New Delhi, April 20: He may have stirred a nationwide controversy by announcing a Rs 10 lakh bounty for anyone shaving Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam’s head, but in reality, Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi is no imam or maulana, and has zero religious authority.
The head priest of the little-known Khanka Sharif at Bagnan in West Bengal’s Howrah district, Quaderi is a little-known face in the state’s Muslim community and has almost no influence. Muslim leaders say the bounty offer was also not a fatwa because he isn’t an Islamic scholar.
According to HT, an Islamic religious leader said " The media is wrongly portraying him as cleric, maulana and maulavi. We fail to understand why the media ended up giving so much importance on what he said".
Quaderi’s offer had come hours after Nigam tweeted against the Islamic call for prayer, azaan, and called the custom “forced religiousness”. The bounty was widely criticised and ridiculed, especially after Nigam got his head shaved and challenged Quaderi to pay up.
Quaderi calls himself a spiritual leader and a social worker. He claims to be the 35th descendant of the Prophet.
It requires a scholar in Islamic law to issue a fatwa – a legally non-binding decree on issues having no clear guidance from Quran or Hadith.
“I did not issue a fatwa in the first place. All I announced was a reward for shaving Sonu Nigam’s head, garlanding him with old, torn shoes and touring him across the country. Since he neither wore a garland of shoes nor toured the country seeking apology from people whose sentiments he has hurt, there is no question of rewarding anyone. He has no right to ask me to keep the money ready,” Quaderi added.
Quaderi holds the position of vice-president of West Bengal United Minority Council, a little-known organisation, but is known in the Islamic religious circles as a close associate of Barkati, who has also issued a fatwa against Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his demonetisation announcement.