(Uttar Pradesh): Lakhs of Muslims from different parts of
the country thronged the prestigious Darul-Uloom seminary in this
Uttar Pradesh town to participate in the Friday prayers led by the
chief Imam of the Masjid-al-Haram in Makkah - Islam's most sacred
Imam-al-Haram Dr Abu Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman As-Sudais, especially took
time off from his busy schedule in New Delhi to fly down in a
helicopter to Deoband to offer namaz, which attracted Muslims from
He was accompanied by former Indian cricket captain turned MP
Mohammad Azharuddin, union Minister of State for Tourism Sultan
Ahmad and Urdu daily Sahafat's editor Hasan Shuja.
Dr As-Sudais was received at the
helipad by Darul-Uloom rector Maulana Mohammad Ghulam Vastanvi and
other top members of the institution's faculty.
Dr As-Sudais is visiting India on the
invitation of Jamiatul Ulema-e-Hind.
All roads leading to the world-famous school of Islamic thought were
packed with people and when it came to offering the 'namaz', people
joined the ritual in every nook and corner of the town, including
streets, parks, rooftops and even highways on the outskirts.
In an hour-long 'khutba' (sermon), the cleric praised the Darul
Uloom for its rich contribution to Islam.
He also made a fervent appeal to all
for observing peace and harmony, which he described as the "true
essence of Islam".
He returned to New Delhi shortly afterwards.
The Makkah mosque, encircling the Kaaba, and the Prophet Mohammad's
mosque at Madinah in Saudi Arabia, collectively called the "Harmain-al-Sharifain
(the sacred sanctuaries)", are the two most sacred sites for Muslims
and the centre-points of the annual Haj pilgrimage.
Earlier, Dr As-Sudais arrived in New
Delhi March 24, hours before his actual schedule. At the airport, he
was received by Saudi Ambassador, and other dignitaries including
Jamiatul Ulema-e-Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani.
met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh later in the evening.
During his three-day stay in India, Dr. As-Sudais will visit
various places in the national capital besides addressing the
conference organised by Jamiatul Ulema-e-Hind at Ramlila Ground on
March 26. He
will also meet various groups representing the Indian Muslims
including Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
On March 27, Dr. As-Sudais will visit the Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadees
Complex at Okhla and lead the afternoon prayers. The prayer will be
followed by his address.
Dr As-Sudais is regarded worldwide as one of the most loved and
respected Muslim clerics. He is leading the prayers at the Grand
Mosque, Makkah in Saudi Arabia since more than a decade.
This is Dr. As-Sudais’s first visit to India. Earlier, he was
scheduled to address a peace conference in Mumbai in November 2010
but his visit was cancelled in the last moment. The Mumbai Peace
Conference was however addressed by Dr. Saud As-Shuraim, his
colleague and another Imam of the Grand Mosque with equal stature.