Around the same time last year, a small group of common people came together to organise something unprecedented, unheard of in Lucknow- a joint Shia-Sunni namaaz where brothers in faith stood together Shoulder to Shoulder to pray for peace. Organised in the heart of Lucknow—Imambara Sibtainabad, Hazratganj— the historic event made waves globally. The event brought together like-minded individuals from various fields on a common platform, and considering people’s expectations, the group was formalised into a registered society named “Shoulder to Shoulder Foundation”.
In less than one year, apart from the namaaz, the group has managed to organise several spectacular events and bring thousands of like-minded people together. S2S volunteers served sewain and performed seva at a mega langar organised by Naka Hindola Gurudwara on Prakashotsav. Subsequently, the group met inmates of Mother Teresa’s home to celebrate Christmas with them. Meanwhile, in a reciprocal gesture, Sikh volunteers served coffee at a Sabeel set up at Islamia College, Lucknow, on Barawafat. In yet another spectacular event, S2S tied up with Yahyaganj Gurudwara to organise ifaar for rozedaars inside the Gurudwara during Ramzan.
At its core, Shoulder to Shoulder (s2s) Foundation is a volunteer-driven organisation set up with the objective of bringing people of different faiths together. At s2s, we believe that peace, unity, and tolerance are essential for human existence and progress to be worthwhile. By facilitating greater interaction among communities and by providing platforms for recognition of common goals, s2s strives to protect and celebrate India’s religious pluralism and cultural vibrancy.
S2S today has a network of thousands of volunteers perennially connected through social media and in real life. The rapid growth has enabled the organisation to diversify operations, and take up several charitable causes ranging from education and health to legal aid. Shoulder to Shoulder Foundation is a registered society under The Societies Registration Act, 1860, having its headquarters in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow. It also has a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ShouldertoshoulderLucknow and website: shouldertoshoulder.net
And now, it gives us great pleasure to announce yet another historic joint Shia-Sunni namaaz on the occassion of Eid-ul-Zuha (September 12 or 13). The venue for this year’s namaaz will be Shahnajaf Imambada, Lucknow, and requisite permissions have already been secured.
A lot of strife in the world today can be traced to societies sharply divided on sectarian and communal lines, and therefore it is the need of the hour to celebrate our commonality rather than dwell on the so-called differences.
When you participate in this joint namaaz, you will not only express the courage to rise above prejudices prevalent in your own city, but also become a beacon of hope for the world. Search for “joint shia sunni namaaz” on Google and you’ll get an idea of how the message can spread and make an impact the world over.