a former Union Minister, said: “I got the verse and its translation from a 20-page booklet in Hindi and Gujarati.”
He said the booklet was at his home in Rajkot and he could not recall the name of its author and publisher — Kathiria is currently in Gandhinagar where the office of the Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board is located.
The board website says the Gauseva Ayog, created in 1999 and expanded to Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board in 2012, was “established for preservation, development and welfare of the cow and its progeny”. It is under the aegis of the Agriculture and Cooperation Department, Gujarat government.
Gujarat government spokesperson and cabinet minister Nitin Patel said he was not aware of the billboards. Most Islamic scholars are circumspect and cautious about immediately denying or acknowledging such a para, given motivations of whoever may have put up such billboards. The second chapter of the Quran, Al Baqara, states that the only explicitly forbidden meat is pig meat and other meat that is not halal.
Consuming beef in Islam is neither recommended nor prohibited. Islamic scholar Akhtar ul Wasey said: “There have been many points in time when rulers in India who happened to be Muslim have abstained from cow slaughter because of social circumstances. Mughal emperor Babur, in his will to son Humayun, suggested that cows not be slaughtered. There have been other such instances too.”
-ENS, New Delhi
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