When most people think about a ‘Musliyar/Saquafi’ (Muslim scholar) the first thing that comes to mind is a person with a long beard, a white turban, and a white robe. But the 10 Saquafis who stepped out of the high court on Saturday were all sporting formal black pants and white shirts and conspicuously absent were the long beards and the turbans. They were ready to don another role, the role of advocates.
They were the first batch of students of the Markaz Law College in Kozhikode who had completed their three-year LLB course.
What makes them different from others is that they ventured into the legal profession after completing post-graduation in Islamic theology.
The Musliyars-cum-advocates, including 50-year-old Dr Hussain Saquafi C S, turned the enrolment into a festival as family members and college management accompanied them to Kochi to witness them getting admitted on the rolls of the state bar council.
“To be an ideal citizen, one should understand the Indian Constitution and the Sharia law (Islamic law) well. Religious leaders can influence the public. They need to have legal awareness to carry out their services judicially. When I attended the World Muslim Minorities Summit in Istanbul last month, my awareness of the Indian Constitution came handy. I could explain to them freedom of religion was a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 25-28 of the Constitution of India,” said Dr Hussain Saquafi, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Jamia Markaz.
The 2014-17 LLB batch from the college had 20 students. But only 11 of them, including one Arun P, got themselves enrolled on Saturday as rest of them were abroad.
The newly enrolled advocates said they were enthusiastic about pursuing legal practice. Two of them have already begun preparing for writing an exam for the post of munsif magistrate to be held this year. Many of them said they were interested in specialising in criminology, human rights, corporate law and constitutional law.
“I am looking forward to provide legal aid to the downtrodden. We all know that advocates charge high fees for legal services. Many among the poor cannot afford to pay such huge amounts. I would like to give them legal aid by charging only a nominal fee,” said Abdul Rashik C who enrolled on Saturday. Suhail Thangal, a postgraduate in Islamic Theology, said he too wants to be the voice of the downtrodden by taking up the profession of an advocate. Several others shared the same view.