Friday, August 22, 2014

Baitul Mukarram, the glory of the city of mosques:Daily Sun

Baitul Mukarram National Mosque Dhaka is known as the city of mosques. Baitul Mukarram, the national mosque of Bangladesh, situated in the heart of the city, is the 10th biggest mosque of the world. Baitul Mukarram has won the hearts of Muslims and attracts visitors from home and abroad. Because of its cubical shape, the mosque resembles the world famous Ka’aba Sharif of Makkah. The mosque has enr
iched the Islamic heritage of Dhaka. It attracts tourists due to its architectural beauty. History says, a businessman named Abdul Latif Bawani proposed to build a mega mosque in 1958 considering the growing number of population of the bustling city. Getting approval from the then government, a society named Baitul Mukarram Mosque Society was formed and 8.3 acres of land was acquired adjacent to Motijheel commercial area for the purpose. The mosque complex was designed by noted architect Abdul Hussain Thariani. The plan included offices, libraries, shops and parking areas within the complex. The construction of the mosque began on January 27, 1960 and devotees offered their first prayers on January 25, 1963. It was declared the National Mosque of Bangladesh one year after the independence of Bangladesh from the misrule of Pakistan in 1971. The cubic shape of the mosque without a dome over the roof of its main prayer hall is the unique characteristic of the mosque. It is an eight-storied mosque and 99 feet high from the ground level. According to the original plan, the main entrance of the mosque was supposed to be built on its eastern side. The ‘shahan’ on the eastern side is 29,000 square feet with spaces for ablution on its southern and northern sides. The absence of a dome on the main building is compensated by the two shallow domed entrance porticoes, each on the southern and northern sides. The area of the main prayer hall is 26,517 square feet with a mezzanine floor of 1,840 square feet on the eastern side of the mosque. Contacted, Md Evadullah, the director of the mosque, said around 40,000 devotees can say their prayers at a time. Resembling the existing one, a new minaret is being built to heighten the beauty of the grand mosque. It is the only mosque in the country where around 7,000 women can say their prayers at a time, he informed. “Usually women say their prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. They also come here to say prayers on special days of the Islamic calendar.” The authorities are now working to make the mosque fully air-conditioned. Besides spaces for prayer, there is a library with over 1.20 lakh religious books and rare copies of Holy Quran. During the month of Ramadan, Baitul Mukarram becomes the most visited place of Muslims. On average, 2,000 fasting Muslims take Iftar at a time during Ramadan, he added. It has been learnt that Maulana Abdur Rahman Bekhud became the first Khatib of the mosque in 1963. Maulana Usman Madani was its second Khatib who carried out his duty for a year only. After them, Mufti Syed Muhammad Aminul Ihsan was appointed as its Khatib who served the mosque for 10 years (1964-1974). Mufti Maulana Muiz also served the mosque for a decade. Khatib Maulana Ubaidul Haq served the mosque for the highest 24 years till his demise in 2007. Since 2009, Maulana Md Salahuddin has been serving the mosque as a Khatib till date. Earlier, Mufti Muhammad Nuruddin became an acting Khatib of Baitul Mukarram following demise of Khatib Maulana Ubaidul Haque. He served here in this capacity for a brief period. He embraced an untimely death. The national mosque is being run under the Islamic Foundation Bangladesh as an autonomous institution. All the officials and employees of the Foundation enjoy all the official facilities.