By Owais Bhat
Jama Masjid (the grand mosque) of Kashmir at Nowhatta, in the middle of the old city has been built by Sultan Sikandar Shah Kashmiri Shahmiri in 1394 CE, under the order of Mir Mohmmad Hamadani, son of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani. Sultan Sikandar’s son Zain-ul-Abidin extended the Jama Masjid by including the turret. It has similarities to Buddhist pagodas and is constructed in Persian style.
After Shahi Hamdan Mir Syed Ali Hamadani(RA), the Mirwaizeen from the pious pulpit of Jama Masjid spread the teachings of Islam and Prophet Muhammad( S.A.W). From this pulpit of Jamia since the past 700 years has been spread the true message of Islam, Tawheed and teachings of the Prophet( PBUH). The platform of the Masjid has been pivotal in maintaining the social, religious and political consciousness among the people of Kashmir. Apart from this, the pulpit is also one of the most powerful symbol of Kashmir’s resistance movement from the year 1931.
From the pulpit, the voice for justice and fulfillment of peoples political will and aspirations has always been raised even in the harshest of circumstances and that is why it is most targeted by the authorities every time.
Since 1931 there was every attempt by many people at different times to weaken the centrality of Jama Masjid but they have failed in their designs.
Thousands of Muslims assemble at the mosque every Friday to offer their prayers. The Jama Masjid of Kashmir has seen a number of disasters. It got wrecked thrice in fire and was reconstructed each time.
But , at the end of the year 2018, it was heart wrenching to see that the same pious pulpit of historical Jamia Masjid was desecrated by some unknown people The intention behind the pre-planned incident was not only to desecrate the sanctity of Jama Masjid but also was to divide on the basis of sectarian lines among the masses , which by the grace of Almighty Allah, has failed.
The sanctity of Jamia Masjid and the pulpit is dear to the people of Kashmir and will always be cherished by them.
— The author can be reached at: Owaiswrites@gmail.com