After Sunnis, now Shias too claim Taj Mahal

After Sunnis, now Shias too claim Taj Mahal

Control over the Taj Mahal has become a bone of contention among Shia and Sunni Muslims, with both sects staking claim for the 17th century tomb that emperor Shah Jahan had built for his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

After UP minister Azam Khan’s statement that the Taj Mahal should be handed over to the Sunni Central Wakf Board, Shia clerics have asserted their right over the world wonder, claiming that Mumtaz Mahal was a Shia.

“Mumtaz Mahal was from the Shia community. Therefore, it’s a Shia awqaf (property) and should be handed over to the Shia Wakf Board,” demanded senior Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad.

Jawwad’s views were echoed by the president of Imam-e-Raza committee Faiyaz Haider, who said the architecture of the Taj Mahal was “proof enough” that it is a Shia tomb. “We have written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chef Minister Akhilesh Yadav in this regard,” Haider said. The Shia leader also said his community would launch an agitation if its demand is not conceded.

All India Shia Muslim Personal Law Board spokesman Maulana Yasoob Abbas, however, said the Taj Mahal should not be dragged into politics. “Taj Mahal is national property and should be left as such,” he told Deccan Herald here on Monday.

Recently, Azam Khan had written a letter to the Centre saying that the Sunni Central Wakf Board should be entrusted with the Taj Mahal and that the income the monument generates should be used for the welfare of Muslims.

The minister had raised the issue at a meeting of Wakf Board members held here a few days ago. Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangimahali, a senior cleric and member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, had also said that Muslims should be allowed to perform namaz inside the Taj Mahal five times a day on a regular basis.

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