SRINAGAR: When Qari Jameel Ahmad Ziai of Poonch completed the Quran recitation on the 27th of Ramzan, little did he know that his prayers have been answered and he is leaving for Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah.
An Imam for 20 years at Central Jamia Masjid, Bagyilal, Jamia Zia-ul-Uloom, Qari Jameel led the Taraweeh prayers and completed Holy Quran in 27 days.
Impressed by his efforts, local businessman Abdul Salam, who is chairman of Zia-ul-Haram Umrah Service Company gifted him a fully-funded Umrah package for achieving the feat.
“It has been a real honor to listen to his Quran recitation. We completed the recitation of the entire Quran on 27 Ramzan. I could not think of anything else but to offer him an Umrah package as a token of love,” Abdul Salam told The Kashmir Monitor.
What added an interesting dimension to the whole process was that Qari used to pray for those who wished to go on a pilgrimage but could not due to financial issues.
“He was always praying for underprivileged people who wanted to go on pilgrimage but could not go due to varied reasons. I thought why can’t I start the process and gift him the package,” Salam said.
Such is the fame of Qari Jameel that people from different areas used to listen to his recitation and offer Taraweeh prayers at Central Jamia Masjid, Bagyilal.
“We have been listening to his Quran recitation for the last 20 years. It has been a treat to listen to him. He has been leading the prayers all through. He is one of the popular figures in our area,” said Salam.
A small felicitation ceremony was organized at Jamia Masjid where the Imam was presented with the Umrah package. “We have kept it open. Whenever Imam Sahab wants to fly, we will arrange it. Our next group is leaving on May 9. If he is willing, he can also join in. If not, he can go with subsequent groups depending upon his timings,” said Salam.
It is for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir that any Imam has been gifted an Umrah package for leading the Taraweeh prayers. Usually, people felicitate imams by holding Dastarbandi or paying some cash after completing the prayers in Ramzan.