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Religious Groups Point out Dangers as Ramzan Begins Reluctantly in Kashmir

Anees Zargar |
The residents heard the announcement of the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan at about 10:45 pm after hours of waiting until experts caught glimpses of the crescent moon.
Jama masjid

Srinagar: Muslims in Kashmir valley woke up in the wee hours on Thursday to observe fasting as the announcement of the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan was made in the region following Wednesday night’s cliffhanger.

The residents heard the announcement at about 10:45 pm after hours of waiting until experts caught glimpses of the crescent moon. The people followed the announcement from Pakistan’s central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, which confirmed the sighting, notwithstanding the announcement from Grand Mufti of Kashmir Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam.

The Grand Mufti had earlier said that the crescent did not appear in the skies of Jammu and Kashmir, so the fasting would begin on Friday.

No evidence was received from any part of J&K about the sighting of Ramzan moon,” Islam was quoted as saying.

jama masjid J&K

After the Ruet’s confirmation, however, the mosques across the valley began to reverberate with the calls for the invitation to Tarawee prayers, special congregational prayers offered during Ramzan. Within the next few hours, Sehar Khan or traditional drum beaters appeared on the streets to wake people up for the Sehri or pre-dawn meals.

The Grand Mufti maintained his stand on the issue, but many expressed confusion on social media networks like Twitter, seeking clarification. Some even condemned the tradition of following Ruet’s decision whilst ignoring the ulemas from the region and the country.

We, in Kashmir, start Ramzan without sighting crescent by trusting the Ruet e Hilal Committee of the country, which has blind faith in American dollars. May Allah forgive us, accept our fasting!” a social media commentator Majid Hyderi tweeted.

Nevertheless, the first day of Ramzan was welcomed by a majority as social, political and religious groups congratulated the community for the beginning of the holy month. In Kashmir, the time to break fast after sunset is about 6:50 pm, meaning the people will fast for nearly 14 hours.

The Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU) Jammu and Kashmir, which held a meeting at its head office in Srinagar’s Rajouri Kadal, used it as an opportunity to express the dangers faced by the Kashmiri society, including rising crime rates, moral turpitude, drug addiction and domestic violence.

According to a statement, the group also expressed concern and resentment over the “illegal and arbitrary” detention of the founding head of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema Mirwaiz Kashmir, Umar Farooq, who has been under house arrest since August 5, 2019.

The MMU appealed to the authorities in view of the holy month of Ramzan and the public demand to release Mirwaiz immediately.

The Minbar (platform) and Mihrab (direction) of the historic Central Jama Masjid Srinagar, which is the largest place of worship in Kashmir, is continuously silent due to the detention of Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir. Mirwaiz should be released so that he is able to fulfil his official duties like his ancestors,” the statement read.

I extend my greetings to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Muslims, on the arrival of the month of Ramzan, which is the holiest month and has an unparalleled significance in the history of Islam. This is a month of piety and prayers. This month teaches us to be pious and humble,” Syed Altaf Bukhari of the Apni Party said.

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