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In India, a Hyderabad mosque goes to English

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Hyderabad: A mosque in the Indian city of Hyderabad has turned to using English language for sermons in an effort to boost participation and spread the message of Islam.

The mosque in Banjara Hills, a quiet upscale neighborhood, has begun to offer English language services to its followers, and the result has been to bring in more visitors regularly to the air-conditioned hall.

The mosque has seen the more affluent Indians in the area come to the mosque for Friday services and the positive reaction among worshipers has seen the idea be successful.
“I love that it is in English because as I come from Delhi, it really helps,” an IT graphic designer, Morthy, told Bikyamasr.com.

Worshippers vouch for the mosque’s comfortable ambience which they say is conducive to religious learning. They add that unlike the traditional mullah, the mosque offers lectures and sermons on topical subjects by professionals working with various firms who have a practical approach to religion.

A large number of foreign students also come to the mosque as lectures are given in English.

Worshippers at the mosque said that understanding the Friday qutbah at other mosques across the city has become increasingly difficult as is delivered in chaste Urdu.
Syed Zaheeruddin, a 28-year-old assistant manager in an MNC in Hi-Tec City said, “Everything the young Muslim does is in English. We were educated in school with English as the medium of instruction. We discharge our professional duties in English. And despite Urdu being our mother tongue, we speak to our children in English at home too. So, everything taught here sinks effortlessly.”

The mosque witnesses around 400 worshippers every Friday out of which around 100 are women.

Insiya Abdul Raheem, a 23-year-old psychology graduate said, “I am more conditioned to listening to English and understand it better than I understand Urdu. And since I have a thirst for understanding religion, it makes sense that I come to this mosque.”

Officials say it was important they reinvented and thus started at the very first step of religious instruction – communication.

They added that for Muslims to be able to discharge religious duties, it was important that they understood them first.

Mirza Yawar Baig, an IIM-A graduate of 1985 batch and a management consultant serving as both as imam and khateeb of the mosque, said, “The principle of communication is the transmission of ideas and knowledge. English has become the language of the world and of education of the youth. Ironic as it may seem, it made perfect sense to disseminate knowledge of their own faith in the English language. It is important that I speak in a language that people understand since many understand English better than they understand their own mother tongue. The qutbah aims to help Muslims to understand their lives and current events in the context of the Quran, sunnah (teachings of the Prophet) and Islamic history. The purpose of the qutbah is defeated if people don’t understand it.”

(Courtesy: Bikyamasr.com)
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