Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai shuts door on women
Edited by Ashish Mukherjee | Updated: November 06, 2012 08:32 IST
Mumbai: Trustees of Mumbai’s Haji Ali dargah, the iconic Sufi shrine visited by thousands every year and immortalised in the movies, has shut the door on women.
The Haji Ali Dargah Trust says it’s “un-Islamic under the Sharia” for women to visit graves and its decision is final.
The trust says women are free to be within the dargah’s compound but cannot enter the sanctum sanctorum that houses the tomb of 15th century Sufi saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.
“They can read their prayers, do namaaz and offer shawls and flowers. We are only requesting our sisters not to enter inside the dargah,” says Rizwan Merchant, a trustee and noted criminal lawyer. “Women will not be allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum.”
The dargah is located on a bed of rocks 500 yards into the Arabian Sea and off the coast of Worli in south central Mumbai.
The issue has been raging for the past six months and has started to spark off protests now. Many are furious and have called the trust’s decision regressive.
“If Islamic scholars have issued a fatwa, in accordance with the Islamic law of Sharia, and have demanded that women not allowed in dargahs, then we have only made a correction,” says Mr Merchant.