Rites and wrongs: Mosque sealed after Barelvi-Deobandi clash

Published: September 20, 2011
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" Most thought Qari
Aslam was a Barelvi
when he became
prayer leader. A few
years ago, he started
inviting the Tableeghi
Jamaat to the mosque,"
Muhammad Yousaf.

" Most thought Qari Aslam was a Barelvi when he became prayer leader. A few years ago, he started inviting the Tableeghi Jamaat to the mosque," Muhammad Yousaf.

LAHORE: The police have locked up a mosque in Garhi Shahu after a dispute between Barelvis and Deobandis over the proper procedure for various rituals and the types of religious events held there threatened to become violent.

Hundreds of Barelvis, including some Jamia Naeemia students, gathered at the mosque in the afternoon after hearing that some Barelvis had been kicked out of the mosque during Zuhr prayers. They squared off with several Deobandis, including activists of the banned group Jaish-i-Muhammad, trading insults and pushing and shoving. A large police contingent arrived at the scene before the situation got out of hand and closed the mosque. The police registered an FIR against seven Barelvis and seven Deobandis on public disorder charges under the Maintenance of Public Order Act and the Pakistan Penal Code. They also arrested three Deobandis and two Barelvis and detained them at Qila Gujjar Singh police station after getting their physical remand.

Tableegh vs naat

The mosque at the centre of the dispute is Jamia Majid in Railways Survey Colony, near Mayo Gardens on Allama Iqbal Road, and its prayer leader Qari Muhammad Aslam, who has been in his post for some 20 years.

Qari Aslam and Khalid Masood Awan recently moved an application to Garhi Shahu police complaining that Barelvis were spreading sectarian hatred in the area.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Khalid Mateen summoned both parties and after hearing them, scheduled an election for the mosque committee for last Sunday. SI Muhammad Amjad, a police guard at the mosque, said only Barevlis had participated in this election and hence their people got elected to the committee. On Monday, he said, after hearing the azan from the mosque delivered in the Barelvi style, Deobandi activists including Qari Aslam, Muhammad Salman and Yasin Qureshi entered the mosque and fought with the Barelvis.

Muhammad Yousaf, a Barelvi local, said that most people had believed Qari Aslam was a Barelvi when he became prayer leader 20 years ago, but a few years ago, he started inviting the Tableeghi Jamaat to proselytise at the mosque and discouraging certain rituals that Barelvis follow when saying their prayers and the azan. “Then they began stopping mehfil-i-naat and milaad conferences at the mosque,” he said.

He said that Barelvis were a majority in the colony and they had no objections to praying in the same mosque as Deobandis, but they should be allowed to hold their events there.

Yousaf said that the Garhi Shahu police station house officer had tricked both parties into providing names for the FIR. He said the SHO had told them to give him the names of their seven most prominent members, who he would then get together to resolve the issue. But instead of setting up a committee, he registered a case against the 14 names.

(Read: A most dangerous place)

The mosque is on some 15 marlas and most of its worshippers live in Railways Survey Colony and a Lahore Development Authority katchi abadi. There are 160 houses in both colonies. The prayer leader of the mosque gets a Rs1,000 per month salary and free lodging. Qari Aslam is also a senior teacher at the nearest government high school.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Sep 20, 2011 - 7:35AM

    very beautiful place…

    Recommend

  • Maddy
    Sep 20, 2011 - 9:13AM

    After reading this article, my mind boggles as no wonder why Allah’s wrath is upon us in the form of dengue- claiming 5-8 lives daily, earthquakes & floods are God’s way of showing discreet unhappiness, suicide bombings are part of routine and I’m afraid & sure there is still more to come. May Allah have mercy on us and forgive us for all our sins. We have altogether forgotten who we are and what we are suppose to be. Recommend

  • Amazed
    Sep 20, 2011 - 10:44AM

    Maddy, what does it take to inculcate sense? Clearly, thinking logically is not this nation’s forte.

    Recommend

  • Proud Pakistani
    Sep 20, 2011 - 12:12PM

    When Bagdad was destroyed by TATARIES same issue was prevelant in mosques of BAGDAD , NO LESSON Learnt from history untill too late

    Recommend

  • Adeel759
    Sep 20, 2011 - 3:08PM

    To God, with great sorrow, all this kind of mosques should be turned into public schools, and these Maulvis be forced to pray in side their homes. One is this Maulvi Aslam who is struggling to impose his style of Islam and the other is SSP Aslam who is fighting this kind of menace. Bravo the fighterRecommend

  • sunny
    Sep 20, 2011 - 3:11PM

    @Maddy
    right.
    I would add this Allah’s wrath is mainly because we majority of Pakistanis
    have given up teachings of our respective religions. Allah says “if you not follow my
    orders I will seed hate and anger among you and this is a bitter wrath”.
    May Allah forgive us and show us the true path (ameen).

    Recommend

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