A controversy has broken out over the appointment of Jamshed Ashraf as Bihar's new excise minister with a leading Islamic seminary holding that Islam does not allow Muslims to get involved in a profession related to liquor.
Darul Uloom, Deoband, has upheld a 'fatwa' against Ashraf by a Patna-based Shariat committee, which asked the minister to relinquish his post.
Soon after Ashraf was assigned the registration and excise department by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on April 13, 'Imarat-e-Sharia' in Patna had asked Ashraf not to hold the ministry, which dealt with something that was haram (prohibited) in Islam.
Endorsing the move, Darul Uloom Deputy vice-chancellor Maulan Qari Mohammad Usman said the fatwa issued by 'Imarat-e-Sharia' was based on Shariat.
The in-charge of the fatwa department of the seminary has said involvement of any Muslim in a profession which deal with liquor directly or indirectly is illegal under Shariat law.
However, the clerics said that fatwa is not an order but a guiding principle and one may abide with it or ignore it.
"A mufti issues a fatwa only when someone approaches him to seek guidance according to Shariat law," a cleric of the seminary said.
It is to be noted that similar profile is being held by a Muslim minister in Uttar Pradesh.
Naseemuddin Siddiqui, a Bahujan Samaj Party legislator, holds the excise and PWD portfolios under the Mayawati government in UP.