The spiritual head of Ajmer dargah Syed Zainul Abedeen Ali Khan has to pay the price of his statement on beef-eating and triple talaq. He was sacked from the prestigious position of Sajjadanashin (spiritual head). His brother Syed Alauddin Alimi accused himself as an “apostate” for his support for the ban on slaughter and selling beef.
Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti Mausoleum in Ajmer is one of the most famous Muslim shrines in India which is visited by millions of devotees. Alauddin Alimi claimed he had the support of the family in sacking him and declared himself as the new “deewan”.
He said Mr. Abedin had ceased to be a Hanafi Muslim after his statement.
Mr. Alimi told as quoted by The Hindu, “Since Mr. Abedin is not a Muslim any more, he cannot occupy the seat of Sajjadanashin.”
He said he had consulted some Muftis about the status of his brother and would soon get a formal fatwa from the Muftis which would clarify his position. “My position is clear. Since Mr. Abedin’s remarks are not in keeping with the Islamic faith, the hereditary seat of Sajjadanashin has been devolved to me.”
The post of Sajjadanashin is hereditary and belongs to heirs of the 12th-13th century Sufi priest. The deewan of the Dargah has no power of the management but gets a monthly payment from the management committee, appointed by the government.
He stated, “I am not interested in (taking) salary. He (Abedin) can have the money. Buy I won’t allow him to enter the shrine now. Whatever he has said is blasphemous. I have spoken to muftis (Islamic scholars who interpret sharia) and we will be issuing a fatwa (decree) against him. He is no longer a Muslim.”
Since 1987, Abedin has been the deewan of the shrine. He said his brother “had gone mad” and had no power to declare himself the deewan.
“It’s a religious post. Nobody can snatch it. Nobody has enough powers to change it. Nothing has changed.”
During the 805th annual function at the shrine, he made a statement that the Muslims should give up beef-eating for communal harmony and also he was against the triple talaq. He also said he and his family will never eat beef.
The head of the government-appointed committee, M.A. Khan supported the spiritual leader. He said, “This is a dispute between two brothers and the deewan cannot be sacked like a coup.”
According to the IANS, the member of the committee and the caretaker of the shrine Syed Hameed Chishti said that the two brothers have been fighting for many years for the post. “It is a fight for money. They claim they are descendants of the Khwaja (Sufi saint) but their role is limited to conduct qawalis and mehfils (spiritual sittings) at the shrine.”
Mr. Abedin said the seat of Sajjadanashin was hereditary and so he declared his son Naseeruddin Chishti as his successor.
A stuff member Muzaffar Bharti supported him. He said the post of Sajjadanashin will only vacant after Mr. Abedin’s death and according to the Supreme Court order of 1987, the son or the nearest male heir of the last deewan can hold the post after his death.