Forty-six Muslim clerics in Assam have issued a fatwa against up-and-coming singer Nahid Afrin, who was the first runner-up in the 2015 season of a musical reality TV show, asking her to stop performing in public. They asked her to stop performing as a woman performing in public is contrary to Islamic tradition.
Clerics from Muslim organizations issued the “fatwa” against the 16-year-old, restricting her to perform on stage, saying that the performance by a girl on stage was against the “Sharia laws”. The clerics organization had also distributed some leaflets in and around Udali area near Hojai in central Assam, asking the singer not to perform in a function scheduled for March 25.
Police said they were investigating whether the fatwa was a reaction to Nahid recently performing songs against terrorism, including the Islamic State terror group. “We are looking at this angle as well,” ADG (special branch) Pallab Bhattacharya said.
The fatwa comes days ahead of a musical show to be held in Udali Sonai Bibi College in Nagaon district on March 25 where Nahid has been invited to perform. According to the fatwa, Nadir’s scheduled performance is “against the Sharia”.
The leaflets said, “If anti-Sharia acts like musical nights are held on grounds surrounded by masjids, idgahs, madrassas and graveyards, our future generations will attract the wrath of Allah. Magic, dance, drama, theatre etc. are against Sharia laws. Events like musical shows are against the Sharia law and future generations will be corrupted.”
Talking about it, Afrin told the media: “I was broken completely after hearing about the “fatwa”. But I am not going to stop singing. I have received hundreds of calls and messages from the people of Assam and different organizations supporting me. I think my music is God’s gift to me. I believe that it must be properly utilized; not doing so is ignoring God.”
Her mother said, “The organizers of the musical night told us that the programme on March 25 will not be cancelled.” Police said Nahid and her family would be provided security cover.
“Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal spoke to me and told me not to be afraid. He also assured me of security during the scheduled programme at Udali on March 25. “I am a singer and music is my life. I don’t think I can survive without music. Allah has blessed me with this voice for singing, and I’ll die if I am not allowed to sing,” said Afrin.
Sonowal on Wednesday tweeted: “Freedom of artists are essence of democracy. Spoke to Nahid and reiterated our government’s commitment to provide safety and security to artists.”
Moreover, Muslim cleric Imam Umer Ilyasi said such steps only promote misunderstandings and that if someone is doing something against the Sharit then he/she is to be spoken personally. “Even though Sharia does not allow singing and dancing, the ulema should think their approach towards the issue. If someone is doing something that is against the Sharia, declaring fatwas only complicate the issue and lead to misunderstanding,” Ilyasi was reported as saying.
The Class X student who lives in Biswanath Chariali, Afrin, had brought laurels for the state by becoming the runner-up in popular television show Indian Idol Junior in 2015.
Nahid made her Bollywood debut singing for Sonakshi Sinha in the 2016 film Akira. Her beautiful renditions of songs written and composed by the Vaishnavite saint Srimanta Sankardeva have made her especially popular in Assam.