Qutb Minar complex
The Qutb complex are monuments and buildings from the Delhi Sultanate at Mehrauli in Delhi in India. The Qutub Minar "victory tower" in the complex, named after the religious figure Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, was begun by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, who later became the first Sultan of Delhi of the Mamluk dynasty. Construction was continued by his successor Iltutmish (a.k.a. Altamash), and finally completed much later by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, a Sultan of Delhi from the Tughlaq dynasty in 1368 AD. The Qubbat-ul-Islam Mosque (Dome of Islam), later corrupted into Quwwat-ul Islam, stands next to the Qutb Minar.
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- Qutb-ud-Din Aybak also is said to have destroyed nearly a thousand temples, and then raised mosques on their foundations. The same author states that he built the Jami Masjid, Delhi, and adorned it with the stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants, and covered it with inscriptions (from the Quran) containing the divine commands. We have further evidence of this harrowing process having been systematically employed from the inscription extant over the eastern gateway of this same mosque at Delhi, which relates that the materials of 27 idol temples were used in its construction.
- Dr. Murray Titus (citing Hasan Nizami and others) quoted from B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
- “Just as later Mughal painting is a harmonious blend of Persian and Indian artistic tradition, so the Indo-Muslim architecture of Delhi and Ajmer is a blend. In the Quwwat al-Islam at Delhi and the Arhai din-ka-Jhopra at Ajmer, existing remains bear unmistakable evidence that they were not merely compilations, but the distinctive, planned works of professional architects…
- Syed Mahmudul Hasan, Mosque Architecture of Pre-Mughal Bengal, Dacca (Bangladesh), 1979. p. 34
- “…Delhi was the source of artistic inspiration for all the later provincial schools of Indo-Muslim architecture. Codrington remarks, ‘At Delhi, the Kutb-ul-Islam marks the beginning of Islamic architecture in India.’ This formative phase of Mosque architecture in India began with the random utilization of temple spoils, Hindu architraves, corbelled ceilings, kumbha pillars with hanging bell-and-chain motifs, which were organised to fulfil the needs of congregational prayer. It is said that the columns of twenty-seven Hindu and Jaina temples were utilized in the great Mosque, at Delhi, rightly called the ‘Might of Islam’. It was built by Qutb-al-Din Aybak in AH 587/AD 1191-92 on an ancient pre-Muslim plinth.
- Syed Mahmudul Hasan, Mosque Architecture of Pre-Mughal Bengal, Dacca (Bangladesh), 1979. p. 37
- This Jamii Masjid built in the months of the year 587 (hijri) by the Amir, the great, the glorious commander of the Army, Qutb-ud-daula wad-din, the amir-ul-umara Aibeg, the slave of the Sultan, may God strengthen his helpers! The materials of 27 idol temples, on each of which 2,000,000 Deliwal coins had been spent were used in the (construction of) this mosque.
- Inscription at the Quwwat Al-Islam Mosque adjacent to Qutb Minar in Delhi, Epigraphia Indo Moslemica, 1911–12, p. 13
- Qawwat al-Islam Mosque. According to my findings the first mosque of Delhi is Qubbat all-Islam or Quwwat al-Islam which, it is said, Qutbud-Din Aibak constructed in H. 587 after demolishing the temple built by Prithvi Raj and leaving certain parts of the temple (outside the mosque proper); and when he returned from Ghazni in H. 592, he started building, under orders from Shihabud-Din Ghori, a huge mosque of inimitable red stones, and certain parts of the temple were included in the mosque.
- Maulana Hakim Sayid Abdul Hai: Hindustan Islami Ahad Mein (Hindustan under Islamic Rule, Urdu translation) Majlis Tehqiqat wa Nashriat Islam, Nadwatul-Ulama, Lucknow. With a foreword by Maulana Abul-Hasan Ali Nadwi. Quoted in Arun Shourie: Hideaway Communalism (Indian Express, February 5, 1989) and in Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1990). Hindu temples: What happened to them.
- Quwwat al-Islam Masjid, Qutb Minar, Delhi: “This fort was conquered and the Jami Masjid built in the year 587 by the Amir… the slave of the Sultan, may Allalh strengthen his helpers. The materials of 27 idol temples, on each of which 2,000,000 Delhiwals had been spent were used in the (construction of) the mosque…” (1909-10, Pp 3-4). The Amir was Qutbud-Din Aibak, slave of Muizzud-Din Muhammad Ghori....
- Inscriptions on mosques: Archaeological Survey of India in its Epigraphia Indica-Arabic and Persian Supplement, quoted in S.R. Goel: The Tip of An Iceberg (Indian Express, February 19, 1989) and in Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1990). Hindu temples: What happened to them.
- Delhi: “He (Alaud-Din) ordered the circumference of the new minar to be made double of the old one (Qutb Minar)… The stones were dug out from the hills and the temples of the infidels were demolished to furnish a supply” (Ibid.).
- Furthermore, we are instructed, when we do come across instances of temple destruction, as in the case of Aurangzeb, we have to be circumspect in inferring what has happened and why.... the early monuments – like the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in Delhi – had to be built in ‘great haste’, we are instructed...Proclamation of political power, alone! And what about the religion which insists that religious faith is all, that the political cannot be separated from the religious? And the name: the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, the Might of Islam mosque? Of course, that must be taken to be mere genuflection! And notice: ‘available materials were assembled and incorporated’, they ‘clearly came from Hindu sources’ – may be the materials were just lying about; may be the temples had crumbled on their own earlier; may be the Hindus voluntarily broke their temples and donated the materials? No? After all, there is no proof they didn’t! And so, the word ‘plundered’ is repeatedly put within quotation marks!
