In an extraordinary display of religious harmony, Sikhs and Hindus living in Malla village in the Indian state of Punjab came together to repair and renovate a mosque that was shut down in 1947. After all the hard work of the locals, the century-old masjid was reopened for the public on February 29. The Hindus and Sikhs involved initially set out to help a lone Muslim family in Malla who otherwise had to travel to Raikot or Jagraon to offer their daily prayers.
The rundown mosque was recognized by members of Majlis Ehrar Islam Hind Party of Ludhiana, who initially sought help from Maulana Habib Ur Rahman Sani Ludhianavi, Imam of Jama Masjid.
“The Malla village mosque was closed in 1947 after its run-down building collapsed. About six months ago, we approached the villagers, seeking their help to renovate it. Even as the village has just one Muslim family, the response had been overwhelming,” said Habib. “We spent around Rs 6 lakh from Habib Charitable trust to re-construct it and we are pleased to see that villagers –irrespective of their religion– even offered karsewa during the construction.”
Since its reopening last month, namaz has been read at the masjid on a daily basis, after non-Muslim villagers organized a langar as part of the inauguration.
Nayab Shahi Imam Maulana, along with village sarpanch Gurmail Singh and former village sarpanch Avtar Singh, are believed to have headed the renovation and repair project.
“We believe in communal harmony and want to set example for others that instead of creating walls of religion, one should live happily with each other… Besides the fund contribution, the villagers actively participated in the construction work too. Such examples of communal harmony are not uncommon in Punjab,” they said.
The lone Muslim family in the locality praised every individual involved in the renovation and repair of the mosque.
“Our Sikh brothers have always stood by us. And today, they helped rebuild our place of worship. We cannot thank them enough. We can now perform prayers in our village mosque,” said Iqbal Hussain.
Malla village has a population of approximately 5,000 people, of which roughly 90 percent happen to be Sikhs and 9 percent Hindus.
Photo Credits: Daily Pakistan