Pakistani cleric has a Lucknow connection

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Muslim cleric Dr Tahir ul Qadri, who has created ripples in neighbouring Pakistan with his Democracy March, has a Lucknow connection. His father Dr Farida'd Din al Qadri had lived in Lucknow for nearly a decade before Independence, and Qadri visited Lucknow in March 2012 to trace his roots.

During his two-day visit, Qadri visited Darul Uloom Farangi Mahal and Unani Tibbia College, situated at Jhawain Tola locality of old Lucknow, where his father had studied. He also visited New Delhi, Gujarat, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahli, head of Farangi Mahal, said: "Qadri had visited us when he came to the city. It was his personal visit. He came to our institution and mentioned about his father."

Farangi Mahal has no record of Qadri's father, "but Qadri himself told us that his father had been a student of Islamic studies here. He even narrated several incidents about Lucknow which had been shared by his father. He was nostalgic and roamed about the Nakhas area because his father had often mentioned Nakhas to him," Khalid Rasheed said.

At Tibbia College, Qadri's father had studied Unani medicine. "He went there, saw the place and met the people there. He is surely a great scholar and has a following in Lucknow. The Sunni Muslims consider him as an Aalim. But there was not much fanfare during that visit as it was very personal and Qadri stayed at a hotel," Khalid Rasheed said.

Sadia Dehelvi, Delhi-based writer recalled: "I attended the New Delhi function of Maulana Qadri where his famous book, Fatwa against Terrorism and Suicide Bombing, was released. I have high regards for him, he is very compassionate and a wonderful human being."

She later accompanied Qadri to his lecture in Mumbai. "It was also regarding denouncing terrorism. He is one of the leading scholars of sufism and is building peace between people," she stated. Though a Sunni scholar, Qadri also has good rapport with Shia community.

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