Bombay High Court on Friday ruled that women now have the right to enter the inner sanctum of Haji Ali dargah. The HC bench ruled on a public litigation which insisted that the restriction be lifted on women from entering the inner premises which houses the mazaar or tomb of the saint. The PIL was filed by women activists Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman and the NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan.
Reacting to this ruling, Trupti Desai, Mumbai-based social activist said, “this is a historic decision, we welcome the High Court’s order. It is a big win for women”. While, Activist Brinda Adige said that it is not charity. It is simply the Right to pray, which is a constitutional right. Other places of worship that need to emulate, added Adige.
Petitioner Soman said that she was really happy with the judgement as it is a great step towards justice for Muslim women. Supporting the decision, Uttar Pradesh’s first woman qazi Hina Zaheer said,”It’s a very good and logical judgement. When women can go near the holy Kaaba sanctum, then why restrictions at other places?”
The High Court today said any restriction on women at the dargah violates fundamental rights to equality. “Aren’t sufi saints born to women?” asked Bibi Khatoon, an activist.
The ban was imposed in 2012 by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust citing religious traditions as the reason. According to the Trust, the entry of women in close proximity to the tomb of a male saint would be perceived as a grievous sin in Islam.