Mumbai, Sep 26 (IANS): In an epochal development, the tiny Dawoodi Bohra community has got a swank and glittering, eco-friendly mosque, the biggest in the city and among the largest of the clan in the country, an official said here on Tuesday.
The place of worship is the iconic ‘Saifee Masjid’, which was first built in 1923, and after a century of prayers, now redeveloped in 2023, in the heart of south Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazaar area.
The community’s spiritual head Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin inaugurated the Saifee Masjid on Monday night at a formal ceremony in the presence of a large number of joyous Dawoodi Bohras.
This is the same venue where the mosque was first inaugurated by the late Syedna Taher Saifuddin (51st Syedna) in 1926, and where his son the late Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (52nd Syedna) regularly led prayer congregations for decades till his passing in Jan. 2014 – they were the father and grandfather, respectively of the present 53rd Syedna.
“The old Saifee Masjid building was constructed between 1923-1926 but had passed its utility and was dilapidated after serving the community for nearly a century. It was demolished in 2018 and another replica of the earlier mosque, with certain modern innovations, was constructed here in the past five years,” said an official from the Syedna’s team.
The new mosque measures 34.5 metres long, 26.7 metres wide and 15.1 metres high, and can accommodate 5,000 community members on the ground plus two floors, the upper floors reserved for women devotees.
The external complex can accommodate another more than 15,000 people making it a convenient venue for large gatherings like Ramzan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid Milad-un-Nabi, Muharram congregations, and other special events round the year.
The rebuilt Saifee Masjid weaves in different architectural styles like Indian, Islamic and elements of classical architecture blended in a harmonious and distinctive design, two tall minarets with graceful ornamentation rise imposingly above two corners of the mosque.
The Burmese teakwood, salvaged from the old mosque, has been recycled for the new mosque’s columns, beams, doors, windows and decorative grills which allow a play of light and shadows.
The inside walls are adorned with Quranic verses, ornate floral motifs and decorative patterns, presenting an overall pleasing ambience.
Designed to reduce its carbon footprints, the new mosque has a rainwater harvesting system and a sewage treatment plant to slash overall water consumption, the utility building is powered and lit entirely by solar light, while a decorative fountain and date palm trees provide natural shade in the courtyard between Saifee Masjid and the world-renowned Raudat Tahera mausoleum complex.
Besides, over 150 shops on the periphery of the Saifee Masjid and Raudat Tahera mausoleum complex have also been redeveloped as part of the ongoing Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) mega-project on the 16.5 acres here.
Kicked off in 2009 by the 52nd Syedna, the SBUT aims to provide modern, spacious homes and commercial premises to over 20,000 people in and around the Bhendi Bazar areas, in what will be one of the biggest urban renewal projects for the inner city redevelopment.