Saeed Ahmad Khan (Viewsheadlines),
Mumbai: There is an old mosque, in Dadar, Mumbai, named after a well known saint Peer Baghdadi. Inside the compound of the mosque lies is his grave. This is a mosque that is not located in a Muslim populated area. It is a largely Hindu mohalla, but Muslims have never faced any issue in offering prayers or coming to the mosque, that is simply huge.
It is interesting to note that not a single Muslim family is housed near the mosque. The quarters built in the mosque for the residence of the people working in the mosque are only occupied by the Imam, Muezzin and the caretakers. Despite this, everyday 1,200 to 1,400 people come here to break their fast in the evening and offer their Maghreb prayers.
Another reason why this mosque is unique and important is that even in other mosques that are located in Muslim populated areas, hardly ever such a large group of people breaks fast there. This is the reason that here in Peer Baghdadi mosque, for those breaking fast in the mosque, sweet drinks or lemonade is prepared in drums and people form a queue to get their glass of lemonade. Another thing unique to this mosque is that after Iftaar, the fast breaking meal, and after the Maghreb prayers, there is an arrangement for all present to have tea.
Expectantly, all this builds up a huge expense. But the people give with a large heart in this holy month and there is sufficient amount of all necessities present for the sake of iftaar everyday. The arrangement of this large table is done by the Committee that serves the mosque. The Mosque Committee members and the cooperation of people make this large spread possible every single day for the whole month of Ramadan.
The Mosque Committee is managed by Muhammad Siddique. He informed that before the onset of Ramadan a meeting is held. All those attending this meeting volunteer to bear the expense of one item for the whole month, like one would bear the cost of lemonade, another would provide for the fruits, while another would bear the cost of tea, another for the milk, and so on. Even different people are responsible for different fruits. There is no collection of funds required and no treasury is formed. Besides, some people bring food items with themselves to eat among the people and some other contribute by bringing in some food items of their own.
This elaborate system makes one wonder from where do people come here to contribute when there is no Muslim population nearby. The answer is that the contributors are among the people who have shops nearby, or even hawkers and vendors who do business nearby contribute. A large number of Muslims work in the factories nearby, they also form a bulk of contributors. There is no other mosque between Mumbai Central Railway station and Maham Railway Station, so even travelers become part of the contributing team in this large spread of Iftaar and join the people breaking fast here in the mosque. This is the reason behind the large number of people present in this mosque to break fast.
Md. Siddique further informed that the variety of sweet drink offered for Iftaar varies everyday. Everyday two kinds of sweet drink is prepared in two drums for the people. For efficient distribution, bamboo fences are erected through where the queue of people can come and easily take their glass of drink quickly. For the preparation of the drink, 120 liters of milk is required everyday. For the preparation of post maghreb tea, 30 liters of milk is required. The tea is prepared for roughly a thousand people. People come in a single file through the bamboo fences to get their tea, just like they do for their drink.
But the strength of people grows after maghreb here. For the night prayer of taraweeh, roughly 3,000 people come to the mosque everyday. This strength of people offering taraweeh here continues till the recitation of the entire Quran is completed in the prayers.
And in Fridays of Ramadan, the entire praying area of the mosque gets full, including the ground floor and the upper floor, so two shifts of Friday prayers are offered here to accommodate all the people who have come to the mosque for Friday prayers in Ramadan.
Translated from Inquilab by Nabila Habib