Pak Moots Approved Sermons, Uniform Azan Timing


Srinagar — Pakistan federal government once more attempted to have all mosques and imambargahs in the capital city deliver written or approved sermons on Fridays and deliver the Azaan at the same time, but it is facing resentment from a section of clergy.

Officers from the administration, including Additional Deputy Commissioner Dr Asif Rahim, met with clerics from various sects to discuss matters related to approved sermons and the Azaan, Dawn reported on Tuesday.

The meeting aimed to standardise sermons delivered at all places of worship, they said. The ulema were told that written or approved sermons would maintain religious and sectarian harmony in the capital and avoid religious hatred.

However, the officials said the administration failed to convince the clerics during the meeting and the idea of delivering written sermons was largely opposed, the officials said. The clerics expressed concern at the possibility of having their sermons approved by the administration.

After failing to persuade the clergy, the administration asked them to deliver sermons on approved topics, to which they agreed. Officials said clerics were also given the a set of topics.

They said the administration had approached the International Islamic University Islamabad earlier and sought help in this regard. The university suggested 35 topics, including the five pillars of Islam, the prophets, Ahle Bait and fundamental rights, which have been divided into more than a hundred sub-topics.

The clerics also opposed the request to deliver the Azaan at the same time across the capital, as different sects have different timings for some prayers.

The administration asked clergy to register all places of worship and seminaries with the Directorate of Industries and Labour as soon as possible. Once registered the administration will be able to monitor all their activities, officials said, including details of donations and funds received and spent.

The clerics told the administration they would discuss the matter internally to reach a decision and will prepare a joint strategy, which the administration will be informed of.

Officials said the clerics also asked the administration to hold a convention and invite ulema from all sects and from all over the country to discuss these issues.

The administration also tried, unsuccessfully, to have approved or written sermons delivered during Friday prayers last year, and was opposed by clerics.


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