In a recent article (“Moderate Deobandis”) published in The Friday Times (edited by Najam Sethi and Raza Rumi), Maulana Tahir Ashrafi was presented as a moderate Sunni Deobandi cleric while the following atrocious remark was also attributed to him.
The [Pakistan Ulema] council still does not believe Shias or Ahmadis are Muslims, but a booklet of its edicts condemns their killings (Fatawajat, p 13). Any punishment for apostasy or blasphemy should be carried out by the state.
The Friday Times, December 28 – January 03, 2012 – Vol. XXIV, No. 46
As editor in chief of LUBP, I spoke to Maulana Tahir Ashrafi on 3 Feb 2013. Maulana expressed his displeasure on being misquoted about the Takfeer of Shia Muslims by The Friday Times.
Maulana also asked LUBP to publish the following statement on his behalf:
“Any Sunni or Shia doing takfeer (apostatizing) of Khulfa-e-Rashdin is considered Kafir by us (Deobandi ulema). We or any of our senior Ulema have never done general Takfeer of Shia Muslims. No eminent Deobandi scholar has ever demanded that Shia Muslims be banned from visiting Mecca and Medina. This in itself is a proof that we (Sunni Deobandis) consider Shia sect to be a part of Islam. We want to promote unity between Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims.” (Tahir Ashrafi)
Maulana also mentioned that he planned to record his protest with the Friday Times in this regard.
Further Maulana also requested to issue an appeal to the Shia community to at least temporarily stop burning effigies of Umar Ibn-e-Saad (the cursed killer of Imam Hussian a.s. and other members of the Prophet’s family as instructed by cursed ruler Yazid) so that the lunatic propaganda machine of the Takfiris does not have an opportunity to create hatred between Sunnis and Shias.
LUBP urges the editorial board of the The Friday Times to stop creating unnecessary controversy and refrain from fanning and manufacturing Sunni-Shia sectarian violence. In the past, TFT has presented Takfiri militants of LeJ-ASWJ as Sunni Muslims which is both inaccurate and counter-productive. While it is true that some Deobandis are more extreme in their views the vast majority of Sunnis including Deobandis are moderate and do not endorse general Takfeer of Shia. We must take into account the clear distinction between the moderates and the lunatic fringe (Takfiris) that is out to kill not only Shias and Ahmadis but also Sunnis and other communities.