Srinagar: Forget his 70 years of age, the love for the revered saint Khawaja Bahaudin Naqhsband (RA) keeps Abdul Rehman young. He has been a regular at Khoj-e-Digar, a special congregational Asr (post noon prayers), a 400 year-old tradition in Kashmir. And today was his 50th ‘Khoj-e-Digar.
The special prayer is held on every third of the Rabbi-ul-Awwal at Naqashband shrine in Nowhatta area of the old city here. The saint has never visited Kashmir, but enjoys a devout following across the Valley, more so in downtown Srinagar.
“Offering Khoj-e-Digar brings peace to my soul. I have never missed one since I was young,” said Rehman sitting on the stairs of the shrine. For some years, he had even lived near the shrine.
“My family including my father and grandfather offered Khoj-e-Digar throughout their life. My family is the die-hard follower of the Khawaja Naqshband Sahab (RA),” he said.
Rehman visits the shrine on the eve of Khoj-e-Digar and takes part in the nightlong prayers. He laments that the new generation is unaware of the teachings of Sufi saints and urges parents and the religious organizations to inculcate this awareness among the young.
Khoj-e-Digar was observed with religious fervor and enthusiasm. People including men, women, children participated in the prayers in large numbers. The Khadims (caretakers) had made all the arrangements for the occasion. The congregation was addressed by the Hurriyat M chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Talking to Kashmir Vision, a religious cleric Syed-ur-Rehman Shams said the special prayers at the shrine were being held for several centuries.
“Moulana Sidiq-ul-llah Shah started the religious practice 400 years ago,” he said. Shah said the prayers were a form of homage to Naqashband Sahab who had never missed the Asr prayers all his life.