Shahi Imam

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The Shahi Imam is the Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid. Mughal emperor Shahjahan appointed Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari, who originally came from Shah of Bukhara, Uzbekistan to be the first Imam of the Mosque in 1656 AD. "The mosque was inaugurated by Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari, a mullah from Bukhara (now Uzbekistan), on 23 July 1656, on the invitation from Shah Jahan, whom he bequeathed the title Shahi Imam and appointed to the high office of Imamat-e-Uzma."[1] The current Imam in 2017 is a descendant of the first imam that was appointed by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in a long line of family dynastic appointments. This is not how the appointments of Imams usually take place in other places around the world. However, in this case, because of the purported divine authority claimed by past monarchs and emperors, they conferred upon their subjects titles to carry on for the future. This has become a trend since 1656 AD with the Imams of this specific mosque Jama Masjid, Delhi carrying on the traditions of family dynastic domination.

Imams of Jama Masjid[edit]

Shahi Imams of Jama Masjid include:[2]

  1. Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari (started on 23 July 1656 AD)
  2. Syed Abdul Shakoor Shah Bukhari
  3. Syed Abdul Raheem Shah Bukhari
  4. Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari Thani
  5. Syed Abdul Rehman Shah Bukhari
  6. Syed Abdul Kareem Shah Bukhari
  7. Syed Mir Jeewan Shah Bukhari
  8. Syed Mir Ahmed Ali Shah Bukhari (till 16 October 1892)
  9. Syed Mohammed Shah Bukhari (from 16 October 1892)
  10. Syed Ahmed Bukhari (till 20 February 1942)
  11. Syed Hameed Bukhari (20 February 1942 - 8 July 1973)
  12. Syed Abdullah Bukhari (8 July 1973 - 14 October 2000)
  13. Syed Ahmed Bukhari I (14 October 2000 - present)
Syed Shaban Bukhari's (formal 'Dastarbandi' (designation) of future Shahi Imam for 19-years-old Syed Shaban Bukhari took place on 22 November 2014). He is the designated 'Naib Imam' (Deputy Shahi Imam) until such time that his living father Syed Ahmed Bukhari decides to pass on the responsibility to him as it happened before him on 14 October 2000 for Syed Ahmed Bukhari when his seriously ill father Syed Abdullah Bukhari had decided to pass on the responsibility to him due to his own continuing illness.[3] Syed Abdullah Bukhari was suffering from cardiac ailments and then passed away due to a heart attack on 8 July 2009 at age 87.[4]


  1. ^ History of the first Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Delhi starting in 1656 AD, website, Retrieved 18 May 2017
  2. ^ Imam Bukhari's family tree, website, Published 15 October 2008, Retrieved 18 May 2017
  3. ^ Jama Masjid, Delhi gets new Shahi Imam on 14 October 2000, The Milli Gazette, Published 1 November 2000, Retrieved 18 May 2017
  4. ^ Syed Abdullah Bukhari, former Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Delhi passes away The Hindu newspaper, Published 9 July 2009, Retrieved 18 May 2017