LAHORE : Jumatul Wida, the last Friday of the holy month of Ramazan, was observed with traditional religious fervour and solemnity. Millions of fast observing faithful thronged the mosques and other open places to offer Friday.
All large and small mosques across the provincial metropolis were specially decorated for the occasion and were crowded with believers to the capacity.
Many religious organisations also observed the day as Al-Quds Day to highlight the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel for the last 70 years, taking out rallies and holding protests to draw media attention towards one of the oldest burning issues of the Muslim world. Jamaat-ud-Dawah ameer Hafiz Muhammad Saeed also appealed to the masses for observing Friday as Al-Quds Day and Kashmir Day to invite world attention towards the occupation of Muslim states by non-Muslim armies against the will of the masses and blatant violation of international laws. He also led funeral prayers for the martyred Kashmiri and Palestinian Muslims after Friday prayers. The religious groups delivered Friday sermons condemning brutal killing of Palestinian and Kashmiri Muslims, and also the shifting of US embassy to Jerusalem. During the Friday prayers, people had to offer prayers in the open areas outside the mosques because of paucity of space inside. The managements of mosques had erected tents outside the main mosque buildings to create additional space for offering of prayers. Despite that, people offered prayers on roads at many places.
Imams and Khateeb, in their sermons called upon the Muslim Ummah to purify their souls in the holy month through greater dedication to prayer, seek forgiveness of Almighty Allah and be kind to fellow beings. They urged for Muslim unity and called for making joint struggle for emancipation of Muslim world from the subjugation of colonial powers and Baitul Muqaddas from the clutches of Israel. They also laid emphasis on maintaining sectarian harmony and asked the people to beware of the miscreants and anti-state elements who wanted to create hatred among the Muslims. They called for greater unity among the Muslims to counter the present-day challenges. They made special prayers for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan, and unity of Muslims of the world.
Prayers were also offered for independence of Kashmir, Palestine and other parts of the world where Muslims are engaged in struggle for their rights of self-determination. People also prayed for solidarity, safety and prosperity of the country and the Muslim Ummah besides seeking Allah's blessings.
Shia Ulema Council (SUC) took out a rally from Lahore Press Club to the Chowk behind Punjab Assembly after Friday prayers in connection with the Al-Quds Day which was observed by the organisation on the appeal of its patron Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi. The protesters led by SUC Punjab president Allama Sibtain Haider Sabzwari, Allama Zulfiqar Haider and others were raising slogans against the US and Israel, and holding banners and placards with the slogans against Israel. Large number of women and children were also among the participants.
The rally was specially participated by Pir Usman Noori, Allama Afzal Haidri, Hafiz Kazim Raza, Shahbaz Haider Naqvi, Malik Shaukat Awan, Jafar Ali Shah and others.
The leaders while speaking to the participants, emphasised that Muslim renaissance organisations like Hamas, Akhwanul Muslimoon and Hizbullah were not terrorist but were striving for the rights of Muslims, ensuring their independence from the Zionists yoke and for the re-establishment of independent state of Palestine in the areas it had before 1948 and with the Al-Aqsa mosque restored at its historic status.
They warned that Palestine was the issue of entire Ummah and if it was ignored then the Muslim world would continue to suffer from enemy occupation of its holy places. Another rally in connection with the Al-Quds Day was taken out by Majlis Wahdat Muslemin from Islampura to the Faisal Chowk outside Punjab Assembly which was led by MWM leader Agha Hasan Hamdani, ISO leader Ali Kazmi, while other prominent leaders included Jawad Naqvi, Haider Moosvi, Jawad Moosvi, Muhammad Ali Johari, Allama Hussin Najfi, and others. The participants demanded immediate liberation of Palestine, Kashmir, and other Muslim lands from the occupation of non-Muslim powers through the same formula applied on East Timor and South Sudan.
Badshahi Masjid chief Khateeb Dr Abdul Khabeer Azad delivered Friday sermon on issue of illegal occupation of Palestine and Kashmir, and later staged a demonstration outside the masjid for the liberation Al-Quds.