Thiruvananthapuram

Chala Juma Masjid tweaks tradition

Allows the faithful to have masala kanji before prayers

In a sign of changing times, the old Chala Juma Masjid has rewritten tradition during Iftar. Everyday, scores of faithful flocking to the mosque to break the Ramzan fast do not have to offer prayers before tasting the gooey goodness of the masala kanji (nombu kanji) after a whole day of fasting. Here, the faithful break their fast with fruit and water and can immediately have their fill of the nutritious kanji before turning their thoughts to matters spiritual.

Kethel Mahin, chairperson of the IMCT charitable trust which runs the affairs of the mosque, says earlier people would offer prayers in a hurry and rush to partake of the kanji. “There was little thought to praying with complete devotion. Their minds wandered. Now, after breaking the fast and having kanji, they can concentrate on their prayers without thinking of other things.”

‘Was not easy’

Mr. Mahin says a whole lot of thought went into changing the accepted practice. The IMCT trust committee met and deliberated on how to address the issue so that the sanctity of prayers could be upheld. “It was not easy to implement the change. We had to face a lot of opposition. We were asked why were we tinkering with the accepted practice and setting an ‘unwanted’ precedent.”

Need for change

However, the committee was firm about the need for change.

“Everything is changing. We wanted to give our attempt a try. If it didn’t succeed, we would let it go.”

Today, their initiative has been received positively. “This is likely the only mosque in the city where kanji is served ahead of offering prayers. The prayer time gets pushed only a little. Unlike in other mosques, we no longer see a mad scramble for food after rushed prayers.”

Convenience matters

The mosque also arranges to serve the kanji to people ahead of breaking the fast.

“This is for people’s convenience. A lot of people who come to the mosque are employees of shops at Chala who cannot get away for long durations. Then there are government employees heading back home on trains, and other people who have reached the railway station or bus stand and come here to pray. These people can collect the kanji early enough, head back, and break the fast in time.”

Mr. Mahin estimates that nearly 1,500 people come to partake of the masala kanji — either vegetarian or mutton — every day during the Ramzan month.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:17:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/chala-juma-masjid-tweaks-tradition/article27153927.ece

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