Proposed mosque in Ayodhya gets a new name and design

Move comes after objections from the community on its previous ‘contemporary’ style

October 13, 2023 12:30 am | Updated 03:33 am IST - New Delhi

The new design of the mosque, unlike the previous blueprint which had no stereotypical domes and arches, has everything that makes it easily recognisable as religious structure of the Muslim community. Photo: Special Arrangement

The new design of the mosque, unlike the previous blueprint which had no stereotypical domes and arches, has everything that makes it easily recognisable as religious structure of the Muslim community. Photo: Special Arrangement

The proposed mosque in Ayodhya, which awaits its first brick to be laid for almost four years after the Supreme Court settled the Babri mosque dispute, now gets a new name and design after objections from the community on its previous ‘contemporary’ style.

“The community had reservations with the previous design we had. People told us that our mosque wasn’t looking like a mosque. This is when we decided to change the design,” said Zufar Ahmad Faruqi, Uttar Pradesh Chairman of the Sunni Waqf Board, who, in a public meet in Mumbai’s Rang Sharada Hall on Thursday, unveiled the new design, which is prepared by a Pune-based architect, Imran Sheikh.

The new design of the mosque, unlike the previous blueprint which had no stereotypical domes and arches, has everything that makes it easily recognisable as a religious structure of the Muslim community. It also has minarets, a crescent moon, considered auspicious in Islam, as well as the name of the Prophet.

“The name of the mosque, to be spread across over 4,500 square metres, will be Mohammad Bin Abdullah,” Mr. Faruqi said.

Earlier, the name of the mosque was ‘Masjid-e-Ayodhya’ whose zero-carbon-footprint design was prepared by S.M. Akhtar, the founder-dean of the faculty of architecture at Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi.

The previous blueprint of the mosque had a hospital, community kitchen, library, and a research centre dedicated to Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah, a freedom fighter, who took part in the 1857 war of independence against the British.

Also read | Area residents object to ‘illegal’ sale of Ayodhya’s Badr Masjid

In the new design, whose pictures are with The Hindu, the giant mosque sits in the middle of a complex full of greenery around.

The new design of the Ayodhya mosque is prepared by Pune-based architect Imran Sheikh. Photo: Special Arrangement

The new design of the Ayodhya mosque is prepared by Pune-based architect Imran Sheikh. Photo: Special Arrangement

Clarifying that even the new design will have all which was proposed earlier, Mr. Faruqi said that the new design is still in the making.

In November 2019, the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court permitted the construction of a temple in Ayodhya, at the site where the 16th century Babri Masjid once stood, after being brought down by Hindu fundamentalist groups. In the same order of over 1,000 pages, the top court had asked the government — either the Centre or Uttar Pradesh — to allot a “prominent and suitable” five-acre plot in Ayodhya to the Sunni Central Wakf Board, to construct a mosque. “This should be done simultaneously with the transfer of the property to the proposed trust [for the temple],” the order had said.

Land allotted

The Sunni Central Waqf Board later formed Indo Islamic Culture Foundation to execute the construction of the mosque. The Uttar Pradesh government allotted five acres of land for to IICF in Dhannipur, 25 kms from Ayodhya city.

At the meeting in Mumbai on Thursday, two of the main functionaries of the IICF were absent. Sources within the foundation told The Hindu that the other people in the IICF were not happy with the new design as the old one was prepared keeping the ‘secular’ emotions in mind.

“What we got was injustice. We had decided that we will not compete with the temple and will ensure that this piece of land is used for people. This purpose got failed,” said a person associated with the mosque planning on condition of anonymity.

Speaking about when the mosque construction will start, Mr. Faruqi said that he had unveiled the new design to people in Mumbai.

“This was our first public fundraising event so that they know what they will be donating for. Frankly speaking, we have never persuaded the fundraising seriously but it was the need of the hour,” Mr. Faruqi added.

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