Athar Jamad Masjid

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Athar Jamad Masjid
The Big Mosque
Location Oppanakara Street, Coimbatore
Established 1904
Branch/tradition Islam
Leadership Chairman:
M. S. Abdul Rasheed
Architectural information
Capacity 2000
Minaret(s) 4
Minaret height 85 ft (26 m)

Athar Jamad Masjid ( Arabic: اثار جماعة المسجد‎ ; Tamil: அத்தார் ஜமாத் மஸ்ஜித் ; also known as The Big Mosque ) is located at Oppanakara Street and Town Hall within the Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu in India. One of the oldest and biggest masjid in Coimbatore. It is a living testimony of city’s history.[1]

History and construction[edit]

Perfume merchants named Athar who migrated from Tirunelveli, built this monumental structure. It took 44 years for completion. It was in 1860 when the construction works commenced and finished in 1904. This strong structure made up of limestone and mortar and polished with egg white. The facade is covered with cusped arches surrounding the open courtyard where the prayer halls stand. There is a covered ablution pond in the south-eastern corner and a small library on the eastern side. There’s also a kitchen that prepares nonbu kanji (rice soup),[2] in fasting period during Ramzan month. Hawkers line the entrance with their colorful amulets and items of worship.

According to the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), the two minars, with domed roofs, on the northern and southern sides, are 85 feet high. This pair of silver domes stands out in the skyline of Town Hall area. In better climes they could well have been the gates of heaven (also called as Jannah). These had crafted with wrought-iron hide behind cluttered cables lining Oppanakara Street. The gates tower up to the stained glass and four minarets above. One of the most worshiped Islamic dargah with approximately 2000 worshippers assembles for the Friday prayers.

Dargah[edit]

The masjid is built beside the tomb of Hazrat Jamesha Waliullah, a Muslim preacher who died in the 1850. His tomb, which is now a dargah on Big Bazaar Street is on the southern side of the masjid, and is worshipped by even Non-Muslims. Jamaat authorities say that they donated Big Bazaar Street to the Corporation, much before independence, as Town Hall area had developed into the city’s main business district. The quaint little dargah is in the middle of the street. People are blessed in the dargah and amulets are tied around their necks to ward off evil spirits.

Front view of Athar Jamad Masjid

Following[edit]

The Jamaat comprises the descendants of the 52 families from Tirunelveli that moved to Coimbatore in 1850. According to Jamaat secretary M. S. Abdul Rasheed, there are now 1355 members are alive. The Jamaat’s elected executive committee manages the masjid, Hazrat Jamesha Waliullah dargah on Big Bazaar Street, Hazrat Jungal Pir dargah on Trichy road of the same city and the Cemetery Masjid beside Coimbatore Junction. The committee also runs three schools in the area with a total strength of 1200 students. What’s interesting is the democratic election process of the Jamaat, which has a voter’s lists and even requires signatures of the electors before polling. Court records show that this electoral process dates back to 1920.

Up to 2000 worshippers gather here for Friday prayers. During Ramzan and Bakrid, crowds flock to the masjid and the dargah beside it.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]