What is Urs? Know why a petition was filed to ban the organization of Urs in Taj Mahal?

What is Urs?, (When is Urs fair?, Date 2024) , Urs meaning

This time a matter of controversy has arisen over the 'Urs' program organized every year in the memory of Mughal emperor Shahjahan at Taj Mahal, which is one of the world heritages. Before understanding what 'Urs' is, it is important to know that it is an annual religious event which is celebrated at the Taj Mahal in the honor of Shahjahan. Recently, a Hindu organization has challenged the event and sought a ban on it in the Agra Civil Court. This organization says that they had sought information from the Archaeological Survey of India whether permission was obtained from any government agency for this event or not. In response, ASI informed that no such permission has been granted, following which the organization has moved court to challenge this practice.

What is Urs ?

In South Asia the word 'Urs' means a special type of celebration usually celebrated in the Dargah of a Sufi saint on his death anniversary. This celebration is a way of honoring the life of that saint and his spiritual teachings. The word 'Urs' is derived from the Arabic word 'wedding', which refers to the spiritual state of the saint meeting Allah. During this time, various religious rituals are organised, which include musical programs like Hamad, Naat and Qawwali. The festival is not only a religious occasion but also showcases social interaction and cultural heritage, with fairs and markets held around the Dargah.

How is Urs celebrated? How is Urs celebrated?

These types of festivals are mainly celebrated in the shrines of Chishtiyya Sufi saints, who are considered as lovers of Allah. The rituals involved in these festivals are performed by the custodian of the Dargah or the current Sheikh of that order. Music and poetry have deep significance in Urs celebrations, where musical genres like Qawwali and Kaafi connect people with spiritual feelings. These festivals not only express religious sentiments but also symbolize cultural unity and prosperity.

Notably, the Urs held every year at the Dargah of Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer is attended by lakhs of devotees, indicating its widespread popularity and importance. Thus, the 'Urs' is important for understanding the spread of Sufism in South Asia and its spiritual and cultural impact.

Why is Urs celebrated ?

There are many spiritual and cultural reasons behind celebrating 'Urs'. Primarily, the festival is celebrated at the shrines of Sufi saints on their death anniversaries, as a way of honoring the spiritual path and teachings shown by them. 'Urs' comes from the Arabic word, which means 'wedding'. Through this, devotees express the idea that the death of the saint is the time of their union with God.

How is Urs celebrated?

Urs celebrations include religious rituals, such as reciting the Fatiha, recitation of the Quran, and offering chadars at the Dargah, as well as musical events such as qawwali and naat, which pay homage to the saint's teachings and his life. Apart from this, 'Urs' is also a medium to promote social harmony and unity, where people of different religions and communities come together and show mutual harmony and brotherhood.

How many days is Urs celebrated?

The Urs festival organized in the memory of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti lasts for six days, whereas in all other dargahs this festival is celebrated only for one or two days.

Ajmer Urs Ajmer Urs

In South Asia, 'Urs' is known as an annual festival celebrated at the shrines of Sufi saints on their death anniversaries. It is especially celebrated for the saints of Chishtiya sect, who are considered lovers of God. 'Urs' is also called 'Visal', which means the meeting of lovers.

'Ajmer Urs' celebrated in the Dargah of Ajmer city is famous all over the world, which is a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity and world peace. The feeling of mutual brotherhood seems to be the strongest here. The flowers offered at the Dargah come from Pushkar, and the puja materials offered at Pushkar come from the Dargah market, which presents a great example of Hindu-Muslim unity.

This Dargah of Ajmer is considered a symbol of communal unity. Lakhs of travelers visit here every year, and the place becomes even more lively during the Urs. At the beginning of Urs, 'Jannati Darwaza' is opened, through which it is the wish of every pilgrim to pass through. This door spreads the message of brotherhood through the door of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, where people of every religion and community reach with their faith. During the days of Urs, special arrangements are made for the pilgrims so that they do not face any problem.

When is Urs of Ajmer Sharif in 2024?

In 2024, Urs of Ajmer Sharif will be celebrated on 18 January, which will fall on Jumeirah (Thursday). This date falls on 6 Rajab according to the Islamic calendar. 

Petition against organizing Urs in Taj Mahal

In the petition, Hindu Mahasabha divisional president Meena Diwakar and district president Saurabh Sharma have alleged that when any kind of religious program is not allowed inside historical monuments, organizing 'Urs' at the Taj Mahal is illegal. They are demanding survey of the Taj Mahal complex, as was done in the Kashi Vishwanath and Krishna Janmabhoomi cases.

On the contrary, Syed Ibrahim Zaidi, chairman of the 'Urs' organizing committee, says that the ASI gives permission for the event every year and permission has been granted this year too. He informed that a meeting was recently organized at the ASI office to discuss the arrangements of 'Urs'. Zaidi also said that Shah Jahan's 'Urs' has been celebrated at the Taj Mahal for centuries, and calling it illegal is wrong. He said that the British Government and then the Indian Government have always given permission to organize 'Urs'. Haji Tahir Uddin Tahir, chairman of the Khuddam-e-Roza Committee, said a 1,507-metre long 'chadar' will be placed on Shah Jahan's tomb during the 'Urs' and entry to the Taj Mahal will be free on the occasion.

FAQ – 

Question 1: What is Ursa?

Answer: Urs is an Islamic festival celebrated in the shrines of Sufi saints on their death anniversaries. It is an occasion to remember his life, teachings and spiritual thoughts.

Question 2: What activities take place during Urs?

Answer: During Urs, religious rituals, such as reading of Fatiha, recitation of Quran, offering of chadar at the Dargah, as well as musical programs like Qawwali and Naat are organised.

Question 3: What is the significance of 'Chadar Offering' in Urs?

Answer: 'Offering a chadar' is a religious ritual in Urs in which devotees show their reverence and respect by offering a chadar at the shrine of a saint. This act reflects the feeling of blessings and devotion towards the saints.

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