MALAPPURAM: Sorcery has divided the Salafi factions in Kerala which had joined hands last year following the union government’s crackdown on Salafi preachers after the disappearance of radicalised Muslim youths from the state. Both factions had reached a consensus on the contentious issue of black magic (Sihr in Arabic), according to a circular issued earlier this month by the Kerala Nadvatul Mujahideen (KNM), an umbrella organisation of Salafi factions. This has confused the unified KNM followers and many of them have opposed the stand on social media despite a directive not to comment on this controversial issue in public.
Earlier, during the declaration of the reunion on December 2016, the leaders of both the factions had refused to comment on their stand regarding sorcery terming it as a closed chapter. However, a few weeks later, the issue re-emerged in the form of articles in the mouthpieces of both factions. While the official KNM faction led by T.K. Abdullakoya Madani believes that sorcery can have an effect, the Markazudawa faction led by Husain Madavoor terms it as a superstitious practice.
As the controversy raged among the followers, the top scholars’ body of the unified KNM met in Malappuram last month to sort out the issue. According to the official circular, after deliberations by five scholars from each faction, a unanimous decision was reached in favour of black magic which was accepted by the KNM state committee. The circular later released mentioned that nobody should speak or write against decision and warned of disciplinary action.
“The decision has virtually forced the Markazudawa faction to toe the line of official KNM faction,” a KNM leader said. However, many from the Marakzudawa faction, which has refused to ratify black magic, have expressed dissatisfaction and openly written against it on the social media. “The core of the controversy lies in the earlier discourses on Salafism. There will be discomfort if the two warring points of views join hands,” says Mujeeb Rahman Kinaloor, head of Kozhikode-based Vakkom Maulavi Centre for Studies and Research, in a Facebook post. Many have come out openly against the ratification of black magic and resigned from the organisational posts at the local level.