To the western world, an iconic image of Islamic aggression is the conversion of the Hagia Sophia – Eastern Christendom’s greatest church – into a mosque by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet. It was his first act upon entering the conquered city of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1493 CE.
It is relatively unknown in the western world that a mere 35 years later, in 1528 CE, his fellow Turk – Zahir ud-din Babar, the founder of the Moghul empire in Bharat, and a descendant of Tamerlane – demolished one of Hindu Dharma’s greatest temple complexes, and erected a mosque in its place, which is known in Bharat as the Babri Masjid (Babar’s mosque).
It is the purpose of this article to give my western readers a glimpse into this act of destruction, and to provide further evidence of the compulsive aggression and profanity of Islamic invaders.
Through the centuries of brutal Islamic rule over Bharat, tens of thousands of Hindu temples were destroyed and mosques built at their sites. In northern Bharat, which was under Islamic rule for a longer period of time, hardly any temple has survived the Islamic period. Among the temples destroyed were the 3 greatest temples of Hindu Dharma – those dedicated to Shri Ram, Shri Krishna, and Shankar, at Ayodhya, Mathura, and Benaras (Varanasi), respectively.
Muslims kept fairly accurate accounts of their temple demolitions, since they considered them acts of great piety. By destroying the temples of the “kufr”, they were doing Allah’s bidding, and imitating Muhammad, who himself had destroyed all the idols in the Kaaba and made it into a mosque. Muslim rulers throughout history have repeated this act. The West knows of the conversion of the St. Sophia in Constantinople into a mosque. Hindu knows of thousands of such tragic instances.
Given below are some of the accounts left by muslim historians about the religious significance of Ayodhya for Hindus and of the destruction of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya – one of the greatest temples of Hindu Dharma. We will never know its splendour, but judging by the temples of South Bharat that did survive Islamic rule, it must have been a stupendous feat of architecture.
The muslim writers unanimously describe the following:
1. The temple complex comprised of the Janmasthan of Shri Ram at Kot Ram Chander, the private apartments (mahal sarai) of King Dashrath and Shri Ram, and a temple and a kitchen popularly known as Sita Ki Rasoi, where tradition held that Sita (wife of Shri Ram) lived.
2. All three were demolished and a mosque was constructed thereupon in 1528 CE under the orders of Babur’s commander Mir Baqi and the religious guidance of a Muslim cleric named Sayed Musa Ashikan.
One such author is none other than the granddaughter of the Mughal (Mogul) emperor Aurangzeb. Many of these Muslim writers were residents of Ayodhya (Awadh) and some were eye-witness to or participants in the Hindu-Muslim clashes that resulted from the numerous (77 recorded) attempts by Hindus to regain control of their holy site. Muslim records state that over 100,000 Hindus, over the centuries, perished in attempts to regain the temple.
Let us now see what the Muslim writers have said:
1) Abul Fazl (late sixteeth century)
Abul Fazl, the author of Akbar Nama and Ain-i-Akbari is an eminent writer of the Moghul age who describes Ayodhya as the residential place (banga) of Sri Ram Chandra who during the Treta age was the embodiment of both the spiritual sovereign supremacy as well as the mundane kingly office. Abul Fazl also testifies that Awadh (Ayodhya) was esteemed as one of the holiest places of antiquity. He reports that Ram-Navami festival, marking the birthday of Rama continues to be celebrated in a big way.
2) Safiha-i Chahal Nasaih Bahadur Shahi, written by the daughter of Bahadur Shah Alamgir during the early 18th century
Out of the above Chahal Nasaih (“Forty Advices”), twenty-five instructions were copied and incorporated in the manuscript entitled Nasihat-i Bist-o-Panjam Az Chahal Nisaih Bahadur Shahi in 1816 CE, which is the oldest known account of the destruction of Ram Janmabhoomi for construction of the Babri Mosque, and its author is none other than Aurangzeb’s grand daughter.
Mirza Jan, the author of Hadiqa-i-Shahda, 1856, Lucknow, has reproduced the above text in Persian on pp.4-7 of his book. The text runs as follows:
“… the mosques built on the basis of the king’s orders (ba farman-i Badshahi) have not been exempted from the offering of the namaz and the reading of the Khutba [therein]. The places of worship of the Hindus situated at Mathura, Banaras and Awadh, etc., in which the Hindus (kufar) have great faith – the place of the birthplace of Kanhaiya, the place of Rasoi Sita, the place of Hanuman, who, according to the Hindus, was seated by Ram Chandra over there after the conquest of Lanka – were all demolished for the strength of Islam, and at all these places mosques have been constructed. These mosques have not been exempted from juma and jamiat (Friday prayers). Rather it is obligatory that no idol worship should be performed over there and the sound of the conch shell should not reach the ear of the Muslims …”
3) Hadiqa-i-Shahada by Mirza Jan (1856), pages 4-7.
The author was an eye-witness and an active participant in the jihad led by Amir Ali Amethawi during Wazid Ali Shah’s rule in 1855 for recapture of Hanumangarhi from the Hindus. His book was ready just after the failure of the jihad due to stout Hindu resistance, and was published the following year (1856) in Lucknow.
