Fact Check: Does this video show a maulana “spitting” on food?

A video of a man taking food from large pots, apparently blowing it off and mixing it with the food in the pot was shared on social media with the claim that he spat on the food. The video shows langar organized by the Muslim community. Cameramen are present at the site and people can be heard saying “Amin” after the food is mixed in the pot. BJP member Priti Gandhi was among those who shared the video.

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

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

What is the ritual depicted in the video?

Alt News spoke with Haji Haneef Ullala, a collaborator of Ullal Qazi Fazal Koyamma Tangal. The Qazi is the one blowing the food in the video. Ullala informed that a langar took place on the occasion of Urs observed November 6-8 at Tajul Ulama Dargah in Kerala. Tajul Ulama, named after the dargah, was a Sunni Muslim scholar from Kerala whose full name was Assayyid Abdul Rahman Al-Bukhari, but was popularly known as Ullal Thangal. He is the dad of Fazal Koyamma Tangal blowing the food. Ullal thangal died in February 2014. His death anniversary falls in November according to the Arabic calendar. Urs is a three-day event observed on the anniversary of the death of a religious leader. It is practiced by Sunni Sufi Muslims.

“Once the food is prepared, the Hazrat recite verses from the Quran and blow 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, also told us: “The religious blows on food, does not spit. There are some in the community who follow this ritual. Even in other dargahs, some devotees ask Dum (water which is blown after reciting the Koranic verses). It’s for Barking at (prosperity) and well-being. it’s to give Fatiha after the food is prepared. We do not follow the ritual of blowing on the food in our dargah. But it is followed by some sects.

Alt News debunked a similar viral video last year amid the COVID outbreak. The video was shot before COVID but was 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 that it was a practice where Quranic verses are read on food to give Allah’s blessing to all. He added, “We see a lot of people gathering in front of mosques with sick children after prayers. Worshipers coming out of the mosque after reading namaz are invited to blow air on these children as it is believed to have Barking at granted by Allah.

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

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