LUCKNOW, India: Amid thousands of followers and mourners from all
communities of Lucknow, well known Shia cleric Khateeb-e-Akbar
Maulana Mirza Mohammad Athar who breathed his last in Delhi on
Friday, was buried in his hometown Lucknow on Saturday. Founder
president of All India Shia Personal Law Board, 78-year-old Maulana
Athar had been unwell for the past several months.
On Saturday morning the body of Maulana Athar was flown in from
Delhi after which it was taken to Karbala Dayanat-ud-Daulah in
Saadatganj in Old City at 10 am. At the Karbala, 'Namaz-e-Janaza'
(funeral prayer) was led by Maulana Hameed-ul-Hasan.
Thousands joined in the procession with various clerics and Anjumans
of the city joining in till Karbala Imdad Husain for the final
burial.His oratory skills and sermons in Muharram were known for
their quintessential Urdu metaphors and frequent use of poetry by
Urdu stalwarts Mirza Dabeer and Mir Anees-a style which was hailed.
After expressing grief over his demise on Friday, chief minister
Akhilesh Yadav also paid a visit to the Karbala Imdad Husain in
Rajajipuram, where the Mirza Athar was buried, late Saturday
afternoon. Governor Ram Naik also paid his tribute and extended his
concolence to the family.
"His oratory had finesse of words yet simplicity of speech," said
Maulana Kalbe Jawad.
In 2011, the Limca Book of Records signed him as orator of the
longest continuous series of sermons in Ashra-e-Muharram (1st 10
days of Muharram). In 2008, he had completed 50 years of his
continuous Ashra sermons at Mumbai's Mughal Masjid.
‘Athar sahab’, as he was popular in the Shia community, was
president of the All India Shia Personal Law Board and one of the
most influential moderate voices within the community.
For over five decades, his baritone booming from the pulpit of the
Mughal Masjid (Iranian Mosque) had become legendary. Followers
dressed in black, crossing state borders, come to hear his hour-long
oratory on Islam, a tragic account of events of Karbala, his
metaphors connecting battle scenes to current day events. Though the
Masjid was at Imambada street, giant television screens across
Dongri and Kesar Baug carried his sermons, and his voice often
boomed above the noise of traffic on the JJ Flyover.
Mirza Athar's oratory earned him admirers around the world where his
sermons were broadcast via the internet, was known to select
contemporary topics. His sermon on ‘Islam and Terrorism’ in 2001
following the 9/11 attacks in America was one of his most popular