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"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 told ANI, adding, "99 per cent men and Muslims follow their religion in accordance with what their religious authorities say, and not what PM Modi ji or anybody else says."
According to Islam, Azhari said, a woman cannot travel longer than three days or more than 78 miles without a male guardian, be it for Haj or to any other place.
Addressing the nation in the 39th edition of his 'Mann ki Baat' radio programme on Sunday, Prime Minister Modi suggested single women pilgrims be excluded from the lottery system implemented to select Haj pilgrims.
Azhari, however, countered the suggestion saying single women were not obliged to go for Haj.
"If a woman does not have a Mehram (male guardian) and does not have the funds to take a male guardian with her to Haj, then she is exempted from the obligation to go," he said.
Meanwhile, women rights activist Sudha Ramalingam supported the cause, but said the prime minister's announcement were not a change in the existing rules.
"This is nothing new at all. Saudi Arabia says women above 45 years can come unaccompanied, but in groups with a letter of permission from her male guardian. This is the condition given by Saudi Arabia," Ramalingam told ANI.
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