Architectural Grandeur Of Mohabat Khan Mosque Attracts Visitors, Archeology Lovers


Architectural grandeur of Mohabat Khan Mosque attracts visitors, archeology lovers

PESHAWAR, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 27th Mar, 2024) Peshawar has been remained a strategic city where invaders constructed worship places to freely perform religious obligations and use its peoples’ strong bonds with religion in their favor to prolong their rule.

Being a gateway to the subcontinent and central Asian states (CARs), Peshawar was always a strategic city where kings, warriors and invaders constructed mosques, churches and gurdwaras at prime locations to worship in accordance with their faith besides molding public opinions after conquering it before extending their influence to the subcontinent.

The Muslims commanders and kings of different dynasties passed through the historic Khyber Pass from Central Asian Republics (CARs), Afghanistan stayed first at Peshawar where they constructed scores of mosques and worship places for Muslims and minorities to promote interfaith harmony and bring people of all faith closer.

“From recent GorKathri excavations, it was made clear that islam had first spread in the border areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Afghanistan after Sabuktigin, a Turkic slave commander laid the foundation of the Ghaznavi dynasty at Ghazi in 977 AD in Central Afghanistan,” said Bakhtzada Muhammad, senior research officer of the archeology department KP while talking to APP.

Following an untimely death of Sabuktigin and a revolt against his son Ismail, Mehmud Ghaznvi had gained control over the Ghaznavi kingdom and extended his influence to Punjab after defeating Raja of Jaypala of the Kabul Shahis at the battle of Peshawar in 1001 AD,” he said.

Resultantly, Islam had gained roots in Bannu, Waziristan, Khyber and other border areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where construction of large and small mosques was started. “An inscription in Arabic engraved on a black marble was found in 1984 on the slopes of the hill below the castle of Raja Gira, which authenticated the foundation of the historic Odigram Mosque in Swat (also known as Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi mosque constructed in 1048 CE on the order of General Amir Nustagin of Ghaznavi, which attracted worshipers in droves in Ramazan.

The construction of small and big mosques including the historic Yakagund mosque in Mohmand district, Sheikh Habib mosque in 1650 at Bala Manari and Gunj gate mosque alais Khawja Maroof mosque some 600 years ago established at Peshawar by the Muslim rulers of various dynasties, resultantly Islam got flourished in these regions.

After conquering Peshawar, the Mughal rulers started construction work of the iconic Mohabat Khan mosque in 1660-70 by the then Peshawar’s Governor Nawab Mohabat Khan. An amalgamation of Islamic and Mughal architecture, Mohabat Khan’s small portion was constructed by Mughal emperor, Shah Jehan and a major portion by King Aurangzeb Alamgir with beautiful white marble. The mosque was finally completed in 1680 and later renovated in 1898 after the vandalism of the Sikh rulers,” he said.

The British took over Peshawar’s control in 1949; the mosque was renovated and handed over to the people of Peshawar for worship.

After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the refugee tribal elders congregated in the mosque to forge unity amongst Afghans against the Soviets invaders.

The fortune turned positive when the KP government declared Mohabad Khan mosque a historical site in 1982 and took its administrative control to the Auqaf Department. Built on a high mound at Andar Sher bazaar near historic Chowkyadgar at Peshawar City, the worshipers enter its 30,155 square feet vast open courtyard with capacity to accommodate about 30,000 worshipers at a time besides a centrally located ablution pool and a single row of rooms lining the exterior walls with two tall minarets, which further magnified its look.

The prayer hall’s facade is also capped by six smaller decorative minarets that flank the mosque's five arched entryways, with an additional two minarets and its prayer hall capped by three awesome domes that draw visitors’ attention.

The mosque's ceiling was embellished with elegant red frescoes in geometrics and floral motifs while its exterior was decorated with Mughal frescoes that amplify its beauty.

“Mohabat Khan mosque is the identity of Peshawar due to its unique architecture and glorious ancient history. For the last 12 years, I regularly came to this historic mosque of Peshawar for Jumma prayer, Namaz e Tarveh and Mahfil-e-Shabina of Ramazan ul Mubarak as its spiritual environment take the worshipers to a new world,” said Zahid Shinwari, former President Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry while talking to the news agency.

He said Mohabat Khan’s mosque architecture was a jewel of Peshawar, attracting tourists and archeology lovers from across the country. The shopkeepers, who had been rented shops by the Auqaf department, increased the size of their shops by many feet by digging more small cabins and encroaching on the entrance and surrounding area of the mosque which negatively impacted its exterior outlook.

The construction of illegally built large plazas and shops around the mosque has adversely affected its exterior architecture and demanded the demolition of all these illegal structures to restore its original grandeur and architectural designs.

“The mosque has recently undergone heavy conservation work after approval of Rs 87.70 million for Mohabat Khan Mosque’s conservation project. We have almost completed rehabilitation and conservation work on its minarets, domes, ablution area, and other portions without compromising on its Mughal era’s architectural designs.”

Former Chief Minister Mahmood Khan during his visit to Mohabat Khan mosque had increased the allocation of the project to Rs160 million with direction for expansion of work and the amount was used on its beautification, decoration, and lighting system to magnify its look at night on the pattern of Peshawar Museum to promote religious and cultural tourism.

APP/fam/taj (APP Feature Service)