By Editorial Staff
This article studies the incidents of the demolition of some mosques by Hindus during the middle ages or during the days of Muslim rulers in India.
Experts and writers on the subject of relationship between Hindus and Muslims in India always try to show only one side of the coin. The thinkers always think about the Hindu temples that were destroyed in India during the time of Muslim rulers leaving behind a lot of examples of Mosques that were demolished and the copies of Glorious Quran were polluted with filth and feces beside other forms of hostility.
The examples of mosque demolition are scattered in the folds of the history books and travel books by the travelers who visited India during the middle ages. The examples presented in this article were quoted from different sources; Persian, Arabic and Urdu after translating them into English for the readers.
It should be noted that some instances of the demolition of Hindu temples in the Middle Ages were temples built on the ruins of some mosques. Islamic jurisprudence says if a land is assigned for a mosque, then it is a mosque forever until the Day of Resurrection and it is not allowed to use the land and its atmosphere above for other purposes.
Also, sometimes if a whole village entered in Islam and became Muslims; they demolished their Hindu temple and changing it into the mosque for their congregational prayer.
The Story of a Man Ejaculated on a Hindu Idol
It was narrated in the book `Ajaib al-Hind the “Wonders of India” by the Persian sea captain; Buzurg Ibn Shahriyār (d.399 A.H.1009 A.D.) that a Muslim sailor with bad morals, passed by a Hindu idol depicting a young beautiful woman, believing himself unnoticed, the man entered a Hindu temple and went to a beautiful idol and rubbed his private part between the thighs of the idol and ejaculated.
One of the attendees of the temple passed by him and noticed him doing that then approached the idol and saw his semen between the thighs of the idol. The Hindu attendee was very angry and caught the sailor immediately and brought him to the Hindu king, the sailor was honest and confessed his crime in front of the Hindu king then the king sought the opinion of his ministers about the punishment for such crimes.
Some of his ministers suggested throwing him under the huge legs of the elephants, subjecting him to be crushed under the elephant’s feet whilst some of them told that the accused must be cut into pieces for his crime.
However, the king said that the criminal is an Arab and between the Arabs and us, there is a truce so the king sent one of his ambassadors to a Muslim ruler asking him about the Islamic ruling for a person caught with a strange woman having sex in a mosque. The Muslim king answered that such person must be killed. Then the Muslim person was killed for insulting the Hindu idol.(1)
This story shows two important points: first, a mosque in Islam has its sanctity and respect that should not be violated or underestimated; second, a Muslim man was killed due to his criminal actions when he insulted the Hindu deity.
This indicates the respect of Muslim kings to the sanctity of Hindu temples and their eagerness to establish human equality between people irrespective of religion, race or color.
Insult of Qur’an by Some Hindus
In addition, the Muslim historian; Muhammad Qasim Farishtah (1560-1620) writes in his history book Tarikh Farishtah that in 1321 A.D. some Hindus insulted the Glorious Qur’an and some of them used the pages of the Glorious Qur’an to sit on it.(2)
The above-mentioned incidents indicate that the Hindus enjoyed all freedom and religious tolerance under the rule of Muslim rulers, and sometimes this freedom made them dare to demolish the mosque and insult the Quran. On the other hand, a Muslim was executed and was punished with death penalty in the case of violation of the sanctity of Hindu idol.
Detention of Muslim Girls by Hindus during the Reign of Aurangzeb
The history books on medieval period mention that when the King Alamgir Aurangzeb (1618–1707) visited Punjab and Gujarat, a group of Muslim chiefs and dignitaries of the city complained of the transgressions by some Hindus on the Muslims of that area asking for his help in this regard.
The complaint was that some Muslim girls and women were taken into custody by some Hindus and some mosques were demolished and the sites were included into their homes.
After that the Muslim women and girls were released from the claws of Hindus and the demolished mosques were restored and renovated. The history says that seventy Muslim girls were freed from the hands of Hindus and were married to Muslim men. In addition, some Hindus embraced Islam and established mosques instead of their Hindu temples.(3)
In addition, there was a mosque in the Hanuman Gadhi area of Awadh which was demolished by Hindus and many Muslims were killed in 1858 A.D.(4)
Ibn Battuta and Demolition of a Mosque
Ibn Battuta (1304-1369 A.D.) one of the great medieval Muslim travelers, writes in his travel that one of the Hindu Brahmans took off the roof of a mosque to put it in the roof of his own house, but suddenly a fire broke out from the roof and his house, his children and his entire household burned and turned into ashes.
