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Shia leader Athar passes away at 79

Published : Feb 27, 2016, 2:03 am IST
Updated : Feb 27, 2016, 2:03 am IST

Maulana Mirza Mohammad Athar, the man who held the record for imparting Moharrum sermons for 57 successive years at the Masjid e Iranian in South Mumbai, passed away Friday afternoon after suffering f

Maulana Mirza Mohammad Athar, the man who held the record for imparting Moharrum sermons for 57 successive years at the Masjid e Iranian in South Mumbai, passed away Friday afternoon after suffering from a pneumonia attack in a hospital in New Delhi. He was 79. He was being treated for pneumonia in the hospital for the past three weeks. Prominent personalities in Mumbai, said it was an irreparable loss as Maulana Athar was not only a good orator but also contributed to the upliftment of the Muslim community through his role in the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Haji Parekh, a resident of Mazgaon who escorted the orator whenever he was in Mumbai, said Maulana Athar was undergoing treatment for pneumonia since the past two months but his condition remained feeble. “The death of Papa has left people from the Shia and Bohra sect in a state of shock. Despite his feeble condition, Papa was always alert and was in Mumbai during the protest against the execution of Shaikh Nimr by the Saudi Arabia government in January. His loss has left a void that cannot be filled by any other orator. The sermons of Masjid e Iranian during Moharrum will not have the same effect,” said Mr Parekh.

Maulana Athar started giving sermons in 1958 at Masjid e Iranian and became active in Islamic activities as word of speeches revolving around humanity and teachings of Islam drew people from different sects of Islam as well as those from outside it. He was part of the AIMPLB and later spearheaded the All India Shia Muslim Personal Law Board.

Afzal Dawoodani, state vice president of the BJP’s transport wing, said, “Maulana Athar was always approachable. Though he never took active interest in politics he was always aware of the changing political scenario in the country and used to advise people accordingly,” said Mr Dawoodani. Maulana Athar’s close aides said his mortal remains will be taken to Lucknow from Delhi Friday night and he will be buried in the Karbala Imadad Hussain cemetery in Lucknow on Saturday.