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  Updated: September 9, 2011

Lucknow Shias demand reconstruction of Jannat-ul-Baqi

By: Nizam Hussain/Faisal Fareed

LUCKNOW, India: Thousands of Shia Muslims staged demonstration at Shaheed Smarak on Wednesday demanding reconstruction of Al-Baqi cemetery popularly known as Jannat-ul-Baqi in Saudi Arabia, which was demolished in 1926 by the then king of Saudi Arabia Ibn Saud.

Led by President, All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) Maulana Mirza Mohd Athar the protestors appealed to Prime Minister (PM) Manmohan Singh for exercising his clout over Saudi government for re-construction of the graves. Spokesperson, AISPLB, Maulana Yasoob Abbas also submitted a memorandum with his blood to Saudi Embassy for fulfilling their demands.

The cemetery for which the protest was organised houses the mausoleums of family members of Prophet Mohammad and other religious heads termed as Imams. In 1925, on April 21, (08 Shawwal, as per lunar calender), the mausoleums in Jannat-ul-Baqi in Medina (Saudi Arabia) were demolished by King Ibn Saud-- the then king of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In the same year, he also demolished the tombs at Jannat al-Mualla in Mekkah -- another city in the Arab country where the Prophet Mohammadís mother, wife, grandfather and other ancestors are buried.

This year the day falls on September 7 (Wednesday). Shia Muslims turned up in good numbers with Yasoob Abbas leading them from the front. Draped in black clothes the youths also performed matam and raised anti-US and anti-Saudi government slogans. "The Saudi government should reconstruct these graves or give us permission so that we can reconstruct them. The Saudi government is bent upon forcing their ideals on other sects of Muslims. They are living in palaces while graves of the family members of holy Prophet have been demolished. The Indian government should immediately intervene in this matter and take up the issue with Saudi government," said Yasoob Abbas.

In another protest function organised at Asafi Masjid, Imam-e-Juma and eminent Shia cleric Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawwad Naqvi also demanded the reconstruction of graves at Jannatul Baqi. Jawwad apprehended that with fundamentalist regime at Saudi Arabia, even the existence of Prophet's grave is threatened. Maulana Jawwad has organised a similar protest march on September 4 leading a rally of thousands of Shia Muslims from Sibtainabad Imambara to Shahnajaf in Lucknow.

Prominent Sunni scholars also took part in the protest and marched on the road. The clerics who participated in the rally were Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, president All India Imam Organisation, and Maulana Ayub Ashraf, president All India Mohammadia Mission.


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