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Sufis to lay foundation stone of the redesigned Dhanipur mosque

Mansooruddin Faridi/New Delhi

There is a change in the design of the planned Muhammad Bin Abdullah Mosque to be built at Dhanipur in Ayodhya; instead of being an ultra-modern mosque without a dome and minarets, the redesigned mosque will have five minarates jetting in the sky and visible from 11 km, each symbolizing five pillars of Islam.

​This was disclosed by Haji Arafat Sheikh, who was appointed the Chairman of the Muhammad Bin Abdullah Mosque Development Committee in December 2023.

The new design will stand for the unity of Indian Muslims and their pride in their country. It will house the world’s largest copy of the Holy Quran and the largest fish aquarium, to be installed in its washroom area.

Haji Arafat Sheikh is the former chairman of Maharashtra Minorities Commission. He has also been chosen as a trustee and advisor for the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation which is in charge of building the mosque-hospital complex on the land given by the government on the mandate of the Supreme Court,

Speaking with Awaz-the Voice on the phone from Mumbai, Haji Arafat said the money for the project will be raised through online donations.


The prototype of the planned mosque at Ayodhya

The foundation stone laying likely to be held in February-March will be held as a mega show with some 100 Sufi saints accompanying bricks for it from Mumbai in a special train.

Haji Arafat Sheikh said that a convoy of 100 Sufi scholars will leave from Mumbai by train for laying the foundation stone of Muhammad Bin Abdullah Mosque. During the journey, flowers will be showered and perfume sprinkled on these bricks at every station.

While the name of the mosque is final, Haji Arafat Sheikh said that the dates of laying its foundation stone are yet to be finalized mainly because of the approaching Ramazan. However, the plan is ready.

It is noteworthy that the planning for building a mosque on the five acres of land mandated by the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Babri Masjid case remains bogged down in technical problems and elaborate paperwork.

Haji Arafat Shaikh

It may be recalled that two years ago when the design of the Dhanipur Mosque was made public, it was to be built as per modern designs based on the futuristic trends from European architecture.

However, Arafat Sheikh says that a new design is ready. Its special feature is that it has five minarets with one dome, which symbolizes the five pillars of Islam.

This will be the first mosque in India with five minarets. The first minaret will be named Minar-e-kalma (opening sentence of the Holy Quran) the second Minar-e-Dua (Prayer Minaret) the third Minar-e-Din (Religion Minaret), the fourth one Minar-e-Zakat and the fifth one Minar-e- Haj.

All these minarets will be visible from a distance of 11 kilometers, the mosque will be like the Taj Mahal.

“Our goal is to make it better and better, so everyone’s suggestions and suggestions will be considered,” he said.

Haji Arafat Sheikh is the President of Maharashtra Khattak Samaj i.e. Qureshi Brotherhood as well as the President of All India Sufi Board Pirdal. He is also the president of the transport union Nav Bharati Shiv Vahak Sangathan Transport Wing, which has 7.5 lakh members.

The proposed mosque at Dhanipur will be part of a complex that will have a cancer hospital, law college, dental college, international school, a library, an old-age home, and a langar (community kitchen).

Haji Arafat Sheikh said that the name of the Old Age Home is being kept a secret for the time being and he is sure as and when it is revealed people will appreciate it.


A Bird’s eye view of the proposed mosque at Dhanipur

The 500-bed cancer hospital will offer free treatment and it will have Babul Khora Kiwala as its chairman. Kiwala is presently in-charge of Waghyard Hospital.

The community kitchen will serve only vegetarian food in reverence to the name of the holy person after whom it it named. All the services and admissions into colleges will be available to people of all faiths.

Haji Arafat Sheikh claimed that once the cancer hospital is built, patients from neighboring states will also move to Dhanipur instead of going all the way to Mumbai. The cancer hospital established in the name of the Prophet of Islam will not only become a means of treatment for the patients, it will also evoke respect and love for the founder of Islam.

On raising funds for Dhanipur’s Muhammad bin Abdullah Mosque, Arafat Sheikh says it will be kept transparent and all the donations will be accepted from a website online through a QR code. He said people should know that there are no physical receipts in online donations and therefore people should be beware of those seeking donations in person.

“We will make an arrangement in which the money given for a specific part of the project will be utilized for that only. For if someone donates for the mosque, it will be used for the maintenance of the house of God and if someone donates to the hospital, college, or langar, money will automatically go into that particular account.

On the proposed plan to keep the world’s largest Holy Quran in the mosque, Haji Arafat Sheikh says that it be 21 feet long and when it is opened, its size will be 18 by 18 feet. The Holy Quran will be read during the month of  Ramazan. The last prayers of the Quran will be held on Friday.

He said that this Holy Quran has a saffron cover, which is preferred by Sufis and mystics and it’s also called Chishtyi color after the Chistiya Sufi order founded by Khwaja Moinuddin Chisty whose Dargah is at Ajmer, Rajasthan.

Usually, the paper used for the Holy Quran does not degrade for a thousand years. The Quran is being written by famous calligraphers of Maharashtra.

As the mosque will use solar power, Haji Arafat Sheikh says that the important thing is that when the sun sets in the Muhammad bin Abdullah Mosque, the lights will automatically turn on till morning.

Interestingly, the Maghrib prayers will begin with the water fountain coming into action. The aquarium to be installed around the washroom area will be a center of attraction for children and tourists.​

Arafat Sheikh took over as the trustee and advisor of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation in Mumbai. He said the work on the mosque will start in two months.

He says the idea behind his nomination to the Muhammad bin Abdullah Mosque Development Committee is to expedite the Rs 300 crore project.

Haji Arafat Sheikh has also been elected as a trustee and advisor of the Indo-Islamic Culture Trust. A member of the trust said that Haji Arafat Sheikh is a knowledgeable young man and all the members have confidence in his capabilities.

Athar Hussain, secretary and spokesperson of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation, said that the Mosque Development Committee was established in December, whose command has been handed over to Haji Arafat Sheikh so that the obstacles in the construction of the mosque can be removed quickly.

The process of fund collection is very important for which Haji Arafat Sheikh has started making efforts. Speaking to Awaz-th Voice, Athar Hussain said that funds are the biggest problem at the moment.

He said so far it was surprising to know that 70 percent of the donations for the mosque are from non-Muslims. “It is a beautiful message,’ he said.

Athar Hussain said people were generally cynical when they were acquiring the land and doing other formalities for the mosque in Dhannipur, but in three years there has been a massive and visible change. “The same people who used to ask why build a mosque are asking when the mosque will be ready.”

ALSO READHindus contribute 70 pc funds for Ayodhya mosque

He said that Muslims are gradually realizing the ground reality, hence the thinking in this regard is also changing. “The attitude of the government and administration has been positive and we are investing time in the basic work of this project. This will also strengthen the slogan of unity of New India.”

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