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Shia Jama Masjid Delhi

The Shia Jama Masjid is situated in Kashmiri Gate, New Delhi. The prayer leader at the masjid is Hujjatul Islam Syed Ali Taqvi. The mosque is located in Old Delhi and can be reached easily. The closest metro station to Shia Jama Masjid is the Kashmiri Gate metro station. From the metro station people can easily reach the mosque by hiring auto rickshaws.

If visitors want to witness the processions of Muharram then it is best to visit the mosque during the Islamic month of Muharram. During the procession, several stalls are put up along the streets that offer people rose sherbet and water free of charge. Witnessing the procession of Muharram outside the Shia Jama Masjid is a different feeling altogether. One can see the ancient grief still fresh and people walking with eyes filled with tears and wailing in sorrow. A visit to the Shia Jama Masjid brings about different nostalgic thoughts even if you are visiting it for the first time.

There are various sites along the Kashmiri Gate that can be visited during a visit to the Shia Jama Masjid. Some of these sites include the Mutiny Memorial, Panja Sharif, Telegraph Memorial, Lothian Cemetery, Dara Shikoh Library, etc.

Architecture and Processions

The Shia Jama Masjid features an Indo Islamic architecture. It is among the most well-known mosques in Delhi. The mosque features three domes and two soaring minarets. The entrance of the masjid is a huge gateway that led up to a flight of stairs. A beautiful balcony can be seen just above the entrance gate. Around the mosque one can see various stalls and shops selling local delicacies and other items. The structure of the mosque from outside looks ancient. Up the stairs is a huge courtyard that leads to the main prayer hall. There is a separate area for conducting ablution.

The main prayer hall of the masjid is quite modest and large. Curtains with Arabic and Islamic inscriptions can be seen hanging from the walls in the prayer hall. The maulana delivers sermons from a small area. There is a room in the masjid that houses items of religious importance.

People can be seen praying at the masjid at all five assigned times of prayers. The mosque holds a lot of importance for the Shia community in Delhi. It is the site from where the procession of Muharram starts every year. This procession in among the oldest Muharram procession held in Delhi. Muharram is the month of mourning and also marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. The religious significance of the month is the martyrdom of the grandson of Prophet Mohammed Hussain who was killed in the battle of Karbala along with 72 other companions. The procession of Muharram is taken out to mark this sacrifice.

The festival starts on the first month of Muharram. History has it that the army of Yazid cornered Imam Hussain, his family and followers at Karbala in Iraq. In the following days, they were not provided with any food or water and many of them were killed. Ever since, the month is commemorated in the sacrifice of Imam Hussain. The first nine days of Muharram are marked by conducting religious assemblies wherein scholars talk about the happenings at Karbala.

On the tenth day of Muharram processions are taken out. People carry out banners and replicas of the tomb of Imam Hussain in Karbala. People taking part in the procession can be seen mourning and reciting cries in Urdu, Arabic and Punjabi. There is continuous humming of Ya Hussain Ya Hussain. The procession starts from the Shia Jama Masjid and ends at the Panja Sharif Karbala. The Panja Sharif is also located at Kashmiri Gate and is a recognized majlis khana or meeting place especially during mourning ceremonies. At time people also carry a white horse in the procession which marks the empty mount of Imam Hussain after his sacrifice.

People can be seen dressed in black and carrying black flags. Some devout religious people can even be seen hurting themselves with knives, ropes and blades to mark the sacrifice. People also carry out tazais (a model of the tomb of Imam Hussain in Karbala). Many Muslims also observe fast on the 10th day of Muharram. Even women take part in the morning during Muharram. They can be seen standing along the pavement and crying out for Hussain and the other martyrs.

There are several majlis (religious sermons/meetings) conducted in the Shia Jama Masjid. The Masjid conducts every day namaz, Friday prayers and also Eid prayers. Every Friday and on special occasion’s special sermons are delivered guiding people righteously towards doing good deeds. For anyone visiting Old Delhi a visit to the Shia Jama Masjid is recommended. Try out some delicacies sold in the stalls around the area. They are quite authentic and delicious.


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