In fact, there is more. The use of such materials – from Hindu temples – for constructing Islamic mosques is part of ‘a process of architectural definition and accommodation by local workmen essential to the further development of a South Asian architecture for Islamic use’. The primary responsibility thus becomes that of those ‘local workmen’ and their ‘accommodation’. Hence, features in the Qutb complex come to ‘demonstrate a creative response by architects and carvers to a new programme’. A mosque that has clearly used materials, including pillars, from Hindu temples, in which undeniably ‘in the fabric of the central dome, a lintel carved with Hindu deities has been turned around so that its images face into the rubble wall’ comes ‘not to fix the rule’. ‘Rather, it stands in contrast to the rapid exploration of collaborative and creative possibilities – architectural, decorative, and synthetic – found in less fortified contexts.’ Conclusions to the contrary have been ‘misevaluations’. We are making the error of ‘seeing salvaged pieces’ – what a good word that, ‘salvaged ’: the pieces were not obtained by breaking down temples; they were lying as rubble and would inevitably have disintegrated with the passage of time; instead they were ‘salvaged ’, and given the honour of becoming part of new, pious buildings – ‘seeing salvaged pieces where healthy collaborative creativity was producing new forms’.
- Arun Shourie - Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud
- The first thing the Muslim Sultanate of Delhi started on was construction of impressive buildings. The first sultan Qutbuddin Aibak had to establish Muslim power in India and to raise buildings "as quickly as possible, so that no time might be lost in making an impression on their newly-conquered subjects". Architecture was considered as the visual symbol of Muslim political power. It denoted victory with authority. The first two buildings of the early period in Delhi are the Qutb Minar and the congregational mosque named purposefully as the Quwwat-ul-Islam (might of Islam) Masjid. This mosque was commenced by Aibak in 592/1195. It was built with materials and gold obtained by destroying 27 Hindu and Jain temples in Delhi and its neighborhood. A Persian inscription in the mosque testifies to this. The Qutb Minar, planned and commenced by Aibak sometime in or before 1199 and completed by Iltutmish, was also constructed with similar materials, "the sculptured figures on the stones being either defaced or concealed by turning them upside down". A century and a quarter later Ibn Battutah describes the congregational mosque and the Qutb Minar. "About the latter he says that its staircase is so wide that elephants can go up there." About the former his observations are interesting. "Near the eastern gate of the mosque their lie two very big idols of copper connected together by stones. Every one who comes in and goes out of the mosque treads over them. On the site of this mosque was a bud khana, that is an idol house. After the conquest of Delhi it was turned into a mosque."
- Gordon Sanderson, Ibn Battutah. Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5 (quoting Gordon Sanderson, 'Archaeology at the Qutb', Archaeological Survey of India Report, 1912-13; Ibn Battutah)
- The congregational mosque at Delhi named, purposefully, as the Masjid Quwwatul Islam (Might of Islam), was commenced by Aibak in 592/1195 within two years of its conquest. It was built with materials and gold obtained by destroying 27 Hindu and Jain temples in Delhi and its neighbourhood. A Persian inscription in the mosque testifies to this. The mosque at Ajmer erected by Qutbuddin Aibak soon after its occupation and known as the Arhai din ka Jhonpra, was also built from materials obtained from demolished temples. The Qutb Minar, planned and commenced by Aibak sometime in or before 1199 and completed by Iltutmish, was also constructed with similar materials, “the sculptured figures on the stones being either defaced or concealed by turning them upside down.” “In this improvisation,” rightly observes Habibullah, “was symbolised the whole Mamluk history”.
- A.B.M. Habibullah. Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 8 (quoting A.B.M. Habibullah, The Foundation of Muslim Rule in India)
- 'The conqueror entered the city of Delhi, which is the source of wealth and the foundation of blessedness. The city and its vicinity was freed from idols and idol-worship, and in the sanctuaries of the images of the Gods, mosques were raised by the worshippers of one Allah'...'Kutub-d-din built the Jami Masjid at Delhi, and 'adorned it with the stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants,' and covered it with 'inscriptions in Toghra, containing the divine commands.
- About Muhammad of Ghor and Kutub-d-din . Delhi. Hasan Nizami: Taju’l-Ma’sir. Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 219-223.
- Barring the pre-Sultanate monuments of Kutch District, this is the earliest extant mosque in India and consists of a rectangular court, enclosed by cloisters, erected with the carved columns and other architectural members of twenty-seven Hindu and Jain temples demolished by Qutbu'd Din Aibak, as recorded by him in his own inscription on the main eastern entrance. Qutbu'd-Din calls the mosque as Jami'-Masjid and states that on the original erection of each of the demolished temples a sum of twenty lacs of coins had been spent. Later it came to be called the Quwwatu'l Islam ('might of Islam') mosque. The western portion of its courtyard occupies the original site of one of the demolished temples.
- Y.D. Sharma, Delhi and its Neighhbourhood. ASI, 2001. p.52
- …Incidentally, it may be recalled that Beglar carried out excavations at the Quwat-al-Islam Mosque at Old Delhi under the supervision of Cunningham and noticed the foundation of pre-Muslim temples there…
- Syed Mahmudul Hasan, Mosque Architecture of Pre-Mughal Bengal, Dacca (Bangladesh), 1979, p. 64