CONVERSION OF PAGAN SHRINES INTO MOSQUES BY MUSLIMS
The conversion of ancient Pagan sites into muslim mosques is nothing new. it has been repeated by muslims over the past, many-a-times.
here are a few examples:
1) The Kaábah
Before the rise of Islam the Ka’aba was revered as a sacred sanctuary and was a site of pilgrimage.”. At the time of Muhammad (AD 570–632), his tribe the Quraysh was in charge of the Kaaba, which was at that time a shrine containing hundreds of idols representing Arabian tribal gods and other religious figures. Muhammad earned the enmity of his tribe by claiming the shrine for the new religion of Islam that he preached. He wanted the Kaaba to be dedicated to the worship of the one God alone, and all the idols were evicted. The Black Stone (al-Hajar-ul-Aswad), still present at the Kaaba was a special OBJECT of veneration at the site. According to tradition the text of seven especially honored poems were suspended around the Ka’aba, but there is no contemporary evidence for this claim.
2) Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples
The destruction of Hindu temples in India during the Islamic conquest of India occurred from the beginning of Muslim conquest until the end the Mughal Empire throughout the Indian subcontinent.
In his book “Hindu Temples – What Happened to Them”, Sita Ram Goel included a list of 2000 mosques that it is claimed were built on Hindu temples. The second volume of the book excerpts from medieval histories and chronicles and from inscriptions concerning the destruction of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples.
In Indonesia, where popular conversion from Hinduism to Islam was more voluntary and peaceful, it is believed that the minaret of the Menara Kudus Mosque, in Java, was originally part of a Hindu temple
here are a few examples of temples converted to mosques. one of these mosques was recently demolished by the Hindus who are planning to reconstruct a temple on its site.
Ram Janmabhoomi refers to a tract of land in the North Indian city of Ayodhya which is claimed to be the birthplace of the Pagan God, Lord Rama. From 1528 to 1992 this was the site of the Babri Mosque. The mosque was razed in December 6, 1992 by a mob of some 150,000 nationalist Hindus supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), after a political rally developed into a riot despite a commitment to the Indian Supreme Court by the rally organisers that the mosque would not be harmed.
The Sangh Parivaar, along with VHP and the main Indian opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, sought to erect a temple dedicated to Lord Rama at this site. Nobel Laureate novelist V. S. Naipaul has praised Hindu nationalists for “reclaiming India’s Hindu heritage”. Naipaul added that the destruction of Babri structure was an act of historical balancing and the reclaiming of the Ramjanmabhoomi was a “welcome sign that Hindu pride was re-asserting itself”.
The 1986 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica stated that “Rama’s birthplace is marked by a mosque, erected by the Moghul emperor Babar in 1528 on the site claimed of an earlier temple”.
Archaeological excavations at the site by the Archeological Survey of India reported the existence of a 10th century temple. ” The report stated that scientific dating indicated human activity at the site as far back to the 17th century BC.
On 30 September 2010, Allahabad High Court ruled that the 2.7 acres disputed land in Ayodhya, on which the Babri Masjid stood before it was demolished on December 6, 1992, will be divided into three parts: the site of the Ramlala idol to Lord Ram, Nirmohi Akhara gets Sita Rasoi and Ram Chabutara, Sunni Wakf Board gets a third. The court also agreed with the ASI report, and considered the mosque to have been predated by a massive Hindu religious structure which was demolished by Babur. This decision paved the way for reconstruction of a temple dedicated to Lord Rama.
the demolished mosque built at the site of a Hindu temple:
–Krishna Janmabhoomi (Mathura)
The great temple of Keshava Rai at Mathura was built by Bir Singh Deo Bundela during Jahangir’s time at a COST of thirty-three lakhs of rupees. The Dehra of Keshava Rai was one of the most magnificent temples ever built in India and enjoyed veneration of the Hindus throughout the land. Prince Dara Shukoh, who was looked upon by the masses as the future Emperor, had presented a carved stone railing to the temple which was installed in front of the deity at some distance; the devotees stood outside this railing to have ‘darshan’ of Keshava Rai. The railing was removed on muslim Emperor, Aurangzeb’s orders in October 1666.
The Dehra of Keshava Rai was demolished in the month of Ramzan, 1080 A.H. (13 January – 11 February 1670) by Aurangzeb’s order. “In a short time, by the great exertion of the officers, the destruction of this strong foundation of infidelity was accomplished and on its site a lofty mosque was built at the expenditure of a large sum”. To the author of Maasir-i-‘Alamigiri, the accomplishment of this “seemingly impossible work was an “instance of the strength of the Emperor’s faith”.
Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple sharing wall with mosque built by Aurangzeb:
Somnath Temple, located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, India, is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of the God Shiva. Somnath means “The Protector of (the) Moon God”. The Somnath Temple is known as “the Shrine Eternal”, having been destroyed six times by muslim invaders and rebuilt six times by Hindu rulers.
The first temple of Somnath is said to have existed before the beginning of the common era.
The second temple, built by the Yadava kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat, replaced the first one on the same site around 649 CE.
In 725 CE Junayad, the Arab governor of Sind, sent his armies to destroy the second temple. The Gurjara Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple in 815, a large structure of red sandstone.
In 1024 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Mahmud Ghazni who raided the temple from across the Thar Desert. The temple was rebuilt by the Gujjar Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa and the Solanki king Bhimadev I of Anhilwara, Gujrat (present day Patan) between 1026 and 1042. The wooden structure was replaced by Kumarpal (r.1143-72), who built the temple of stone.
In 1296 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Sultan Allauddin Khilji’s army.According to Taj-ul-Ma’sir of Hasan Nizami, Raja Karan of Gujarat was defeated and forced to flee, “fifty thousand infidels were dispatched to hell by the sword” and “more than twenty thousand slaves, and cattle beyond all calculation fell into the hands of the victors”. The temple was rebuilt by Mahipala Deva, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 AD and the Linga was installed by his son Khengar sometime between 1326 and 1351 AD.
In 1375 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Muzaffar Shah I, the Sultan of Gujarat.
In 1451 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Mahmud Begda, the Sultan of Gujarat.
In 1701 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb built a mosque on the site of the Somnath temple, using some columns from the temple, whose Hindu sculptural motifs remained visible.
Later on a joint effort of Peshwa of Pune, Raja Bhonsle of Nagpur, Chhatrapati Bhonsle of Kolhapur, Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore & Shrimant Patilbuwa Shinde of Gwalior rebuilt the temple in 1783 AD at a site adjacent to the ruined temple which was already converted to a mosque.
A Painting of the tomb of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, in 1839-40, with Sandalwood Doors long believed to be the Somnath, which he destroyed in ca 1024, later found to be replicas of the original.
The following extract is from “Wonders of Things Created, and marvels of Things Existing” by Zakariya al-Qazwini, a 13th century Arab geographer. It contains the description of Somnath temple and its destruction:
“Somnath: celebrated city of India, situated on the shore of the sea, and washed by its waves. Among the wonders of that place was the temple in which was placed the idol called Somnath. This idol was in the middle of the temple without anything to support it from below, or to suspend it from above. It was held in the highest honor among the Hindus, and whoever beheld it floating in the air was struck with amazement, whether he was a Musulman or an infidel. The Hindus used to go on pilgrimage to it whenever there was an eclipse of the moon, and would then assemble there to the number of more than a hundred thousand.”
“When the Sultan Yaminu-d Daula Mahmud Bin Subuktigin went to wage religious war against India, he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnat, in the hope that the Hindus would then become Muhammadans. As a result thousands of Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam. He arrived there in the middle of Zi-l k’ada, 416 A.H. (December, 1025 A.D.). “The king looked upon the idol with wonder, and gave orders for the seizing of the spoil, and the appropriation of the treasures. There were many idols of gold and silver and vessels set with jewels, all of which had been sent there by the greatest personages in India. The value of the things found in the temples of the idols exceeded twenty thousand dinars.”
Somnath Temple Ruins (1869):
A Painting of the tomb of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, in 1839-40, with Sandalwood Doors long believed to be the Somnath, which he destroyed in ca 1024, later found to be replicas of the original:
Restoration of temple after Independence
Before independence, Prabhas Pattan was part of the princely state of Junagadh. After integration of Jungadh in to Union of India, the Deputy Prime Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel came to Junagadh on November 12, 1947 to direct the stabilization of the state by the Indian Army and at the same time ordered the reconstruction of the Somanath temple.
When Sardar Patel, K. M. Munshi and other leaders of the Congress went to Gandhi with the proposal of reconstructing the Somnath temple, Gandhi blessed the move,but suggested that the funds for the construction should be collected from the public and the temple should not be funded by the state. He expressed that he was proud to ASSOCIATE himself to the project of renovation of the temple But soon both Gandhi and Sardar Patel died and the task of reconstruction of the temple continued under K. M. Munshi, who was the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies in the Nehru Government.
