HUNDREDS of devout Muslims flocked to the Minhaj-ul-Quran International (London) Centre in Forest Gate and paid homage to the sacred relics of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).
The event Halaqa al-Salat alan Nabi literally Service for the Offering of Salutations upon the Prophet (S.A.W.) marked its 50th anniversary. The golden jubilee of its inception was marked on Saturday 25th July 2011. Hundreds of devout Muslims paid visitation and respect to nine sacred relics of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). This appears to be the first such gathering in the UK where numerous blessed hairs of Prophet Muhammad were displayed together in one event. The visitation service commenced from late evening and continued until dawn.
Traditionally sacred relics of the Prophet Muhammad and his pious predecessors were preserved by his companions. The safeguarded relics were passed down thousands of generations by noteworthy Muslims. The relics stored in large scented jars contained sacred hairs of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).
Rafiq Ahmad a resident of Waltham Forest described the experience as “awesome” and “meaningful”. Rafiq said: “I am delighted to be one of the participants at today’s event and hope everyone will cherish these moments and take memories with them”.
Other sacred relics of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) include: The Prophet’s sandals, sword, and holy mantle preserved in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. These were sent to the Ottoman Rulers between the 16th to the late 19 century. Ottoman ruler Sultan Selim I was probably the last Muslim ruler to keep the Prophet’s mantle. The various relics of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), his pious predecessors and other essential items purportedly associated with Prophet Muhammad were safely brought to Turkey, where they remain to this day and visited by thousands of people every year. The sacred relics are known as the al-Athar al-Mubarak – the blessed relics in Arabic.
The custodians of the Prophet’s sacred relics included: al-Hajj Muhammad Younis al-Qadri of Redbridge, al-Hajj Ahmad Sulaiman of Waltham Forest and al-Hajj al-Sufi Muhammad al-Amin of Newham. The event was also attended by the mosques Senior Imam Shaykh Muhammad Sadiq al-Qurayshi al-Azhari, Deputy Imam Shaykh Muhammad Uthman al-Azhari, Chairman Minhaj Peace & Integration Council al-Shaykh Abu Adam al-Shirrazi of Leicester and al-Sufi Muhammad Akhtar Khan of Eastham
Shaykh Muhammad Sadiq al-Qurayshi al-Azhari gave some historic information about the hairs of the Prophet (S.A.W.) found all over the world. He said: “The companions of the Prophet (S.A.W.) would not allow a single hair to drop on the ground when the Prophet’s hair was cut or shaved”. Shaykh Qurayshi said the hairs were distributed and are found in every corner of the world wherever Muslims are present. He said that these are also numerous in India.
The centre was full to the brim with the gathering standing in respect in presence of nine sacred hairs arranged on a specially designed self lit stage. The audience viewed these hairs in awe whilst hymns and chants were recited in the background.
Ahmad Sulaiman, a custodian of the sacred relics, described the function as very well organised and spiritual. He said: "From today, Minhaj-ul-Quran holds the first position in how excellently they organised and arranged this event." Many of the attendees reported their personal experiences of feeling a spiritual presence in the hall.