Ajmer Dargah Dewan Zainul Abedin Ali Khan’s statement on triple talaq has led to a feud in his family with his younger brother dubbing him as a non-Muslim and staking claim to the post of the Dewan of the shrine. However, his brother Allauddin Alimi’s claim has not been recognised by the dargah committee. Abedin said Alimi’s move has no legal sanctity as per the Durgah Khawaja Saheb Act, 1955 and he will seek a legal opinion on the matter. Alimi was irked over Abedin’s statement during Urs on Monday that the practice of triple talaq was irrelevant today and against the sentiments of Quran.
When Abedin was performing some rituals at the sanctum sanctorum in the dargah last evening, Alimi occupied the ‘Gaddi’ of Deewan at Khanqah in the dargah premises and declared himself as the new Dewan or Sajjadanashin. Khanqah is the holy place where the saint used to sit and preach. It is now the place where the Sajjadanashin, a descendant of the Saint, sits during religious ceremonies.
“After I read my brother’s statement in newspapers yesterday, I discussed with some Muftis who verbally told me that he has now become a non-Muslim due to his statement against the Quran. Thus, he has no right and authority to remain the Sajjadanashin. “I then called an urgent meeting of the family and went to the Khanqah and declared myself as the new Sajjadanashin on the seat of the Deewan,” Alimi said.
Abedin said, “My younger brother has no right to declare himself as the Sajjadanashin. He is neither empowered nor eligible for this act which is totally illegal and illegitimate and I’m seeking a legal opinion for taking action against him.” The CEO of the government-appointed Dargah committee, M A Khan, said Abedin continues to be the Sajjadanashin as per the provisions of the Durgah Khawaja Saheb Act, 1955.
“This is a dispute between two brothers and the Sajjadanashin cannot be sacked or removed by such a move,” the CEO, who recently took charge, said.
Chairman of the Dargah committee Sheikh Alim said as per the provisions in the Act, when the post falls vacant, the dargah committee notifies the vacancy after approval of the Governor and the new Sajjadanashin is appointed with his permission. Muzaffar Bharti, head of the hereditary staff who conduct the religious ceremonies of the Sajjadanashin in the dargah, said Alimi’s claim does not hold water and he has no moral authority to take over the post.
“Abedin performed Kul ki Rasm at the sanctum sanatorium followed by Dastarbandi (turban tying) at the Khanqah last evening. He is the Deewan of the Dargah as per the law at present and he cannot be sacked in this manner,” Bharti said. Wahid Chisty, Secretary of Anjuman Committee (body of Khadims or clerics) also supported Khan, saying legal procedure cannot be mocked by anyone in such a manner.
On the eve of the culmination of the Urs on Monday, Abedin had released a statement saying Sharia or Quran do not permit the practice of seeking divorce by saying talaq three times in one sitting. He had said there should a time of 3 months to complete this procedure in the light of Quran.
“I do stand by my statements on beef and triple talaq… Triple Talaq should be pronounced in a period of 90 days and in between there should be negotiations between family, husband and wife to resolve the matter,” he said.
Efforts should be made to have a detailed dialogue with the woman and her views should be considered equally, he added. “I said that slaughter of bovines and sale of beef should be completely banned in the country to promote communal harmony and asked Muslims to not consume beef and stay away from slaughtering bovines,” he said.