Badshahi Mosque (Badshahi Masjid) Lahore

- Pakistani

The Badshahi Mosque or “Emperor’s Mosque” is located in the heart of Lahore city. It was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir in 1673. Badshahi mosque is one of the few significant architectural monuments built during Emperor Aurangzeb’s long rule from 1658 to 1707. Badshahi Mosque remained world’s largest mosque from 1673 till the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, was built in 1986, for a period of 313 years.

Minar e Pakistani is an iconic tower in Iqbal park near Basdhahi Mosque.

Badshahi Mosque

Today, Badshahi Mosque is the second largest mosque in Pakistan, South Asia and fifth largest mosque in the world, after the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) of Mecca, the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca and Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. Badshahi Mosque accommodates over 5,000 worshipers in main prayer hall and 95,000 in the courtyard.

Badshahi Masjid is one of the city’s best known landmarks and a major tourist attraction characterising the beauty and splendour of the Mughal era. It is one of the famous locations where Qari Basit (1927-88), a widely acclaimed Egyptian Quranic Recitor, recited the Quran.

Badshahi Mosque Design

The design of the Badshahi Masjid is closely related to the Jama Masjid in Delhi, India, which was built in 1648 by Aurangzeb’s father, Emperor Shah Jahan.

Construction of the Badshahi Mosque was ordered in May 1671 by the sixth Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb and completed in the month of April, 1673.

Badshahi Mosque

Construction of Badshahi Mosque

It was constructed under the supervision of Aurangzeb’s foster brother, Muzaffar Hussain (also known as Fidai Khan Koka), who was appointed Governor of Lahore by Aurangzeb in May 1671 to specifically oversee the construction of the mosque and held that post until 1675.

The mosque’s foundation and structure was constructed using bricks and compacted clay. The structure was then covered with red sandstone tiles brought from a stone mine near Jaipur in Rajasthan and its domes were clad with white marble.

In conjunction with the building of the Badshahi Mosque, a new gate was built at the Lahore Fort opening into the Hazuri Bagh and facing the main entrance of the Badshahi Mosque, which was named Alamgiri Gate after Aurangzeb.

When Badshahi Mosque was completed in 1673, it was the largest mosque in the Mughal Empire and also the largest mosque in the world. It would hold this record for 313 years until 1986. It was also one of the largest buildings in the Mughal Empire. It could be seen from a distance of 15 km. The Badshahi Mosque raised Lahore’s political, economic and cultural importance in the Mughal Empire.

On 7th July 1799 Sikhs took control over Lahore under the command of Ranjit Singh. The Badshahi Mosque was severely damaged. Its courtyard was used as a stable for Ranjit Singh’s army’s horses and its 80 hujras (small study rooms surrounding the courtyard) were used as quarters for his soldiers.

Ranjit Singh used the Hazuri Bagh, the enclosed garden next to the Mosque as his official royal court of audience.

Sikh Civil War

In 1841, during the Sikh civil war, Ranjit Singh’s son, Sher Singh damaged the Mosque’s large minarets and placed destructive material on them to kill the supporters of the Sikh Maharani Chand Kaur taking refuge in the Lahore Fort. In one of these bombardments, the Fort’s Diwan-e-Aam (Hall of Public Audience) was destroyed (it was rebuilt by the British but never recovered its original architectural splendour).

Under the British control, they continued the Sikh practices of misusing the Badshahi Mosque. They used the Mosque and the Fort for military purposes. They destroyed the 80 small study rooms and rebuilt them to form open porticoes which are in the same condition.

Identifying increasing Muslim hatred against the use of the Mosque for military purposes, the British set up the Badshahi Mosque Authority in 1852 to oversee the renovation and return of the Mosque to Muslims.  Only a little repairing work was done at that time.  Extensive repair work was started in 1939 under the judgement of architect Nawab Zen Yar Jang Bahadur.

Rebuilding of Mosque continued after the creation of Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 14 August 1947. By 1960, the Badshahi Mosque stood re-established to its original condition with the cost of 4.8 million rupees (1939–1960).

The Government of Pakistan established a small museum inside the Main Gateway Entrance of the Mosque. It contains relics of the Prophet Muhammad, his cousin Ali, and his daughter, Fatimah, donated by the Fakir family of Lahore who occupied high posts during Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s rule.
On the occasion of the 2nd Islamic Summit held at Lahore on February 22, 1974, thirty-nine heads of Muslim states offered their Friday prayers in the Badshahi Mosque, including, among others, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Sabah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah of Kuwait. The prayers were led by Mawlānā Abdul Qadir Azad, the then Khatib of the Mosque.

In 1993, the Government of Pakistan recommended the inclusion of the Badshahi Mosque as a World Heritage Site in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. In 2000, the marble tiles in the Main Prayer Hall were repaired.

In 2008, replacement work on the red sandstone tiles on the Mosque’s large courtyard started, using red sandstone especially imported from the original source near Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.

Allama Iqbal Tomb in Badshahi Mosque

The Tomb of our great national poet, Allama Iqbal is outside the Badshahi Mosque which is guarded day and night. He was one of the founding fathers of Pakistan.

The mosque looks lovely when it’s illuminated in the evening. May Allah protect this great treasure of Pakistan.  Many tourists come to see the Badshahi Mosque from all over the world as well as inhabitants of Lahore.

On the entrance of the Badshahi Mosque following words are carved in Persian:
“The Mosque of Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir, Victorious King, constructed and completed under the superintendence of the Humblest Servant of the Royal Household, Fidai Khan Koka, in 1084 A.H.”