Syed Alauddin Alimi has declared himself as Sajjadanashin (hereditary spiritual head) of 13th century Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chishti’s shrine in Ajmer. He said he assumed the responsibility after removing his elder brother, Syed Zainul Abedeen Ali Khan, 75, from the post for his comments calling triple talaq un-Islamic and asking Muslims to stop eating beef for communal harmony.
Alimi, 65, “ousted” Khan after declaring him a non-Muslim over his comments. He claimed to have consulted clerics after reading Khan’s statement in newspapers on Tuesday. “I talked to the chief mufti (Islamic jurist) who said Abedeen has become murtad… he is no longer a Hanafi Muslim. I called an urgent meeting of family and everyone agreed that he is not fit for the post since he is no longer a Muslim,” Alimi told The Indian Express. “So after the Qul (conclusion) ceremony on Tuesday, I sat on the ancient holy seat, the Khanaqah, and declared that Abedeen was no longer the Sajjadanashin and that from now on I will hold the post.”
Alimi has sought written opinions or fatwas from major clerics across the country to back his case even as Khan said he stood by his remarks. Khan, who had asked the government to declare cow a national animal, said Alimi’s move was “without legal basis” and a “conspiracy by Islamic fundamentalists”. He rubbished his ouster and declared his son, Naseeruddin Chishti, 40, as his successor.
The hereditary staff of the Sajjadanashin supported Khan. “He is still the Sajjadanashin and the post becomes vacant only after his death. The post is hereditary and only the son or the nearest male heir of the last Dewan can hold the post after his death, according to the Supreme Court order of 1987,” Muzaffar Bharti, a staff member said.
The court had ruled that the “hereditary office of Sajjadanashin is entitled to be claimed by descendants of the Saint by the rule of primogeniture”. It had said that hereditary post would pass on to the son or the nearest male heir to the last Dewan. Bharti blamed fundamentalists, who are miffed with Khan’s secular ideas, for provoking Alimi. “Nobody is willing to recognise this little stunt by Alimi. Zainul Abedeen Khan is still Dewan. He even performed several rituals sitting on the Khanaqah after the Qul ceremony.’’