Please Help New English Review
For our donors from the UK:
New English Review
New English Review Facebook Group
Follow New English Review On Twitter
Recent Publications from New English Review Press
Easy Meat
by Peter McLoughlin
The Tongue is Also a Fire
by James Como
Out Into The Beautiful World
by Theodore Dalrymple
Unreading Shakespeare
by David P. Gontar
Islam Through the Looking Glass: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J. B. Kelly, Vol. 3
edited by S. B. Kelly
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum

Wednesday, 7 November 2012
Liberals fume as leading dargahs (Muslim shrines) in Mumbai bar women from sanctum

From the Times of India

MUMBAI: One of the features of Sufi shrines is an inclusive approach to devotees. That character is now being turned on its head by Mumbai's iconic dargahs, which have started segregating men and women visitors. Seven dargahs have banned women from entering the astana (sanctum sanctorum, where a saint is buried) and many more are preparing to do so.

The ban has existed for a year at the Haji Ali dargah, which allows women to offer prayers and chaddar from behind a barrier that is four feet from the mazaar (grave), thus preventing them from touching the resting place of the saint.

At the Mahim dargah-the shrine of Makhdoom Shah Baba-the trustees for six months have been "sensitizing" women to the thought that going near the saint's grave is "un-Islamic".

After the dargah's redevelopment, there will be a separate enclosure for women like the one at the Haji Ali shrine, denying them access to the astana. At present, men and women are allowed into the astana in separate batches.

Sunni and Deobandi clerics support the seven dargahs' decision. "The sharia does not allow intermingling of men and women at any place. The visit of women to graves is forbidden. It is welcome that the dargahs are following this rule," said Maulana Athar Ali, a Sunni cleric. Senior Deobandi cleric Maulana Mahmood Daryabadi echoes this. "They should have done it much earlier. I am glad they are now following a rule sanctioned by the sharia," he said.

But liberal Muslims are outraged. "This is shocking and shameful. This is a regressive step that will further fuel Islamophobia and encourage the detractors of Islam to allege that the religion practices discrimination against women," said Javed Anand of Muslims for Secular Democracy.

Dargah trustees are adamant on their decision. Suhail Khandwani, managing trustee of the Mahim dargah and also a trustee at the Haji Ali dargah, said trustees were only following what muftis, or clerics who issue fatwas, have demanded for long. "Muftis have time and again pointed out that Islam does not permit women to visit a cemetery. While we prefer to call dargahs resting places of the saints, they are in fact graves and the sharia does not allow women to visit graves."

The development at the seven dargahs was brought to light by the advocacy group Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), which recently surveyed 20 dargahs in Mumbai. "Last March, after our conference in Mumbai, our women activists visited the Haji Ali dargah and offered prayers inside the sanctum sanctorum. But this year, during the survey, we were shocked that the dargah had banned women from entering the mazaar," said Noorjehan Safia Niaz, founder member, BMMA. What worries the BMMA is that dargah trustees may not stop with banning women from entering astanas. "They might bar entry for non-Muslims as well, which would damage the secular fabric of the country,"

Posted on 11/07/2012 2:28 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
No comments yet.

Guns, Germs and Steel in Tanzania
The Thinking Person's Safari
Led by Geoffrey Clarfield
Most Recent Posts at The Iconoclast
Search The Iconoclast
Enter text, Go to search:
The Iconoclast Posts by Author
The Iconoclast Archives
sun mon tue wed thu fri sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31