Ajmer Shrine Chief's Comments on Triple Talaq, Beef, Trigger Family Feud

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Ajmer Shrine Chief's Comments on Triple Talaq, Beef, Trigger Family Feud

Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, the head of Ajmer dargah, has vowed to stop eating beef.


Jaipur:  A tussle has started over the control of the Ajmer Sharif Dargah after its top cleric's comments on triple talaq and his resolution to quit beef. Dargah Deewan Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan's younger brother Allauddin Alimi has dubbed him a non-Muslim and staked claim to the post of the Deewan.  Mr Khan, who is said to be a direct descendent of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti -- the legendary Sufi saint to whom the shrine is dedicated --- has dismissed his brother's claims, pointing out that the post was hereditary.  Allauddin Alimi's claim has not been recognised by the dargah committee either.

On Tuesday,  Mr  Khan, the spiritual head of the renowned shrine, issued a statement that read that men should end the practice of "triple talaq", which was against the spirit of Quran. Further saying that his family and he "have taken a pledge that we will never have beef for the rest of our lives," he urged Muslims to give up beef, to "honour the religious sentiment of our Hindu brothers" and re-establish the goodwill among the two communities.

The same evening, when Mr Khan was performing some rituals at the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah, Mr Alimi occupied the seat of the Deewan and declared himself the new Deewan or Sajjadanashin, a descendant of the saint.  The seat is the holy place where the saint Moinuddin Chishti used to sit and preach. Now a Sajjadanashin sits there during religious ceremonies.

"After I read my brother's statement in newspapers, I discussed with some Muftis who verbally told me that he has now become a non-Muslim due to his statement against the Quran," Mr Alimi was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India. "He has no right and authority to remain the Sajjadanashin...  I then called an urgent meeting of the family and declared myself as the new Sajjadanashin".

MA Khan, the chief of the government-appointed Dargah committee, said Mr Khan continues to be the head of the shrine. "This is a dispute between two brothers and the Sajjadanashin cannot be sacked or removed by such a move," the chief was quoted as saying by PTI. According to the Durgah Khawaja Saheb Act, 1955, a new head is appointed only when the post falls vacant.


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