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Asafi Masjid (Lucknow)

Asafi Masjid (Lucknow)

The most attractive and picturesque monuments, the Asafi Masjid draw attention to the city of Nawabs, Lucknow. Asafi Masjid stands as one of the foremost grand structures that was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah after transferring the capital of Awadh was transferred by him from Faizabad to Lucknow in 1775. The mosque of Asafi Masjid is positioned at the north western direction of the Asafi Imambara, which is more commonly known as the Bara Imambara.

The mosque was constructed and completed before the Asafi Imambara. The blueprint of this three domed mosque is assumed to be planned by the Iranian architect Kifait-ullah of Delhi who also designed the Asafi Imambara in the later years. The mosque has octagonal sectioned minarets, which are elevated to the height of 153 ft. The mosque possesses two prayer halls, which are as grand as of 183 ft in length, 81 ft in breadth and 32 ft in height. Each of these halls has eleven arched doors at their facades, having the central doors in each hall the largest than the rest. There is a spacious raised area that is in the frontage of the halls along with an additional platform that is positioned at a comparatively lower level which consists a hauz (small tank) for ablution (wazoo) that are employed by the people who assemble in the halls for prayers. The platform is raised at such a height that it takes 28 steps from the ground to reach at the platform.

As per the Shia theologians, for the Pesh-lmam, also known as namaaz and the people who want to have it are not allowed to stand at a higher level than any of the devotees offering prayer. The long ques are observed at the mosque, particularly during Friday prayers and annual mass prayers on the festival of Id and Baqrid.

It was n the end of the 19th century that a Shia mujtahid (religious leader) Syed Mohammed Ibrahim, honored by the title of Shams-ul-Ulema (the sun amongst theologians) and after which the British government vacated the three religious buildings and the act of offering of namaaz was re-started at the two mosques and Muharrum and other religious ceremonies could be held in the Imambara. Also, the practice of exclusive worshippers of the Shia muslims for Namaaz-e-Juma and the annual namaaz for Eid and Baqridfestival again got permission to be held in the Asafi Masjid.

The worship primarily began at the mosque of Hasan Raza Khan titled Sarfaraz-ud-Daulah, the Naib (chief minister) of Asaf-ud-Daulah. But later on the worshippers were shifted to the Asafi mosque, on the orders of the ruler, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah. The Asafi mosque got its lost glory and honor in the year 1884, when the Nawabs were turned powerless.

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