The Barelvi school of Sunni Islam is known for approving syncretic practices such as singing, dancing, and music at Sufi shrines across South Asia. The term Barelvi refers to the town of Bareilly in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, which is the international headquarters of the Barelvi movement in Islam started by A'ala Hazrat Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi (1856-1921).
Allama Akhtar Raza Khan Azhari is the leading cleric at the Dargah (shrine) of Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi in Bareilly. Followers of the Barelvi school are found across the world, including in the U.K., the U.S., and Europe.
Recently, Akhtar Raza Khan Azhari issue a fatwa prohibiting Muslims from wearing a tie, based on the argument that Muslims must not use the symbols of non-Muslims. Given below are excerpts from a report on the fatwa written by Priyangi Agarwal, a journalist with The Times of India daily:
"The influential Dargah Aala Hazrat seminary here [in the northern Indian town of Bareilly]... has issued an uncharacteristic fatwa, this one against the humble tie. The fatwa states that the tie resembles the cross and that when it is fastened around the neck, the symbol of the entire cross is visible. The pronouncement said it was forbidden for Muslims to 'adopt the symbols of non-Muslims without a lawful reason, even if it is a single thing that makes them identical with non-Muslims in this way.'
"On a question posed by Maulana Mohd. Shahabuddin Razvi regarding the tying of the tie, Mufti Azam Hind Allama Akhtar Raza Khan Azhari of this [Sufi] shrine termed the fastening of the tie around the neck as 'un-Islamic.' The fatwa stated that 'according to Christian belief, the cross is applicable to the structure on which Jesus was crucified. This sign is considered to be the reason of protection from misfortune and also regarded as a means of prosperity among Christians.'
"The fatwa... states that 'the tie resembles the structure of crucifixion. If one notices a tie fastened around the neck of a man, he will observe that the tie lying on the chest between the two shoulders is representing the entire cross.'
"Terming tie against Islam, Azhari, who issued the fatwa, said, 'Muslims should refrain from adopting the symbols of non-Muslims without a lawful reason, even if it is a single thing that makes them identical with non-Muslims in this way.'"
Source: Timesofindia.Indiatimes.com (India), February 25, 2016. The original English of the report has been lightly edited for clarity and standardization.