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Shrine may shut out women

The dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti might shut the door on women.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2006 02:02 IST

The dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti might shut the door on women. 

In a letter to the Dargah committee, joint secretary of the association of Khadims (traditional servers at the shrine) Zahoor Chisti has floated the idea of banning entry of women to the shrine during “namaz” on the ground that their presence of distracted the men.

The dargah committee, over the past few days, held a series of meetings to discuss the issue, but did not pass any resolution or issue any statement.

According to the Khadims, namaaz under Islam becomes “a futile exercise for a man if he sees a woman while praying”. “The shrine is packed during namaaz — especially on Fridays. If a woman sits in front of a man, his prayer becomes unacceptable. This is why we have proposed the ban,” Zahoor Chishti said.

The proposal has sparked a howl of protest with Muslim women terming it as “atrocious and entirely unacceptable”.  “They should not try to stop us. We travel long distances to pray at the shrine to offer Namaaz. They should allow every woman to offer her prayers here,” said a female devotee.

According to chairperson of the State Women’s Commission, Tara Bhandari, “Everyone has the right to Ziyarat. If they are planning to ban women’s entry to the Dargah, it is unjustified. If it is important from the point of view of arrangements, they can be reviewed and separate arrangements can be made for women, but they cannot stop women from entering the Dargaah. The sentiment was echoed by the president of National Muslim Women Welfare Society, Nishat Hussain.