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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - ‘Grander than the Taj Mahal’: Building of Muhammad bin Abdullah Mosque to begin in May
MAKKAH: Haji Arfat Shaikh, the head of the development committee at the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation and chair of the Maharashtra State Minority Commission, said construction of the Muhammad bin Abdullah Mosque will begin in Dhannipur in Ayodhya district on May 14.
He added that preparations for the project, which is overseen by the foundation and also includes the building of an educational institute and a hospital, are complete and he believes the finished facilities will be more grand than the Taj Mahal.
“We wish the mosque to be inaugurated by Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais (head of the Presidency of Religious Affairs at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah) or at least he should once lead the Friday prayers there,” Arfat Shaikh said during an interview in Makkah with Arab News.
In 2019, the Indian Supreme Court cleared the way for construction of a Hindu temple, called Ram Mandir in the city of Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh, on land that was historically the site of the 16th-century Babri Mosque. Hindus claimed the mosque was built on land previously occupied by a Hindu temple, and for decades the site was at the center of a legal dispute between Hindus and Muslims, both of whom claimed the right to it.
Ram Mandir was officially inaugurated on Monday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
As part of its 2019 decision allocating the land to the Hindu community, the Supreme Court also allocated land for Muslims to build a mosque in Dhannipur, a village about 25 km from the original site. Arfat Shaikh said the foundation stone has already been laid there. The mosque development will cover more than 5 acres of land, he added, and an adjacent 6-acre site has been obtained for the educational institute and medical facility.
It is expected that the mosque will be able to accommodate as many as 9,000 worshippers for congregational prayers, he said, and with its outside yard and adjacent green space host many as 50,000 worshippers for Eid prayers.
Focusing on the importance of the word “Iqra,” which means “read” and is the first word revealed to Prophet Muhammad in the Qur’an, Arfat Shaikh said one of the aims of the mosque project is to boost education by building campuses of India’s leading medical and dental institutions, a law college, and branches of international schools on the site, where poor students can receive free education.
The complex will also provide free food to between 3,000 and 5,000 people each day, and a state-of-the-art hospital will offer free healthcare for the poor, he added.
There should be no place for politics in the naming of mosques and Islamic schools, Arfat Shaikh said, and by giving it the name Muhammad bin Abdullah, in honor of the Prophet and his father, it will be a source of blessings for the country.
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