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Muslim clergy differ on Haji Ali Dargah issue

Sanjay Pandey, November 7, 2012, Lucknow, DHNS:

Muslim clergy appeared to be sharply divided on whether the decision by the management of the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai to ban the entry of women into the interior of the iconic Sufi shrine was in accordance with the “shariat” (Islamic law).

While the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom at Deoband supported the decision, many other islamic scholars opposed it and termed it against the tenets of the Islamic law.

“The shariat does not allow the women to visit graves. It is un-Islamic,” said senior cleric at Darul Uloom Maulana Rashid Quasmi. Another senior cleric Maulana Naseem Akhtar also defended the Haji Ali dargah management's decision on similar grounds.


Renowned Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad strongly condemned the decision and dubbed the decision as reflective of “talibani mentality.”

“The decision must be opposed by one and all,” Jawwad said. All India Muslim Personal Law Board member and sunni cleric Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangimahali also decried the decision.

“When the men and women can perform Haj together the how can the women be prevented from visiting the mazars. Those imposing such a ban must be identified and ostracised from society,” Firangimahali said.

All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board chairperson Shaista Amber also condemned the decision of the Dargah management.

“The cleric, who has announced the ban must be strictly dealt with....his authority to issue such fatwa (religious decree) should be withdrawn,”  Amber said.

Another Muslim cleric Shabahat Hasan Shah, who himself is the caretaker of the famous mazar of Dada Mian, said that he would launch a campaign against the decision if it was not immediately revoked.

The clerics expressed serious concern at the rising influence of the fundamentalists and said immediate measures were required to make sure that such elements did not succeed.

The Haji Ali Dargah management had imposed a ban on the entry of women into the interior part of the shrine saying that it was “un-Islamic.”

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