Rare European-style mosque set to pass into history

The masjid on the third floor of the Asafia School near Moosarambagh shows European architectural influence.

The masjid on the third floor of the Asafia School near Moosarambagh shows European architectural influence. | Photo Credit: Serish Nanisetti

In 2020, the Masjid-e-Mahbubia marked 100 years of its existence without prayers or any celebrations. The masjid, finished like a gem, is part of the abandoned building known as Asafia Madrasa, established on August 12, 1896, by a nobleman named Mumtaz Yar Ud Dowlah. 

The masjid is among Hyderabad’s royal legacy where a Paigah nobleman Asman Jah Bahadur gifted 29 acres to set up a school when Dowlah got inspired to build one with a masjid following a visit to Turkey. The Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, pitched in with ₹25,000 for construction of the building.

Earlier in 1906, Nizam Mahbub Ali Khan had granted a monthly allowance of ₹300 for running the school, known as Madrasa-e-Asafia. While that started functioning in 1896, the Masjid-e-Mahbubia is dated to 1920 according to an inscription deciphered by Sibghat Khan, an architecture student.

“The masjid is a unique example as all the ornamentation is European. Even the qibla niche has a cuboidal shape. It is stripped of most local masjid elements. The only local element that identifies it as a masjid is the minarets,” says Sibghat.

While the Jama Masjid in Begumpet is known as Spanish Mosque for being inspired by architectural elements from Cordoba, the Masjid-e-Mahbubia remains unknown though its minarets can be seen from the Moosarambagh metro station.

The masjid has stunning ornamentation with an anteroom for the moulvi beside the qibla wall. “The building has been abandoned for more than 50 years now. It needs to be brought down and rebuilt but our trust doesn’t have that kind of funds,” said Mahboob Alam Khan of Mumtaz Yar Ud Dowla Trust, which runs a host of educational institutions from the premises.

“Though the building was not in use, prayers continued in the masjid for many years. A decade ago, a portion of the ceiling plaster fell and the building has been locked up since then,” said the caretaker of the mosque.

While the masjid on the third floor is littered with pigeon droppings and pieces of plaster, the large hallway on the ground floor with a gallery on the second floor is intact with extensive use of wrought iron brackets.

“The masjid can be saved though it has structural problems as it is tilting to one side and the staircase side is bulging outside. The girders are damaged on the upper storey, but the first and second floor have limited damage,” says Sibghat.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 2:38:06 pm |