“In recent years there has been an increase in the number of challenges to Islam at the global level; hence we should have to increase the level of our struggle and endeavour for creating unity and brotherhood amongst our ranks because if we remain divided within ourselves we are bound to lose and bear its massive negative consequences. I also love you the same way as you love me because no differences can come in love and affection between believers. Clinging onto Maslaki (sectarian) and Jamaati (organisational) differences is lethal and negative; therefore it is important to have unity and solidarity among all Muslim organisations, scholars (Ulema) and other influential people in India, which would help in delivering the message of Islam in an efficient and effective manner, and from which the common man can derive benefits. Creating gulf among the Muslims by rousing feelings of differences may be the work of its enemies, but surely it is not the way of Muslims.” These thoughts were expressed by Imam-e-Haram, Dr. Saud Bin Ibrahim Al-Shuraim, before leading the Isha prayer at Masjid Isha’at-e-Islam in the sprawling campus of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind on Mar 4.
Sheikh Al-Shuraim, who was on a five-day visit to attend the 31st All India Ahl-e-Hadees Conference, came to India on the invitation of Markaz Jamiat-e-Ahl-e-Hadees. Although he was here to attend the conference, he accepted the invitation from various other organisations and led prayers at various places in and around Delhi.
He addressed a select gathering at JIH headquarters and later delivered a brief Khutba to the men, women and children, who had been waiting for him for quite some hours, before leading the Isha prayer. At JIH headquarters, Ameer Jamaat, Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, delivered a welcome note in honour of the Imam, and presented to him mementos. Sheikh Al-Shuraim praised the efforts of JIH and said that the Jamaat, since its inception, has been working on well defined parameters and boundaries and its area of influence has increased to east and west alike. He expressed good thoughts and respect he had for the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maudoodi and said he has been influenced a lot by the style of writing and characteristics of Maulana Maudoodi. He further mentioned some books of Maulana Maudoodi, including Correspondence between Maulana Maudoodi and Maryam Jameela, and termed it as a classic example of the distinct and captivating style of writing of Maulana. (Maryam Jameela was a Jewess, who reverted to Islam after reading the literature of Maulana Maudoodi and having constant correspondence with him through letters, and later migrated to Pakistan and settled down there).
Maulana Jalaluddin Umari, in his welcome note, spoke about the foundation and constitution of Jamaat-e-Islami and said, “Jamaat-e-Islami was founded on the grounds of the Qur’ān and Sunnah and gives highest priority to the Qur’ān and Sunnah in its constitution and considers it the very base of all its activities.”
He further said that the extensive and appealing way in which the Sheikh has talked on unity, solidarity and brotherhood duirng his 5-day visit, would surely help in putting aside the sectarian differences and pave the way which would help the people of India in following the Uswa-e-Hasana i.e. the way of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him).
As per the arrangements made by JIH to welcome Imam Al-Shuraim, it must be said that they were immaculate and commendable. There were around 25000 people, who had come from very far off places to pray behind the Imam. There were many who even came from outside Delhi; some even came from Lucknow and Kanpur as well. There were around 400 police personnel who were called in to maintain order. The mosque and the two big sprawling lawns around and in front of the mosque were jam-packed with people.
There were arrangements of projector screens so that the people outside could also see the happenings inside the mosque. There was separate arrangement for ladies and the ladies section also had the projector screen to display the visual of inside. People started coming to Markaz since Asr prayer and by the time of Isha there was hardly any space left. The atmosphere was akin to that of a festival and JIH used the gathering to disseminate and propagate the word of Allah as from Asr various members of Jamaat did a continuous feeding of people and acquainted them with the teachings of the Qur’ān and Sunnah. Among the various great virtues discussed by the Jamaat leaders, one which deserves attention was the claim which they made in the very beginning. They said Allah has made compulsory only five daily prayers and the prayer which Imam Al-Shuraim will lead will be treated as a normal prayer and will have no specific significance. It was necessary to float this thought as many people had inkling that this very prayer would be more significant than the rest of the prayers.
Imam Al-Shuraim was escorted to Masjid Ishaat-e-Islam in an open jeep. The light decoration was impeccable and the mosque looked extremely beautiful. Various correspondents from print and electronic media came to cover the event. Members of SIO (Students Islamic Organisation) did an exceptional job and looked after the management of the programme. SIO volunteers formed human chains at various fronts to provide due protection for the visiting guest. They willingly opted not to pray behind Imam Al-Shuraim so as to look after the security arrangement and were later found praying when the Imam had left.
Imam Al-Shuraim had a very tight schedule but still he managed to respond to the calls of many organisations and groups. He arrived in India on Mar 1 and returned on Mar 5. If we analyse his talks we must admit that he remained far far aloof from sectarian differences and stressed unity, which in fact is the need of the hour. On Mar 1, he led the Isha prayers after attending the Ahl-e-Hadees conference and advised people to consciously follow the teachings of Islam and to consider only the Book of Allah and Sunnah to be the only way out. On Mar 2, he led the Friday prayers at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan and later in the evening led Maghrib prayers at Jama Masjid, Delhi. On Mar 3, he led the Fajr prayer at Jamia Islamia Sanabil and laid the foundation stone of Shariat College. On Mar 4, he responded to the call of Darul-ul-Uloom Deoband and went to Deoband and delivered a brief Khutba before leading the Zuhr prayer.
The overall visit of Imam Al-Shuraim was good and he discussed various topics in his Khutbas, however one thing on which he emphasised most is the unity of Muslims. The sectarian differences have split Muslims and it is the need of the hour that we must stand united. In some of his Khutbas he laid emphasis on following the footsteps of Sahabas, the role models who must be emulated for the betterment of individuals as well as society. At other occasions he called on Muslims to adopt the system of Islam for the elevation of society and said that Islam has solution to all the problems of humanity.
Sheikh Al-Shuram has been serving as an Imam and orator of Haram Shareef since 1991. He is one of the six Imams of Haram and has served as a judge in Saudi Arabia. He is a Ph.D. from Ummul Qura University, Makkah.