The Friday congregational prayers were held at the historic Jamia Masjid for the first time after August 5 amid peaceful protests post prayers outside the masjid.There were no Friday prayers at the grand masjid since August 5. However, Zuhr (afternoon) prayers were offered at the masjid after a gap of 136 days on Wednesday last after volunteers of Anjuman-e-Auqaf Jamia Masjid cleaned the masjid walls and prayer mats from the dust they had gathered due to closure of the masjid for four consecutive months.According to the wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), hundreds of people thronged Jamia Masjid which is located at Nowhatta area of Srinagar’s old city soon after all the minarets of the masjid reverberated with the Friday prayer call. “It was a real surprise for many residents and worshippers. Soon after hearing the Azaan, we performed ablution and rushed towards the masjid,” said Abdul Aziz, a resident of Khawajabazar area of downtown.An eye-witness said that there was a mild deployment of security forces around Jamia Masjid, but nobody was prevented from entering the masjid. Many elderly worshipers, who arrived the masjid for the first time after August 5, broke down after hugging the tall pillars and the black-marble made pulpit.
The Friday sermon was addressed by Imam of Jamia Masjid, Imam-e-Hai, popularly known as Syed Ahmed Naqshbandi. In his Friday sermon, he lashed out the present dispensation for resorting to Jamia siege stating that the lockdown of this masjid started when Mehbooba Mufti was the Chief Minister of J&K in 2016. “Frequent closure of this grand masjid is the direct religious interference which is highly condemnable,” Imam-e-Hai said as people raised pro-Islam and pro-freedom slogans.The Friday congregational prayers were also led by Imam Hai after which small groups of people staged peaceful protests against internet shutdown, curbs, and Jamia lockdown. However, there was no untoward incident of any violent protest. The Jamia masjid has been the epicenter of pro-freedom protests since past many years. The Chief cleric of Kashmir, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, however, missed the Friday congregational prayers at the Jamia as he continues to remain under house arrest at his Nigeen residence in Srinagar since August 5. (KNO)