I was saying that from childhood I had read and heard that the minarets of the mosque are meant to offer prayers, just as the shikhara is above the temple. Our education system is such that there is no scope to ask questions and anyway, it is not only considered bad to talk and argue in front of elders but it is also proof that in raising children has there been any major flaw? Sometimes even if a question arises, he would remain in the mind. In the same way, we grew up with half-baked information about the minarets to the mosques.
After spending more than half a century in this environment, the process of understanding the preserved and dilapidated buildings from the first Delhi to the seventh Delhi was started one after another. Actually this series started in childhood on the initiative of our father, but after his illness and later death, the chain broke. Then when it resumed in 2004, it began to look closely at the minarets, arches and domes. He started reading a little bit and it was found that in 1198, Qutbuddin started the construction of a mosque in the Delhi Sultanate, which he called ‘Masjid-e-Jami’. Name given. This mosque was also known as Kabat-e-Islam or Khema-e-Islam or Gumbad-e-Islam. The stones of 24 Jain temples were used in the construction of this mosque, and historical references from that time suggest that this mosque was built by breaking the temples with their stones. I will write later on why this action was done. It is important to remember here that the British changed the name of this mosque and started calling it Masjid Kuwwat-ul-Islam.
The politics of renaming the mosque will also be talked about once again. At the moment, you will be satisfied with the conversation about the minarets built with the mosque. The tower is 72.5 meters i.e. 240 feet high and one has to climb 379 stairs to reach the top. The construction of this mosque started in 1199.
It is said that this tower was built to offer azaan. Just imagine what would happen to the poor Moazan, who had to climb and descend these stairs five times a day. Knee will answer in a week. Overall 363 meters i.e. 1000 feet of climbing throughout the day and descending as much. What is the condition of getting up and down, I know, I have climbed 465 steps in Daulatabad a month ago. Slowly, pausing, resting, I was in no hurry, did not even have to go upstairs and offer azaan. For hours after landing, the legs trembled and there was muscle ache for several days. So what will happen to Moazan Poor?
Keep in mind that we will come back here only. It is also worth remembering that when Qutubuddin’s Jama Masjid was ready, the first floor of the tower was being built. By the time Qutbuddin fell victim to an accident while playing a polo match in Lahore in 1210, the same floor of the tower was completed. The remaining three floors were completed by Shamsuddin Altamash. And, later Feroze Tughlaq got down the ravaged fourth floor and made two floors in his place.
At the time the mosque was built, the minaret was outside the mosque. During the reign of Sultan Alauddin Khilji, the mosque expanded and the Alayi Darwaza was constructed, only after that the minaret was incorporated into the mosque complex. This means that from Qutubuddin’s time to Alauddin Khilji’s time i.e. 100 years, the tower was not part of the mosque complex.
Qutubuddin’s mosque is the first mosque in Delhi. After the Ghulam dynasty came one after another, the era of the Khilji, Tughlaq, Lodi kings. These kings, their nobles, the Muridas of Sufiya-e-Kiram, built hundreds of small and large mosques in and around Delhi. Wazir Khan of Feroz Tughlaq where Maqbool Juna Shah Tilangani built four magnificent mosques. These are Begum Pur, Khirki, Kalan Mosque and Basti Nizamuddin’s Jami Masjid. Apart from this, he built Kotla Ferozeshah, Kalu Sarai and also built mosques at the place where Kabuli Darwaja was built during the reign of Shah Jahan.
Apart from these mosques, Dargah near Nizamuddin Aulia, Khizar Khan Mosque, Mohammadi Mosque near Seri, Marhi Mosque near Lado Sarai, Blue Mosque near Hauz Khas Market, Tughlakabad Mosque, Lodi Garden Mosque, Wazirabad Mosque, Sheikh Fazlullah Mosque called Jamali Kamali Is also called. Along with this, Qila-e-Kuhna, the mosque built by Sher Shah Suri, Abdul Nabi, the mosque built during the period of Akbar, and many other mosques which will number in the hundreds.
Don’t know how many of these you have seen, but even today many of them are under archaeological protection and they are counted in rare specimens of medieval architecture. If you look at these mosques carefully, you will find that none of them have towers!
The first mosque in Delhi which has minarets that can be climbed and built, was built by Shah Jahan and named the Jahanama, and we know it as Jama Masjid. The first mosque in Delhi with a mosque is Jama Masjid in Delhi, I came to think of it a few years ago when some students of the National School of Drama – NSD went to visit Jama Masjid in Shahjahanabad.
While referring to Qutub Minar, I promised you that we will return and go there, so let’s go there. Nearly 60 years ago, we all went to Qutub Minar. At that time it was allowed to go up. We were accompanied by a huge aunt who refused to go upstairs. All of us children went upstairs with chacha jaan and we reached every floor and gave a lot of voices to Chachi jaan, but he did not even raise his head towards us once. Was our voice not reaching them? And if this is true, how would the sound of Moazin reach down to the ground?
The opportunity to find an answer to this question was felt on the day when the students of the National School of Drama went to show Jama Masjid. I bought tickets to the four loudest noises and asked them to climb the tower and give us a voice after reaching there. The rest of us sat in the courtyard of the mosque and waited. Half an hour later, the four returned, their throats had sat down, but none of us heard their voice.
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