Hyderabad: Come the holy month of Ramzan, thousands of huffaaz, who have memorised the Quran, get employed as Imaams in various mosques in the city to lead taraweeh (special prayers offered in Ramzan).
It is no secret that all round the year, the huffaaz, are paid really less for their services. Nevertheless, it is a contrary situation during Ramzan when they are in huge demand for ‘taraweeh’ prayers which are offered in almost all mosques apart from apartment buildings, function halls and even schools.
In the taraweeh prayers, the Imaam – one who leads the prayers – recites the chapters of holy Quran in sets of three, five or ten chapters a day till completion of the religious book. The huffaaz are paid anywhere between Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000 for leading the taraweeh prayers for one set. “Several mosques hold three or four sets of taraweeh during Ramzan month. This way, most of them find employment at various mosques,” says Maulana Kaleem Ahmed, a teacher at a Madarsa-e-Babul Uloom.
Abdul Haq Siddiqui, one of the 5,000-odd huffaaz in the city, has already completed the first set of prayers at a mosque in Shamshabad. “I recited five paras (chapters) of Quran at a mosque in Shamshabad and now reading three paras prayers at a mosque in Vattepally. At the end of the month, I will get around Rs 15,000,” he says. A few big mosques pay around Rs 40,000 for the service.
Several huffaaz lead the prayers at two to three different mosques. “It depends on the management of the mosque on hiring one or more huffaaz to lead the prayers,” said Maulana Abdul Sayeed.
During the day, the huffaaz, sit at homes and revise the chapters which they have to recite in the taraweeh prayers and at night, some visit business establishments which also hire them to recite the Quran at stores.
There are around 1,200 hundred madarsas in the city which impart Islamic education. “To become a huffaaz, one has to complete a seven-year course. Students have to memorise all the 30 chapters of the holy Quran apart from other Islamic studies,” said another Islamic scholar.
Generally, a huffaaz leads the regular prayers at the local mosques and gets a pittance between Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 a month except at big mosques where it is bit higher.