By Nigar, New Age Islam
22 April 2016
I was overwhelmed to be invited to a program held on the 21st of April amidst special guests from Iraq who are in Bangalore with a message of love for humanity and of peace and harmony for the world, and a heart full of love for India for its spiritual and cultural richness. Grace, dignity and gentleness marked the occasion, as a team of religious scholars from the Holy Shrines in Iraq met a gathering of journalists to share their joy about the cultural festival being held to coincide with the birth anniversary celebrations of Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s) from April 22 to 25, 2016 in Bangalore.
“Imam Ali stood for humanity. His values of love, etiquette, grace, manners and gentleness are a model for the world. Remembering his virtues, we hope to mingle the cultural and spiritual richness of India and Iraq through this four-day festival,” said Aga Sultan, convenor, who explained the contents of the festival, which include a book exhibition, Quran recitation sessions, recitation of poetry, religious lectures and quiz contests. Religious scholars from the Holy Shrines in Iraq, Maulana Sheikh Ali Asadi from the Holy Shrine of Hazrat Abbas, Maulana Sheikh Rafid, from the Holy Shrine of Imam Husain and Maulana Sheikh Qasim from the Holy Shrine of Kazmain, also were present at the program.
The festival to be held at Masjid-e-Askari and Bab ul-Hawaej Hazrat Abul Fazlil Abbas, Sir Mirza Ismail Nagar, Bangalore, hopes to bring together people in a spirit of brotherhood and unity. This is the fourth such annual cultural festival, and a host of scholars like Dr Syed Kalbe Sadiq, Vice-President, All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Syed Hameed ul Hasan, Lucknow, Maulana Syed Kalbe Rushaid Rizvi, New Delhi, Dr M. H. Rahman, Founder, Sufi Peace Foundation, New Delhi, Maulana Syed Habeeb Hyder and Maulana Syed Ahmed Ali Abedi, Mumbai are some of the scholars who will arrive for the festival.
A special highlight of the festival will be bringing together Sunni and Shia scholars on a common platform on April 23, where the speakers will stress the unity of humankind, peace and harmony. Maulana Mufti Ashraf Ali, Maulana Dr Syed Kalbe Sadiq, Maulana Sheikh Al Asadi and Maulana Syed Rifae will share their wisdom.
As I departed from the conference, the beautiful saying: Man Kunto Maula Fa Haaza Ali-un Maula (‘to whom I am the master, Ali is the master’) kept ringing in my heart! Rays of hope, unity, harmony and peace were beginning to spread all around. I pray the festival brings together people from different traditions together in a bond of love and peace…virtues and principles that Imam Ali (a.s) stood for!
Nigar is associate editor, Islamic Voice, Bangalore