A petition was filed before a bench over which I was presiding, in which the prayer was that we should ban use of expressions like ‘ Ya Ali ‘ or ‘ Ya Gharib Nawaz ‘ etc.
I asked the counsel for the petitioner why they should be banned. He said that they amounted to attributing divinity to Ali ( son-in-law of the Prophet ), Ajmer Sharif saint Moinuddin Chishty ( known as Gharib Nawaz ) etc when that attribute belonged only to Allah. It was ‘shirk’ ( attributing companionship to Allah, which was un-Islamic ) to say this, he said, and added that if a Muslim wanted something, he had to pray directly to Allah, not through some intermediary ( like a Sufi saint ).
I said that India is a secular country, and everyone was free to practise his religion in his own way. Saying this, we dismissed the petition.