India: Shia scholars in big demand for Muharram sermons

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Asia
Sunday, 18 November 2012


india shia jalusShia clerics from the city of nawabs are known to keep audiences mesmerized with their deep understanding of different faiths and exceptional oratory during religious discourses. And, with the beginning of Muharram, many of them are travelling to different countries to deliver sermons on demand.

The clerics, too, welcome such opportunities. "I have been visiting Mumbai for the past 20 years. People there invite me for majlis," said cleric Mirza Jafar Abbas

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Shia clerics from the city of nawabs are known to keep audiences mesmerized with their deep understanding of different faiths and exceptional oratory during religious discourses. And, with the beginning of Muharram, many of them are travelling to different countries to deliver sermons on demand.

In fact, some Shia clerics get invitations six months in advance to read sermons during Muharram.

Among the popular ones are Kalbe Sadiq and Maulana Kalbe Jawwad. While Mirza Mohammad Ashfaq has left for Amsterdam, Aijaz Abbas will deliver sermons in the United States, Safi Haider in South Africa and Aazim Hussain in Pakistan. The vice-president of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Kalbe Sadiq, has been invited to London.

Other clerics invited to address the majlis include Mirza Mohammad Athar and his son Yasoob Abbas. They have been invited to Mumbai, Abbas Irshad is touring south India while Jafar Abbas too has reached Mumbai.

Naib Imam of Aishbagh Eidgah, Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahli, said Muharram marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his companions during the battle of Karbala. He added that the cleric who addresses a majlis is known as 'zakir', and most clerics in Lucknow have their own following as 'zakirs'. During the first 10 days of Muharram, clerics describe the incidents at Karbala leading to the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. These clerics are well versed in reciting elegies which are unique to Lucknow. Social issues such as terrorism, education are also taken up during the sermons.

"Lucknow is the hub of Shias in India and these clerics have a following across the world. The way clerics in Lucknow narrate the story of Karbala is exclusive. It is so realistic that a listener feels that the events are unfolding before the eyes," said Mohammad Haider, mutwalli of Imambara Sibtainabad. Locals said the clerics are rewarded for their services through offerings by devotees, called 'nazrana'. But its details are never disclosed. Travel expenses are also borne by devotees.

The clerics, too, welcome such opportunities. "I have been visiting Mumbai for the past 20 years. People there invite me for majlis," said cleric Mirza Jafar Abbas

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