• Blame the clerics says advocate Farha Faiz on why women were banned in inner sanctums

    “No woman goes to religious places for picnic or for any other purpose but to pray so banning their entry is completely ridiculous,” says Farha Faiz, Supreme Court lawyer to SheThePeople.TV.  The Mumbai High Court today passed an order allowing the entry of women into the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali Dargah.  But the shrine trust says otherwise and they now want to move the Supreme Court about the same. This has caused the Bombay High Court verdict to be stalled for six weeks more.

    Faiz, who is also the president of Rashtriya Muslim Mahila Sangh, says that the Supreme Court will definitely go with the decision of Bombay High Court and not these clerics. “Actually these cleric groups play on the Muslim population that is largely uneducated and have only read Quran Sharif in Urdu which they cannot make sense of. Since this large number of uneducated people cannot make sense of what is actually written in these religious books, they are manipulated by our clerics who disallow entry of women in religious places,” contends Faiz.

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    She adds, “They create such a dangerous picture to create fear inside people if they let women inside the Dargah which essentially houses the grave of a learned scholar. Now many educated people have started asking logical questions against such practices.”

    Dargahs other than the Haji Ali Dargah allow women inside the premises. Faiz articulates only because Haji Ali is famous is women’s entry banned, which is illogical.

    However, she does believe that there are certain times, such as menstruation, when women should avoid going and the rules of the Dargah- mainly purdah system- must be followed by women because that place requires a certain respect but other than that there should not be any reason stopping women from entering the inner sanctum.

    “Both men and women go to the Dargah to pray in times of need and to connect their souls to the soul of the scholar whose grave is there at the religious place, I don’t see any problem why one gender should in any way be stopped in practicing their right,” told Faiz.

    “Pushing religion into everything and maligning a pure act is what clerics do to exercise their power and it needs to stop,” she further added.

    Also read: Two Muslim women, striving for religious equality, start all-women Mosque

    The shrine trustees banned the entry of women into the inner sanctum five years back, a move that was supported by the then state government. The trustees of the mosque that houses the tomb of the Sufi saint say that entry of women inside the sanctum sanctorum is a ‘grievous sin’. They were dragged to the court by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) – a Muslim women’s rights group.

    The High Court ruled that any restriction on women at the dargah defies fundamental right to equality. And the CM of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis has also  offered his views against any such discrimination against women who want to pray at a certain religious place.

    This has been preceded by another Bombay High Court verdict that allowed women inside the Shani Shignapur Temple. Activist Trupti Desai was at the helm of that fight in favor of women’s entry inside the temple.

    Feature Image credit: India Today