Srinagar: Thousands of devotees on Sunday offered Khoje Digar special mass prayers of Asr to mark the Urs of Khwaja Naqshband Sahib (RA) at his shrine at Khwaja Bazar area of Downtown here.
The devotees offered prayers on the road stretch from Nowhatta to Khanyar. The shrine management committee had laid the prayer mats on the road to avoid inconvenience to the people.
Khoje Digar is offered on 3rd of Rabi-ul-Awal every year, which also marks the commemoration of the annual Urs of the saint of Naqashbandi Sahib (RA).
Soon after the prayers, Imam and Khateeb of the shrine, Mir Syed Muhammad Toib Kamli, recited the Awraad-e-Asriya, a booklet comprising verses of repentance and faith. The Sufi saint used to recite along with his hundreds' of disciples 700 years ago at Bukhara in Uzbekistan.
He also threw light on the life of Naqashband Sahib (RA).
In his sermon, Kamli said that the Uswa-e-Hasana (the way of living) of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has been and will continue to be the best path to follow and walk upon, not only for Muslims but entire mankind.
He said great Sufi saints like Naqashband Sahib (RA) were the blessed and chosen ones by Almighty Allah to spread the teachings of the revered Prophet Muhammad (SAW) among people who dedicated their life to it.
Nazir Ahmad Gujri, a supervisor of the shrine claimed that COVID19 safety guidelines were followed in letter and spirit. "We had made hand sanitizers available for devotees, social distancing was maintained and the premise was also being regularly sanitized," he said.
He added that minimum people were allowed inside the shrine at a time and devotees also cooperated.
Chief Executive Officer Wakf Board Mufti Fareed-u-Din said that the devotees thronged the shrine throughout the day and adhere to safety guidelines in view of pandemic.
He added that devotees were also seen spending less time at shrine and cooperating with the management in implementation of coronavirus safety guidelines. “Around 30,000 devotees paid obeisance at shrine through the day,” he informed.
“The volunteers also helped devotees. They provided facemask free of cost to devotees if anyone was found without the COVID SOPs," he added.
The Wakf Board was also reminding devotees about following of COVID19 protocol through public addressing system.
Authorities had put up special arrangements for the convenience of devotees. An official said that a special sanitation drive was carried at the shrine and its adjacent areas.
"Special teams were set up and deputed for sanitation of the shrine round the clock," an official said.