After the incident of fire, the Hindu residents of that area respected the mosque a lot and none of them dared to harm it again’ rather, they set up a public fountain for the passersby and they became guards of the house of Allah the Almighty.(5)
Demolition of Mosque during the Reign of Sher Shah
Additionally, the Afghan ruler Sher Shah in 1540 A.D. vowed to punish some Hindu landlords because they destroyed some mosques and converted them into Hindu temples. In fact, some magi prompted Hindus in Gujarat to attack Muslims and their mosques, thus, some minarets were harmed and some mosques were destroyed or burnt and eighty Muslims were killed. It was said that the mosques were restored later by the Hindu king.(6)
Demolition of Mosques during Akbar’s Rule
During Akbar’s time, the Sufi and spiritual man; Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi (1564-1624 A.D.) complained that some Hindus are demolishing the mosques and changing them into their own places of worship or Hindu temples.
Shah Jahan (1592–1666A.D.) is also on record having seized seven mosques from their Hindu illegal owners who had violently seized the mosques and included them into their properties in Punjab.
Moreover, Aurangzeb (1618-1707 A.D.) refers to one of the Rajput nobles with the highest post; Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur had destroyed in around 1658-59 A.D. many mosques and built Hindu idol-temples on their sites. Yet, Jaswant Singh worked with Aurangzeb for the next 20 years until the Rajput’s death in 1679.(7)
Conclusion: The Muslims have conquered many countries and entered them as rulers. The rule of Muslims on some countries began since the early period of Islam or since the reign of the first Caliph of Islam. But history is the best witness that they never harmed any monument, idol, temple, synagogue or church. Egypt was ruled by the Companion `Amr ibn al-`Aas, and the sphinx, the huge statue of stone in Giza, Egypt having the head of a human and the body of a lion is still there and no one harmed it.
It is realistic that the rulers irrespective of their faith always tried to please the majority of their subject and they tried their best to win their hearts at any cost rather, the lovers of power always tried to avoid all sorts of public wrath that is a big threat for their powers. Therefore, Muslim rulers were always tolerant with non-Muslims more than requirement in order to establish the foundations of their power and demolition of religious places of the non-Muslims is the most dangerous challenge to a power.
Also, Muslim princes and rulers were always surrounded by non-Muslim ministers, counselors and religious leaders who were an impenetrable barrier to the destruction of the temples.
If there is an example for the demolition of a Hindu temple or a place of worship for any religion, then it is for the temple that preceded the demolition of a mosque and the construction of a Hindu temple on its ruins.
(1) Buzurg Ibn Shahriyār, `Ajaib al-Hind or “Wonders of India” LE IDE. — E. J. BRILL, 1883—1886, p.143
(2) Tarikh Farishtah by Mohammed Qasim Farishtah V. 1st p. 290, Urdu translation by Abdul Hay, Al-Mizan press, Lahore, Pakistan, 2008.
(3) Shah Jahan Namah, vol. 2nd , by Muhammad Salih Kanbu, edited by Dr. Ghulam Yazdani, Majlis Taraqqi Adab, Lahore, 2nd edition 1967 A.D., p. 53-54.
(4) Tufatul Fudhala Fi Tarajim al kumala, (Tazkirah Ulama e Hind) by Rahman Ali, Munshi Naval Kishore Press, 1914, pp. 29-30.
(5) Rihlah Ibn Battuta, edited by Muhammad `Abdul-Mun`im Al-`Iryan, Dar Ihya Al-`Ulum, Beirut, 1987 A.D., p. 574.
(6) Munshi Ghulam Husain, Siyar Al-Mutaakhkhirin, Navalkishore, 1897, Vol. 1st p.159. )
(7) https://thewire.in/9943/as-aurangzeb-is-erased-here-are-some-tales-from-the-flip-side-of-history/ (Last accessed on 11/12/ 2017).