Hundreds of worshippers today attended the prayers at historic Jamia Masjid here, which was thrown open about five months after it was closed in the wake of covid19 in March.
As the adhan for afternoon prayers was recited on loudspeaker, local shopkeepers, commuters and others present around listened to it in rapt silence. Many had their eyes moist and emotional scenes could be witnessed.
People rushed for prays and entered the grand masjid with utmost devotion while following COVID19 safety guidelines.
“Thanks to Allah, we are hearing Adhan again from this historic masjid. Our hearts were crying to joining prayers here,” said Muhammad Shaban, a devotee.
The Jamia Masjid Anjuman Auqaf (management) has decided to offer only three time prayers (Zuhr, Asr & Magrib) in the masjid, Mufti Ghulam Samoon, masjid administrator said.
Samoon told Greater Kashmir that resumption of prayer meetings came as part of a plan to gradually reopen the grand masjid while ensuring worshippers and visitors adhered to preventive measures.
He informed that precautionary measures also included using the main entrance only for the entry of worshippers, putting hand sanitizers there, removal of all carpets so that prayers could be performed on the marble, sanitization of the masjid’s floor and courtyards, and worshipers not allowed to perform Wadhu at the masjid.
Meanwhile, Jamia Masjid management and worshippers demanded immediate release of the Anjuman Auqaf Jamia Masjid Chairman Mirwaiz Moulvi Muhammad Umar Farooq from house detention.
They said the Mirwaiz must be allowed to resume the centuries-old tradition of his forefathers of addressing the people from the pulpit of the Jamia Masjid.
The masjid— managed and run by Kashmir’s prominent cleric family of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, had also remained closed for 138 days since August 5, 2019 when special status of J&K was scrapped and erstwhile state was divided into two union territories. It was later reopened on December 20, 2019 only to be closed again in March due to spread of covid19.
On 16 August, this year, authorities allowed reopening of all religious places as part of plan for a gradual return to normal life.
Just two days ago, Jamia Masjid management said that the Masjid was ready to welcome worshippers, following its review meeting and inspection to check that necessary preparations had been made.
On Tuesday evening, a statement issued by Jamia Masjid management here, said that for the convenience of those coming for prayers, Auqaf Jamia has put in place all the SOPs and other preventive measures including providing free masks and keeping the sanitizers inside the grand masjid and putting up posters of guidelines to be followed.
“The people expressed strong anger and resentment over the blasphemous remarks against the beloved Prophet of Islam Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (SAW) made by some miscreants and communal zealots in Jammu region, and demanded stringent punishment to the culprits,” it said.
“Along with the daily prayers, the congregational Friday prayers will also resume at Jamia Masjid with all SOPs and other preventive measures in place,” it reads.