Masjid-i Jahān-Numā, Jama Masjid New Delhi India
The Masjid-i Jahān-Numā (Persian: مسجد جھان نما, the ‘World-reflecting Mosque’), commonly known as the Jama Masjid of Delhi, is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal, and completed in the year 1656 AD, it is the largest and best-known mosque in India. The name Jahān-Numā comes from Persian meaning “World-reflecting”. It lies at the origin of a very busy central street of Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk.
The later name, Jami Masjid, is a reference to the weekly Friday noon congregation prayers of Muslims, Jummah, which are usually done at a mosque, the “congregational mosque” or “jāmi’ masjid”. The courtyard of the mosque can hold up to twenty-five thousand worshippers. The mosque also houses several relics in a closet in the north gate, including an antique copy of the Qur’an written on deer skin.
The foundation of the historic Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) was laid on a hillock in Shahjahanabad by fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shahjahan, on Friday the October 6, 1650 AD, (10th Shawwal 1060 AH). The mosque was the result of the efforts of over 5,000 workers, over a period of six years. The cost incurred on the construction in those times was 10 lakh (1 million) Rupees, and it was same Emperor who also built the who built the Taj Mahal, at Agra and the Red Fort, which stands across the Jama Masjid, which was finally ready in 1656 AD (1066 AH), complete with three great gates, four towers and two 40 m-high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble.
Shah Jahan built several important mosques in Delhi, Agra, Ajmer and Lahore. The Jama Masjid’s floorplan is very similar to the Jama Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri near Agra, but the Jamia Masjid is the bigger and more imposing of the two. Its majesty is further enhanced because of the high ground that he selected for building this mosque. The architecture and design of the slightly larger Badshahi Mosque of Lahore built by Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb in 1673 is closely related to the Jamia Masjid in Delhi.
On April 14, 2006, two explosions occurred within Jamia Masjid. The first explosion came at around 17:26 and the second around seven minutes later at around 17:33 (IST) . At least thirteen people were injured in the blasts. There were around 1000 people in the mosque at the time of blasts as the day happened to be Friday, a Muslim holy day, and because it was the first Friday after Milad un Nabi, Islamic prophet Muhammad’s birthday. According to official spokesmen, there was no damage to the mosque itself.