Exclusive: Inside the Grand Mufti’s self styled Supreme Court

In the Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, despite the fact there is no legal basis and neither the public or religious scholars have elected him, “Grand Mufti” Bashir-ud-Din has been running a self-styled parallel judicial system, calling it the “Supreme Court of Islamic Shariet (Central Dar ul Futwa).” In mid 70s, Bashir-ud-din, with a post graduate degree in Arabic from the Aligarh Muslim University, was appointed “Grand Mufti” by late Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, the state’s last Prime Minister in 1960 but recently the government mildly denied Bashir-ud-Din having any alliance with the government. For decades he has been giving diktats from his court and has used it for his personal interests to raise huge funds, solve land disputes, demand money for fatwas, and also to threaten people or force them to do his work.

In an exclusive exposé, the official letters and the documents obtained by THE KASHMIR WALLA prove that the Bashir-ud-Din has been misusing the title of “Grand Mufti” and the “Supreme Court of Shariet”, both of which have no legal basis in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mohammad Bashir-ud-Din. Photograph by Shahid Tantray
Mohammad Bashir-ud-Din. Photograph by Shahid Tantray

On 5 June 2013, a letter was sent from the “Supreme Court of Shariet” to the Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran seeking funds for the “establishment of Hydel Power Capacity in Kashmir.” In the letter, undersigned by Mufti Mohammad Imran, the representative of Bashir-ud-Din, it is said that “with reference to the discussions held with the President of Islamic Republic of Iran Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the visit of Mufti Bashir-ud-din and his entourage to the country in connection with Islamic Awakening Conference on 2 May 2013. The President was pleased to accept to provide all help and assistance towards establishing the Hydel Power capacity in Kashmir to the extent of 5000 MW.”

The letter also confirms to the President that a preliminary survey of Hydro electric capacity has been conducted and the Ambassador was requested to kindly take up the matter with the President’s office for seeking necessary approval for establishing the project.

On the website of “Supreme Court of Shariet,” Bashir-ud-Din has been soliciting funds from people at large scale for establishing an Islamic University with the name Shah-i-Hamadan University.  He has also sought funding from various governments and institutions for the establishment of the University. In another official letter dispatched from the “Supreme Court of Shariet” on 7 May 2013, addressed to Mohammad Jafari, Secretariat of Islamic Awakening, Iran, he mentions that he had a discussion with the Iranian President about establishment of the Shah-i-Hamadan University. The letter reads, “The President has been pleased to agree to provide all aid and assistance towards the establishment of the Shah-i-Hamadan University for which purpose the requisite project report and other allied documents stands provided by us.”

Bashir-ud-Din also wrote to the Iranian Ambassador to India for the university project. He writes, in the letter sent on 31 May 2013, requesting him to recommend the proposed National University project in Kashmir to the President of Iran for providing financial assistance.  “The documents and the revised project report has been handed over to the President,” read the letter.

All the letters and communication Bashir-ud-din does is using the name of “Supreme Court of Shariet,” to create an impression of legal authority, so as he can misuse this ‘state approved’ religious position for his personal interests. He writes to different countries as if he is the official authority and they are informed about his visits.

In 2011, Bashir-ud-Din wrote to Tajikistan government about his visit, heading a delegation. In reply to his letter sent on 8 April 2011, the Tajikistan embassy in India replied him on 15 April with compliments and also informed that the trip costs will be taken by the delegation but the government will provide them relaxation. All this communication was done using the ‘Supreme Court of Shariet’.

After Bashir-ud-Din issued a fatwa against the all girls’ rock band the state chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Given the importance people attach to the fatwas of the Grand Mufti, the less said the better.”  Abdullah had also said that the “Grand Mufti” was not appointed or paid by the government.

The state government said that they have no connection with the “Grand Mufti” or his “Supreme Court of Shariet” but the documents obtained prove that Bashir-ud-Din has a formal engagement with the State police in cases and also communicates with them several times.

Bashir-ud-Din is the “Executive Member of the government Waqf Council Jammu and Kashmir state,” as he writes a letter as this authority to the then Minister of Hajj and Auqaf, Ajaz Ahmed Khan and asks him to provide funds for a mosque in Tangmarg in 2012.

documentThe claims of Chief Minister also fall apart when we read the documents of how Bashir-ud-Din writes to Superintendents of Police of several areas. In one such case, of Mushtaq Ahmad Dar son of Habib-ullah Dar resident of Divar, Lolab district Kupwara, he writes to the superintendent of Police, Kupwara on 3 April 2013 to pass-on instructions to the local administration to ensure the presence of the defendant Mushtaq Ahmad in his court for the hearing.

The letter reads: “It may also be ensured that the defendant Mushtaq Ahmad who has reportedly managed his second marriage in an un-Islamic/illegal way may not be allowed to stay any more with Mst. Rukhsana till the time investigation into the case is completed and verdict depending upon merits of the case is announced by this Hon’ble court of Islamic Shariet.”

