Babri Masjid

mosque in India

Babri Masjid (Bābarī Masjid; meaning Mosque of Babur) was a mosque in Ayodhya, India, at a site believed by many Hindus to be the birthplace of Hindu deity Rama. It has been a focus of dispute between the Hindu and Muslim communities since the 18th century. According to the mosque's inscriptions, it was built in 1528–29 (935 AH) by general Mir Baqi, on the orders of the Mughal emperor Babur. The mosque was attacked and demolished by a Hindu nationalist mob in 1992, which ignited communal violence across the Indian subcontinent.

QuotesEdit

  • Babri Masjid was and will always be a Masjid. Hagia Sophia is a great example for us. Usurpation of the land by an unjust, oppressive, shameful and majority appeasing judgment can’t change its status. No need to be heartbroken. Situations don’t last forever.
  • Today when at the site of the Babri Masjid, the foundation stone of a temple is being laid, AIMPLB feels the need to reiterate that ‘according to the light of the Shariat, where a mosque comes up once, it remains a mosque till eternity’... Hence, Babri Masjid was a mosque yesterday, is one today and God willing will remain a mosque. By keeping idols in a mosque, starting pooja there or stopping the namaz that was offered there for a long time, do not change the status of a mosque.
  • Ye tune Hind ki hurmat ke aaine ko toda hai
    Khabar bhi hai tujhe Masjid ka gumbad todne wale
    Humare dil ko toda hai imaarat ko nahi toda
    Khabaasat ki bhi had hoti hai had todne wale
  • The notion that Babur’s officer Mir Baqi destroyed a temple dedicated to Rama’s birthplace at Ayodhya and then got the emperor’s sanction to build a mosque on the site – the Babri Masjid – was elaborated in 1936 by S.K. Banerji. However, the author offered no evidence that there had ever been a temple at this site, much less that it had been destroyed by Mir Baqi. The mosque’s inscription records only that Babur had ordered the construction of the mosque, which was built by Mir Baqi and was described as “the place of descent of celestial beings” (mahbit-i qudsiyan). This commonplace rhetorical flourish can hardly be construed as referring to Rama, especially since it is the mosque itself that is so described, and not the site or any earlier structure on the site.
  • It seems that the name Babri Masjid became the official term from this report onwards, as before it was mostly referred to as Masjid-i Janmasthan... It is even disputed whether the Masjid was effectively used before 1934, and even before 1855. ... What is more, neither [Joseph Tieffenthaler] nor, to my knowledge, any of the Muslim sources, mentions Muslim worship in the Babri Masjid. These are indications for what many common people in Ayodhya have told me : that the Babri Masjid has not been a real mosque for most of its history. With such a prehistory, it also becomes understandable that the local Muslim community in the 1930s and 1940s could have a mosque standing there and yet not use it... on the strength of local Muslim testimony, the Babri Masjid was not in regular use since at least 1936. If any firm counter-proof had come up by now, I guess we would have seen it: the pro-Babri faction has enough media at its disposal to present the strong points in its case.
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society
  • That the Babri Masjid replaced a pre-existent centre of worship, is also indicated by the fact that Hindus kept returning to the place, where more indulgent Muslim rulers allowed them to worship on a platform just outside the mosque. This is attested by a number of different pieces of testimony by Western travelers and by local Muslims, all of the pre-British period, as well as from shortly after the 1856 British take-over but explicitly referring to older local Muslim sources. A number of these documents have been presented by Harsh Narain and A.K. Chatterjee. That they are authentic and have a real proof value, is indirectly corroborated by the attempts made to make two of them disappear, which Harsh Narain and Arun Shourie independently discovered.
    • Elst, K. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)
  • There is archaeological evidence that a temple, or at the very least a building with pillars, has stood on the Babri Masjid spot since the eleventh century. Of course, because of the structure standing there, the archaeological search has been far from exhaustive, but at least of the existence of this 11th century building we can be certain... However, it is very unlikely that the place was not functioning as a Hindu place of worship just before the Babri Masjid was built. As is well known, fourteen pillar-stones with Hindu temple ornamentation have been used in the construction of the Babri Masjid. Considering the quantity of bricks employed in the building, one cannot say that these fourteen pillar-stones were used merely to economize on bricks: quantitatively, they simply didn't make a difference. These remnants of Hindu architecture were more probably use in order to display the victory of the mosque over the temple, of Islam over Paganism. That was in keeping with a very common practice of Muslim conquerors, who often left pieces of the outer wall of the destroyed temple standing (as was done in the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, replacing the Kashi Vishvanath temple), or worked pieces of idols into the threshold of the newly- built mosque, so that the faithful could tread them underfoot.
    • Elst, K. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)
