Srinagar: On the eve of upcoming Shab-e-Mehraj, no night-long prayers will be held at the revered shrine of Hazratbal, here in Srinagar. Last year, too, no celebrations were held at the shrine because of Covid restrictions.
Last year, the shrine had remained completely shut and no gathering was held on the eve of Shab-e-Mehraj due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, again, the pandemic has played spoilsport, though affecting only the observance of night-long prayers at the shrine. These prayers would otherwise have been held during the intervening night of upcoming Thursday and Friday.
Officials of the Jammu and Kashmir Wakf Board, who oversee the functioning and affairs of shrines across the valley, said that after holding several rounds of talks and deliberations with the entire shrine management, including the caretakers of the holy relics and other stakeholders, they came to the conclusion that no night-long prayers should be held on the eve of Shab-E-Mehraj to prevent the huge gathering of people inside the shrine.
On this occasion, usually, thousands of devotees from all parts of Kashmir valley throng to Hazratbal shrine to offer night-long prayers with loud calls of special prayers and supplication resounding till the morning amid emotional scenes, later followed by the displaying of holy relics.
“We held several rounds of talks with the shrine management body including the people associated with the displaying of holy relics, Khatmat-O-Moazzamat, and others, after which it was decided that no night-long prayers will be held at the shrine on the upcoming eve of Shab-E-Mehraj keeping in view the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mohammad Shafi Tola, a senior administrator of Hazratbal shrine, told Kashmir Reader.
However, he added, the traditional practice of displaying the holy relics of beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) at the shrine will remain unaffected and on both Friday and Saturday this week, the holy relics will be displayed to devotees for five times after every prayer during the day. On the next week, the holy relics will be again displayed to the devotees on Friday.
“On the eve of Shab-E-Mehraj, the holy relics will be displayed normally to the devotees after every prayer for two days, Friday and Saturday. Only the night-long prayers have been suspended, rest of the celebrations will go on as per routine. Apart from these two days, the holy relics will be displayed again on Friday of the next week,” he said.
Shab-E-Mehraj is celebrated on the 27th of Islamic month Rajab-ul-Murrajab, a day on which shrines and mosques across Kashmir remain abuzz with celebrations. The eve, also called as Al-Isra-wal-Miraj, holds significance because the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is believed to have gone on a special journey to meet Allah after crossing seven skies on this day.