The Ideology of A.G. Noorani

It is clear that Noorani’s commitment to Sharia is absolute.

Over the past few centuries, civilisation has witnessed a worldwide movement to separate religion from the state and law, giving birth to secularism. In India, one man is trying to reverse this process. His name is AG Noorani. The main allegation against Noorani is that he is a constitutional expert, which is completely untrue because in his writings he does not defend the constitutional rights of Indians. The accusation is also that Noorani is a Muslim intellectual, which too is baseless because in none of his articles he defends the constitutional rights for Muslim women.

I have read his about 6,750-word article in Frontline magazine of January 6, and his earlier write-ups on triple talaq and the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), a code of rights to be secured for all citizens as directed by Article 44 of the constitution. Noorani rues that British judges discarded “centuries-old sharia” at a time India was “fortunate” to have judges like Syed Ameer Ali and Syed Mahmood, who were “erudite scholars in jurisprudence, steeped in Islamic theology.” He lauds Justice Mahmood for saying that courts “are bound to apply and decide cases according to personal laws.”

Noorani is a one-man Deoband madrassa, seeking a role for Islam in the Indian state in modern times. In his articles on Muslim women’s issues, Noorani, the so-called constitutional expert, emerges as intellectually dishonest for the following reasons.

One, his write-ups are totally silent on Article 14, which states: “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws….” Article 14 is the key to the struggle against instant triple talaq.

Two, Noorani doesn’t stand for gender equality and avoids mentioning Article 15, which bars discrimination based on “religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.”

Three, his articles don’t mention Article 21, which guarantees right to live with human dignity. Article 21 states: “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty….” It presumes human dignity, such as that of Shayara Bano of Uttarakhand, who has urged the Supreme Court to secure her fundamental right to equality on triple talaq.

Four, the only constitutional provision Noorani mentions is Article 44 on the UCC, but when he does so his sole purpose is to undermine it. This is Noorani’s unadulterated intellectual deceit that Indian editors love to publish. When he talks about Article 44, he accuses Modi government of “lust” for uniformity, intentionally reducing the UCC’s quest for rights to a debate between uniformity and diversity.

India has walked far since 1950 when it adopted a constitution. Since then, the attitudes and aspirations of Indians were shaped by ideals of equality and liberty seeded by the constitution. Indians, especially 70 percent of them below 35 years of age, look up to the constitution to define the way forward for the nation. People regard courts, trust in constitutional rights, and consider the constitution as the arbiter of their daily life. More than before, India’s discourse has become constitutional. Noorani is on a mission to distort, damage and divert this constitutional discourse.

Noorani does so in the following ways: one, by digging up arguments from pre-constitution era such as from the Privy Council, which no longer governs India; two, by citing Sharia laws as discussed by British-era Muslim judges; three, by citing post-Independence Hindu judges who quoted the Quran, not the constitution, in their judgements; four, by defending religious laws even when they harm women’s rights; and five, by not speaking about Articles 14, 15 and 21. Unlike Indians, Noorani does not believe in the Indian constitution. My argument is this: laws that violate women’s rights cannot be defended in modern times.

Mughal emperor Akbar was intellectually liberating as he introduced, perhaps for the first time, religious neutrality in the state policy. But Noorani is a hidden Islamist, the unarmed version of a jihadi, out to introduce Sharia laws in the Indian republic’s way of life. He loves to quote the Quran, but shuns the constitutional articles that are of revolutionary significance to women’s empowerment. Noorani praises Ameer Ali for quoting the Quran and Justice Mahmood for criticising British judges who didn’t cite “original Arabic” Islamic texts.

Mahmood was the son of Sir Syed who established the Aligarh Muslim University from where the Pakistan Movement originated, dividing India in 1947. Noorani’s article begins with a quote, of all people, of MA Jinnah; one is left wondering, if Noorani is among those Muslims who feel left out for not having gone to Pakistan. He cites the Quran, Islamic literature and even Jamaat-e-Islami founder Maulana Maududi in order to convert the nation’s constitutional discourse into a Quranic discourse. Noorani’s commitment to Sharia is absolute.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Former BBC journalist Tufail Ahmad is the executive director of the Open Source Institute, New Delhi. Ahmad is the author of “Jihadist Threat to India – The Case for Islamic Reformation by an Indian Muslim.” He tweets @tufailelif
  • Ramusha

    The tragedy is that the so called intellectuals and constitutional experts are wasting their intellect to take back the modern civilization, specially our civilization, backwards by harping on the Book, the British era, thus doing a great disservice to the women of this country. If women are not empowered and encouraged to march with the times, that community suffers enormous backwardness and the responsibility squarely rests with people like AGN, the (NON)Hindu, the media and the SLOBs and the politicians who use religion for vote. Time we stand up and raise our voice and appeal to the Supreme Court the bring light to those oppressed and suppressed lot.

