The Eid moon controversy on Tuesday took a violent turn in the well-entrenched Shia community in Lucknow as some people stormed the historical Juma Masjid and chased away the namazis who had assembled there to offer Eid prayers.
The police had to intervene to control the situation, as both sides came to blows in the mosque premises.
Those who disrupted the prayers said that since prominent Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad had not announced the sighting of the Eid moon, they would not allow prayers in the mosque.
For the first time in at least 45 years, the Eid prayer, which was to be led by Maulana Mohd Taqi, could not be held in the mosque. The disruption was a result of an ongoing tussle between pro and anti-Jawad forces in Shia community.
Maulana Taqi, who is also the vice president of the All-India Shia Personal Law Board, belongs to the rival faction. Taqi said that the attackers were supporters of Maulana Kalbe Jawad. The Maulana said he got the confirmation about appearance of moon from Allahabad, Jaunpur, Basti and some other places.
However the Jawad group was opposed to it because Jawad’s uncle - vice chairman of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Dr Kalbe Sadiq had announced that Eid would be celebrated on October 25. Jawad also did not lead the main Shia prayer at the Asfi mosque in Bara Imambara.
Maulana Taqi said nearly two dozens youth entered the mosque and started abusing the people. He said efforts were made to pacify them but they were unrelenting. He said that while police rushed to mosque to control the situation, he cancelled the namaz to maintain the sanctity of the mosque.
Later, the people under Taqi’s leadership offered prayers at another mosque. Maulana Taqi also castigated Dr Kalbe Sadiq for applying scientific methods to moon sighting. He said, "Everything cannot be decided by science."
Significantly the Shia community was sharply divided like their Sunni counterparts as they offered prayers at various mosques in the city.
The AISPLB member Maulana Yasoob Abbas has said that he had confirmation about Eid on Tuesday. He said that Dr Sadiq’s astronomical calculations was unacceptable.