No Friday prayers at Asafi mosque in Lucknow: Cleric

Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, who is Imam-e-Juma of Asafi mosque at Bara Imambara in Lucknow, has said that ‘Juma namaaz’ or Friday prayers at the mosque will remain suspended for the time being.

He also said that community members can offer individual prayers but ‘namaaz’ in a congregation cannot be performed as per the conditions set by the government.

Jawwad, who is general secretary of Majlis-e-Ulama-e-Hind, said in a statement that the mandated distance of six feet between two ‘namaazis’ cannot fulfil the criterion of what constitutes a ‘jamaat’.

“People can pray at mosques individually but not as a ‘jamaat’ under the given conditions,” the Maulana said.

He said allowing in people at this juncture could lead to mismanagement of crowd at the Asafi mosque, which sees the biggest congregation of Shias on Fridays.

“If we announce that ‘Juma namaaz’ will be offered, it will lead to chaos and crowd management will be difficult. So ‘Juma namaaz’ will not be offered in Asafi mosque until the condition to maintain six-feet distance continues and the coronavirus situation does not improve,” he said.

Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, on March 19, had announced the suspension of Juma prayers at the Asafi mosque.

While there will be no congregational prayers, the Bara Imambara, Chhota Imambara, Shahnajaf and other monuments under Husainabad & Allied Trust (HAT) are open for devotees from Monday.

The monuments come under HAT and are protected by ASI. They are religious and tourist destinations. The gates, sanctum and mosques under HAT will open for access to devotees, but not for tourists.