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The Jama Masjid in India
By Seif Kamel

The Jama Mosque in India is one of the most famous and important mosques in India. It contains a huge surface area and it can host up to 25,000 prayers in the same time.

Entering the Jama is free of charge, however taking photographs would usually cost some little money and climbing up the towering minarets of the mosque cost some more money as well. A visit to the Jama Mosque in Delhi is always recommended for any tourists spending their India packages.

The Mosque of Jama Masjid in India is one of the most remarkable monuments of the country. It participated in spreading Islam in the whole Indian peninsula and other countries around Asia as well.

The mosque, as a social and religious institution, has contributed in the struggle against occupation and colonialism in India. It has always called for setting up the right principals for the society throughout its long history. The mosque is still operating as an Islamic institution until today besides being a marvelous touristic attraction added to many India tours.

About Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan who ruled India from 1592 till 1666 is the fifth mogul ruler of India and his reign is considered to be a period of prosperity in both architecture and sciences.

The most famous achievements of Shah Jahan is the Taj Mahal mausoleum which he built for his wife and it became one the Seven Wonders of the world afterwards.  Taj Mahal has become the most important monument in India that is included to any tours in India.

The mosque Jama in Delhi is one of the largest and most famous mosques in India and the whole world and the mosque is visited by hundreds of tourists everyday who come to enjoy their India Holidays.

The Construction of the Jama Mosque

When the construction work of the mosque started in 1560 Shah Jahan used the help of his princes who used to rule the provinces of India under his leadership. They asked the princes to send him all the resources that they can provide to help in the construction of the mosque. Many of them have sent him marbles, precious stones, craftsmen, and many building tools.

Some stories tell how a good Moslem Shah Jahan was. When he wanted to set the foundation stone of his mosque, the Jama Masjid in Delhi, he gathered all his followers, ministers, judges, scientists, and workers around him.

Then he said that the person who would set the foundation stone of the mosque should be a man who never missed the late night prayer anytime during his life. All the people around him hesitated to step forward except him. He walked and set the foundation stone of his mosque saying “Thank god for his grace that I have never missed any prayer”

The mosque was constructed by Shah Jahan. The building work started in 1560 and it was completed in 1566. It was built on a high plateau that the guests visiting the mosque have to climb a staircase consisting of 40 steps to reach the entrance to the mosque.

The description of the Jama Mosque in Delhi

The Jama Mosque has three huge entrance gates located in the Northern, Southern, and Western section of the mosque. They all open up to the open courtyard of the mosque, or the Sahn that has a square shape design and folks of birds are wondering and flying around the Sahn all year long in a magnificent scene. People from all over the world travel to India to view the magnificent Indian architecture including the Jama Masjid and the Taj Mahal in particular
In the middle of the open courtyard of the mosque, there is a lake that is used for ablutions. Any custom tour to India in general and Delhi in particular would normally include a visit to the Jama Mosque.

The two other Iwans of the mosque, located to the right and the left of the Qibla Iwan, are luxuriously decorated and contain stone capitals supporting the ceilings that have two smaller domes. The Iwans of the mosque are full of wooden Arabesque works over the white marble that coats the red bricks walls of the mosque.

The Sahn of the mosque has a wide surface area and it has a great staircase located in the Eastern section of it. There are also two smaller entrance gates in the Southern and Northern sections of it.

In the four sides of the square shaped Sahn of the mosque, there are four marvelously built towers with many decorations and remarkable ornaments. Many group tours to India include a visit to the mosque from inside to view the marvelous components of its architecture.

The prayer hall consists of three Iwans, or halls, with the Qibla Iwan as the largest among them. This is where the Mihrab, indicating the direction of Mecca, is located and it is considered to be a marvelous piece of art. Many types of arts harmonize together in this Mihrab including the Islamic decorations, calligraphy, geometrical designs, and Hindu style of architecture.

To the right of the Mihrab, the Minbar of the mosque, or the seat of the Sheikh is located and it was simply designed out of white marble.

Actually the whole praying area is coated with white marble all over and it is divided into rectangles. The prayer stands in lines all together and there is a specific section for the women as well. However, for tourists who travel to India, the entrance is allowed from the men’s gate for ladies and gentlemen all the same.

The prayer area is topped by three domes with the two towering minarets located in the sides of the mosque and they are considered to be among the most beautiful minarets in India and they are also coated with the famous white marble.  The minarets, the same as the domes, have marvelous black. Many travelers who come to spend an India tour visit the mosque to view its remarkable architecture.

The two minarets of the mosque are 40 meters high and they are thin in comparison to other mosques in India.  Both minarets have four floors and each floor has an onion shape at the end.

The mosque has a special white room where the odor of perfumes and incenses are always all over the place. This room also contains some rare displays including some hairs of the beard of the prophet Mohamed and a leather slipper that is decorated with Islamic calligraphy that belonged to Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, the nephew of the Prophet Mohamed. There are also some letters that Ali has sent to his son, Al Imam El Hussein.

All these items were brought to India during the Abbasids ruling period more than one thousand years ago. The kings and rulers of India have always preserved them until they were kept at last in the treasury of the Jama Mosque that has become a highlight of Delhi today and it is visited by any traveler coming to spend an affordable tour in India.

The Jama Mosque is overlooking the Red Fortress, or the imperial palace that was built by Shah Jahan. There are also many wide gardens, lakes, and fountains.

In the center of the gardens of the mosque, the mausoleum of the Islamic leader, Abu Al Kalam Azad, who was born in 1888 and he participated in the Indian revolution against the British occupation and he died on the 22nd of February 1958.

Abu Al Kalam was buried in the place where he gave his last speech one week before his death. This location was chosen by Nehru, the Indian king at the time, to burry his friend and one of the most important leaders in India.

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