| Kashmir | 22 June 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Its nimaz (prayer) time. The month of Ramadan is half-way through, and a mosque in Kashmir is over flowing with faithfuls coming forward to answer the call of prayer.
They prepare to kneel on the streets in the sizzling, hot weather. And there are not enough mats to go around.
A Sikh cloth dealer extends to them cloth from his new to be spread as mats. He has been doing this for years now, according to responses on the social media.
The gesture by Swaran Singh, who sells clots on the pavements in Srinagar, was captured by the local Kashmir newspapers when a radio deejay shared captured the moments on his Facebook.
“2nd friday of holy month of ramadhan..witnessed the same thing again, same person sharing his brand new cloth pieces which he is supposed to sell for his livelihood,with people who came for offering friday prayers. Uploading some pics..,” said Sameen Khan, a radio jockey working with Big 92.7 FM station, on his Facebbok posting.
A reader commented on his Facebook: “He is a iconic figure outside our Karan nagar masjid,” commented a reader.”
The story was quickly picked up by the local media.
He is there every Ramadan, outside the mosque to offer the new fabrics for free. This has become a common sight for the people who live in and around the area. And the Muslims are bowled over by this Sikh man’s generosity, reports IBTimes in a story entitled ‘Here is how the Sikh community wins hearts in Kashmir during Ramadan’ (20 June 2016). See here.
Local newspaper Kashmiri Observer ran a story on 19 June 2016, entitled ‘Nimazees Fell Short of Prayer Mats, Sikh Trader Spread Merchandize’:
Srinagar: This Sikh man, hailing from Punjab, who ekes out a livelihood by selling cloth material on pavements here, has overnight turned into a hero online, at least on the social media, which is flooded with appreciation for his gesture of communal harmony.
The other day, the Musalees aspiring to offer Salah at Syed Karam Shah (RA) Masjid at Gole Market, Karan Nagar area were about to return dejected as there was no space left for them on prayers mats anywhere not even on the main road of this busy area.
This was exactly when Swaran Singh, selling cloth on the pavement, had surprise in store for them. The old man with long flowing beard complimentarily offered fresh suit pieces out of his stock as prayer mats.
Many of the Nimazees couldn’t believe their eyes that the man from another community was offering them his showcased suit pieces to be laid down on the main road.
“Don’t worry, use it, what better can be its use than to offer prayers on it,” the old man said with a smile on his face only to draw appreciation from the bystanders.
While one of the men offered him some money in return, Singh replied: “This is no business. I do it to please the Almighty.”
As with many things on the social media, you have your share of detractors. One reader, with the handle Shahnawaz Shah, disapproved of the act.
“Sikh kay passay say jo kabda khreeda gayaa uspar nimaz nhi asaktii. Becx nimaz kay liyaa sb kuch musalman ka hi hona chahay,” he commented at the deejay’s Facebook page.
But his voice was chided by a stream of postings.
“Bhai nimaaz sache dil se aati hai,” said one.
“What about prayer mats which are made in china or for that case everything from islamic caps and even tasbeeh are made in china. We should appreciate him for this gesture. He gave u his brand new cloth,” commented another reader.
There are about 370,000 Sikhs in Jamnu and Kashmir, according to one of the reports.
Sikhs and Muslims participate in each other’s festivals and Ramadan often serves as a reminder of the same. In the uptown Srinagar locality, Sanat Nagar, local Sikhs come out every evening with dates and water, and offer them to Muslims for breaking the fast, added one report.
Original story, entitled ‘Here is how the Sikh community wins hearts in Kashmir during Ramadan’ (20 June 2016), can be read here. International Business Times (IBTimes) is a digital global news publication with an Indian edition.
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