Thousands of people, of different religions, visit the Juma Masjid in Ullal to pray at the tomb of Seyyid Muhammad Shareeful Madani, who, it is believed, came to Mangaluru 500 years ago from Saudi Arabia, floating on a piece of cloth. The mosque is known as the Ajmer of south India.
“Hindus in the locality believe there is something powerful here at the mosque, and they come here again and again,” said Haji Abdul Rasheed, president of the trust that runs the mosque and the dargah. The trust runs madrassas, schools and colleges, apart from 32 smaller mosques in Mangaluru. “Even when there is communal tension in Mangaluru, Ullal remains untouched,” he said. “This is only because of our mosque, the teachings of Madani and the respect people have for him.”
Rasheed said the mosque served 5,000 people free vegetarian food every day. “During urs, priests from nearby temples visit our mosque even without a formal invitation,” he said. “There is so much bonhomie.”
A few metres from the mosque, there is a wishing well into which devotees drop coins. “Your prayers get answered if you pray and put coins here,” said M. Sangeetha, a college teacher, who started visiting the mosque 16 years ago. Women are allowed to pray inside the mosque, though they have to stand five feet away from the tomb.
- Harmony in diversity
- Inculcate mutual respect and reverence for all things divine: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
- Why Lord Ganesh idols are installed in these dargahs
- Muslims donate land for temple in Madhya Pradesh
- How Ajmer Sharif Dargah empowers seekers of all hues
- On Ugadi, the first visitors to this temple in Kadapa are Muslims
The tomb has an oil lamp next to it. The oil is changed every day and given to the devotees, who rub it on their head. “This could be one of the reasons why Hindus relate to the mosque,” said Arun Ullal, a professor of Kannada at St Aloysius College in Mangaluru, who has anchored programmes at the mosque on the request of the trust.
U.T. Khader, Congress MLA from Mangaluru, said the mosque and the trust worked for the welfare of all people. “It is because of them that Ullal has emerged as a model town in Mangaluru,” he said. “Hindus and Muslims here can’t live without each other.”
He said communal tensions in the country were largely out of fear, and ”not out of hate.” He said there should be a circuit connecting all religious places in the country and “people should be encouraged to visit holy places of other religions.”