India is in the news in the United States, as Prime Minister Modi visits a post-flood Houston to the enthusiastic welcome of Indian Americans, including an Indian Muslim organization. This visit is all during the crushing oppression in places like Kashmir and other parts of India. It is not new or novel to see Indian Muslims fawning over oppressive leaders, as this has been going on for hundreds of years.
History and law are interwoven and it is sometimes hard to know when one starts and the other begins. In India, legal cases take so long that when the courts resolve the case, it is about a distant historical event about long-dead litigants. Generations come and go before we know the answer to a fundamental question like, who gets an inheritance from a dead person? A recent case that lasted five decades before final resolution, in Modi’s India, on the side of Sharia.
The issue was the estate of a princely statelet of Rampur, headed by a Nawab. Some descendants wanted distribution under Islamic Inheritance. Others expected a special dispensation allowing for injustice. The Indian court ruled Islamic Inheritance should be the system here. What’s left of a Nawab’s piddly empire is to be broken up.
The wealth of the land was given to an individual family to perpetuate injustice. The Rampur Nawab sided with the British Raj during the rebellion of 1857. Those who stood with India instead of the British paid a massive price. Avoiding Islamic Inheritance was a way to allow injustice to continue. It was in litigation for decades. Now, it is over.
Why we care about Nawabs
As you probably know, the British Empire ruled India for generations. This history was objectively devastating for most Indians, though it was great for a few, like the Nawabs of Rampur. In 1750, India, or more accurately the amalgamation of territories that later came to be known as India Pakistan and Bangladesh, was responsible for 25% of the world’s industrial output. By 1900, this figure had fallen to 2%. The British systematically robbed their possession; it’s people subjected to mass-murder, oppression, and even a manufactured famine killing millions.
The British managed to do this without having to place millions of British troops to occupy the country. Indeed, they may not have had more than a few thousand most of the time. The British often left much of the oppression, theft, murder, and systematic barbarism to the capable hands of local leaders. Nawabs, like those of Rampur, held the favor of the Raj. This loyalty was also true of vast numbers of native Indian troops. Indian soldiers were so loyal they were often used to oppress others throughout the British Empire (though there were notable heroic exceptions). Many of the Nawabs were Muslim.
Oppression if you let it
The British knew that the best way to subjugate and oppress a population is to allow some people to benefit from oppression. Indeed, the world is full of Indians, including Indian Muslims, who see British rule as the golden age.
Now we have Indian Muslims seeing Modi as presiding over a new golden age. These Muslims will lavish praise on Modi’s Raj and trash-talk the Sharia to appease those who hate Muslims.
Nawabs are nothing unless they have large numbers of people enabling them, making them feel good about it.
The worst oppression does not come from Modi, from the British, Soviets, Romans, or anyone else. The worse tyranny is the kind we do to ourselves and our own families and each other.
Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: Muhammad (SWS), said, “Beware of committing oppression, for oppression will be darkness on the Day of Resurrection. Beware of greed, for greed destroyed those before you. It caused them to shed blood and to make lawful what is unlawful.” (Reported in Muslim)
Islamic Inheritance is a bulwark against oppression. It is fard, but it has a social function that is nothing short of priceless. Nawabs avoided the requirements of Islamic Inheritance to oppress more effectively on behalf of the Raj.
Thanks to the new decision, their estates will be broken up.
Nawabs still exist, and you don’t need to be an Indian-American to be one. You don’t even need to live under an empire or successor tyranny. Greed and corruption are everywhere. Do not let these maladies infect your own family and your community.
To get a free Islamic Inheritance resource guide, including templates and comprehensive information on Islamic Estate Planning, click here.