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Mumbai Haji Ali Dargah to allow entry of women (Relevant for GS Mains Paper II)

Bombay High Court Order
Bombay High Court ordered the Haji Ali Dargah Trust to give equal access to women to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the famed dargah in Mumbai on a “par with men”.

SC directions
Haji Ali Dargah Trust filed appeal against the order. Disposing of the challenge raised by the Trust against the High Court decision, the Supreme Court allowed the Trust two weeks’ time to remove certain structural obstructions inside the dargah:
1. To give women unrestricted view of the sanctum sanctorum.

2. The hearing also saw the court nudge the Trust on why it had separate entrances for men and women into the dargah.

Background
Prior to 2011, the Dargah did not discriminate against woman and allowed free entry to people across all religions. However, Dargah Board then imposed ban on women entry into Dargah on the ground that women should not come near to male God.

Response of Dargah Trust on same entry and right of woman of entry to Dargah
 “Segregation of devotees on the basis of gender (and age) is essential and was practised as is evidenced from the hadiths and the Sunnah . This is not only necessary from a religious point of view, but also from the point of view of ensuring ease of access, comfort and crowd control to segregate men from women and children.”

“It is relevant,” the affidavit adds, “that while hadiths do not bar women from entering places of worship where their exists infrastructure for segregation, hadiths do indicate that in Islam there is a higher reward for women if they were to offer prayers (Namaaz) in house,” it said.

What are Hadiths?
A collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad which, with accounts of his daily practice (the Sunna), constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Koran.

 



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