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Islamic Ideology ( 15 Aug 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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700 women offer namaz at city mosque

By Ranjit Deshmukh,TNN

15 Aug 2008


NAGPUR: A history of sorts was created when around 700 women offered the Nafeel Namaz (Shukrana or thanksgiving namaz for Allah) at the 110 years old Cutchi Memon Jamat Jama Masjid in Sadar for the first time. The women were very happy as usually they are not allowed to enter a mosque. Some non-Muslim women which included Padma Deshraj, a teacher with Saint Ursula High School and others were also invited to this masjid as a goodwill gesture during the namaz time from 3 pm to 5 pm.


The women were allowed on the eve of opening of the renovated and expanded mosque. It was an extremely satisfying moment for the women devotees who probably may not get another chance to be there. One of the women said she just did not feel like going out after the namaz.


Altaf Ahmed, president of the masjid, said the Badi Masjid, as it was known earlier, was built on a plot donated by Cutchi Memon Jamat. It is the oldest mosque in Vidarbha region, he said. The renovation project started after the mosque was served a notice some five years ago by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation, warning that it was in a dilapidated condition.


"My father late Haji Abdul Majid Saik and former president of the masjid late Haji Mohd Aslam Ismail Sait played a key role in this project," Ahmed said. The mosque has three floors and has been fully airconditioned. It now has a total capacity of 2500 and a huge underground parking. A lot of exquisitely etched and fused glass was also used for beautification.


During renovation, the mimber (a sort of podium) for Imam and grills of the old mosque were left untouched. Similarly, the hauj (water tank) used by the devouts to wash their hands and face was also retained.

Ahmed said that it was double bonanza on August 15 as it happened to be a Friday and also the country's Independence Day. Hence, the day was chosen for inaugurating the renovated mosque.


The ceremony will be held after Namaj-e-Juma. Anees Ahmed, minister for wakf and animal husbandry, Syed Rafiuddin, presidential awardee for Arabic literature and Dr Abdul Rauf Sumar, former president of Cutchi Memon Jamat, Mumbai, will be the chief guests. Ahmed said an exception was made on Thursday for allowing women to offer namaz at this place because the mosque is to be opened on Friday. After the opening, women would again not be allowed in, he stated. "But we have invited a lot of non-Muslims too for the inauguration function," he said.


Source: The Times of India, New Delhi