Ajmer Dargah Row Turns Out To Be Turf War Between Brothers

Days after the head of the Ajmer Sharif dargah, Zainul Abedin Khan, said triple talaq was against the tenets of the Quran and called upon Muslims to give up eating beef, his brother Alaudin Alimi on Wednesday announced his ‘removal’ as diwan of the shrine.

Alimi went on to proclaim himself as the new diwan, India Today reported. Khan, however, said his brother’s move has no legal sanctity as per the Durgah Khawaja Saheb Act, 1955 and he will seek legal opinion in the matter.

The CEO of the government-appointed dargah committee, MA Khan, too, said Zainul Abedin Khan continues to be the sajjadanashin as per the provisions of the Act.

"This is a dispute between two brothers and the sajjadanashin cannot be sacked or removed by such a move," the CEO, who recently took charge, said.

Speaking on Monday evening, Khan had stated that the practice of triple talaq was irrelevant today and against the sentiments of the Quran.

He had also urged Muslim to give up eating beef to promote communal harmony. The religious leader had also asked the government to ban the slaughter of all bovine animals as well as the sale of beef.

Alimi was reportedly irked by Khan's remarks about triple talaq.

When Khan was performing rituals at the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah on Tuesday evening, Alimi occupied the gaddi (seat) of diwan at the khanqah and declared himself the new diwan or sajjadanashin.

The khanqah is the holy spot where Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, to whom the dargah is dedicated, used to sit and preach. It is now the place where the sajjadanashin, a descendant of the saint, sits during religious ceremonies.

Alimi said on Wednesday after claiming the diwan’s post:

After I read my brother’s statement in newspapers yesterday (Tuesday), I discussed with some muftis who verbally told me that he has now become a non-Muslim because of his statement against the Quran. Thus, he has no right and authority to remain the sajjadanashin. I then called an urgent meeting of the family and went to the khanqah and declared myself as the new sajjadanashin.

Khan said on Wednesday, "My younger brother has no right to declare himself as the sajjadanashin. He is neither empowered nor eligible for this act, which is totally illegal and illegitimate, and I'm seeking legal opinion for taking action against him."

Wahid Chisty, Secretary of the Anjuman Committee (the body of khadims or clerics), supported Khan, saying legal procedure cannot be “mocked” in such a manner.

Khan had made the remarks at the end of the 805th annual urs (death anniversary) of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti on Tuesday evening.

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