Muslim women seek entry into sanctum of Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai



Days after the Shani Shingnapur temple made headlines, Muslim women groups are protesting in Mumbai demanding entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah.

This comes even as Bombay High Court is hearing a writ petition filed by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) challenging the rule to ban women’s entry into the dargah.

On January 18, the court had said that it would wait for Supreme Court’s ruling on the entry of women in Sabarimala temple before deciding on the plea.

Professor of Islamic studies Zeenat Shaukat Ali, one of the protestors, said that it was ‘male patriarchy’, not religion, which is responsible for such rules. “I am a scholar and nowhere in Islam is it said that women cannot go to graveyards. This is the dictum of the prophet. Male patriarchy is commanding the Hindus, male patriarchy is dominating the Muslims.”

A woman activist said Islam does not impose restrictions on women. This is against the tenets of Islam. The Constitution has given you equal rights and Islam supports the Constitution, she added.

The trustees of Haji Ali Dargah had told the court that entry of women in close proximity to the grave of a male Muslim saint is considered a sin in Islam.

Mumbai-based advocate Ejaz Abbas Naqvi, a member of the Central Waqf Council, said “Whatever is happening across the country, is welcome. Why should women be banned from entering a temple. Why shouldn’t they become trustees? Speaking of gender equality is one thing, and doing it is completely different,” according to CNN-IBN.

The tussle (women’s entry in Haji Ali Dargah) comes in the backdrop of an ongoing fight in Shani Shingnapur, where a Bhumata Brigade, led by activist Trupti Desai, while forcing their way into the temple, were blocked by the villagers and local police in Supa village in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also met the protestors and reportedly assured them support.