  • A court ruling of 1951 cites testimony of local Muslims that the mosque had not been used since 1936, which means that in 1949 the Hindus took over an unused building - hardly worth the current Babri Masjid movement with its cries of “Islam in danger!” (or its newer version, “Secularism in danger!”) and its hundreds of riot victims. On 3 March 1951, the Civil Judge of Faizabad observed: “it further appears from a number of affidavits of certain Muslim residents of Ayodhya that at least from 1936 onwards the Muslims have neither used the site as a mosque nor offered prayers there... Nothing has been pointed to discredit these affidavits.” .... Prof. B.P. Sinha claims to know how this disuse of the Masjid came about: “As early as 1936-37, a bill was introduced in the legislative council of U.P. to transfer the site to the Hindus (... ) the bill was withdrawn on an unwritten understanding that no namaz [be] performed.”
    • Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple. Quoting Court Order of the Civil Judge of Faizabad of March 3, 1951 and Prof. B.P. Sinha.
  • I don’t think it is a controversy. It is a non-issue that stems out of several backgrounds. Too many temples have been destroyed for anyone to cry about a mosque.
    • Tarek Fatah: Breaking Down Jihadi Terror . Interview with Manish Pant- Mar 22, 2015, Interview [2]
  • The old temple of Ramachandra at Janmasthanam must have been a very fine one, for many of its columns have been used by the Musalmans in the construction of Babar's masjid. These are of strong, close-grained, dark-coloured or black stone, called by the natives knsnuti, 'touch-stone slate,' and carved with different devices. They are from seven to eight feet long, square at the base, centre and capital, and round or octagonal intermediately
    • Alois Anton Führer (Fuhrer 1889: 68). quoted in Jain, M. (2017). The battle of Rama: Case of the temple at Ayodhya. ch 1
  • “No evidence whatsoever has been proffered of continued Muslim occupation Babri Masjid, while the uninterrupted presence of Hindu devotees has been attested by several sources. Babri Masjid finds no mention in the revenue records of the Nawabi and British periods, nor was any Waqf ever created for its upkeep. No Muslim filed an FIR when the image of Sri Rama was placed under the central dome on 23rd December 1949.” (p.144)
    • Meenakshi Jain, The Battle for Rama: Case of the Temple at Ayodhya (2017)(p.145)
  • There was a widely held belief that the prestige of the Janmabhumi temple had aroused the envy of local Muslims, especially the pir, Fazl Abbas Musa Ashikhan. He goaded Babar to demolish the temple and raise a mosque in its stead. Ashikhan's grave at Ayodhya is marked by two pillars of a temple, which resembled the fourteen pillars inside the Babri Masjid.
    • Jain, M. (2013). Rama and Ayodhya., p 100
  • Sir! Of late, one Nihang Sikh, who is a resident of Punjab, a Government employee and a Bairagi, is on rampage at the Janmasthan. In the middle of Baburi mosque near the mehrab and mimber he has constructed a chabutara made of clay which measures about four fingers in height by filling it with lime-stones. Following his faith he has unnecessarily made illumination and after having raised the platform in the mosque to the height of one and a quarter yards he has placed a flag, picture and idol there. After digging a pit equal to that measurement he has constructed a concrete parapet. Thereafter, he has made aatish and illumination. He is fully occupied with worship and homa. He has written ‘Rama’, ‘Rama’ with coal everywhere in the mosque. Now it is time for justice, as the Hindus are committing acts of high-handedness and tyranny on the Muslims. You are the master of both the parties, and if any person constructs forcibly, he would be punished by your honour. Kindly consider the fact that a mosque is a place of worship for the Muslims only and not for the Hindus. Earlier the flag (nishan) of Janmasthana was lying there for hundreds of years and Hindus used to do puja. Because of conspiracy of Shiv Ghulam Thandedar, Oudh Government, the Bairagis constructed overnight a Chabutra up to the height of one ‘Balisht’ until the orders of injunction were issued. At that time the Deputy Commissioner suspended the Thanedar and fine was imposed on Bairagis. Now the Chabootra has been raised to about 1¼ yards. Thus, high-handedness has been proved. It is requested that Murtaza Khan of Kotwal City be ordered that he himself should visit the spot, inspect the new construction, get it demolished and oust the Hindus from there. He should get the flag and the idol removed and the writing on the walls washed.
    • Complaint of Syyed Muhammad, in 1858 CE, “Copy of the application of Mohammad Khatib Moazzin of the Masjid, dated November 30, 1858, case no. 884 regarding application of Thanedar, Oudh, for reconstructing the symbol within the Masjid Janam Sthāna Mahant Nihang Singh Faqir Khalsa Mohalla Ram Kot, (Kot Ram Chander) Pargana Haweli, Oudh, Tahsil and District Faizabad decided on December 15, 1858..quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited.
  • It has always been our position that the Babri Masjid was never built by demolishing any mandir or any Hindu place of worship. The Supreme Court has also affirmed our position in its judgment… The Supreme Court has clearly stated that namaz was offered in the masjid till the night of December 22, 1949 (when idols were placed inside the central dome). The Supreme Court also accepted that placing of the idols in the masjid…was an illegal act. It accepts in its judgment that demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, was an illegal, unconstitutional and criminal act. It is indeed regrettable that after accepting all these facts, the apex court in an extremely unjust verdict handed over land of the masjid to people who had placed idols in the mosque in a criminal manner and were party to its criminal demolition.

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