According to the information obtained by THE KASHMIR WALLA, Bashir-ud-Din and his son have several bank accounts in various banks and branches and have also invested money in properties. To run this whole system Bashir-ud-Din has very close relations with a few particular local journalists who help him. One of the local journalists who reports for a leading newspaper has been given dictations on what to publish and how, and also he discusses various issues with Bashir-ud-Din’s son, Nasir-ul-Islam.

Bashir-ud-Din’s “Supreme Court of Shariet” is known to have written letters to various Christian missionary schools in Jammu and Kashmir for admissions of his family members. One such letter was written to Burn Hall School in the month of September 2011, which apparently was not considered by the school administration. This letter was written just before Bashir-ud-Din issued a fatwa against the Christian missionaries.

Bashir-ud-Din also issued a fatwa against the stone throwing youth in 2008 uprising, immediately after the then Senior Superintendent of Police of Srinagar, in a press conference had presented an Islamic citation against the stone throwing.

The prominent human rights lawyer Parvez Imroz has been working to file a case against Bashir-ud-Din. Imroz says Bashir ud Din has no legal status and neither the spectrum of the religious scholars of Kashmir has elected him. “It is evident by his fatwas which demonise Kashmiri people, why government is allowing and encouraging him to function in a manner where he has been allowed to run a parallel judicial system. We have been working to collect important documents which would enable us to file a case against him,” he said.

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  1. Personally I am neither a fane of Mufti sahib nor a supporter,however,the article has been obviously written to malign him on the instinct of some other molives and mufties who want to establish their position to earn name and fame.Of late in Kashmir has unluckily observed a mushroom growth of mufties who have left no stone unturned to establish their position and be the kings.The biggest allegation levelled aganist him was that he is a “sarkari “molvi but the fact was revealed by C.M that he is not.Now seeking help from different quarters to establish some institutions or building a mosque is not a crime.Other molvies here do the same thing and they have build luxuries getting heavy amounts from outside.They routinely demand money from Saudi government and make merry from petrol dollars .

  2. This article is an eye openner for all innocent kashmiries who are being exploited by this self appointed mufti of kashmir with the help of local government.Pease make more investigations on this immoral person and his entrouge so people of kashmir can get rid of evil people.

  3. Did the SP concerned actually act on his directions, I wont be surprised if he did, so is the ignorance of Law. The Govt. only is responsible for this mess. If they don’t have any working relation with him, they should direct him to stop misrepresenting his position and also probe his claim to wealth, which they obviously won’t do. He actually is a protectee, with state providing him security for his person and the illegal organisation run by him.

  4. I think this article has been written to tornish the immage of a religious leader by Indian agent. what is wrong if Mufti Azam is seeking help from iran for establishing mega hederal power station that could genrate electricity for people of kashmir. Requesting for funds for university or for hedral power station is not a sin that you will punish him for this . why dont you see his contrubution agaist his stand aginst chistanity or rok band, stop writing this non sense. Fear ALLAH AND THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT

  5. Is anyone aware of the “Grand Mufti’s” Formal religious educational qualifications besides his masters in Arabic? Even a jew can get a masters degree in Arabic language, Will then we make him a Mufti Azam?

    • Shame on those who write comments against respectable people without considering motives of those who melign them and write against them out of fun.They are hate mongers of our society. We have many WAHABEES who do not leave any stone unturned to dent personalities of Islam who so ever it may be.It can be Dr Tahirul qadri, late Mirwaiz farooq , moulana Qasim Shah or Mufti Bahir. Ullama,s are descendants of Prophets sent to people and defaming them are characteristics of Jews .they has been doing such things against Islamic leaders and scholars for so many years. I would like to ask with great respect to all those who are challenging the status of Grand Mufti, will they be happy when disputes of their daughters and sisters will be decided by indian courts as per uniform civil code being introduced shortly. It is deplorable that you are hellbent to weaken your islamic institution I am not supporting Mufti shb but atleast this man is doing some thing for islam. Read Islam enhance your knowledge and do not write against anyone without investigating by your self. May Allah guide us in a right manner.Ameen

  6. Shame on those who write comments against respectable people without considering motives of those who simply melign them out of hate and fun. They are hate mongers.you should know that ullams are decendants of prophets as referred by our great Prophet PBUH. We have many Wahabees who are making similar remarks to ullamas like Tahir Ul Qadri. Their rented agents does not leave any stone unterned to defame ullamas of Aahali Sunnat who believe Mohammad PBUH is alive even after his death and we can receive blessing from him. I think people like zaid need to understand that compering muslim with a jew is a great sin. Kashmir wallah has constructed a story that is not against a person but against a muslim institution . Does he want that dispute of our sisters or daughters are settled according to uniform civil code of india rather than Islam. I think Kashmir walla should think many times before spreading poision in the society.