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A thread of shared belief

india Updated: Sep 23, 2006 14:56 IST

THERE IS no disagreement in religious views between the Hindus and Muslims when it comes to the rituals of paying obeisance to departed souls. The dates might differ, but not the reverence towards forefathers.  

The Pitr-Moksha Amavasya, the fortnight rituals of Pitr-Paksha (period of paying obeisance to departed souls) ended today. The observance of ritual is not limited to Hindus alone: followers of Islam share the same belief as well.

A large number of people were seen performing rituals and offering prayers to the departed souls by getting into waist-deep water of Upper Lake at Sheetaldas Ki Bagia this morning with Kush (grass-leaves) and sesame in hands.

According Hindu scriptures, souls in the ether medium visit earth and accept prayers and water from their living relatives during the Pitr-Paksha fortnight.

Pitr-Moksha Amavasya, which is also observed as ‘Mahalaya’ in Bengal, is treated as the most-important occasion for the Hindus to pay reverence to their deceased forefathers through ‘Tarpan’. The end of Pitr-Paksha period leads to the beginning of ten-day Navratra festival and Durgotsav.

Mahalaya is an auspicious occasion observed seven days before the Durga Puja, and heralds the advent of Durga, the goddess of supreme power. It’s a kind of invocation or invitation to the mother goddess to descend on earth – “Jago Tumi Jago”. This is done through the chanting of mantras and singing devotional songs.

In a marked similarity, Shab-e-Baraat for the Muslims is a night of worship and salvation and it is commonly believed that during this night, Allah prepares the destiny for all people on earth for the coming year.

“The Paighambar Sa’ab (The Prophet Muhammed) advised the followers of Islam to read verses from Holy Qur’an, offer Namaaz and Ibadat and it’s the beginning of Ramzan period,” says Nurullah Yusuf Zai of Jamiat-Ulama, MP. He said people also visit graveyards to pray for the well-being of the departed souls of the ancestors and near and dear ones.

“The prayers are offered so that the souls may get a place in Heaven and those who are already there may achieve a higher stage,” he added, highlighting the importance of Shab-e-Baraat.

Sharing a similar view for the followers of Hinduism, Pt Pankaj Bhushan Mishra, a preacher of Shri Bagwat and an astrologer by profession adds, “Pitr-Moksha Amavasya is very important as the departed souls of ancestors visit on earth to accept prayers from their relatives, which leads them to rest in peace in Heaven”. 

Both Mishra and Zai opined that followed by the ritual of offering obeisance – the holy period of Navratra festival and Ramzan begin – again a similarity between the two religious beliefs, without any dispute or disagreement.