The Ajmer Sharif Dargah is famous across the world as it is believed that no prayer at this dargah goes unanswered. Needless to say, people keep frequenting the shrine. More so, our film stars, whose fate changes every Friday, with every release. But the frequency of such visits by stars has left the religious heads fuming.
Mazaar pe CD rakh ke jaana galat hai
Dargah Dewan Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, the hereditary Sajjada-nashin of Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty, believes that "a holy place must not be used as a platform for anything that is forbidden and against Islamic law". Khan issued a statement on Sunday stating, "Dance and films are taboo in Islam. Cinema today, in general, is promoting obscenity, which is a major reason behind the rapid degradation of moral values in the society. Film stars come here repeatedly to seek blessings for their films and, in the process, promote their film through the media. Such kind of promotion of their work at the religious place is highly intolerable."
When contacted, Khan clarified his statement and said, "Film stars aayein. Dus ki jagah 100 aayein, humein usse koi matlab nahi, par apni film hit karaane ke liye woh dargah aate hain, aur mazaar pe CD rakh ke jaate hain, woh galat hai. Ab uss film mein kya hai, kya nahin, woh hamey kya pata? There could be a rape scene or other obscenity that they've shown to make the film a hit, and then they come here to seek blessings for such a movie and promote it - this is highly objectionable. Khwaja ji filmein hit karaane ke liye thodi baithe hain?"
The religious head of the dargah has called upon Islamic intellectuals and Ulemas to pay urgent attention to the issue. "It is surprising that Islamic intellectuals are quiet on this issue. They should express their views as strongly as they do in other cases," he said.
Referring to Himesh Reshammiya's visit in a burqa and Katrina Kaif donning a skirt during her visit in the past, Khan said, "Why don't these stars go to Shankarcharya Math or to a gurudwara before the release of their movie? Yahan aakar publicity ke liye woh yeh sab karte hain. Woh ashleelta ko paros rahe hain religious jagah pe."
However Qutubuddin Sakhi, the Khadim at the Dargah, disagreed with Khan. "Be it a commoner or a celebrity who is visiting the dargah to pray for his/her well being - nobody comes here for sheer publicity. Those who are announcing the ban have no authority to say so. It's their personal grudges against khadims. The Dargah Dewan's statement is nothing but a gimmick to earn publicity. Bollywood celebrities have been coming to to pray and seek blessings of Khwaja Saheb since the past 23 years and none of them came here to get publicity."
Dua se kaarobar chale, usmein kya kharabi hai?
The religious heads at an equally famous dargah, Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin said that the Dargah Dewan is trying to mislead people in the name of Islam. "To say that stars or directors and producers are using the holy place for commercial purposes and for degrading moral values, is completely wrong," said Nizamuddin dargah in-charge Syed Afsar Ali Nizami.
He explained, "Yeh toh Baba ka darbaar hai, yahan aane ke liye kissi ko koi manai nahi hai. Dua ke liye log yahan aate hain, aur jinki dua qubool hoti hai woh baar baar aate hain, ismein commercial angle dhoondna aur usse highlight karna galat hai. If these stars believe that after paying their regards at Ajmer Sharif or at Hazrat Nizamuddin, their wish gets fulfilled in terms of a box office success then there is nothing wrong in it. Kissi ka karobaar chal raha hai Baba ki dua se toh usme kharabi kya hai?"
"Iss sab ka Islam se koi matlab nahi. Islam alag hai, dargah alag hai. A masjid is for Muslims, but a dargah is open for all. Anyone can come and seek blessings at a dargah. Agar woh Islam ke mutabik chalenge toh uss hisaab se toh bahut cheezein hain jo nahi honi chahiye. Muslim women can't show their face, but that's no longer the case. Similarly, Islam says that music is bad, but we have qawwali nights inside the dargah," said Afsar, asking why the Ajmer Sharif religious head is objecting now, after so many years. "Kitne saalon se yeh film waale Ajmer Sharif ja rahein hain. In fact, movies like Namastey London have been shot inside the dargah. If they were so worried about the commercial misuse of the holy shrine, then how come they allowed movie shoots inside?"
Sab ko dargah jaane ka aur dua lene ka haq hai
Veena Malik, who visited the holy shrine with Ashmit Patel said, "It is wrong to discriminate like that. Actors bhi insaan hote hain, unko Ajmer Sharif aane se ban karne ka kya matlab hai? Sabko dua lene ka poora haq hai. Agar koi apni salamati ke liye dua karta hai toh ismein harz kya hai?" While Ekta Kapoor said, "We pray for various mannats, how can anyone stop people from coming to the dargah?"
"Every human seeks God's blessings for some or the other reason. Tell me one person who selflessly goes to him and does not ask for his blessings? If someone visits a dargah with or without any reason, it's because of his belief in the divine authority. It's unfair to impose a ban on celebrities. I will request the dargah authorities to withdraw such a ban, which is absolutely unfair," added Esha Koppikhar.
Recently, actress Divya Dutta had also visited the dargah while she was shooting for a movie in Jodhpur, but the actor chose not to comment on the objection by the dargah officials. She said, "I have never gone to the dargah for movie promotions. I haven't even read the news so I cannot comment, but all I can say is that I have always visited the dargah for only personal reasons."