‘Mosques should become institutions of community welfare’
Hailing the commendable rescue and relief measures by various sections of the society amid devastating September floods, renowned Islamic scholar and preacher Maulana Khalil ur Rahman Sajjad Nomani Friday said that in the midst of this grave tragedy Kashmir has rediscovered itself as a symbol of compassion and harmony.
“I am sure this spirit of empathy and humanitarianism would resurrect in resurgent Kashmir as the land of saints regains its glory that was scarred by the terrible floods,” Maulana Nomani told Greater Kashmir in an exclusive interview.
Maulana Nomani said the compassionate side in human beings best comes to fore during the times of crisis and it was displayed to the hilt by the people of Kashmir irrespective of caste, creed and color during the flood tragedy.
He said it was heartening to note how people from different walks of life pooled in their resources to come to the help of the needy during floods. He said people not only from within the country but throughout the world were genuinely concerned about the well-being of Kashmiris when the flood tragedy hit the state last month. “I was on a religious mission in Panama, the southernmost state of central America, when the news of devastating floods reached me through my friends in Srinagar,” he said and added that when he reached Mumbai on his way back from his foreign tour, he immediately decided to go to Srinagar to personally enquire about the welfare of people and assess the extent of the damages by the floods.
Maulana said he was moved by the concern people were showing for Kashmir during floods even in the farthest corners of the world. Quoting a heart-touching incident, he said during a religious session at a mosque in Panama, a lady approached him offering her jewelry, which she wanted to be carried to the flood-affected people in Kashmir.
“Since my arrival here on October 13 on the invitation of Darul Uloom Bilaliya and Kashmir Welfare Trust, I have been extensively visiting various flood-hit areas and also interacting with the affected people. But believe me I had never imagined that the devastation would be of this magnitude,” Maulana said and added that he was at the same time moved by the stories of courage, commitment and selflessness of the local youth in saving lives and reaching out with relief.
He said Kashmiri youth, who did a commendable job during the rescue and relief operations, must come forward to take on the challenge of rebuilding Kashmir and restoring its unmatched magnificence. “I have been interacting with some of the boys who were on the forefront of the rescue and relief operations and have great hope in them. I am sure they will shoulder the responsibility of rebuilding Kashmir with the same devotion as they did during the floods,” he said.
Maulana said he gives credit to all the people from within and outside Kashmir who not only saved the precious human lives amid trying circumstances but also remained at the forefront of the relief operations.
Asking people not to lose heart in the wake of this tragedy, Maulana Nomani said: “Something good must be in store for the people of Kashmir as Almighty Allah never puts His people to any trouble without giving something in return.”
Calling for making mosques the hubs of community welfare besides using these institutions for prayers, Maulana said Kashmir should take the lead in this initiative. “Let’s not confine the mosques to prayers but make them vibrant institutions for community welfare, so that these institutions are on the forefront of various community activities not only during natural calamities, but in normal circumstance as well,” he said.
Clarifying on the comments attributed to him in a section of the media that Jamiat-e-Ullema Hind and Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband have come up with a comprehensive rehabilitation program for flood victims of Kashmir, Maulana said he never took the name of any particular group or organization as he knows all the groups and organizations from both within and outside the State are doing a great job in the aftermath of the flood tragedy.
“God willing Kashmir and Muslims all over will surely come out of these tough times. But we need to do introspection and strictly adhere to the teachings of Islam and Sunnah,” said the Maulana.
He also urged the local youth to stay away from social evils and focus on their own welfare and that of the society so that they can make both their lives better and have something for hereafter.
Maulana Nomani has been visiting Kashmir for the past several years in connection with the religious preaching.
Maulana Sajjad Nomani is known for his interest in interfaith dialogue and has been a special invitee to inter religious conferences within and outside the country. He has successfully conveyed the message of Islam to thousands of non-Muslims through discourses, dialogues, debates and discussions. He has visited several countries such as USA, UK, Canada, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Zambia, Bangladesh and Malaysia. He has delivered speeches at many important places such as the UN, University of Leeds (UK), Stamford University (US) and Fatih University (Turkey).
He received his formal education from renowned Islamic seminaries like Nadwatul Ullama Lucknow and Darul Uloom Deoband. He went to Madina University, Saudi Arabia, to pursue further studies and was awarded a doctorate in the Quranic sciences.