The massive Jama Masjid Al Shams at Mira Road was renovated recently
MUMBAI: Perhaps no mosque in Mumbai’s suburbs can match its grandeur. Its blue dome and the solitary minaret, visible from afar, make Jama Masjid Al Shams at Mira Road stand out amidst residential buildings. Now the recent renovation comprising gold leafing works on the pillars and walls, cutting edge sound system for melodious azaan plus soothing lights collectively enhance the mosque’s beauty.
The iconic mosque couldn’t have acquired modern gadgets and better look at a more sacred time. As the holy month Ramzan begins from Sunday, worshippers (it can accommodate around 5000 at a time) at Masjid Al Shams can easily feel and enjoy the change.
As you enter the mosque’s premises through its massive (20X15 ft) Burma teak main door, you find the courtyard’s floor cool shaded as it is by ferrari sheets above. “The sheets reflect the heat, keeping the stone floor cooler than it is when exposed to the summer sun. The aim is to give maximum comfort to the worshipers. Visiting the mosque should not be monotonous and boring. It should be a delightful experience,” says Jama Masjid Al Shams’s managing trustee and ex-MLC Muzaffar Hussain. Founded by Hussain’s father Syed Nazar Hussain (he is credited to have established the modern Muslim colony Naya Nagar in Mira Road) in 1979, the foundation stone laying ceremony for the mosque had many eminent guests, including senior clerics Maulana Syed Hamid Ashraf, Maulana Zaheeruddin Khan, Maulana Hamid Faqih, Maulana Syed Athar Ali and Maulana Mohammed Hanif Azmi. “It was and remains the biggest mosque in the suburbs. I am glad Nazar Hussain’s family has made tremendous efforts to maintain the massive mosque and also improve the facilities, “says Athar Ali.
Hussain has for long been concerned about the quality of sound in azaan called out at mosques in India. “I always wanted that the azaan at Al Shams should sound like the ones being given at the holy mosques in Mecca and Medina. Muezzins at my mosque have been trained for months to call out the azaan which is soft, soothing and not jarring to the ears,” explains Hussain, showing us the gadgets kept in a corner room at the mosque.
Hussain was also pained at seeing the congregations on Fridays, Eid and Bakrid spill out on the roads. “This really disturbed me. Apart from inconveniencing others, the congregations sometimes were held also on unclean roads and even above gutters. Now we have two jamaats (congregations) on Fridays and the Eids. If someone has missed the first jamaat, he can join the second, half an hour later on the mosque premises,” he says. “This arrangement has solved the problem of spilling out. Our volunteers ensure that nobody offers namaz on the road here,” informs the mosque’s supervisor Akmal Syed. Apart from decorating the pillars and walls with 99 names of Allah and Prophet Muhammad, the renovation also included installing airconditioning in and carpeting on the first floor. Dozens of ceiling fans are still operational but the air-conditioning on both ground and first floors provide welcome respite from the stifling heat.
As the month of piety and prayers begin, this massive mosque in Mira Road awaits a rush of rozedars (fasting people) at usual five-time prayers daily plus tarawih, the special namaz offered in the night exclusively in Ramzan.
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