The popular religious landmark of Mumbai, Haji Ali Dargah, has now restricted the entry of women inside its premises For decades the place has been known as an iconic religious landmark for tourists and believers. The Dargah has also been immortalized in several Bollywood movies.
In a recent controversial move which has shocked the city, the Haji Ali Trust has barred women from entering the sanctum, which houses the tomb of the 15th century Sufi saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. Rizwan Merchant, trustee of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust and also a noted criminal lawyer said, “If Islamic scholars have issued a fatwa in accordance with the Islamic law of Sharia and have demanded that women not be allowed in dargahs, we have only made a correction”.
Practically this means that women will be allowed only within the dargah’s large and open premises. There are no restrictions on women here, as they can read prayers, do Namaz, and offer shawls and flowers, but they will not be allowed to enter inside the dargah’s sanctum sanctorum.
The Sharia restricts women from visiting graves; since the tomb is in essence the grave of Pir, women are barred from entering. Apart from Haji Ali, the decision has also been implemented by seven other dargahs in Mumbai.