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Haji Ali row: No gender gap in the Koran on worship, say activists

Javed Anand reads out the open letter sent to dargah trustees—Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury.

Javed Anand reads out the open letter sent to dargah trustees—Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury.  

The Koran does not restrict women from visiting the mazaar (tomb) and speaks of spiritual equality between the sexes, campaigners for ‘Haji Ali Sab Ke Liye’ (Haji Ali for all) said on Friday.

In an open letter to Haji Ali dargah trustees, the activists posed 14 questions challenging the trust’s position that the ban on women entering the mazaar in the dargah was as per Islamic law.

“What is this Islamic law? We are thinking Muslims and we have read the Koran and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Mohammad). In our understanding, women are allowed wherever men are. If there are restrictions, they are for both men and women,” activist Javed Anand said. The forum also invited the trustees for a public debate on the issue.

“We maintain that barring women is not a religious issue but related to customs and tradition. Tradition cannot override constitutional principles,” Mr Anand said.

Activists said the security concerns cited by the trust are an example of its incompetence in managing crowds, as the number of visitors to the Haji Ali dargah was nothing compared to the millions who visit Mecca, Medina, Nazf, Karbala in Saudi Arabia and Ajmer in India. They also questioned the notion of ‘impurity’ attached to menstruation

Criticising the trusts’ view that women wear wide-necked blouses, Mr Anand said, “Are they saying that women come to the dargah only to flaunt their sexuality? Is this the same gaze that sees the length of Sania Mirza’s skirt instead of watching her play tennis? We find this mindset shameful.”

A delegation of activists plans to visit the famous Ajmer Sharif dargah where men and women will offer a chadar . Trupti Desai, who is spearheading a women’s movement for entry to all places of worship, was not present as the the forum has distanced itself from her.



In an open letter to Haji Ali dargah trustees, the activists posed

14 questions



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Printable version | Sep 28, 2020 11:24:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/Haji-Ali-row-No-gender-gap-in-the-Koran-on-worship-say-activists/article14318282.ece

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