Sheikh Ilyas: my salaams to you!

Sheikh Ilyas,

I have always been a person who listened to your speeches, you being a speaker exceptionally gifted with the art of speech. There are three kinds of people; the uninformed speaker, the informed but silent person and the informed speaker. I want to put you in the last category. But, your inflamed rhetoric, which comes out with every turmoil that impacts your Adhaalath Party and the political sphere, forces me to peg you in the first, and rather narrow, category.

Ilyas, how do you determine that the Government of President Abdullah Yameen is more irreligious or secular than that of President Mohamed Nasheed? Was it because the present Government had passed the penal code, which you say clashes with Islamic principles? You do know the laws are passed by Parliament, not by the President? When you pick up the Quran and say that Imran Abdullah was jailed against God's law; are those judgements passed by the Government? Are you not aware how the judicial justice system functions?

Ilyas, you claim that President Yameen rose to power using black magic. You claim to have knowledge of Islamic ruling on black magic, yet you seem to be unaware that black magic is used to harm people. Did you not hear his words on the sanctity of life?

You have pitched your two cents into the matter, stating that the black magic practitioner had confirmed his participation in the alleged act. If I were to write that you ordered me to do black magic, how many would actually believe that?

You have refuted the rumors that Gasim Ibrahim had given you a fishing vessel, labeling them as baseless. Black magic allegations against Yameen was made by only one person - a non-Muslim and a foreigner to boot. Are we to believe the word of one person against that of many, even from your own ally MDP, who believe and attest that you were bribed with a fishing vessel? I challenge you. I challenge you and your allies to a debate on the issue.

You say that if the allegations against you are true, you will give the fishing vessel and MVR 100,000. I look forward to that reward. My question to you is how you will supply that amount, given that you are not employed and are seen occasionally. Are you privy to the benefits that gave the Jews manna and quail, without them having lifted a finger to earn that?

I agree with you wholeheartedly. The body paint "art installation" was not right. But some had done that in the country. But let me ask you: did the Government do that? Or were they brought into the country by the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce? Is the Chamber a state body? Is the Chamber an independent body, liable for their own actions?

Let me ask you: if I were to bring a lady, put body paint on her and create an "art installation"; is the Government responsible for my actions? It is the Government's responsibility if they fail to put a stop to it.

Ilyas: the Akon show was against Islamic values. Music is, according to you, against Islamic values. Music is a divisive subject among scholars. If they cannot reach to a consensus on the issue, a higher power will make a decision on that. How is it that you are the final authority on issues?

Are you denying that shows were held in the same Government you defend? Didn't the very President dance and sing? The very meaning of his name is "song", is it not?

According to you, the Parliament should not exist. According to you, it is a den of sin. If that's the case then why is a member of your Party filling a seat in the Parliament? Didn't you contest for a seat? Why did you contest for that seat? You do not believe in portraits and photos. Yet your face was plastered on campaign posters. When it was time for elections you and rest of the religious scholars had jumped to the wagon, photos and portraits were deemed acceptable.

Saying the salawat on the Prophet is one of the most strictly enforced principles in Islam. You, yourself on various political podiums have condemned President Mohamed Nasheed for him saying that "My name is also Mohamed, I don't need to say the salawat to him." Answer this question: has there been a bigger transgression than this in the Yameen administration?

Ilyas: how do you determine if one has transgressed Islam or become a secularist? Or is a right that is at your discretion? If that is the case, there is no point in debating about it.

A Judge was involved in a sexual act. Riddle me this. How can one justify spying on an individual and recording the actions of the individual and then publicizing it? If the said Judge had committed the act, then what is it to the Government?

Will there be a single person who would have not been bare, naked? This applies to you too, Ilyas. If a person was to record you while you were bare and publicize that, would you be alright with that?

The very Government you preach on against the current Government, feature many faces that have at one time or the other had starred in such adult reels. Those reels have become public. They had attempted to honey trap religious scholars, sending young women to those scholars. You have spoke of this. Why is this one case so dear to you? Why have to painted this case negatively, while at the same time whitewashing these other cases?

You complain that you do not have a platform, a place to voice your cases to the public. If you cannot get a public place, its an issue. But the truth is, such public places are booked to the max. I have heard that President Yameen is bringing an excavator to reclaim land. Perhaps he could reclaim an area for you.

