Imam Fazlur Waizi Nadwi, symbol of Shia-Sunni unity, passes away in Lucknow

Friends and family gather at the funeral

By Faisal Fareed,

Imam Fazlur Rehman Waizi Nadwi, the Imam of historical Teele Wali Masjid and a symbol of Shia-Sunni unity, passed away after a brief illness at Lucknow on Monday.

He was buried in the Teele Wale Masjid compound after Zohar prayers on Tuesday. He is survived by two sons and four daughters.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav visited his residence to pay tributes to Waizi. Several other political leaders conveyed their condolences. State governor Ram Naik expressed profound grief over his demise.

Waizi became Imam of Teele Wali Masjid in 1967 at an age of around 25 years. For nearly five decades he led prayers at five times and also on Eid at Teele Wali Masjid. Now his son Andul Mannan Waizi has been appointed as Imam.

Waizi was hailed as a symbol of Shia-Sunni unity. In 1986, when the relations between two sects were strained, he took the step and led the last prayer (Namaz-e-Janaza) of eminent Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Abid at Teele Wali Masjid. Several prominent Shia cleric like Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, Maulana Kalbe Jawwad and Maulana Saif Abbas rushed to his residence after hearing about his death.

In 1980, after riots in Moradabad, Waizi undertook a foot march from Lucknow to Delhi. He was welcomed by the then Imam of Jama Masjid in Delhi, Abdullah Bukhari and Waizi was given the honour to say Azaan at Jama Masjid.

Mortal remains of Imam Waizi being taken for burial

Lately, he has also led the protest against Denmark cartoonist in Lucknow. He also had received the protest march by Muslims from Azamgarh to Teele Wali masjid in Lucknow in wake of Batla House encounter.

Waizi also strived for unity between different religions. He organised a Dalit-Muslim backward conference in 1968. He was a lifetime member of Ganga Mahasabha and also attended the Kumbh at Ujjain and even addressed the devotees. Lately, during a mishap at Kumbh in Allahabad, he had visited the injured in hospital.

His son Mannan Waizi informed newsmen that Waizi was not keeping well for quite some time and was admitted at SGPGI Medical Institute on December 29. He died on Monday at 11:20 am.

Waizi was also close to SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav who termed his death as a personal loss. Recently Akhilesh attended a function in Lucknow in presence of Waizi and had claimed that he was introduced to him by Mulayam and he will always value the relationship.