Monday, 15 October 2007

In AP, sombre touch to festival

October 2007
Meanwhile | Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Id-ul-Fitr or the feast of alms-giving is the biggest Islamic festival which every Muslim around the globe would look forward to every year. But this year Hyderabad, which has the second largest Muslim population in the country, is celebrating Id with a sombre touch.
Many Muslim families have decided to make the celebrations low-key as mark of respect to those who lost their lives in the three bomb blasts that hit Hyderabad.
Others have donated a part of the funds earmarked for the festivities to charitable organisations.
Even schoolchildren have joined their parents in forgoing the festivities in several parts of the State. Business figures from the famous Charminar market shows one-third of the community did not go for shopping this Id.
On Jummat-ul-Vida, the last Friday of Ramzan, religious leaders called upon the devout not to spend much on festivities but concentrate on charity and service. They also emphasised the need for mass prayers for peace and universal brotherhood of man.
The blasts in the historic Mecca Masjid, the subsequent police firing and the blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat have left fear in the minds of the community.
The blast at the dargah of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, the greatest Sufi saint in the sub-continent, has only heightened this sense of fear.
A majority of Muslims in Hyderabad and other parts of the country are devotees of the Sufi saint, who is popularly revered as Gharib Nawaz (benefactor of the poor).
"Id is indeed an occasion to celebrate. But how could we celebrate when our brothers and sisters are in trouble. There was so much loss of life in Hyderabad in the last five months. I will go to the Idgah and offer special prayers there. I am dedicating this Id to those killed in the blasts," says S.A.K. Jeelana, a college-goer.
Says Syed Fazil Hussain Parvez, who edits the popular Urdu weekly Gawah, "that people have decided to make the Id a low-key affair is clear from the low turnout at shops in Charminar. The business fell by at least 40 per cent and not many from outside Hyderabad came here for shopping at the famous Charminar-Madina market. The spate of arrests and the police raid on madarasas have also contributed to the low turnout."
Moulvis who led congregation prayers in mosques departed from their usual sermons during Ramzan. Their speeches revolved around peace and the need for the community to extend support to law enforcing agencies to weed out communal and terrorist elements.
"This is not the time to rejoice at least for us Hyderabadis. Many Muslims have decided to restrict their Id prayers to the local mosque, instead of going to the Idgah. This is a good idea. The larger the congregation the greater the security risk," says senior cleric Hafiz M.N. Rahman.

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