Srinagar- Congregational prayers were held at the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar on Friday for the first time in 31 weeks after authorities lifted restrictions on prayers there.
Hundreds assembled at the mosque in the morning for the weekly Friday prayers after over seven months, officials said. The reopening of Grand Mosque coincided with the occasion of following Friday of Me’raj-e-Alam.
Imam Hai Syed Ahmed Naqshbandi led the prayers and delivered the Friday sermon as chief priest Mirwaiz Umer Farooq remains under house detention.
"People in large numbers came to the Masjid and there was a huge gathering today on the Friday following M'eraj-e-Aalam," a member of Anjuman-e-Auqaf said
Ghulam Qadir Rather, a devotee said that it is after a long gap that he came to the Grand Mosque to offer Friday prayers.
"Over these years, the closure of central mosque hurt our religious sentiments badly," he said.
Meanwhile, emotional scenes were witnessed as large number of men; women and children were seen kissing the pillars of the historic mosque with moist eyes.
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, P K Pole and Inspector General of Police, Kashmir zone, Vijay Kumar had visited the 14th century mosque in the Nowhatta area on Monday to take stock of arrangements being made to ensure COVID-19-appropriate behaviour is followed in case congregational prayers are allowed to resume.
The mosque remained mostly closed for congregational Friday prayers since August 2019 following abrogation of Article 370. The COVID-19 pandemic also forced its closure for a long time.
Meanwhile tens and thousands of people thronged mosques, Khanqah's and shrines as Friday following Me'raj-al-Aalam was observed with religious fervor across the Kashmir Valley.
The biggest congregation was held at Dargah Hazratbal here where thousands of devotees converged to have a glimpse of the holy relic of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh).
Devotees including men, women and children visited the shrine throughout the day to offer prayers and have glimpse of the holy relic which was displayed after every congregational prayer. However, the attendance was highest at afternoon prayers. Thousands of devotees also offered special prayers last night.
The local administration had made special arrangements and traffic was manned to ensure smooth movement. Besides private and public transport, J&K Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) had made arrangements for carrying devotees.
Similar congregational prayers were held in many other shrines in the valley include Khanqah-e-Mualla, Dastegeer Sahib Khanyar, Ziyarat Syed Sahib Sonwar and Ziyarat Makhdoom Sahib, Jinab Sahib Soura, Aasar-i-Sharief Shahri Kailshpora etc.
Special prayers were also held at Masjids and shrines in Islamabad (Anantnag) mainly at Jamia Masjid Reshi Sahab, Khiram Sirhama, Kaba Marg, Dooru and Seer Hamdan.
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