New Delhi: Amid frequent reports of protests against Friday namaz at different places in Gurugram, political commentator Zafar Sareshwala on Friday said the Muslims should refrain from making it a “prestige issue” and appealed to the people to seek the administration’s permission before offering prayers at undesignated spots.
On being asked if there is a need for a Supreme Court mandated order on where can Muslims perform prayers, the former chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University said, “It’s not about rights at all.”
Members of some Hindu right-wing groups have been staging protests in Gurugram on Fridays against the prayers offered in the open.
Speaking to Bhupendra Chaube of India Ahead, Sareshwala said, “About two years back, a group of people from Gurugram had come to me and they were complaining that they don’t have space to offer Namaz, there’s no Masjid. What should they do? I had told them that don’t offer Namaz at any place arbitrarily, speak to local administration and use the space thus allotted to them. The Friday Namaz takes maximum half-an-hour.”
Sareshwala offered an alternative till the permission is granted saying, “Till you receive their nod for a new site, organise three jamaats instead of one at old places where the prayers are being offered. We do this in Mumbai and Ahmedabad now. In Ahmedabad, where there barely are any mosques, we hold the prayers three times. Once at 1 pm, at 1.30 pm and then at 2 pm.”
Appealing to the people to not make it an issue of prestige or rights, he said, “This should not be made an issue of rights. In this country, a lot of things have happened around the Babri Masjid and Ram Mandir issue and we don’t want any more such incidents.”
“We should not hold prayers at any place without the administration’s permission at all. I have said the same thing on the recent issue in Gurugram,” he said.
“This is Namaz, it is worship. We don’t have to make it a ‘prestige issue’ or a matter of rights,” Sareshwala reiterated.