Hindu Vivek Kendra
3. Documentary evidence: Muslim testimony

A large number of Muslim writers who have written detailed accounts of the regional history of Awadh since 17th century, based on older authentic contemporary sources of various nature, have unanimously stressed the fact that on the basis of Babar's order, the Janmasthan of Sri Ram Chandra at Kot Ram Chander, Pargana Haveli, Awadh, which comprised not only the private apartments (mahal sarai) of King Dashrath and Sri Ram but also a temple and a kitchen popularly known as Sita Ki Rasoi, were demolished and a mosque constructed thereupon in 1528 A.D. under the guidance of the Commander Mir Baqi and the Patronage of a Muslim faqir named Sayed Musa Ashikan.

The earliest of such authors is none other than the granddaughter of Moghul emperor Aurangzeb. Many of these Muslim writers were residents of Awadh and some were eye-witness to or participants in the Hindu-Muslim clashes or the dispute in 1855.

Let us now see what the Muslim writers have said:

1) Abul Fazl (1598 AD)

Abul Fazl, the author of Akbar Nama/Ain-i-Akbari (late 16th century) is an eminent writer of the Moghul age who has categorically associated Awadh (Ayodhya) with the residential place (banga) of Sri Ram Chandra who during the Treta age was the embodiment of both the spiritual sovereign supremacy as well as the mundane kingly office. Abu; Fazl also testifies that Awadh (Ayodhya) was esteemed as one of the holiest places of antiquity. He reports that Ramnavami festival, marking the birthday of Rama continues to be celebrated in a big way. As in the Ain-i-Akbari, Abul Fazl is basically concerned with the institutional and administrative system of the Moghuls (under Akbar), he does not provide any further detail about the disputed building ; nor, for that matter, about any shrines or buildings in general.

2) Safiha-i Chahal Nasaih Bahadur Shahi, written by the daughter of Bahadur Shah Alamgir during the late 17th century/early 18th century.

Out of the above Chahal Nasaih ("Forty Advices"), twenty-five instructions were copied and incorporated in the manuscript entitled Nasihat-i Bist-o-Panjam Az Chahal Nisaih Bahadur Shahi in 1816 AD, which is the oldest known account of the destruction of Ram Janmabhoomi for construction of the Babri Mosque, and its author is none other than Aurangzeb's grand daughter.

Mirza Jan, the author of Hadiqa-i-Shahda, 1856, Lucknow, has reproduced the above text in Persian on pp.4-7 of his book. The text runs as follows:

"... the mosques built on the basis of the king's orders (ba farman-i Badshahi) have not been exempted from the offering of the namaz and the reading of the Khutba [therein]. The places of worship of the Hindus situated at Mathura, Banaras and Awadh, etc., in which the Hindus (kufar) have great faith - the place of the birthplace of Kanhaiya, the place of Rasoi Sita, the place of Hanuman, who, according to the Hindus, was seated by Ram Chandra over there after the conquest of Lanka - were all demolished for the strength of Islam, and at all these places mosques have been constructed. These mosques have not been exempted from juma and jamiat (Friday prayers). Rather it is obligatory that no idol worship should be performed over there and the sound of the conch shell should not reach the ear of the Muslims ..." (see Annexure 2)

3) Hadiqa-i-Shahada by Mirza Jan (1856), pages 4-7.

The author was an eye-witness and an active participant in the jihad led by Amir Ali Amethawi during Wazid Ali Shah's rule in 1855 for recapture of Hanumangarhi from the Hindus. His book was ready just after the failure of the jihad and was published the following year (1856) in Lucknow. In Chapter IX of his book, entitled Wazid Ali Shah Aur Unka Ahd ("Wazid Ali Ahah and His Regime"), we find his account of construction of the Babri mosque.

Mirza Jan who claims to have gone through various old sources says in his own account as follows: "The past Sultans encouraged the propagation and glorification of Islam and crushed the forces of the unbelievers (kufar), the Hindus. Similarly, Faizabad and Awadh were also purged of this mean practice [of kufr]. This [Awadh] was a great worshipping centre and the capital of [the kingdom of] Rama's father. Where there was a large temple, a big mosque was constructed and where there was a small mandaf, there a small kanati masjid was constructed. The temple of Janmasthan was the original birthplace (masqat) of Ram, adjacent to which is Sita Ki Rasoi, Sita being the name of his wife. Hence at that site, a lofty (sarbaland) mosque has been built by Babar Badshah under the guidance of Musa Ashikan... That mosque is till date popularly known as Sita Ki Rasoi..." (see Annexure 3)

