‘Mann ki Baat’ on ‘Maharam’ goes wrong; BJP Govt. have no role in changing Hajj customs
New Delhi, Jan 4: Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed on his radio address ‘Mann ki Baat’ that the NDA government ‘putting an end to injustice to Muslim woman’ has removed the restriction to have a male guardian or Maharam, whenever a woman from the community wants to go on Hajj pilgrimage.
It seems that not only the ‘Mann ki Baat’ has gone wrong this time but many from the Muslim community opined that the Indian government do not have any authority or any role in changing the tradition that is being followed for Haj pilgrimage.
Kerala State Haj Committee member and MP ET Muhammed Basheer told India Live Today that ‘Maharam’, as well as other rituals of Hajj and ‘Umra’, are exclusively religious. “It has nothing to do with legislation or the BJP government. There are discussions going on regarding changes in conditions for ‘Maharam’, within the religion. But apart that that the government has no role in changing such customs,” he said.
PM in his last ‘Mann ki Baat’ said, “It had come to our notice that if a Muslim woman wants to go on Hajj, Hajj, she must have a ‘Mehram’ or a male guardian, otherwise she cannot travel. This is a discriminatory practice, and hence we have changed this rule,” he said.
PM further said, “When I came to know about it for the first instance, I wondered how it could be possible! Who would have inducted these restrictions? Why this discrimination? While I studied the matter in detail, I was startled to find that – even after seventy years of Indian independence, such restrictions are imposed. Injustice was prevailing among Muslim women for decades but there was no discussion on it. Even in many Islamic countries, this practice does not exist. But Muslim women in India did not have this right. And I’m glad that our government paid heed to this matter.
Though the PM claimed that the custom of male guardian or Maharam, accompanying a woman for Hajj pilgrimage. has been removed by the Indian government, it is far too away from reality.
According to Saudi rules and regulations, women under the age of 45 years cannot go for Hajj and Umrah unless she is accompanied by her Mahram. All applicants shall provide the details of the person and the relationship between the two along with their applications. The rule has bee clearly laid down by the Saudi Embassy in its website for the visa processing.
If a woman who is 45 years or older, she can go without a Maharam only if she is travelling with an organized group or family and she submits a notarised No Objection Certificate from her Mahram. Such women would be allowed to move only in groups of four pilgrims.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) does not concur with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement. “This is a religious issue, and not something to be brought up in legislation and passed in the parliament,” AIMPLB secretary Maulana Abdul Hamid Azhari had told ANI, adding, “99 percent men and Muslims follow their religion in accordance with what their religious authorities say, and not what PM Modi Ji or anybody else says.”