When Imam of Jama Masjid Bukhari said no to Narendra Modi, yes to Nawaz Sharif

Shahi Imam
New Delhi, Oct 30: Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have won hearts of many in India, but for Imam of Jama Masjid he is still untouchable. Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari believes that Modi has yet not won the confidence of minority community.

His animosity could be gauged by the fact that he has not invited Modi but urged Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to attend the occasion of formal announcement of his successor.

His nineteen-year-old son Shaban Bukhari has been chosen to succeed his father as the 14th Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid. He will be anointed as the 'Nayab Shahi Imam' (Vice Imam) at a ceremony on November 22 which will be attended by around 1,000 religious leaders from across the world.

It is really shocking that Shahi Imam has not requested Narendra Modi to join the occasion, though BJP's other important leaders like Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union health Minister Harsh Vardhan have been invited. From Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi have got invitation. Samajwadi party chief and former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mulayam Singh Yadav has also been requested to grace the occasion.

The Shahi Imam's post is considered quite influential. Bukhari's endorsement of Congress in the run-up to the 2014 general elections had triggered criticism against the party. The Muslim cleric had also extended his support to SP before the 2012 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

Jama Masjid's history

From nearly 400 years, Imamat of the Jama Masjid has been continuing in the same family from generation to generation.

Jama Masjid's history dates back to 1656, when Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari was conferred the title of "Shahi Imam" by then Mughal emperor Shahjahan. He was sent to Delhi by the Shah of Bukhara, then emperor of Uzbekistan, following a request from Shahjahan.

"The first namaz took place in 1656 and it was then Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari was conferred the title of 'Shahi Imam'. From that day, in accordance to Shahjahan's wish, the Imamat of the Jama Masjid has been continuing in the family from generation to generation," Syed Ahmed Bukhari told . 

Explaining the process of choosing his heir, he said that it has to be seen which son is capable of becoming 'Imam' and whether he has religious inclination or not. 

"He (Shaban) is capable and has religious inclination, in addition to that he is doing his graduation in Amity University. He has had strong leaning toward humanities, he wanted to serve humanity and social work has been his main subject. He is also doing his graduation social work. 

"So keeping in mind his capabilities and his inclination the decision was taken to appoint him as the 'Nayab Shahi Imam' of the Jama Masjid and he will be the next, that is, the 14th Shahi Imam," he said. 

Talking about the grooming process, Bukhari said, "I was appointed as the 'Nayab Shahi Imam' in 1973 by my grandfather and I was appointed as the Shahi Imam in 2000. Similarly I will groom my son, he said.

One India News

(With inputs from PTI)

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