Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that his government has relaxed the rule to allow Muslim women to go for Hajj without any male member of the family is an attempt to claim undue credit, Islamic clerics say.
Deoband-based cleric and secretary at Darul Uloom Deoband Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani termed Modi’s claim was the result of diplomacy and administrative decision, but “Islam does not allow Hajj without Mahram”.
In the last episode of Mann ki Baat on Sunday, Narendra Modi claimed that his government has stopped the process which had been in practice for last 70 years.
“For decades, injustice was being done to Muslim women but there was no discussion on it. Even in many Islamic countries, this practice does not exist,” Modi said in an attempt to again create support among Muslim women.
He further pointed out, “Our Ministry of Minority Affairs issued corrective measures and we eased this restriction by phasing out a tradition that had been in practice for the past 70 years.”
“Today, Muslim women can perform Hajj without Mahram or male guardian, and I am happy to note that this time about 1,300 women have applied for Hajj without Mahram and women from different parts of the country, from Kerala to North India, have expressed their wish to go on Hajj pilgrimage,” Modi said further.
Contrary to this claim, Nomani said that he did not want comment on government’s claim as it is based on the diplomatic and administrative decisions. “But it is clearly mentioned in Hadeeth that women cannot go on Hajj without Mahram. If government permits women to go on Hajj without Mehram, then they are certainly interfering in religious affairs, which they should not.”
Other clerics, explaining Saudi Arabia’s laws said Mahram is necessary for the safety of the women. Saudi Government recently scrapped the necessity of Mahram but introduced the necessity of travelling in groups for the safety of women.
Maulana Mahmood Madani of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind said, “It is not the achievement of Modi. He is just taking the credit for the work which was done by the government in Saudi Arabia. Modi government had to scrap the necessity for Mahram following Saudi Government’s decision.”
According to the clerics, Mahram’s importance was for the safety of the women. Soon after the government scrapped the Mahram’s rule, they introduced the rule for travelling into the groups, which is also for the safety of Muslim women going for the pilgrimage.
Contrary to Modi’s claims, Muslim Fund Trust, Deoband told HT that out of total 700 applications received for Hajj 2018, no woman applied to travel alone. Khadim ul Hujjaj told media that if at all a woman submitted an application to go on Hajj alone, they were accommodated in the several groups to avoid violation of Saudi rules.