Srinagar: Thousands of people participated in the special Asr prayers, traditionally known as Khoj-e-Digar, at the Khanqah-i-Naqshbandiya shrine in Khwaja Bazaar in downtown Srinagar on Wednesday. Later, Touba-e-Istegfaar, special prayers of repentance, led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were offered at the shrine.
People from Srinagar and outskirts came out in large numbers despite the bitter cold. The Khoj-e-Digar is a 400-year-old practice of offering congregational Asr prayers at the shrine on the 3rd day of the month of Rabi-ul- Awal.
Zoona, a 70-year-old woman from Khanyar, said she eagerly waits for the day and believes in the “power of desperate prayer” that she found in Khoj-e-Digar.
The Urs of Hazrat Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband Sahib (RA) is observed on the 3rd Rabi-ul-Awwal every year. Gatherings for special prayers (Khatmat-ul-muazzamat) are held for twelve days from 21st Safar to 3rd Rabi-ul Awwal. These gatherings are held every morning at the Khanqah-i-Naqshbandiya.
Hazrat Khwaja Naqshband Sahib (RA) was born in 718 AH at Qasr-i-Arifan, a village in Bukhara. The shrine is dedicated to him, where one of the great saints of the Naqshbandi order, Hazrat Moinuddin Naqshband (RA), was laid to rest along with his wife and two sons.
Noted poet Zareef Ahmad Zareef said the Khoj-e-Digar is considered a very important prayer in Kashmir.
“We participate in the congregational Asr prayers known as Khoj-e-Digar only to repent for our sins and to seek the blessings of Almighty Allah,” he said.
Addressing the massive gathering at the shrine of Khawja Bahauddin Naqshband Sahib (RA), Mirwaiz said that the Uswa-e-Hasana (the way of living) of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has been and will continue to be the best path to walk upon, not only for Muslims but for the entire mankind.
Mirwaiz said that if Muslims are facing problems across the world, they “are to a large extent because we have ignored and deviated from the Quranic teachings and the Sunnah.”
Paying tributes to the great saint, Mirwaiz said that Hazrat Khawja Bahaudin (RA) worked tirelessly for the establishment of Tawheed and implementation of Sunnah among the Muslims of the world.
He said great Sufi saints like him were blessed and chosen by Almighty Allah to spread the teachings of the revered Prophet Muhammad (SAW) among people. “Their life is a living example of piety and simplicity. They were role models for the thousands of people who followed the prominent Naqshbandi order, which has its roots in Bukhara, Uzbakistan,” he said.
Mirwaiz said it is because of the hard work and passion of these great saints and their dedicated disciples that Islam reached and was propagated in Kashmir.
Mirwaiz said the recitation of zikr, as shown by the great saint Hazrat Naqshband sahib (RA), is a simple way of purifying the heart and cleansing the soul.