Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tajul Masajid: India's biggest mosque is located in Bhopal

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

The biggest mosque in India is located in Bhopal.

Just because the mosque is not in a metropolitan city, this fact is not known as much.

Tajul Masajid* is one of the biggest mosques in the world and is an architectural marvel.

It is much bigger than Delhi's Jama Masjid, which is generally termed as India's biggest mosque.

The name Tajul Masajid means 'Crown among Mosques' [pronunication: Masaajid, plural of masjid i.e. mosques]. The construction of Tajul Masajid began in 19th century, when Bhopal was a princely state.

Nawab Shahjehan Begam who ruled the Bhopal state, wanted to build a grand mosque. The construction began but it couldn't continue for long and the mosque remained incomplete.

It was in the twentieth century, a few decades after independence that Tajul Masajid was completed. Maulana Imran Khan Nadvi had taken up the task on himself to complete the mosque.

It was the decade of 70s that the mosque finally got completed. Apart from the main structure and the vast courtyard, its minarets are also much thicker than Jama Masjid, Delhi or other major mosques.

The huge area on either sides is also part of the mosque. The pond is also part of the mosque land as it was built for the purpose of 'wazu' [ablutions] for people who come to offer prayers [Namaz]. There are hundreds of students who live in rooms on the campus and study in the madarsa here.

The mosque also has a separate space for women to offer prayers. When descendants of the royal family came to Bhopal, they prayed in the part of the mosque. The Tablighi Jamat's annual Ijtima was held here in the past.

For over half-a-century, the Alami Tablighi Ijtima [grand annual congregation] was held at Tajul Masajid. A market also used to develop in the area during Ijtima. However, a few years ago the Ijtima venue was shifted to Eintkhedi, outside Bhopal.

Tajul Masajid is unique in many ways. Close to the mosque, on the other side of road is Dhai Seedhi Masjid--Two and half staircase mosque, which is said to be among the smallest mosques in the world. It was initially built on a 'burj', which was part of Bhopal's Fatehgarh fort.