TTo promote communal harmony, clerics in Lucknow have decided to shift namaz timings for Jumah prayers this Friday on account of the large-scale Holi celebrations in the city.
The unusual, yet heartwarming, gesture saw Sunni cleric and President of the Islamic Centre of India, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahli, requesting Muslim brethren in the city to shift namaz timings for Jumah prayers by half hour this Friday.
It wasn’t just Mahali who made the change in the timings at the Eidgah mosque, arguably one of the biggest Shia congregational Friday prayers, at Asafi Mosque of the Bara Imambara, also made changes to its schedule.
The move came about after Chief minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath directed his officials to engage conversations with Muslim clerics to explore the possibility of shifting namaz timings with the aim of peaceful Holi celebrations.
Mahali, who is also an executive committee member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), requested mosques in areas with mixed Hindu and Muslim populations to postpone their Friday prayers on March 2 keeping sentiments of Hindus in mind, reported the Times of India.
“The official permission to play colours is till 12 pm, but people do generally go beyond that time. We thought it would be best if all mosques, especially those in mixed population areas can just push their prayer timings by half hour, so that both events can be held peacefully, in these sensitive times,” Mahli told the publication.
As per the request, mosques where prayer timings for a regular Friday congregation are between 12:30 pm and 1 pm were urged to postpone it by 30 minutes. The idea was to avoid any clash between the two communities.
Mahali who also serves as the Imam of the Aishbagh Eidgah shifted the Friday prayer time at the Eidgah’s mosque at 1:45 pm on March 2, from the usual 12:45 pm schedule.
As for Friday prayers at Asafi Mosque for the Shia community, the timings were shifted to 1 pm then the usual 12:22 pm, Imam-e-Jumah, Maulana Kalbe Jawad Naqvi told Times of India.
The move is also deeply emotional as the cleric spoke about how their Hindu brothers had postponed the Jagannath Yatra taken out from in front of the Eidgah by over two hours last Baqreid to respect Muslim sentiments during the festival. And this was time for them to return the gesture.
“There were some changes made in the Yatra’s route as well. It is only befitting that we uphold the Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb of the country together and respect one another’s religious sentiments. India, has had a history of joint festivities across religions and that should be maintained,” Farangi Mahli told TOI.
We salute the harmonious spirits of both communities this festive season and hope the season of Holi brings prosperity and joy to all!