The ruins were pulled down in October 1950 and the mosque present at that site was shifted few miles away. In May 1951, Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India, invited by K M Munshi, performed the installation ceremony for the temple. Rajendra Prasad said in his address “It is my view that the reconstruction of the Somnath Temple will be complete on that day when not only a magnificent edifice will arise on this foundation, but the mansion of India’s prosperity will be really that prosperity of which the ancient temple of Somnath was a symbol.”. He added “The Somnath temple signifies that the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction”
This episode created a serious rift between the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who saw the movement for reconstruction of the temple as an attempt at Hindu revivalism and the President Rajendra Prasad and Union Minister K. M. Munshi, who saw in its reconstruction, the fruits of freedom and the reversal of past injustice done to Hindus.
The present temple, which was built by Patel and Munshi, is MANAGED by Shree Somnath Temple Trust.
Construction of The New Temple:
–Kashi Viswanath (Banaras)
Kashi is one of the most sacred sites in Hindu India and the worship of Shiva as Vishveshvara goes back to ancient times. According to the Puranas, every step taken in Kashi Kshetra has the sanctity of making a pilgrimage to a tirtha. Lord Vishvanatha is regarded as the protector of Kashi and the belief is that one earns great religious merit by having a vision of the deity after having bathed in the Ganges.The temple was demolished several times by Muslim invaders, and was reconstructed again and again by Hindu kings. After destruction of the original temple on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s orders, a mosque was built which still stands.
The Gyanvapi Mosque built by Aurangzeb on the original site of the Kashi Vishwanath temple:
An inscription at the Quwwat Al-Islam Mosque in Delhi states: This Jamii Masjid built in the months of the year 587 (hijri) by the Amir, the great, the glorious commander of the Army, Qutb-ud-daula wad-din, the Amir-ul-umara Aibeg, the slave of the Sultan, may God strengthen his helpers! The materials of 27 idol temples, on each of which 2,000,000 Deliwal coins had been spent were used in the (construction of) this mosque. However as the inscription depicts, the mosque was built from the material remnants of Hindu temples which was destroyed by muslims.
During the reign of Aurangzeb, tens of thousands of temples were desecrated: their facades and interiors were defaced and their murtis (divine images) looted.In many cases, temples were destroyed entirely; in numerous instances mosques were built on their foundations, sometimes using the same stones. Among the temples Aurangzeb destroyed were two that are most sacred to Hindus, in Varanasi and Mathura. In both cases, he had large mosques built on the sites.
Alberuni in his India writes about the famous temple of Multan:
A famous idol of theirs was that of Multan, dedicated to the sun, , When Muhammad Ibn Alkasim Ibn Almunabbih, conquered Multan, he inquired how the town had become so very flourishing and so many treasures had there been accumulated, and then he found out that this idol was the cause, for there came pilgrims from all sides to visit it. Therefore he thought to build a mosque at the same place where the temple once stood. When then the Karmatians occupied Multan, Jalam Ibn Shaiban, the usurper, broke the idol into pieces and killed its priests. , When afterwards the blessed Prince Mahmud swept away their rule from those countries, he made again the old mosque the place of the Friday-worship.
An inscription of 1462 A.D.at Jami Masjid at Malan, in Banaskantha District of Gujarat states: The Jami Masjid was built by Khan-I-Azam Ulugh Khan, who suppressed the wretched infidels. He eradicated the idolatrous houses and mine of infidelity, along with the idols with the edge of the sword, and made ready this edifice. He made its walls and doors out of the idols; the back of every stone became the place for prostration of the believer.
Mughal Emperor Jahangir wrote in his Tujuk-i-Jahangiri:
“I am here led to relate that at the city of Banaras a temple had been erected by Rajah Maun Sing, which COST him the sum of nearly thirty-six laks of five methkaly ashrefies. , I made it my plea for throwing down the temple which was the scene of this imposture; and on the spot, with the very same materials, I erected the great mosque, because the very name of Islam was proscribed at Banaras, and with God’s blessing it is my design, if I live, to fill it full with true believers”.
After the Islamic conquest of Persia, Zoroastrian fire temples, with their four axial arch openings, were usually turned into mosques simply by setting a mihrab (prayer niche) on the place of the arch nearest to qibla (the direction of Mecca). This practice is described by numerous Muslim sources; however, the archeological evidence confirming it is still scarce. Zoroastrian temples converted into mosques in such a manner could be found in Bukhara, as well as in and near Istakhr and other Iranian cities.
The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their virgin patron. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although decorations of the Parthenon continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments.
After the Ottoman Turk conquest, it was turned into a mosque in the early 1460s, and it had a minaret built in it. On 26 September 1687, an Ottoman Turk ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures.