History of Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque

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History of Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque

Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque is situated near the Qutub Minar in New Delhi. It is even in ruins ‘one of the most magnificent works in the world”.

The work at original mosque began in 1193 A.D. and was completed in 1197 A.D. Subsequently additions were made to Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque by Iltutmish in 1230 A.D. and Ala-ud-din Khilji in 1315 A.D. but on account of the death of the latter the work ad to be left incomplete.

The Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque consists of an inner and outer courtyard. The inner courtyard is surmounted by an exquisite colonnade. Hindu influence is traceable in this building, for we can still see in the pillars the typical Hindu ornamentation, tasseled ropes and bells, tendrils and leaves of flowers and the cow and the calf. There is also a trace of human figurines, though these have been mutilated.

The Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosqueis of considerable historical importance. Iltutmish‘s extension of the mosque in 1230 A.D. is fundamentally Islamic in character and design, although Hindu shafts, capitals and architraves are still there.

The glory of Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, however, lies in the grand line of arches that closes its western side, extending from north to south for about 117 meters. They are eleven in number, three greater and eight smaller. The central arch is 6.7 meters wide and 16.15 meters high. The larger side arches are 7.41 meters wide and about the same height as the central one, while the smaller arches are of about half these dimensions. The central part of this screen, 44.8 meters in length, forming the mosque proper, was built by Qutb-ud-din Aibak. Iltutmish extension of the screen shows the predominance of the Muslim architecture, for the carving becomes intensely saracenic, the flowers and leaves are replaced by diapers of Arbesque design, and he Arabic characters become even more evolved.

Iltutmish more than doubled the compass of the mosque; in the enclave he also erected a tomb for his own burial. He also conceived of a Minar which should rival the glory of the Qutb Minar.

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