“The mosque is inside the local fort and was closed since Partition in 1947. The Sikh community repaired and opened it on the occasion of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary because of memories of the Sikh Guru linked with the mosque”.
Masihuzzama Ansari | India Tomorrow
KAPURTHALA(PUNJAB)—The Sikh community and their religious leaders have handed over to Muslims a 550-year-old mosque in Sultanpur Lodhi town that was locked and in a dilapidated condition since Partition in 1947.
After repairing the mosque, the Sikh community members themselves invited local Muslims as also Muslims religious leaders from different parts of the state to inaugurate the mosque by offering “Shukrana” prayers.
There are several memories of Guru Nanak Dev associated with this mosque. Local people say that founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev had himself offered Namaz (Muslim prayer) in this mosque.
The decision to reopen the mosque was taken during the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev. A joint function of the Sikh and Muslim religious leaders was held inside the mosque itself in which Sikh and Muslim leaders expressed their views. The Friday congregational prayers that was held before the function, was named “Shukrana” prayers.
Among those who took part in the programme included Sikh religious leaders Sant Sukhdev Singh and Sant Balwinder Singh. From the Muslim side included Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), Punjab unit President, Abdul Shakoor, Maulana Syed Mujtaba Yazdani, Dr. Shahzad, Dr. Irshad and several others.
A large number of Muslims from Malerkotla, the only Muslim majority area in Punjab, also attended the joint function and offered congregational Friday prayers in the mosque opened for the first time after 1947.
Giani Avatar Singh from Malekotla Gurudwara told India Tomorrow, “It was a very good programme that was very important for both Muslims and Sikhs. It was important for Muslims because they offered prayers in a mosque that was locked for decades and for Sikhs, it was important because Guru Nanak Dev had offered Namaz in this mosque”.
JIH’s Abdul Shakoor said that the opening of the mosque was in the chain of different programmes being organised on 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nank Dev Sahib. “The mosque is inside the local fort and was closed since Partition in 1947. The Sikh community opened it on the occasion of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary because of memories of the Sikh Guru linked with this mosque”.
“Guru Nanak Dev spent about 14 years in Sultanpur Lodhi. He offered prayers in this mosque. He had very close relations with Muslims. One of his disciples was also a Muslim. Muslims and Sikhs have a common and friendly history”, said Abdul Shakoor. It may be recalled that several Muslim mosques closed since Partition in 1947, were repaired and handed over to Muslims by the Sikh community in the last few years. It was in Sultanpur Lodhi that the Sikh Founder is said to have attained enlightenment and declared here that there is only One Supreme Reality (Ik Onkar), the central tenet of Sikh religious philosophy. In fact, the Sikh holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib begins with words, “Ik Onkar”.
Another participant in the programme Zamir Ali Zamir said that the programme began with recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. Dr. Irshad spoke on the theme of Guru Nanak and Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Dr shahzad spoke on Guru Nanak and human rights. Maulana Mujtaba Yazdani spoke on the subject of Guru Nanak and Islam.