Muslim devotee goes on Sabarimala pilgrimage

Muhammed Nawaz (2nd from right), with his fellow devotees, during the Sabarimala pilgrimage.

A Muslim, who is also an ex-serviceman from Sringeri, has raised many eyebrows by carrying out a pilgrimage to Sabarimala.

Muhammed Nawaz, who owns a footwear shop in Sringeri, however, said that religious tolerance runs in his family.

His family has been observing festivals of other religious faiths such as Ganesh Chaturthi and Christmas, along with Bakrid and Eid-ul-Fitr.

He also performs Lakshmi Puja at his shop during Deepavali.

Nawaz recalled that, when he and his siblings were young, his mother would offer prayers before Goddess Maramma, to get the chicken-pox infected children cured. He, along with his family, has also performed ‘Sarpa Samskara’ ritual in Kukke Subramanya to fulfil a vow, he said.

Nawaz was inspired by the customs of various religions when he was working in the Indian Army for 22 years. “Festivals of all religions were celebrated in the military,” he said, adding, “I feel sad to see people quarrelling over communal issues.”

A few days ago, he developed a divine aspiration to take out a pilgrimage to Sabarimala.

Accordingly, he observed the austerities as per the custom, by staying in the ashrama for five days. Along with other devotees, he sang songs in praise of Lord Ayyappa. On the last day, he received the ‘Irumudi’ from his Guru along with the coconut and rice handed over to him by his spouse, before leaving for Sabarimala with the team of devotees.

Carrying ‘Irumudi’, he climbed the 18 steps to have the glimpse of Lord Ayyappa on Makara Sankranthi. He was thrilled to witness the devotees from all religious faiths who come on a Sabarimala pilgrimage, Nawaz added.

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Muslim devotee goes on Sabarimala pilgrimage


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