Maharashtra government asks court to lift Haji Ali ban

9 Feb 2016 | Written by Vaneet Randhawa; Edited by Gaurav

The Maharashtra government told the Mumbai HC that it was in favour of the lifting of the ban on entry of women into the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali shrine.

The government said that unless the Haji Ali Trust proves that banning the entry of women "is singularly essential to the practice of Islam", the ban should be lifted.

In context: Ban on women in Haji Ali

6 Nov 2012Haji Ali bans women in the sanctum sanctorum

The Haji Ali dargah banned the entry of women from going to the interiors of the Sufi shrine by invoking the Sharia Islamic law.

The Dargah committee said that the shrine holds the tomb of 15th-century Sufi saint Pir Haji Ali Bukhari and therefore women won't be allowed inside.

The move invited a nation-wide wave of condemnation as until now women were allowed inside.

16 Nov 2014PIL against ban filed before Bombay HC

In 2014, a public interest litigation was filed before the Bombay high court questioning the taboo on women entering the Haji Ali Dargah inner sanctum.

The PIL blamed the dargah committee of being blatantly discriminatory "on the ground of gender alone" saying that it impinged on their fundamental rights.

It also pointed towards "the failure of the state to eliminate inequalities".

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12 out of 19 dargahs in Mumbai allow women

The petitioners of the 2014 PIL found in a survey that showed that 12 out of 19 dargahs in Mumbai allowed women into the sanctum and hence pointed out that the ban was a whim of the dargah committee.

9 Feb 2016Maharashtra government asks court to lift Haji Ali ban

Argument of those defending the ban

9 Feb 2016Argument of those defending the ban

While presenting their side to a division bench of Justices V M Kanade and Revati Mohite Dere, the Dargah Board cited that females have been banned from accessing the sanctum sanctorum as it homes the tomb of a male saint.

They pointed out that in Islam, it was "a sin for women to touch a male saint or his tomb."

Launch of 'Haji Ali For All'

On 20th April, Bhumata Brigade chief Trupti Desai along with several other NGOs and social groups launched a forum 'Haji Ali For All' to battle for women's admission to the Haji Ali shrine.
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12 May 2016Trupti Desai leads women into Haji Ali

Women rights' activist Trupti Desai entered the Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai along with other women's rights activists, amid high security.

However, she did not enter the inner sanctorum or the core area of the Haji Ali, one of the foremost Muslim shrines, where women are not allowed.

She said that she "prayed that women be allowed to enter the inner sanctum."

18 May 2016Ajmer Sharif backs 'Haji Ali for all' movement

Syed Liyaqat Hussain Moini, one of the custodians of the famous Ajmer dargah, signed a letter supporting women's entry to the inner sanctum of Mumbai's Haji Ali dargah.

Moini was approached by an 11-member team of 'Haji Ali for All'.

In appreciation, the group said that the "culture of the Ajmer dargah of granting the right of access to all must be celebrated."

26 Aug 2016Women to be allowed in Haji Ali's inner sanctum

The Bombay High Court has overturned the 2012 ban imposed by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust which prohibited women from entering the inner sanctum. Women will now be allowed inside.

The ruling was on a PIL which was filed to challenge this ban. It had been filed by activists Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Niaz and NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan.

28 Aug 2016Trupti Desai enters Haji Ali

Bhumta Brigade activist Trupti Desai entered Haji Ali after the Bombay High Court lifted the ban on the entry of women.

However, she refrained from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the mosque.

Trupti Desai expressed her delight that she was not denied entry and said she hoped that more women would now be allowed to offer prayers in the mosque.

07 Oct 2016SC stays Bombay HC order allowing women into Haji Ali

The Supreme Court has stayed the Bombay HC's decision that allowed women entry into the inner sanctum of the dargah.

The court, in its statement said that the dargah needs to do some "secular introspection and come out with a progressive stand" on the matter.

The court added that similar problems existed in Hindu temples including Sabarimala in Kerala.

18 Oct 2016Women to be allowed into Haji Ali inner sanctum

Sources said the Haji Ali Dargah Management is set to allow women's entry into the inner sanctum of the dargah, which houses the tomb of Muslim Sain Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.

The dargah's legal team said they had devised a way to allow women entry into the sanctum, but did not elaborate as the court could not take up the hearing.

24 Oct 2016All-access for women in Haji Ali in 4 weeks

The Supreme Court was informed that all-access for women inside of Haji Ali, Mumbai will be possible only after 4 weeks.

The trust responsible for governing the mosque stated that it needed these 4 weeks to make arrangements for women visiting the tomb of Sufi saint Haji Ali, which traditionally has been accessible only to men.

Haji Ali witnesses thousands of worshippers each year.

25 Oct 2016Separate entry, enclosure for women at Haji Ali inner sanctum

The Haji Ali Dargah Trust has informed the SC that they are in the process of creating a separate entry and enclosure for women to enter the inner sanctum of the dargah.

They informed the court that it would take two weeks for the required structural changes to be made.

In its affidavit the trust said "Islam believes in equality among men and women."

29 Nov 2016Women to enter Haji Ali Dargah today

The Haji Ali Dargah will allow women to enter the dargah to offer prayers today; the move comes after the Trust managing the dargah complied with the SC directives on the matter.

Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan activists will enter the dargah's inner sanctum through the separate entrance constructed for women.

Noorjehan Safia Niaz, co-founder of the BMMA said they would "pray for peace."