Ilyas: the Constitution grants the right to housing for every citizen. How many citizens are living without proper housing? How many have died without getting permanent homes? Their voices remain unheard, right? Even still, you have been granted the public platforms whenever you needed. You appear every time the political sphere becomes active. And every single time your speeches at those platforms inflames and agitates the public. The only time you were stopped, you were stopped by MDP - the very people who once deem you a scholar, a Sheikh, then an irreligious man and then back to the status of Sheikh.

Let me clarify for you. Artificial Beach, Usfasgandu and other such areas were closed off to the public for weeks. During those weeks, reportedly various acts of black magic were carried out in the areas. The lease periods were extended by six months, eight months, one year for MDP not by President Yameen. Not by President Waheed.

Ilyas: scholars are more often than not divided on many issues. But when divisions occur they do not brand the other camp as heretics. If other scholars do not agree with you, then do they become heretics?

Ilyas: you and others like you quote President Maumoon having had said that Quran cannot be used as justification. Have you heard his full quote? Maumoon said that the translation of Quran cannot be used as justification. Scholars interpret the translation of Quran differently. The interpretation of the translation can vary depending on time and view. This is one the reasons why Quran is a miracle; the book transcends time and situation.

Ilyas: the word "Kithab" is mentioned in the Quran many times. What does "Kithab" signify? Is it the same book, affixed with pages and covers? When the Quran was revealed 1400 years ago, was the book same as today? Today science and interpretation with the assistance of Quran is finding new discoveries. Therefore, when you erroneously claim this, how can you avoid an intellectual debate on this?

Ilyas: you say that it is a sign of end times when the unqualified are given the power to administer affairs. When you endorsed and spoke on various platforms urging all to vote for Nasheed, was it because he was the most qualified to assume leadership of the nation? Or was it because the end times were near?

Ilyas: was it President Yameen who had called for an alternative to Quran and the Sunnah? Was it President Yameen who had advocated to change the Islamic Shariah principles? Was it President Yameen who had emulated Prince Hassan by holding people hostage by collecting information, creating massage parlors, drugs and changing the residence to a numbered residence?

Was it President Yameen who had escalated drug and alcohol use in the society? Was it President Yameen who agreed to construct churches in the country? Was it President Yameen who advocated to introduce additional religions to Maldives? Who pressed for deeper collaboration with Israel and change curriculum to suit their agenda? Was it President Yameen who forced an individual to declare himself a non-Muslim publicly? Was it President Yameen who refuted the concerns of scholars and hundreds of citizens who had risen up in defense of Islam? Was it President Yameen who laughed when those people had completed their ablutions with sea water and prayed in congregation?

Ilyas: was it President Yameen who placed large statutes in your atoll? Was it President Yameen who constructed the Convention Center in Addu, modeled after the southern cross? Why then did you not vilify that President, the same way you vilify this President?

Ilyas: was it President Nasheed who said he will implement capital punishment as in the Islamic Shariah? Was it Nasheed who declared Arab and Islam as compulsory subjects? Was it Nasheed who announced the construction of the biggest mosque in the country? Was it Nasheed who developed ties with the Islamic nations of the world? Was it Nasheed who liberated the imams and muezzins who were restricted before? Was it Nasheed who ordered the restoration of mosques? Was it Nasheed who created the Islamic University?

Ilyas: all Maldivians are of Shaafi'i sect. Were you aware that one of the basic tenets of the Shaafi'i sect is for women to cover their faces and for men to shorten their pants. Take a look at the Maldivian society. Do we really follow Shaafi'ism? Ilyas: have you read your brother Sheikh Idhris published a book on religious conflicts. Please read it. Perhaps it would benefit you, help you expand your horizons.

You can spew your rhetoric from various platforms. But for those speeches to be believable, they have to make sense, have a nugget of logic and truth. If you fail this spectrum, perhaps its better for you to get educated on the subject. Become a character like Sheikh Abdu Rahman who went against popular opinion and declared turtle meat halal. But not in your usual manner.

Years ago, a prominent scholar lived in Male'. He would peep into the open bathrooms on a regular basis. A concerned citizen approached him, calling him out for his actions. The scholar's response was that he was a scholar and not to speak of what he does not know. The scholar boasted that he was such a great scholar that he could weasel out of any and every situation with his words. Isn't this your example?

There are two guaranteed things in Maldives. Adhaalath is the embodiment of religion. Criticize Adhaalath and one has criticized religion. MDP is the very essence, the irrefutable essence of democracy. Criticize MDP or Nasheed and one has destroyed democracy. Ilyas and the likes of you will not be pleased with this letter. But I am the very Mundoo who will ignore the criticism.

My sincere regards to you.