Muslim women perform aarti, 'excommunicated'

Muslim women perform aarti, 'excommunicated'

A group of Muslim women, who performed aarti of Lord Rama and recited the Hanuman chalisa (a holy book hailing Lord Hanuman) at Varanasi on Deepavali, was "excommunicated" by Islamic seminary, Darul Uloom Deoband.

The seminary said the women had performed an "un-Islamic" act because, according to their religion, no other god except Allah was worshiped.

"Islam does not allow the worship of any other god, except Allah," said a senior cleric associated with the Saharanpur-based seminary, which is known for issuing fatwas (religious decrees) on issues relating to women and society.

'Seek forgiveness'

The cleric, however, said that the excommunicated women could return to their faith if they sought forgiveness from the Almighty.

The women, for their part, maintained that they had done nothing wrong. "We have been doing this for the past several years. It is a part of our composite culture. It is foolish to think that one leaves his or her religion simply by worshiping gods of a different faith," one of them said.

The seminary had recently termed uploading of photographs on social media sites by Muslim women un-Islamic and issued a fatwa. It said women should not get themselves photographed unless there was a necessity. Earlier, it had banned women from shaping their eyebrows. It said plucking eyebrows and cutting hair were not in accordance with the tenets of Islam.

The seminary has created a record of sorts in issuing fatwas. Many of its diktats have come under sharp criticism from women's activists and Muslim organisations. The seminary, however, defended them, saying it merely answered queries on the basis of the Shariat (Islamic law).

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