Muslim women perform evening prayers in the compound of Hazratbal shrine
Muslim women perform evening prayers in the compound of Kashmir’s Hazratbal shrine, which houses what is believed to be a relic from the beard of Prophet Mohammed. (Courtesy: Reuters)

SRINAGAR — Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board on Tuesday ordered the restoration of ‘Shab-Khawani’ at all shrines of the Union Territory and directed the authorities to put in place all necessary arrangements.

An order issued by Executive Magistrate, Tehsildar of J&K Waqf Board, Srinagar, Ishtiyaq Mohi-ud-din, a copy of which lies with the news agency KNO, said that Jammu and Kashmir has been an abode of Sufi Saints and their shrines are spread across the length and breadth of the UT of J&K, whose administrative affairs are managed by the J&K Waqf Board.

“Apart from the usual religious practices, the practice of Shab Khawani has been a precedence of centuries at these shrines, that was observed with great religious fervour and zeal, preferably on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday,” it said, adding that the practice of ‘Shab-Khawani’ at most shrines was discontinued because of the turmoil and deteriorating law and order situation a few decades back.

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The Chairperson of J&K Waqf Board has desired that in view of the improvement in the overall law and order situation in the UT, the practice shall be resumed to restore the sanctity and religious fervour associated with Shab Khawani.

“Now, therefore, the general public is hereby informed that ‘Shab-Khawani’ is being restored at all shrines of Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board, and shall be preferably observed on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday. However, it can also be observed on any other night of the week depending upon the local custom and past practice,” it said.

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“Executive officers/administrators and the staff posted at shrines are hereby directed to put in place all necessary arrangements to ensure ‘Shab-Khawani’ is observed in a peaceful and serene environment. They shall give wide publicity through public notices and announcements to generate awareness among the devotees in this regard,” the order reads.

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