Tennis star Sania Mirza's marriage with Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik has sparked another row with some religious scholars issuing a 'fatwa' or religious edict against their living and mingling freely even before the marriage is solemnised.
Sunni Ulema Board, a group of religious scholars, said both the sportspersons were bringing disrepute to Islam and Muslim community through their actions.
The board issued a 'fatwa' terming their actions haram (forbidden) and asked Muslims to stay away from the April 15 marriage.
"The kind of actions the two are indulging in like living together and addressing media together are haram in Islam," said Moulana Haseebul Hasan Siddiqui, a religious scholar.
Shoaib has been staying at Sania's residence in Hyderabad for more than a week and television pictures showed them dancing and doing physical exercises together.
"Islam permits a man and woman to see each other only once before marriage and it does not allow them to live together and indulge in this sort of activities before marriage," he said.
He felt that all the actions of Sania and Shoaib were bringing a bad name to Islam and the Muslim community and advised invitees to stay away from their marriage as men and women would mingle freely there in total disregard of Islamic principles.
"Muslims should stay away from such gatherings where men and women mingle freely in violation of Islamic principles," he said.
The religious scholar had also issued a 'fatwa' against Sania Mirza for favouring pre-marital sex three years ago. He had opined that Sania committed a big sin by promoting 'zina' (fornication). The tennis ace, however, denied making the remarks.
Shoaib has already come under criticism from clergy for denying marriage with Ayesha Siddiqui even after admitting that he signed the 'nikahnama'. The Pakistani star last week divorced Ayesha after the latter filed a case of cheating against him.