Haji Ali Dargah open its doors to women after 5 years

In what could be termed as a huge achievement, women activists on Tuesday entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai after 5 years of series of protests.

In order to provide equal access to women, the Supreme Court had allotted four weeks to make the necessary arrangements after the Haji Ali Dargah Trust bowed down the apex court’s order asserting that it does believe in complete equality between men and women.

However, the trust had earlier challenged the Bombay High Court’s verdict allowing women in the inner sanctum of the dargah in the Supreme Court  saying that the entry of women in a grave of male Muslim saint was supposed to be a sin in Islam.

The trustees had also said that the ban was in fact for good for women as it would prevent sexual harassment.
The Haji Ali Dargah dates back to over 600 hundred years and is a popular religious place located on an island off south Mumbai. It houses a mosque and the tomb of the tomb of Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari and is a major tourist attraction in the financial capital of the country.

Before Haji Ali Dargah, the Shani Singnapur in Maharashtra had to open its doors to women allowing them to enter the inner sanctum of the temple.

In a landmark move, the Bombay High Court had lifted the ban imposed on women from entering the inner sanctum of Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai on 26 August after two women activists, Noorjehan Fiaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), filed a petition in top Court, terming it unconstitutional.