The mosque has been restored by the Archeological Survey of India
1. Who sponsored the construction of Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque?
Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque was sponsored by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the founder of the Mamluk dynasty in India.
2. What was the origin of Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the sponsor of the mosque?
Qutb-ud-din Aibak was born as a slave in Turkey but rose to prominence as a general during Muhammed Ghari’s invasion of India in the 1180s.
3. Why is the Mamluk dynasty sometimes disparagingly called the “Slave Dynasty”?
The Mamluk dynasty is sometimes referred to as the “Slave Dynasty” due to the origins of its founder, Qutb-ud-din Aibak, who was initially a slave.
4. How did the construction of Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque take place?
When Qutb-ud-din Aibak’s garrison occupied Delhi in 1192, he ordered the destruction of twenty-seven Hindu and Jain temples to obtain building materials for the mosque. Local craftsmen, including possibly Hindus, were conscripted to assemble the structure.
5. What was the challenge in using repurposed columns from the destroyed temples in the mosque’s construction?
The challenge was that the columns from the destroyed temples had highly sculpted Hindu carvings. Islam prohibits the use of images in mosques, so the columns had to be plastered over and covered with geometric designs.
6. What is the significance of the tower of victory in Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque?
The tower of victory in the mosque celebrates the Muslim conquest of India. It is constructed using red sandstone, gray quartz, and white marble.
7. Tell me more about the iron “Pillar of the Law” on the site.
The iron “Pillar of the Law” was built during the Mauryan dynasty in the 6th century and stands on the site. It is made of iron and has resisted rust for over 1,500 years, showcasing the metallurgical skills of the Mauryans.
8. How did the expansion of the mosque continue after Qutb-ud-din Aibak’s rule?
Qutb-ud-din Aibak’s son-in-law, Altamash (or Illtutmish), extended the original prayer hall screen by adding three more arches. During his rule, Islamic craftsmen replaced most of the conscripted Hindu masons, leading to more Islamic-style arches.
9. What was Altamash’s contribution to the site?
Altamash built his own tomb just to the west of the expanded mosque. It is primarily Hindu in design and made from pillaged building materials. His body was laid to rest in a subterranean chamber beneath the tomb.
10. When did the decline of Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque begin, and who was the ruler at the time?
The decline began during the rule of Ala-ud-din (known as “Alladin” in the West) from 1296 to 1316. Despite initially patronizing the mosque, Ala-ud-din had grand ambitions and decided to move to nearby Siri, leading to a decline in the mosque’s importance.