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HyderabadBibi ka Alawa cynosure of all eyes

Bibi ka Alawa cynosure of all eyes

Published: 16th Aug 2021 12:23 am

Hyderabad: Bibi ka Alawa in the historic southern part of the city is the cynosure of all eyes with the Islamic month of Muharram commencing a few days ago. Here the Bibi ka Alam (standard of Bibi Fatima) is installed for centuries and a lot of religious activities are witnessed during the month.

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Special prayer meetings are held at the Bibi ka Alawa throughout the Muharram month, especially in the first ten days, with a host of dignitaries cutting across religious and political affiliations visiting the place to make offering to the alam.

Syed Hamed Hussain Jaffery of Telangana Shia Youth Conference explains that the practice dates back to Qutb Shahi period when Muhammad Qutb Shah’s wife installed an alam in the memory of Bibi Fatima at Golconda. Later, during the Asaf Jahi era, the alam was moved over to Bibi ka Alawa at Dabeerpura specially built for the purpose.

The alam contains a piece of the wooden plank on which Bibi Fatima was given her final ablution before burial. The relic is believed to have reached Golconda all the way from Karbala in Iraq during the reign of Golconda king Abdullah Qutub Shah, said Jaffery. The ‘alam’ has six diamonds and other jewels donated by the builder of Azakhana-e-Madar-e-Deccan, Mir Osman Ali Khan. The jewellery is kept in six black pouches and tied to the standard.

According to Syed Ali Jaffery of Shia Companions, the alam is carried on a caparisoned elephant on ‘Yaum-e-Ashura’, the 10th day of Muharram month. It is followed by a procession with thousands of barefoot and bare-chested mourners from around 50 ‘anjumans’, including a few from various parts of the country.

The procession starts around noon from Bibi-ka-Alawa and culminates at Chaderghat in the evening, covering a distance of about 5 km. En route. it stops for a brief period at the Ashoorkhana ‘Khadam-e-Rasool’ where the footprints of Prophet Mohammed are displayed. The next stop is the Peeli Gate, Purani Haveli, where one of the members of the Nizam’s family offers a ‘dhatti’ to the Alam. The third stop is the Alawa-e-Sartouq Mubarak near Darulshifa playground. Here, women mourners are permitted inside the premises where a ‘matham’ is performed for a short period of time. The fourth is Azakhana Zehra, where a ‘dhatti’ is offered by a representative or member of the Nizam’s family.

According to historian Mohd Safiullah, Mir Osman Ali Khan gave importance to the procession and would walk barefoot behind the alam apart from donating precious diamonds and rubies. “The donations made are usually referred to as ‘jawaharath’ meaning jewellery,” he explained.

Elephant

AIMIM MLC Riyaz ul Hassan Effandi said that initially, the alam was carried upon an elephant named Hyderi, and later the job was done by Rajani, its calf. For some years another elephant, Hashmi, also carried the alam.

However, after the courts did not grant permission for the use of captive elephant for religious procession, the HEH The Nizam Trust and local Shia organisations have been bringing elephant from other States for carrying the Bibi ka Alam.

In 2019, an elephant, Sudha, was brought from Bijapur in Karnataka. “This year we got an elephant Madhuri from Kolhapur in Maharashtra. On our representation, the TS Wakf Board is bearing the cost of transportation and other expenses of the elephant,” said the MLC.

 

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