Sessions on topics like Iqbal Shinasi, Tareeqe Islam and Shariah Information Service are a big hit at Masjid-e-Aliya

Hyderabadis gain fresh insights into the poet of the East here more than anywhere else. No, the place in question is not a classroom, but a mosque. To understand and appreciate the philosophy and works of Urdu’s best known poet, Allama Iqbal, people drop in at the Masjid-e-Aliya at Gunfoundry.

Not just spiritual bliss one gains here. One also goes out with a higher quotient of poetry and Shariah principles. Over the years, this masjid has been more than a place of worship. The weekly sessions organised by it on various topics such as Iqbal Shinasi, Tareeqe Islam and Shariah Information Service are a big hit. The programme on the poet-philosopher especially is a big draw.

The interesting thing is the conduct of the programmes week after week without a break. A record 684 lectures have been delivered in the Iqbal Shinasi session alone. The programme is on since October 1997. This is followed by 569 Tareeqe Islam lectures and 461 talks on Shariah.

The session on Allama Iqbal, the best articulated Muslim response to modernity, is a rage. Come Wednesday, people religiously gather into the conference hall of the mosque after the ‘Asr’ prayers to listen about their favourite poet. Professors, critics and experts on ‘Iqbaliat’ wax eloquent bringing out hitherto unknown facets of the ‘shayr-e-Mashriq’. Research scholars make it a point not to miss this programme.

“Those who attend the programme go back with a fresh perspective of Iqbal. One wouldn’t be able to get such in-depth knowledge even through research,” says Dr. Syed Islamuddin Mujahid, a professor at Urdu Arts (Evening) College.

The list of speakers who have addressed these sessions is a veritable who-is-who of Urdu literature. Muztar Majaz, Yousuf Azmi, Dr. M.M. Taqi Khan, Moulana Khalid Saifulla Rahmani, Dr. Ziauddin Shakeeb to name a few. Why these programmes? “I wanted to make the mosque a centre of religious and cultural activities,” says Ghulam Yazdani, the moving spirit behind these sessions.

These programmes are no longer confined to the mosque premises. Now one can watch the lectures on the website

An advocate by profession, Mr. Yazdani has been associated with the Masjid-e-Aliya right from1960 in different capacities. Interestingly, there is no sectarian agenda here. Sunnis, Shias, Mehdvis all offer prayers here and take part in the programmes.

Another unique thing about this century old mosque is the increasing trend among Muslims to perform ‘nikah’ here. Apart from its central location, the large conference hall, exclusive prayer portion for women and the parking facility makes Masjid-e-Aliya a preferred choice.

Mr. Yazdani’s dynamism is perhaps captured best by this couplet of Allama Iqbal:

Uth ke ab bazme jahan ka aur hi andaz hai

Mashriq-o-Maghrib main tere daur ka aghaaz hai

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