Posters on cow protection in Gujarat spark controversy

Posters on cow protection in Gujarat spark controversy

Posters on cow protection in Gujarat spark controversy

Gujarat government's Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board has stirred a row by putting up billboards with a verse claiming to be by Prophet Mohammed advising people to respect cow, drawing sharp reactions from Muslim clerics who denied knowledge of any such saying.

Board chairman Vallabh Kathiria said the intention was to spread awareness about cow-protection.

One such billboard put up at Bapunagar area here showed a picture of Chief Minister Anandiben Patel with the Islamic symbol of the crescent moon and star and a message which read, 'Akramul Bakra Fainaha Saiyedul Bahaima'.

Its translation, in Gujarati, was given as "One should give respect to cows as it is the leader of all bovines. Its milk, ghee and butter have therapeutic properties and its meat is the cause of several diseases.

"We have made 12 such posters where we have printed sayings and verses of religious leaders of different religions. Besides, we have also written slogans about the importance of 'Gaumutra' (urine of cow) and cow milk to bring awareness about the cow protection. That was our only intention," Kathiria told PTI.

"As words of religious leaders have an impact on people, we have quoted Lord Buddha, Guru Nanak, Lord Krishna. And from Islam, we have quoted Muhammad Paigamabar (Prophet), which was a statement from Paigambar Sahab to protect cows," he said.

Muslim clerics, however, refuted that the verse was from their holy book.
Mufti Abdul Devalvi, a member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said that he has never read any such verse either in Quran or in Hadith -- record of the traditions or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.

"As far my knowledge goes, there is no such verse in Quran which gives a message to protect cows, nor I have read any such verse in Hadith," he said.

City-based cleric Mufti Abdul Qayum Mansuri said Quran does not have any such verse on protection of cows. 

"There is no such 'aayat' (verse) in Quran. These words 'Fainaha Saiyadul Bahaima', which means cow is leader of bovine, are Arabic words. This is not from Quran, there must be a mistake by a person who wrote this," said Mansuri.

Mansuri, however, said they support the cause of cow protection and appeal to people to stop cow slaughtering and suggest them to consume other meet than beef.

"We will say not to hurt religious feelings of other religions. The verse which is not in the Quran, we cannot approve it to be from Quran. If slaughtering of cow hurts the feelings of our Hindu brothers, we will request our Muslim brothers to refrain doing so," he said.

When asked Kathiria about reaction of Muslim clerics and scholars who refuted the words (on billboard) to be taken from Quran, he said the verse has been taken from Hadith.

"As our Geeta and other holy books of Hindu religion has been interpreted by religious scholars, Prophet Mohammad had interpreted Quran and wrote Hadith. In Hadith, Prophet Mohammad had said cow is leader of all bovines as its milk have therapeutic properties, while beef can cause you diseases," he said.

Asked if it was an error to quote the message (on billboard) as a Quranic verse, he said the mistake might have been overseen in the final proof of the billboards.

"It should have been Muhammad Paigambar instead of Quran. But on the basis of this mistake, we should not spark any controversy out of it."

"This (mistake) might have been overlooked in final proof. What booklet I have with me, it quotes from 'aayat' (verse) number 11 of Quran, but I am not sure whether it is from Quran or Hadith," he said.

Kathiria said, according to some of his Muslim friends, who are philanthropist, told him the Prophet had clearly stated this (the verse/quote on cow protection) to be from Hadith. 

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