If Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal for his wife
Fakhr-ul – Jahan built a mosque for her husband.
My visit to it
“The Fakhrool Musajid was built by Kuneez i Fatima widow of Shoojaat Khan about A.D. 1729, to the memory of her husband who was one of the confidential followers of Nizam ool Moolk, Minister of Mohummud Shah. It adjoins the Estate and is nearly opposite to the Church erected by the late Colonel Skinner C.B. and has been of late years repaired at no inconsiderable expense by that distinguished Officer, for the convenience of his followers military and menial.” (caption by Sir Thomas Metcalfe, in his Imperial Dehlie. Painting too from same book by Mazhar Khan )
Kaniz e Fatima’s title was Fakhr-ul- Jahan Pride of the world and it was named it after her.
Shujaat Khan was posted as commander of Artillery under Aurangzeb with a rank of 4000 and 2500 sawar. He was killed fighting the Afghans in 1675.
A devout lady she was disconsolate when her husband died and thought of no better memorial to his memory than a mosque.
In the painting from 1840s you can see that the mosque stands on a platform ( 8 feet above the ground).
The arches are now occupied by shops. In fact it’s a very busy road with many shops on either side.
It was enclosed on 3 sides with arcades on its North and south. All these arcades are no more.
The mehrab with the kalima
La ilaha illalaah Mohammad ur Rasool Allah
It’s a single aisle mosque with red paint and green doors on either side which open on to side galleries
But the first thing that struck me when I came up the steps to the masjid courtyard were people sleeping under colourful blankets. As everyone’s face was covered because of the overhead sun ( it was close to noon) I couldn’t make out who they were. At first I thought maybe they were homeless people given refuge here.
Then my gaze fell on lockers with locks in the side corridor and hearing the sounds made by us though I was being very careful woke up the sleeping boys.
A little boy of about 9-10 years old was peeping from under the blanket at me.
He was little Shahbaz from Haryana.
By now the Imam Sahib had got up too.
He said they had all been reciting the Quran at night and had slept at dawn after the fajr or morning prayers.
These children study in the madarsa here.
On questioning about the syllabus the Imam Sahib said these kids learnt Arabic, Quran and Hadith along with Hindi, English, Math and other subjects.
They appeared for Adeeb and kamil exams and later enrolled in Jamia Urdu or AMU for completing their studies.
The inscription on the central arch records tge reason for building of mosque by Kaniz Fatima , Fakhr- ul Jahan in memory 9f her husband Shujaat Khan in 1141 AH/ 1728-29 AD
The dome was banded longitudinally by black & white marble and topped with gilded finials. Now, those finials are damaged and drooping.
The left wall of the mosque and the colonnade were damaged during the seige of Delhi in 1857. A cannon ball
Dismantled the pavilion of the minaret on its NE corner.
The famous Sikander Sahib or Colonel James Skinner who built the St James Church opposite the mosque had the mosque repaired. One of his wives was Muslim and came here to pray it is said.
Behind the mosque is the Delhi Nigam office which was the original site of Hindu College. It was built on land donated by Rai Bahadur Sultan Singh. The college moved from here years ago and these buildings are now abandoned exposing the mosque ‘ s back.
Location : Kashmiri Gate opposite St James Church