4) Muhammad Asghar's petition (1858)

Muhammad Asghar, khatib and muazzan of the Babri Masjid, filed a representation dated 30.11.1858, in case no 884, muhalla Kot Ram Chandra, Ajodhya to the British Government. In this complaint against the Bairagis of Janmasthan, he alleged that the Hindus had occupied the mosque, constructed an earthen mound therein, hoisted a flag on a high pole, installed a deity, started puja, wrotethe name of Rama all over the walls and so on. The muazzin also observes that in the outer space of the constructedBabri mosque (i.e. in the courtyard within the walled boundaries of the mosque), there had been Janmasthan lying desolate where the Hindus had been worshipping for hundreds of years. This confirms the fact that eventhough the site of Janmasthan had been covered by the Babri Masjid, the Hindus had been worshipping in the open space for hundreds of years, i.e. even during the Moghul and the Nawabi periods, and that they had maintained their claim on the entire Janmasthan area. (see Annexure 4)

5) Fasana-i Ibrat by the Urdu novelist Mirza Rajab Ali Beg Surur.

Dr. Zaki Kakorawi has appended an excerpt from this book by Surur (1787-1867) in his work. The excerpt reads as follows :"During the reign of Babar Badshah, a magnificent mosque was constructed in Awadh at a place which is associated with Sita ki Rasoi. This was Babari mosque. As during this period the Hindus could not dare to offer any resistance, the mosque was constructed under the benign guidance of Saiyed Mir Ashikan. Its date of construction could be reckoned from [the words] Khair-Baqi. And in the Ram Darbar, a mosque was constructed by Fidai Khan, the subedar."

After further describing the construction of another mosque at Hanuman Garhi by Aurangzeb, the author states that later on, after the defeat of Nawab Shujauddaula at Buxar, the Bairagis occupied the Garhi :"The Bairagis mitigated the mosque at Hanuman Garhi and constructed a temple [thereon]. And then, open prayers were henceforth offered [by the Bairagis] in the Babri mosque comprising the site of Sita ki Rasoi. The [Nawabi] administration could not do anything about it."

It may be noted that Surur mentioned the Sahifa-i Bahadurshahi, copied in 1816, as the source from which his observations could be verified by anybody interested. (see Annexure 5)

6) Tarikh-i Awadh or Muraqqa-i Khusrawi by Sheikh Mohammed Azmat Ali Kakorawi Nami (1869).

Kakorawi (1811-1893) wrote this book in 1869, but it did not see the light of day for more than a century. When dr. Zaki Kakorawi prepared a press copy, the F.A. Ahmad Memorial Committee agreed to publish the book, in 1986, but without the chapter on the 1855 episode. Subsequently, dr. Kakorawi published this chapter independently in 1987, under the title: Amir Ali Shah aur Markah-i Hanuman Garhi.

It contains this account :"Awadh was the capital of the father of Lachhman and Ram. [There,] under the guidance of Musa Ashikan, a magnificent Babri mosque was constructed at the site of the temple within the premises of Janmasthan, which was popularly known amongst Hindus as Sita ki Rasoi. The date of construction can be reckoned from Khair Baqi... And a mosque was also constructed at the site of Ram Darbar by Fidai Khan, subedar, which was later demolished and mitigated by the Hindus." (see Annexure 6)

7) Zia-i Akhtar by Haji Muhammed Hasan (Lucknow 1878), p.38-39.

The author states :"The mosque which had been built by Saiyid Musa Ashikan in 923 AH in compliance with the order of Zahiruddin Badshah, Delhi, after demolishing the private apartments (mahal sarai) of Raja Ram Chander and the kitchen of Sita, as well as the second mosque built by Muiuddin Aurangzeb, Alamgir Badshah, [in fact] both these mosques have developed cracks at various places because of the ageing character. Both these mosques have been gradually mitigated by the Bairagis and this very fact accounts for the riot. The Hindus have great hatred for the Muslims..." (see Annexure 7)

8) Gumgashte Halat-i Ajudhya Awadh ("Forgotten Events of Ayodhya"), i.e. Tarikh-i Parnia Madina Alwaliya (in Persian) (Lucknow 1885), by Maulvi Abdul Karim.

The author, who was then the imam of the Babri Masjid, while giving a description of the dargah of Hazrat Shah Jamal Gojjri states :"To the east of this dargah is mahalla Akbarpur, whose second name is also Kot Raja Ram Chander Ji. In this Kot, there were few burjs [towery big halls]. Towards the side of the western burj, there was the house of birthplace (makan-i paidaish) and the kitchen (bawarchi khana) of the above-mentioned Raja. And now, this premises is known as Janmasthan and Rasoi Sita Ji. After the demolition and mitigation of these houses [viz. Janmasthan and Rasoi Sita Ji], Babar Badshah got a magnificent mosque constructed thereon."

In this work, the author has referred to numerous contemporary sources. It was translated into Urdu by his grandson Maulvi Abdul Gaffar in 1979. (see Annexure 8)

9) Kaisar-ul-Tawarikh ya Tawarikh-i-Awadh by Kamaluddin Haidar Hosni al Hussaini al Mashahadi (Lucknow 1896), vol.II, p.100-112.

This author gives the same account of the construction of the Babri mosque as given in Muraqqah-i Khusrawi.

10) Tarikh-i Awadh by Alama Muhammad Najamulghani Khan Rampuri (1909).

Dr. Zaki Kakorawi has brought out an abridged edition of this book. An excerpt from vol.II (pp.570-575) of this edition runs as follows :

a) "Babar built a magnificent mosque at the spot where the temple of Janmasthan of Ramchandra was situated in Ayodhya., under the patronage of Saiyid Ashikan, and Sita ki Rasoi is situated adjacent to it. The date of construction of the mosque is Khair Baqi (923 AH). Till date, it is known as Sita ki Rasoi. By its side stands that temple. It is said that at the time of the conquest of Islam there were still three temples, viz. Janmasthan, which was the birthplace of Ram Chanderji, Swargadwar alias Ram Darbar, and the Treta ka Thakur. Babar built the mosque after having demolished Janmasthan."

b) "...in short, the turbulence [of 1855] reached such a stage that apart from the mitigated mosque at Hanuman Garhi, the Hindus built a temple in the courtyard of Babri Masjid where Sita ki Rasoi was situated..."

c) "...Ultimately, on Zildaqqa 1271 AH [July 1855], for the tenth or twelfth time, nearly two or three hundred Muslims gathered at Babri Masjid which is situated inside the Sita ki Rasoi..."

It is important to observe that the learned author used as many as eighty-one sources (manuscripts and books) covering the history of India/Awadh from the 17th-19th centuries, comprising mostly Muslim authors, though a few Hindu and European writers have also been referred to.

In parenthesis, we remark that the calculation of the year 923 from the numerical values of the letters making up the expression "Khair Baqi" (as before the adoption of Indian numerals, letters were still used sometimes to encode numbers), rests on a mistake. The full expression which is repeated in the inscription on the Masjid, is "Bavad Khair Baqi", of which the numeral value adds up to 935, the AH year partly coinciding with 1528 AD. (see Annexure 9)

11) Hindustan Islami Ahad Mein by Maulana Hakim Sayid Abdul Hai.

Maulana Hakim Sayid Abdul Hai (d.1923), an eminent scholar on the history of Islamic culture and also rector of Nadwatul-Ulama, wrote on "India under Islamic Rule" in Arabic, in the early 20th century. The book was published in Hyderabad in 1972. It was translated into Urdu and published with a foreword by his worthy son, Maulana Abdul Hasan Nadwi, alias Ali Mian, by the Nadwatul-Ulama, Lucknow 1973. An English translation was published in 1977.

The book contained a chapter on "The Mosques of Hindusthan" (Hindustan ki Masjidein), giving at least six instances of the construction of the mosques on the very sites of the Hindu temples demolished by the Indian Muslim rulers during the 12th-17th centuries. As regards Babri Masjid, he writes :"This mosque was constructed by Babar at Ajodhya which the Hindus call the birthplace of Ram Chanderji. There is a famous story about his wife Sita. It is said that Sita had a temple here in which she lived and cooked for her husband. On that very site Babar constructed this mosque..." (see Annexure 10)

12) Asrar-i Haqiqat by Lachmi Narain Sadr Qanungo, assisted by Munshi Maulvi Hashmi (Lucknow 1923).

The author, L.N.S. Qanungo, says that the book has been written with the active help of an in consultation with Munshi Maulvi Hashim, who has collected all the material and agreed to the contents of the book.

This is a unique book which is a product of joint efforts by a Hindu and a Muslim. Significantly, this book also confirms all that has been said in the Gumgashte Halat-i Ayodhya on the demolition of Janmasthan and the construction of the Babri mosque.

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