Hours after legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar breathed her last, while the world mourned the loss of India’s most loved voice, unscrupulous elements saw no qualms in twisting a simple gesture of love by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, giving it a communal colour and calling it an example of the new found conspiracy of the right wing- thuk jihad.
Lata Mangeshkar bid adieu to fans and family on February 6, 2022 at Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai. Music lovers across India were swept with a wave of grief at the news of her death, which brought the end to a journey spanning 8 decades. Many celebrities including the Prime Minister of the country, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, along with the big names of the film world had reached Shivaji Park in Mumbai to pay tribute to Lata Mangeshkar.
Actor Shah Rukh Khan was also among those who visited Shivaji Park to pay tribute to the late singer, and offered prayers for the departed soul.
But hate mongers used it as another tool to spread communal narrative. Sharing a video of Shah Rukh Khan pull down his mask while offering the final prayers, several social media users alleged that Shahrukh Khan spat on Lata Mangeshkar’s body.
While BJP spokesperson Prashant Umrao was among those who claimed that SRK spat on Lata Mangeshkar’s mortal remains, others attempted to pose the allegation as a question.
While many called out the blatant attempt at misinformation, others regretted that such a solemn moment had been chosen to spread a narrative of hate.
So what is Fatiha, the ritual prayer that SRK performed, which has caused such a stir online? Newschecker explains:
The ritual of Fatiha
A look at the video that is being shared widely shows Shahrukh Khan can be seen offering dua for Lata Mangeshkar, soon after which, he can be seen pulling down his mask and pout his lips, in a gesture that is now being misrepresented as spitting. A closer look reveals that SRk was, in fact, blowing and not spitting.
Explaining the ritual, Dr. Qasim Rasool Ilyas, a member of the Muslim Personal Law Board, said, “This process of reciting dua is called Fatiha. Many people bring their sick relatives outside the mosques, then people blow on them after reciting dua so that they get well, similarly he (Shahrukh Khan) would have done just the same thing. The talk of spitting in it is completely baseless. ”
Dr Ilyas added, “Those who do not have complete understanding of Islam, think that they should blow air after reciting the dua. There is no such provision in Islam to blow after performing the prayers, but people often do it. They do it considering it to be a religious thing. Some people touch their hands on their mouth after reciting the dua, while some people blow air. But there is no question of spitting”.
Apart from this, we found the news report of BBC Marathi, in which Islamic scholar Shamsuddin Tamboli, the president of Muslim Satyashodhak Samaj has said “This is the traditional way. In the dua, one prays to Allah that a good person may attain Jannat (Paradise). He should have a good life after death. That is the prayer. The same sentiment has been expressed by Shah Rukh Khan. To blow air is to convey your voice, to be one with it. Many radical Muslims consider it un-Islamic for non-Muslims to ask for such a request. Liberal Muslims don’t care. What Shah Rukh Khan has done is done from a humanitarian perspective. It is not fair to misinterpret it.”
For more information on the claim that Shah Rukh Khan spat during Lata Mangeshkar’s funeral, we contacted Sarfaraz Ahmed, a Muslim scholar and editor of Deccan Quest-Marathi, who said, this “is called Dum. Many Hindu women take their children outside the mosques during Namaz. They get blessings for their baby by getting air blown after the namaz. It is not spit, rather the air is blown. This tradition has been going on for many years”.
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