Wednesday 30 July 2014

The Shahar Qazi of Allahabad

Syed Maqbool Hasan has been the Shahar Qazi in Allahabad for over half a century.

Although he is also the Imam ( head priest) of Jama Masjid in Allahabad, he has never taken any money from the funds of Jama Masjid. He earned his livelihood as an ordinary stamp vendor in Allahabad High Court. When I was a lawyer there ( 1970-1991) I used to see him sitting at the bottom of the stairs below the Bar Association Library, selling stamps. He wore a simple kurta pyjama, and on looking at him one could never make out that he is the Shahar Qazi.

Until he agrees, Eid cannot be declared in Allahabad. Since for declaring Eid 2 respectable Muslims must state that they have sighted the moon, he rigorously cross examines the persons claiming that they have seen the moon, and he also strictly applies the parameters required before declaring Eid. His integrity is of such a high order that everyone in Allahabad accepts his verdict.

Because of old age ( he must be now in his late 80s ) he has now retired, but before that he was coming to the High Court on a bicycle every working day.

In the 1986 communal riots in Allahabad he refused to take any police security, although it was offered to him. He lived a simple life, and put all the money he earned in educating his children. Today one of his sons is in U.S.A. and the other children are also well settled, some in business, and others in other vocations.

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