In a first ever such move, the Shia community has invited Sunni clerics to address their “majlis” (congregation) during Moharram in Lucknow.
Majlis is an integral part of Moharram mourning where the congregation is addressed from a scared podium by eminent Shia clerics known as “zakirs”. For a change, the “majlis” this year may witness a mix crowd with Shia community inviting Sunni clerics as “zakirs”.
The attempt has been made to end differences between the two sects as Moharram in Lucknow has a history of conflict between the Shias and the Sunnis.
The three major centres in Lucknow where “majlis” is held are Bada Imambara, Shahnajaf Imambara and Shia PG College.
The largest “majlis” is held at the historical Bara Imambara. This year eminent Sunni cleric and Mufti-e-Azam of Rajasthan, Maulana Prof Kamal Ahmed Shamsi Tehrani will address it as “zakir”. He will also address the “majlis” at the prominent Nawabi era Shahnajaf Imambara in Hazratganj.
“Maulana Tehrani will be addressing the congregation at Bara Imambara for first nine days of Moharram at 1 pm followed by another “majlis” at 7 pm at Shahnajaf Imambara,” Adil Faraz, press secretary to Maulana Kalbe Jawwad and organiser of the “majlis”, told The Indian Express.
Shia-e-Ulema Hind, another organisation, which organises “majlis”, too, has invited several Sunni clerics for its event at Shia PG College, a seat held with reverence among Shia community. “We are doing this to send a message across the country that Muslims are united and there is no division on sectarian lines. The clashes will be now things of past,” Maulana Ali Hasan Qummi, general secretary of Shia-e-Ulema Hind told The Indian Express.
Qummi claims to have received confirmation from Maulana Syed Arif Shah Qadri Naqshbandi of Khanqah-e-Huzooriya, Hardoi. “We are being harassed by taking advantage of our division. Need of the hour is to unite and stop our exploitation. I will be attending the “majlis”,” Naqshbandi said.
Shaher Qazi of Lucknow Mufti Abul Irfan Miyan Farangi Mahli, too, has been invited. “I will take up the proposal after meeting Qummi tonight. Everybody wants unity in the community,” he said. Invitation has also been sent to Maulana Mohammad Jahangir (Sunni cleric) who is Imam of a mosque in Wazirganj area in Lucknow.