The first brick to be laid for the foundation of the new mosque in Ayodhya on land given to Muslims as compensation after the Supreme Court order in the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute, has been brought to Mumbai after consecration in Mecca and Medina.
The brick, baked in a Mumbai kiln, had been taken from Mumbai to the holy cities by five devotees and arrived back in the city last week. The brick, made of black soil and inscribed in gilt with the name of the mosque and passages from the Quran, will be carried to Dhannipur village near Ayodhya, the site of the mosque, after Ramzan Eid on March 12.
The brick will leave Mumbai from the home of Haji Arafat Shaikh, chairman of the Masjid Muhammad Bin Abdullah Development Committee and a member of the Indo-Islsmic Cultural Foundation which will oversee the construction of the mosque.
Talking about the preparations for the laying of the Ayodhya mosque's foundation, Shaikh said that pirs, or holy men, will carry the brick from Kurla to Mulund, the last suburb of Mumbai on the eastern flank, by foot in a grand procession. The brick will then take a six-day journey by road to Lucknow and finally to Dhannipur. "There will be a break in the journey every 300 kilometers for prayers," said Shaikh who said that it is still to be finalised if the brick is to be carried by foot or in a vehicle.
Shaikh added that the brick was given a gusl or ritual wash with holy water from the Zam Zam spring near Mecca and with attar in Medina.
The new mosque will be called Masjid Muhammad Bin Abdullah after the prophet. A descendant of Sufi saint Sarkar Peer Adil, whose tomb is near the Gol Gumbad in Bijapur (Vijayapura), Karnataka, will carry the first brick. Representatives of different Islamic sects like Tabliqi, Sunni, Deobandi, and Sufi will join the consecration in March.
The new body to oversee the construction of the mosque has discarded the old designs for the structure and replaced it with a style that is more traditional. The mosque, which will be located five kilometers from the site of the Babri Masjid, will have five minarets representing the five pillars of Islam - Kalma (oath), Namaz (prayer), Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca), Zakat (charity), and Roza (fasting).
The mosque committee said a new website for the mosque will be inaugurated on February 29. The portal will feature the QR code that can be used to make donations for the construction. "There are several projects planned as part of the mosque complex, like a cancer hospital, college, old-age home, and a vegetarian kitchen. Donors will be able to select a project for which they want to make a donation. With the QR code there will be complete transparency in the handling of donations," said Shaikh.
The route through which the entourage carrying the brick will also be announced on the day.
The mosque site
The five-acre plot was given by the Uttar Pradesh government after directions in the Supreme Court’s order on November 9, 2019, giving the entire plot where the Babri Masjid was located to the Hindu petitioners. The Sunni Central Wakf Board was given the responsibility of constructing the mosque. But after criticism from Muslim organisations about the delay by the Uttar Pradesh Wakf Board to construct the mosque, the project has been handed over to the new committee.