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Ulema oppose capital administration’s request for approved sermons, Azaan at uniform timings

Ulema oppose capital administration’s request for approved sermons, Azaan at uniform timings

ISLAMABAD: The administration once more attempted to have all mosques and imambargahs in the capital deliver written or approved sermons on Fridays and deliver the Azaan at the same time, but was opposed by ulema.

Capital administration officials told Dawn that officers from the administration, including Additional Deputy Commissioner Dr Asif Rahim, met with ulema from various sects to discuss matters related to approved sermons and the Azaan.

The meeting aimed to standardise sermons delivered at all places of worship, they said. The ulema were told that written or approved sermons would maintain religious and sectarian harmony in the capital and avoid religious hatred.




However, the officials said the administration failed to convince the ulema during the meeting and the idea of delivering written sermons was largely opposed, the officials said. The ulema expressed concern at the possibility of having their sermons approved by the administration.

Ulema agree to deliver Friday sermons on agreed-upon topics

After failing to persuade the ulema, the administration asked them to deliver sermons on approved topics, to which they agreed. Officials said ulema were also given the aforementioned topics.

They said the administration had approached the International Islamic University Islamabad earlier and sought help in this regard. The university suggested 35 topics, including the five pillars of Islam, the prophets, Ahle Bait and fundamental rights, which have been divided into more than a hundred sub-topics.

The ulema also opposed the request to deliver the Azaan at the same time across the capital, as different sects have different timings for some prayers.

The administration asked ulema to register all places of worship and seminaries with the Directorate of Industries and Labour as soon as possible. Once registered the administration will be able to monitor all their activities, officials said, including details of donations and funds received and spent.

The ulema told the administration they would discuss the matter internally to reach a decision and will prepare a joint strategy, which the administration will be informed of.

Officials said the ulema also asked the administration to hold a convention and invite ulema from all sects and from all over the country to discuss these issues.

It was decided that the convention would be held next month, after the ulema’s internal meetings have concluded.

The administration also tried, unsuccessfully, to have approved or written sermons delivered during Friday prayers last year, and was opposed by ulema.

When contacted, Dr Rahim, who is also the deputy director of the Auqaf department, said the aforementioned meeting was an internal meeting with ulema and that he did not know why such hype was created around it.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2019

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