Jama Masjid, Delhi
Jama Masjid, Delhi
Sorted for the day, we were shown into a side dining room and enjoyed a good breakfast. Mob (our driver) came for us at nine and he was joined by Singh, who would show us around for today and some of tomorrow.
Soon into Old Delhi, passing the red wall of the fort and early traders to park next to the mosque – our first visit of the day.
Up the steps, shoes off, gown on (for me) and up on the left side of the main gate (yay) a potted history –
A Short History of Jama Masjid Delhi. The internationally acclaimed, magnificent, Jama Masjid Delhi originally named Masjid Jahan Numa, was built by Shahjahan (Mercy be upon him), the Fifth Mughal Emperor of India. Shahjahan himself laid its foundation stone on the strong basements of a hillock on Friday the 6th of October 1650 AD corresponding to 10th of Shawwal 1060 AH.
Top experts in the field of construction, best chisellers, sculptors, engineers, best calligraphers and eminent artisans of the world assisted by six thousand labourers took part in the construction of the magnificent Jama Masjid. They dedicatedly worked for six continuous years. The Jama Masjid got ready in the year 1656 AD (1066 AH).
In those days when the daily wages of a mason and a labourer were 2 paisa and 1 paisa respectively (five paisa equivalent to one Rupee today), its cost of construction was one million rupees. Many nobles and nawabs of that era gifted stones and other construction material to the emperor for the mosque’s construction, which therefore are not included in its cost.
While the Jama Masjid was under construction emperor Shahjahan received complaint of its slow progress. The emperor therefore summoned Saadullah Khan, his minister in charge of the constructions, and sought explanation. Saadullah Jhan informed him that the recital of the Holy Quran preceded the installation of every stone of the interior walls of the Mosque including that of the pulpit (mimber) and the Imam’s musalla (place from where the Imam leads the prayers) to consecrate it. This pleased the emperor so much that he ordered the construction to continue that way.
During the construction, special care was taken to maintain the level of the pulpit of the mosque above that of the royal throne (chaired by the emperor) in the Red Fort. The simplicity in the structure was the chief aim in the construction of the mosque. In fact, its beauty lies in its simplicity. The simplicity, which thousands of colourful and gorgeous significance cannot withstand.
Coronation of the Mughal Emperors: Right from the beginning, the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid enjoyed the honour to perform the coronation ceremony of the Mughal Emperors. All Mughal Emperors had the coronation ceremony by the then Shahi Imam. The coronation of Emperor Aurangzeb took place from the hands of Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari, the first Shahi Imam. This tradition remained until the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar whose coronation ceremony was performed by the then and the eighth, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Mir Ahmed Shah Bukhari on Sunday the 30th of September 1837, corresponding to the 9th of Jamadi-us-Thani 1253 AH.
History of the Imams of Jama Masjid & The Conferment of the title Shahi Imam by the Emperor: The history of Jama Masjid and that of its Imams is one and interlinked inextricably. The first Imam of Jama Masjid was Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari. Emperor Shahjahan wished that for such a matchless Jama Masjid there should equally be an unparalleled personality as its Imam. Therefore, the discerning eyes of the emperor fell on Bukhara (Uzbekistan). Bukhara was the centre of great learning and arts of that time. Experts from all fields got concentrated there. Therefore, Emperor Shahjahan wrote to the Shah of Bukhara to send for the exalted post of the Imamat of Jama Masjid a man noble in birth, descendant of the Holy Prophet from both of his parents, with high learning and high qualities, i.e., inwardly and outwardly an outstanding figure of the time. Therefore, as wished by the Emperor, the Shah of Bukhara decided to send Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari, to Shajahanabad (Delhi). Thus, with the help of the king of Bukhara, Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari and his family were shifted to Delhi with great respect.
Ceremonial welcome was accorded on his arrival to Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari. The Jama Masjid was then ready. On Monday the 24th of July 1656 AD (1st Shawwal, 1066 AH), Emperor Shahjahan with all his ministers, retinue, courtiers, and the inhabitants of Delhi congregated at the Jama Masjid to offer prayers. Led by Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari the first prayer, of Id-ul-Fitr, was offered at the Jama Masjid. Thereafter the Emperor bestowed Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari with the robe and accolades, then announced his appointment to the high office of Imamat-e-Uzma, and conferred upon him the title of Shahi Imam. Hazrat Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari got appointed as the First Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid at the age of 63 years. He passed away at the age of 88 years and was laid to rest at the Dargah Qutub Madar situated at Ring Road (ITO), New Delhi. From that day, the Imamat of the Jama Masjit has been continuing in the family from generation to generation. The son of an Imam succeeds him.
Looking right toward the mosque, looking left to see where the court ladies perched.
Bequeathment & The Investiture of the Imams of Jama Masjid: The ninth Shahi Imam of the family, Syed Mohammed Shah Bukhari, mercy be upon him (MBUH), bequeathed the exalted office of the Imamat to his son, Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari (MBUH), on Sunday the 16th of October 1892 AD, and he duly assumed the high office of the Imamat. Syed Mohammed Shah Bukhari passed away on Friday the 11th of August 1899 AD at the age of 73. He was laid to rest in the Mehndian graveyard at the dargah of Hazrat Shah Waliullah Muhaddis Dehlavi (MBUH).
After Friday prayers, on the 20th of February 1942 AD, in the presence of theologians, eminent persons of the the city, members of the management committee and musalleen (devotees coming for prayers), the Tenth Shahi Imam Shamsul Ulama Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari announced his son Maulana Syed Hameed Bukhari as his successor Shahi Imam and himself continued as the honorary Imam. He passed away on Tuesday the 9th of September 1947 AD. He was laid to rest in the centuries-old graveyard situated at the northern corner of Jama Masjid.
The Eleventh Shahi Imam Maulana Syed Hameed Bukhari appointed his son Maulana Syed Abdullah Bukhari to the office of the Shahi Imam on Sunday the 8th of July 1973 AD. Maulana Syed Hameed Bukhari passed away on Friday February the 6th, 1976 AD. He was also laid to rest at the same old graveyard of Jama Masjid.
Investiture Ceremony (Dastarbandi) of the Present (13th) Shahi Imam: On Saturday the 14th of October 2000 AD (15th Rajab 1421 AH), a dignified investiture ceremony of Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari was held. His emissary Sheikh Mohammed Abdul-Rehman Mushid represented Imam-e-Haram, Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al-Subayyal at the ceremony. Besides, thousands of Muslims, masallin, eminent theologians, a host of important national and international personalities, Muslim leaders, foreign ambassadors, and ministers witnessed the appointment of Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari by Maulana Syed Abdullah Bukhari as his succeeding Shahi Imam. Hazrat Maulana Syed Abdullah Bukhari (The Twelfth Shahi Imam) passed away on Wednesday the 8th of July 2009 (14 Shaban-ul-Muazzam 1430 AH). He was laid to rest at the old, ancestral graveyard of the Jama Masjid, where his father and grandfather were laid to rest.
I typed that just to see if I could – potted history eh..........
Scanning from the left – the gatehouse, main entrance and the ceiling in the Prayer Hall.
Floor tiles to represent prayer mats.
The pale arch shows the faithful which way to face Mecca. Looking beyond Bear down the corridor.
ALL IN ALL COULD NOT BELIEVE THE AGE