Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily
LUCKNOW – In what could be described as one of its kind initiative towards promotion of sectarian harmony among Muslims, people belonging to two main sects of Islam, Shia and Sunni, came together to offer Eid-ul-Adha prayers in Lucknow on Monday. This is the fifth time in Lucknow when Shias and Sunnis stood shoulder-to-shoulder to perform namaaz (salaah) to send out the message of Islamic unity.
The heart-warming aspect of the he prayers, held at Shahnajaf Imambara lawns at 8:00 am, was that it was followed by an all-faith Eid Milan programme organised by a team of non-Muslim volunteers.
Speaking about the initiative, Atif Hanif, secretary of the ‘Shoulder-to-Shoulder Movement’, which has been organising Shia-Sunni joint prayers, said, “If you contemplate on the Islamic point of view, religion is only one, followers have got divided into several sects.”
Elaborating further, he said, “There are, no doubt, differences between these two major sects of Islam in beliefs and prayers. Our objective is not to wipe off these differences. This is the duty of Islamic scholars to minimise the differences. But we are trying to make them learn to live together with these differences.”
Referring to the hostilities between Iran and Saudi Arabia, representing Shia and Sunni faiths respectively, he said it’s all about politics and have nothing to with the religion. Even in Lucknow people belonging to the two sects sometime fights each other. This should not be seen from religious perspective. The fact remains we are one community with one religion.
“If people belonging to all sects offer prayers together at Kaaba (the holiest shrine of Islam in Saudi Arabia), why can’t we pray together in India,” he asked.
On the last Eid-al-Fitr a group of people had organised Shia-Sunni prayers in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar.
Hanif informed that several prominent personalities from the city participated in the joint namaz. They include former chief secretary Jawed Usmani, Khwaja Saifi Yunus, Masood Ahmed, Khalid Masood, Mir Jafar Abdullah, Masood Abdullah, Amar Habibullah, Dr Mazhar Husain, Dr Kauser Usman,Gurmeet Singh, Mr Akshay Abraham, Ghufran Siddiqui, Tariq Khan, Farooq Rizvi, among others. Female participants included Madhvi Kukreja, Jyotsna Habibullah, Farah Usmani, Rubina Murtaza, Tahira Hasan, Yusra Husain. This year, the organisers had made special arrangements for women to offer prayers. Several participants from other countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar, who were on a visit to the city for the festival, also participated in the effort to promote communal harmony.
The namaz, which was led by Maulana Najeeb Sahib, was preceded by a short address by Prof. Ali Khan Mahmudabad. Like the joint prayers held in the past, this time too residents belonging to other religious communities were present to witness the historic event and lend support to the cause during the all-faith Eid Milan program. The guests were served seviyan (sweet dish prepared of vermicelli) and other choicest delicacies were served by volunteers of the Shoulder-to Shoulder Foundation.
Introducing the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Foundation, Sibtain Baqri informed that it is a non-profit group of volunteers coming from all religious denominations and walks of life, and are guided by one simple motive: To do their bit in building a better world. The group also organises programs for people belonging to other religions and participate in their programs.