LAHORE: Believers across the country observed the start of new Islamic year, 1440 Al Hijra calendar, on Tuesday with the beginning of holy month of Muharram, with traditional religious solemnity and fervour, but amid strict security arrangements to avert the threats of terrorism.
A number of religious organisations observed the 1st of Muharram as the martyrdom anniversary of second Khalifah, Hazrat Umar (RA), holding seminars and meetings to highlight his personality and achievements.
The Shia community was busy in preparation for observing the 10-day mourning with traditional religious zeal and solemnity, in connection with the Karbala tragedy and the martyrdom of the companions and family of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA), the grandson of Holy Prophet (PBUH) in 61AH some 14 centuries ago.
Hazrat Umar (RA) was martyred by a Zoroastrian slave, Abu Lu'lu Feroze, who stabbed several times in his belly while he was leading the Fajr prayers at Masjid Nabwi. Different religious organisations held meetings and seminars across the city to commemorate the glorious achievements of Hazrat Umar (RA) and the piety and strength of his personality.
Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat held special meeting chaired by ASWJ Lahore president Maulana Hafiz Hussain Ahmad and addressed by different scholars, who praised the KP and Sindh governments for declaring first Muharram as official holiday as the martyrdom day of Hazrat Umar Khattab (RA) and demanded Punjab and Balochistan to follow it in line with the aspirations of the people.
Addressing the meeting, the speakers said if country could have public holidays for political leaders and international events, why not should we have holidays for pious Khalifahs. They said the solution to all the problems facing the country and the Muslim Ummah lay in enforcing the Khilafat-e-Rasheda again. Addressing a meeting held by Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) various speakers said entire non-Muslim world was following the traditions set by Hazrat Umar (RA) to reach heights of prosperity while the Muslim world itself had disowned the very system which Hazrat Umar (RA) and other Khulafa-e-Rashedin practiced.
The religious scholars have a busy schedule for the next 10 days with a number of Majalis-e-Aza and mourning processions across the country to commemorate the grand sacrifice at Karbala.
The Lahore city district administration has taken extra security measures this year to maintain peace during Muharram and provide security to the Majalis-e-Aza and mourning processions scheduled to be taken out in different parts of the city. Special control rooms have been set up to monitor the situation and respond to emerging threats timely.
Besides, considerably increasing police patrolling and deployment at sensitive areas, paramilitary and Army units have also been put on stand by. Special squads of police and intelligence agencies have been formed to prevent any eventuality specially in the sensitive areas declared by the government.