Raza Academy says cleaning an ‘insulting job’, Islamic teachings say otherwise

By A Mirsab, TwoCircles.net,

An advertisement calling for a sanitation worker from the people belonging to unreserved general category – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Bania, Patel, Jain, Sayyed, Pathan, Syrian Christian and Parsi – by the Ahmedabad based NGO Human Development and Research Centre (HDRC), run by Saint Xavier’s Non Formal Education Society met with an expected outrage from right wing organization.

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On Wednesday, Youth Outfits from Rajput Shaurya Foundation and Yuva Shakti Sanghatan (YSS) vandalized the office premises of HDRC located inside the St. Xavier’s campus. The YSS President Ronaksinh Gohel has also warned that their agitation will not be “peaceful” or “Gandhian”.

Saeed Noori, General Secretary of Raza Academy, based out of Mumbai has also sent a letter to HDRC objecting the advertisement and threatened to sue Prasad Chacko and HDRC under various sections of the IPC subject to an apology tendered by him in 2 national dailies.

Raza Academy's objection to HDRC's ad

Raza Academy is objecting to the advertisement claiming that Sayyeds cannot undertake an ‘insulting job” of latrine cleaners and other blue collar jobs.

Considering the caste based occupational system in India, the anger from right wing organization was predictable but the similar kind of rage was not expected from Muslim organization bearing in mind the teachings of Islam that discourages discrimination of any kind between Muslims. On top of that Raza Academy’s labeling of sanitation work as an ‘insulting job” is in contrast with how Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would encourage cleaning.

In a Saheeh hadith reported by An-Nasaai and Ibn Maajah the Prophet (pbuh) saw some sputum in the qiblah of the mosque and he got so angry that his face turned red. Then a woman from among the Ansaar came and scratched it and put some perfume in that place. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “What a good deed this is.”

At one another occasion prophet (pbuh) himself removed the dirt. Saheeh Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim reported that ‘Aa’ishah (RA) said: “He saw some sputum on the wall of the mosque and scratched it off.”

Raza Academy's objection to HDRC's ad

In the light of above two instances, one can easily derive that cleaning is not an insulting job in Islam as envisaged by Raza Academy and neither it would be haraam if undertaken by Sayyeds.

Sayyeds claim to be the descendants of the prophet (pbuh) and maintains that they are ‘Ahl Bayt’ (family of prophet) and thus they be looked at with high esteem and be respected as per many sayings of prophet (pbuh). However, the salaf scholars (the first three generations of Muslims starting with the Companions of the Prophet) are of the opinion that the members of the Prophet’s family i.e. Ahl Bayt are his wives, his children, Banu Haashim, Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib and their freed slaves.

Whether Sayyeds in India are Ahl Bayt is a different issue because there is no tradition here of maintaining the record of lineage and even if we consider them to be Ahl Bayt, it never means that they cannot work as cleaners out of their own will or if someone employs them for such work then it would be an insult to prophet’s family. There are many Sayyeds from India and Pakistan who are working as Khadim in Saudi Arabia and earning their livelihood.

Apart from that there are many Sayyed who have been working as maid or cook or cleaner under Raza Academy’s nose in different areas of Mumbai but never did Raza Academy reminded them that they are descendants of Prophet’s family and that they should not undertake those works. It was only when HDRC advertised that the Raza Academy is objecting and threatening of filing an FIR. Instead of warning HDRC, it should start a survey in Mumbai only and find out if any Sayyed is working as maid or cook or cleaner at any house or at any institution and restrict them from undertaking those kind of jobs.

Searching for such people, I found out that 36 years old Shabana Sayyed has 4 years of experience working as a maid in Mumbra Kausa of Thane.

A resident of Bandra East Mumbai Parveen Sayyed Vazeer, 42, has 5 years of experience and she is looking for a job of cleaning, cooking and babysitting. Another 42 years old Minaz Abdul Rahim Sayyed has been working as a maid in Bandra West, Mumbai since past 10 years.

32 years old Gulzar Ibrahim Sayyed from Andheri East is also looking for a cooking job and has registered with a maid service provider that helps in getting them jobs at houses and institutions.

These are those names that can be found with Google search but it gives impression that there could be several more unskilled Sayyeds who are forced to work as maid or cleaner due to their poor economical condition but Raza Academy never had a thought about their status of belonging to Ahl Bayt and helped them or at least advised them of switching the job.

Agreed that Ahl Bayt cannot be given zakaat (compulsory charity) but they can very well accept Sadaqah (voluntary charity) and therefore Raza Academy could have pondered a deliberation over collecting Sadaqah and help those Sayyeds in improving their economical status so that they may not engage into jobs that are ‘insulting’ in their sight.

Thus, Raza Academy’s objection to HDRC’s advertisement should not be considered as protestation from millions of Muslims but their own corrupt view that they developed without looking back into Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) teachings and without even reflecting on the ground condition of Sayyeds in India.


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