Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a Shia, prayed at the historic Makkah Masjid in Hyderabad in the afternoon of Friday, 16 February.

At the mosque, where a huge Jumma congregation of the faithful had gathered, Rouhani said that unity among Muslims is the only solution to the problems faced by the Muslim world.

The Iranian President delivered a 30-minute speech in Persian – a first by any country’s leader in the mosque – during which he urged Muslims to treat all human beings with love and affection.

With senior Iranian officials accompanying him to the 17th century mosque located in the old city near the Charminar, Rouhani stood in the front row to offer ‘namaz’.

The mosque is both historically and culturally significant. Construction of the mosque was started by a Shia ruler and it was completed by a Sunni sultan. The chief mason was a Hindu.

The mosque served as an ideal setting for his “unity” speech especially since it is one of the few mosques in the world where both Sunnis and Shias offer prayers together.

Before the prayers, the Iranian delegation had visited the historic Golconda Fort and Qutub Shahi tombs.

 

Rouhani began his three-day tour of India by landing at Hyderabad on Thursday. Addressing a gathering of Muslim leaders and scholars belonging to different Islamic schools, Rouhani attacked the West, particularly the US, for creating differences between communities and hostility in the world.

“Iran believes that there is no military solution to problems,” Rouhani said adding that the West “oppressed and exploited the eastern world and its resources”.

Stressing that Iran, a bitter enemy of the US, seeks brotherly relations with all nations, Rouhani showered praises on India’s “spirituality” which has ensured the security and tranquillity of the nation.

In a speech delivered in Persian, Rouhani called India “a living museum” in which “Hindus, Shia, Sunnis, Sufis, Sikhs and others are living together peacefully and building the civilisation”.

At the mosque, Rouhani again called for unity among the Muslims and condemned the US for imposing travel ban on some Islamic countries.

He emphasised that Islam stands for peace and said that violence in the Muslim world is a result of people distancing themselves from real teachings of Islam, which is mercy, peace and unity for all the worlds.

Rouhani, who is on his the first visit to India since coming to power in August 2013, will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. The two will review the progress achieved in bilateral relations between India and Iran, chief of them being the Chabahar port that was inaugurated on 3 December 2017 by Rouhani.