  • Param

    What Mr Ahmed missed out and probably obvious is the publication which has been giving an esteemed space for Noorani’s islamist apologia as normal ‘opinion’ for last 15 years – ‘The Hindu’

    • Dr Maj U C Panigrahi

      The ‘Hindu’ is the totally anti Hindu publication which I boycotted after 1992, unfit to wipe any Hindu a..

  • Dr Maj U C Panigrahi

    Muslims under the Shariet law as per Islam don’t consider their women as ‘equals, themselves as equals but always as superior citizens and human dignity is applicable to their women and other persons.

  • Cybil Peril

    A. G. Noorani is worst fundamentalist intellectually corrupt (than even Zakir Naik) Muslim whose only intention lie in imposing the worst form of Sharia globally which even pales my friend Hafiz Saeed. People like Noorani were framed in sixth century Cannanian mindset of tribal desert cult that has no place anywhere on earth in modern times. Noorani aka Hafiz Saeed are not even just colour blind but completely blind and even a shameful bloat on current global society with no remorse or repentance. People like Noorani should be excluded from list of intellectuals. Unfortunately current Islam is not of Quranic version (if I can surmise?) but of cultist fundamentalist radicalized Mullahs who preach and practice it arbitrarily to suit their limited agendas for womanisation and loot and lust. It’s time that global community reverses it firmly.

    • A S Mahadevan

      “Unfortunately current Islam is not of Quranic version”.
      Who told you so?

      • Cybil Peril

        Again unfortunately, ‘Quranic version’ of Islam is only just an euphemism. Islam must be clearly demarcated from religion to political tool designed to intrude in another regime by softer tool.

        • Dr Maj U C Panigrahi

          Yes that’s better explained.

          • Cybil Peril

            Thank you and same is about Bible. Both these Books are mien kamfts which has led to worst massacres, genocides on this planet one cant imagine. British missionaries in India has caused worst genocides and Portuguese Inquisition in Goa is even worst than Jewish genocide in Germany. You will hate these beautiful looking ugly fellows. Church is still hyper in North East Indian States where they have and are busy in their business heinous predatory conversions.

          • Dr Maj U C Panigrahi

            Thank you for sharing the other part of truth elaborately.

          • Cybil Peril

            I suggest you read, “Breaking India” by Rajiv Malhotra and A Neelkandan. It is alarming to know the devastating frameworks in d name of religion. Both Islam and Christianity are rogue ideologies. Wherever these two have gone, a trail of death n destruction have followed. Both r at each other fighting tooth n nail. Hindus r sandwiched by these witchy faiths. Unfortunate.

          • Dr Maj U C Panigrahi

            I am of similar conclusion after reading Shri Ram Swaroop & Shri Sitaram Goel long back, books /publications available at Voice oe India, 2/18 Ansari Rd, New Delhi-2, mail-contactatadityaprakaashandotcom, read from http://www.voiceofindia.me

          • Cybil Peril

            Sitaram Goel and Ramswaroopji had different theme at home. Breaking India is different. It is a very hard reading with every word having international impact on political and theological import. Kindly do have a go on this new Book. I’m sure, u will love it. Thank u.

  • Vamsi Krishna

    Excellent article from Tufail Ahmed.
    Only this description is factually wrong: “Mughal emperor Akbar was intellectually liberating as he introduced, perhaps for the first time, religious neutrality in the state policy”
    The right statement should be :”Mughal emperor Akbar was intellectually liberating as he introduced, perhaps for the first time by a muslim emperor(as Hindu emperors always had religious neutral laws), religious neutrality in the state policy”

  • Narayanan Seshadry

    excellent presentation sir:not carried away by the legal status of the author.

  • Ananth Sethuraman

    Thank you for summarizing the style of argument that Noorani employs.

    It is good to read active debates among India’s Muslims.

    • Cybil Peril

      Tufail is going to face yet another Fatwa ‘ding’ of Tipu Sultan Mosque in Kolkata, whose name isn’t worth quoting.