Photo Gallery

Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque (built 1192-1316)

Quwwat-ul-Islam was sponsored by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, founder of the Mamluk dynasty. Born a slave in Turkey, Qutb rose to prominence as a general during Muhammed Ghari's invasion of India in the 1180s. After Muhammed's assasination in 1206, Qutb seized the throne and crowned himself Sultan of the Mamluk dynasty, often disparagingly called the "Slave Dynasty" after Qutb's origins. Although the dynasty lasted for only a few centuries, Muslim rule in India endured up to the British occuption in 1858.

Qutb was a fanatical Muslim. When his garison occupied Delhi under the command of Muhammed Ghari in 1192, he ordered the destruction of twenty-seven Hindu and Jain temples to furnish building materials for the construction of Delhi's first mosque. Quwwat-ul-Islam, the "Glory of Islam," was hastily erected by the young amir, who conscripted an army of local craftsmen, presumably Hindus, to assemble the structure. The Hindu stonemasons re-used columns from the destroyed temples, but adapting them to use in a mosque proved problematic given Islam's injunction against the use of images in temples. The masons were forced to plaster over the highly sculpted Hindu columns and presumably cover them with geometric designs. However, after centuries of neglect the plaster has fallen away, revealing the original Hindu carvings.

The Quwwat-ul-Islam is best known for its tower of victory, celebrating the Muslim conquest of India. It is built of red sandstone, gray quartz, and white marble, but is probably inspired by the iron "Pillar of the Law" that stands on the site. Built in the Mauryan dynasty in the 6th century, it is the only piece of the temple that stands in its original location. Qutb built around it when he constructed the mosque. Although made of iron, it has resisted rust for over 1,500 years, evidence of the Mauryan's superb knowledge of metallurgy.

Expansion of the mosque continued after the death of Qutb. His son-in-law Altamash (or Illtutmish) extended the original prayer hall screen by three more arches (image 8). By the time of Altamash the Mamluk empire had stablized enough that the Sultan could replace most of his conscripted Hindu masons with Islamic ones. This explains why the arches added under Altamash are stylistically more Islamic than the ones erected under Qutb's rule.

Just to the west of the expanded mosque, Altamash built his own tomb, the first to be erected for the Delhi Sultanate. Despite the presence of Muslim craftsman, the tomb is mostly Hindu in design if not in execution. Much of the superstructure and most of the walls are built of pillaged building material. Altamash's body was laid to rest in a subterranean chamber beneath the tomb.

The decline of Quwwat-ul-Islam began during the rule of Ala-ud-din (1296-1316), known to the West as "Alladin". Ala-ud-din at first seemed inclined to patronize the mosque, even adding an enormous new courtyard wall and erecting the base of a huge new minar (tower). However, Ala-ud-dins dreams were so grand that he decided to abandon the Lal Kot (Delhi) capital and move to nearby Siri, whereupon Quwwat-ul-Islam lost its pre-eminence.

Location

The approximate location of the mosque is 28.524532' N, 77.185365' E (WGS 84 map datum).

Bibliography:

Images copyright 2001 Prof. Gilbert Daenzer of Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska; April Clark; Kaye Yeo Ahn

Tadgell, Christopher The History of Architecture in India.
  Phaidon Press, 1990. Singapore


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lakshmi posted on Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:06 am:

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zoya haider posted on Mon May 19, 2014 11:21 pm:

dude!!why did it had to be such a long note on the masjid??

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yasho wardhan tripathi posted on Sat May 03, 2014 7:59 am:

quwwat-ul-islam masjid before name of this masjid was a kwaja qutubudeen bakhiyat kaki dargah after some time his named has changed due to some superstitious tragedy happened here. Because these mother****er Islamic made his masjid to destroyed our temples. They should respect our culture... They did mistake...

Nidhi Patel posted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:37 am:

Pillars were neither brought nor constructed.

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:) posted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:53 am:

can u please tell me from where were the pillars in quwwat-ul-islam brought???

Indian History GK Questions posted on Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:59 am:

I am research on Indian history, so this post is very beneficial for me. I can get more knowledge from here about Indian history.

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Shreya posted on Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:13 am:

Very nice use of language . The information for historical architecture maybe increased and improvised. Thank you.i wish this website may continue for long.

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vfbgg posted on Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:09 pm:

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Md. Istiake Manik posted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:28 pm:

From the North Enterence Writing it is now proved that this Mosque was built In 592 A.H./1195 A.D.

Khurshid Suman posted on Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:21 am:

Qutb-ud-Din Aibek was born in 'Turkestan' (Central Asia), not in 'Rum' or Anatolia what is now known as Turkey (Turkiye).

Khurshid Suman posted on Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:19 am:

Qutb-ud-Din Aibek was born in 'Turkestan' (Central Asia), not in 'Rm' or Anatolia what is now known as Turkey (Trkiye).

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ravinder jain posted on Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:03 pm:

this mosuque is anti islam and anti quaran.it is curse for history of india.this monument is the base of hate

Shiv Hari posted on Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:52 am:

I pity seculars..they are morons. History repeats itself if we remain ignorant. Read any Islamic Encyclopedia to see "Al Takiya" rule that muslims are following in modern India.

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suzzane posted on Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:20 am:

it is one of india's most beautiful tresure. so plz save it so that our future generation can see it.

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shripati pandey posted on Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:45 pm:

How can we forget our past . Muslim rulers ruined, destroyed ,force-converted into Islam ,looted,massacred Hindus , burnt cultural and educational centers . At present corrupt politicians compelling us to forget history in the name of secularism.Hindus remained always secular and respected non-Hindus ideologies.

Isha posted on Mon May 07, 2012 7:45 am:

Thanks:-P i had to write about quwat ul islam and there was nowhere in my home to about it. So i would lost marks if i didn't got these information.

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sam posted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:32 am:

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Celebrate_Peace posted on Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:02 pm:

Hundreds of Mosques have been built by Islamic rulers throughout India by destroying ancient hindu,buddhist, jain temples etc. Started with Mahmud of Ghazni and carried on by his followers.

vishakha posted on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:59 am:

very nice piece of information...i needed it for my notes.thanks.

Krishan posted on Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:44 am:

Quwwatul Islam Masjid means the "Might of Islam" mosque. The 26 temples were broken, not to get the building materials - building materials abound in the region - they were destroyed because destruction of temples is a sacred duty of Islamic rulers. It is no different today. Bamiyan Buddha statue in Afghanistan and hundreds of temples in Pakistan were destroyed for the same reason. This mosque is a crude structure as compared to elegant temples that were destroyed.

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hai posted on Sat May 28, 2011 12:05 pm:

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Trisha posted on Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:40 am:

It wasn't an innocent civilian's blood, it was the blood of an ancient ruler. And he died after the fort was built therefore it wasn't a structure built on an innocent civilian's blood, but a ruler who's tomb is situated in the structure.

Satish posted on Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:37 pm:

What kind of God accepts worship from a structure built on innocent civilian's blood ?

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