A video of a man scooping some food from large cooking pots, seemingly blowing on it and mixing it with the food in the pot has been shared on social media with the claim that he spat on the food. The video shows langar organised by the Muslim community. There are camerapersons present at the venue and people can be heard saying “Amin” once the food is mixed in the pot. BJP member Priti Gandhi was among those who shared the video.

Below are tweets by BJP spokespersons Gaurav Goel and Naveen Kumar.

Several BJP supporters also amplified the claim that the man was spitting on the food.

What is the ritual depicted in the video?

Alt News spoke with Haji Haneef Ullala, an aide of Ullal Qazi Fazal Koyamma Tangal. The Qazi is the one blowing on the food in the video. Ullala informed that a langar was held on the occasion of Urs observed from November 6 to 8 in Tajul Ulama Dargah in Kerala. Tajul Ulama, after whom the dargah is named, was a Sunni Muslim scholar in Kerala whose full name was Assayyid Abdul Rahman Al-Bukhari but he was popularly known as Ullal Thangal. He is the father of Fazal Koyamma Tangal who is seen blowing on the food. Ullal Thangal died in February 2014. His death anniversary falls in November as per the Arabic calendar. Urs is a three-day event observed on the death anniversary of a religious head. It is practised by Sufi Sunni Muslims.

“After the food is prepared, the Hazrat recites verses from the Quran and blows on the food. The ritual is followed both times — when the food is prepared in the afternoon and at night,” said Haji Haneef Ullala.

Peerzada Altamash, Nizami of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah, similarly told us, “The cleric is blowing on the food, not spitting. There are some in the community who follow this ritual. Even in other dargahs, some worshippers request for Dum (water that is blown upon after the recitation of Quranic verses). This is for Barkat (prosperity) and well-being. It’s to give Fatiha after the food is prepared. We don’t follow the ritual of blowing on food in our dargah. But it is followed by a few sects.”

Alt News had debunked a similar video viral last year amid the outbreak of COVID. The video was shot pre-COVID but was being used to blame the Muslim community for spreading the virus by spitting on food. We had spoken to an Islamic scholar at the time who also said this is a practice where Quranic verses are read over the food to give Allah’s blessing to all. He further added, “We see a lot of people gathering outside mosques with sick children after the prayers are said. Worshippers who step out of the mosque after reading namaz are asked to blow air over these children as it is believed that it has Barkat bestowed by Allah.”

While the practice of blowing on the food can be regarded as unhygienic, the claim that the video shows a maulana spitting on food is misleading.

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About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.