In Chapter IX of his book, entitled Wazid Ali Shah Aur Unka Ahd (“Wazid Ali Ahah and His Regime”), we find his account of construction of the Babri mosque. Mirza Jan who claims to have gone through various old sources says in his own account as follows:
“The past Sultans encouraged the propagation and glorification of Islam and crushed the forces of the unbelievers (kufar), the Hindus. Similarly, Faizabad and Awadh (Ayodhya) were also purged of this mean practice [of kufr]. This [Awadh] was a great worshipping centre and the capital of [the kingdom of] Rama’s father.
Where there was a large temple, a big mosque was constructed and where there was a small mandap, there a small kanati masjid was constructed. The temple of Janmasthan was the original birthplace (masqat) of Ram, adjacent to which is Sita Ki Rasoi, Sita being the name of his wife.
Hence at that site, a lofty (sarbaland) mosque has been built by Babar Badshah under the guidance of Musa Ashikan… That mosque is till date popularly known as Sita Ki Rasoi…”
4) Fasana-i Ibrat by the Urdu novelist Mirza Rajab Ali Beg Surur
Dr. Zaki Kakorawi has appended an excerpt from this book by Surur (1787-1867) in his work. The excerpt reads as follows :
“During the reign of Babar Badshah, a magnificent mosque was constructed in Awadh at a place which is associated with Sita ki Rasoi. This was the Babri mosque. As during this period the Hindus could not dare to offer any resistance, the mosque was constructed under the benign guidance of Saiyed Mir Ashikan. Its date of construction could be reckoned from [the words] Khair-Baqi. And in the Ram Darbar, a mosque was constructed by Fidai Khan, the subedar.”
5) Zia-i Akhtar by Haji Muhammed Hasan (Lucknow 1878), p.38-39.
The author states,
“The mosque which had been built by Saiyid Musa Ashikan in 923 AH in compliance with the order of Zahiruddin Badshah, Delhi, after demolishing the private apartments (mahal sarai) of Raja Ram Chander and the kitchen of Sita, as well as the second mosque built by Muiuddin Aurangzeb, Alamgir Badshah, [in fact] both these mosques have developed cracks at various places because of the ageing character. Both these mosques have been gradually mitigated by the Bairagis and this very fact accounts for the riot. The Hindus have great hatred for the Muslims…”
6) Gumgashte Halat-i Ajudhya Awadh (“Forgotten Events of Ayodhya”), i.e. Tarikh-i Parnia Madina Alwaliya (in Persian) (Lucknow 1885), by Maulvi Abdul Karim.
The author, who was then the imam of the Babri Masjid, while giving a description of the dargah of Hazrat Shah Jamal Gojjri states :
“To the east of this dargah is mahalla Akbarpur, whose second name is also Kot Raja Ram Chander Ji. In this Kot, there were few burjs [towery big halls]. Towards the side of the western burj, there was the house of birthplace (makan-i paidaish) and the kitchen (bawarchi khana) of the above-mentioned Raja. And now, this premises is known as Janmasthan and Rasoi Sita Ji. After the demolition and mitigation of these houses [viz. Janmasthan and Rasoi Sita Ji], Babar Badshah got a magnificent mosque constructed thereon.”
7) Tarikh-i Awadh (“History of Ayodhya”) by Alama Muhammad Najamulghani Khan Rampuri (1909)
Dr. Zaki Kakorawi has brought out an abridged edition of this book. An excerpt from vol.II (pp.570-575) of this edition runs as follows :
“Babar built a magnificent mosque at the spot where the temple of Janmasthan of Ramchandra was situated in Ayodhya, under the patronage of Saiyid Ashikan, and Sita ki Rasoi is situated adjacent to it. The date of construction of the mosque is Khair Baqi (923 AH). Till date, it is known as Sita ki Rasoi.
By its side stands that temple. It is said that at the time of the conquest of Islam there were still three temples, viz. Janmasthan, which was the birthplace of Ram Chanderji, Swargadwar alias Ram Darbar, and the Treta ka Thakur. Babar built the mosque after having demolished Janmasthan.”
8) Hindustan Islami Ahad Mein (“India is under Islamic rule”) by Maulana Hakim Sayid Abdul Hai
The book contained a chapter on “The Mosques of Hindusthan” (Hindustan ki Masjidein), giving at least six instances of the construction of the mosques on the very sites of the Hindu temples demolished by Bharat’s Muslim rulers during the 12th-17th centuries. As regards Babri Masjid, he writes :
“This mosque was constructed by Babar at Ajodhya which the Hindus call the birthplace of Ram Chanderji. There is a famous story about his wife Sita. It is said that Sita had a temple here in which she lived and cooked for her husband. On that very site Babar constructed this mosque…”
It is this Babri mosque, built as a symbol of the subjugation and humiliation of Hindus at a spot they venerated so highly, that was damaged by a crowd of Hindus in 1992 at the height of the nationalist movement to rebuild a temple for Shri Ram at the site which had been venerated as his birthplace by Hindus for millennia.
Islamic invaders deliberately destroyed and desecrated what was most sacred to Hindus, and replaced it with a symbol of Islamic victory. The same reason Sultan Mehmet converted the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. The Hindus and the West have been fighting the same foe for centuries.
I end with the lament of Will Durant, from his ‘Story of Civilization’
“We can never know from looking at India to-day, what grandeur and beauty she once possessed.”
All of that grandeur and beauty – laid waste by Islamic invaders.
(This article was published on author’s blog on February 13, 2009 and has been reproduced here with minor changes)
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