An Indian Islamic seminary has issued a fatwa (religious decree) asking women to not allow male shopkeepers help them wear bangles. The Darul Uloom Deoband has termed the age-old tradition "wrong and a big sin".
The fatwa was issued after a resident of Deoband town of the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh approached the Islamic Institute and asked if it was allowed in Islam for a Muslim woman to let men, who are strangers, touch their arms in order to help them wear bangles.
According to the decree, Muslim women should not allow anyone, apart from their blood relatives, to help them put on bangles, the Times of India newspaper reported.
"It is correct that women can't talk to strangers or meet them as per Sharia. In that light, letting male shopkeepers touch their arms to help them wear bangles is wrong," Mufti Tariq Qasmi, a cleric in the town, said.
"Wearing bangles from a strange man is against Sharia (Islamic law)," the seminary said.
In the past, the Darul Uloom has issued a number of controversial fatwas. Recently, Deoband ulemas (clerics) had issued another fatwa against taking life insurance policy as it is considered un-Islamic.
"Life and death are in the hands of Allah and no insurance company can guarantee a man's longevity. On the contrary, these insurance companies invest the premium paid by the purchaser of the policy and earn interest on the same, later distributing some of it among their clients. And any income earned through interest is 'haram'," the seminary had said.
Earlier it had also issued a fatwa against women from wearing tight burqa's stating that it exposed the shape of their bodies and was against Islam.