Book Discussion Series 12

A Virtue of Disobedience

Asim Qureshi

A new work of political philosophy, in which Asim Qureshi reflects on injustice in the world he sees around him. Covering issues from torture and extrajudicial killings, to racism and discrimination, A Virtue of Disobedience takes the reader on a journey through the history of oppression, and begins a conversation about how previous acts of resistance and disobedience, through faith and virtue, can be liberating in the range of contemporary issues communities face today.

This book is an attempt to reflect on the world we live in, and by using the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, to posit a notion of virtuous disobedience, one that is not only congruent with the teachings of Islam, but also true to the history and experience of others who have fought for the rights we are seeking. The book seeks to ascertain the lines of intersection across all of these moments, in the hope that the conversation can shift beyond the ‘good Muslim bad Muslim’ reductionisms that currently set the discourse. The ethic mooted hopes that by being disobedient to authoritarianism, we can put forward a claim to being obedient to justice. 

By : Asim Qureshi (Research director of CAGE)

Book Title: India: Policy Reports on Babri Masjid


A.G. Nooran

The Hindu nationalist regime in India finally realized its long-time agenda of constructing a Ram temple at the place where early 16th century grand mosque – Babri Masjid – is built. The apex court of India on Nov. 9, 2019 decided the longest-running case in favor of Hindus and ordered the temple be built under Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government supervision.

In his presentation, the reviewer narrated the history of the mosque built by military general of India’s first Mughal ruler, Zahīr ud-Dīn Muhammad Babur and how Hindus started claiming that the sanctum-sanctorum of Babri masjid was birth place of one of their gods – Ram.

The presenter reviewed two important reports – “Ayodhya: The Battle for India’s Soul” by The Wall Street Journal and “Why Nationalism and Secularism Failed Together” in India by political theorist Ashish Nandy.

While the first report detailed the historic and legal fight and events that unfolded after BJP launched movement for Ram temple and subsequent attack on Babri Masjid in 1992, Nandy argues that ideology of secularism was not seen to have ethical structure derived from or having deep roots in religious faiths.

The presentation also looked at the legal loop holes in the court’s decision to handover 2.77 acre of Babri Masjid land to Hindus for temple. Despite evidence on the side of Muslims, the court decision is a reflection that Hindu faith has overpowered the law of the land in India.

By: Riyaz ul Khaliq (CIGA Non-Resident Research Associate)