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Bazar Masjid: A piece of our collective soul

03:24 AM Jun 28, 2024 IST | Fayiq Wani
bazar masjid  a piece of our collective soul
Photo: Author

The beating heart of our community was silenced as flames ravaged the sacred halls, leaving only ashes of memories and tears of despair at the historic Bazar Masjid. A beacon of hope and solace lies in ruins, its ancient stones now scarred by the brutal hand of fate.


As Bazar Masjid stood witness to its demise, the silken threads of history were ravaged, a testament to the old city's rich tapestry. The fire that engulfed its ancient walls whispered secrets of a bygone era, leaving behind a trail of embers that still smolders with the memories of generations past. As the smoke dissipates, we're left to confront the haunting reality - a piece of our collective soul has been  lost, leaving an unfillable void in the heart of Downtown.


Being a first-hand witness to this incident, as the first wisps of smoke began to rise from the majestic structure following the sound of crackling flames and shattering glass, it felt as if the heavens themselves were weeping at the destruction of this hallowed space.


The usually serene atmosphere around the mosque was transformed into a scene of utter chaos, as people fled in terror, their smiling faces replaced by cries of anguish and desperation. The Bazar Masjid, with its intricate architecture and rich history, was more than just a place of worship – it was a symbol of community, of tradition, of the collective identity of the people left behind by Moulana Ghulam Nabi Mubarki amongst the Mirwaizeen.


Bazar Masjid's minarets often echoed with the soulful sounds of naats and Manajaat, their melodies weaving through the air and touching the hearts of all who listened. These spiritual hymns, sung with devotion and reverence, created an atmosphere of divine presence that was comforting and uplifting.


The same minarets now stood as blackened skeletons, a haunting reminder of what has been lost. The sacred texts, the intricate carvings – all were consumed by the merciless fire, leaving behind only a void, a chasm of despair that seemed impossible to bridge.


What made the Bazar Masjid truly special was its inclusivity. People from all walks of life, regardless of their sectarian backgrounds, gathered here. It was a melting pot of cultures, beliefs, and traditions, where everyone was welcome, and unity was celebrated. The masjid stood as a testament to our collective spirit, fostering an environment of brotherhood and harmony.


Today, as we stand before the charred remains, the sight of the rubble breaks my heart. The ruins reflect the pain within me, each fragment a touching reminder of what we have lost. The once vibrant and bustling masjid now lies in ashes, and with it, a piece of my soul. Tears well up in my eyes as I think of the memories reduced to dust, the echoes of prayers now silenced.

The once-thriving street of the old city, now lays ravaged, as if the very fabric of the neighborhood has been torn asunder. The cries of the bereaved families, their homes reduced to ashes, reflecting through the desolate streets, a poignant reminder of the devastating impact of this tragedy. An entire neighborhood is gone. The usually spirited market around the mosque, once a hub of activity and commerce, is now a scene of utter devastation, leaving us feeling overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the destruction and heartbroken for those who have lost everything.

The sacred precincts of Bazar Masjid open a floodgate of memories on me, transporting me back to a bygone era. The nostalgic aroma of old walls, the worn-out prayer mats, and the gentle rustle of the Quran's pages whisper secrets of a childhood spent in devotion. I have lost count of the number of prayers I have offered within these walls, but the sense of peace that permeates every fiber of my being remains unwavering.

The masjid's traditional Mirwaizian style of delivering Friday lectures and collecting prayers during important Islamic occasions, inherited from the revered Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani, was a hallmark of its spiritual identity. The sonorous voice travelling from Mubarkis to the present-day Khateeb, reverberating through the mosque's corridors, would weave a spell of enchantment, transcending the boundaries of time and space. As a child, I would sit mesmerized, my eyes glued to the impassioned orator, as he brought to life the stories of the prophets, the saints, and the martyrs - be it Badr or Karbala.

The masjid's architecture, a blend of traditional and modern, stood as a testament to the syncretic heritage of our ancestors. The intricate carvings on the wooden Mehrab, the ornate chandeliers, and the majestic dome, all seemed to reverberate with the whispers of the faithful. As the muezzin's call to prayer reverberated through the air, the faithful would throng the masjid, their faces aglow with an inner light, their footsteps a symphony of devotion.

In this sacred space, I have seen the devout, with tears streaming down their faces, supplicate to the Almighty, their prayers a manifestation of hope, of gratitude, and of surrender. I have seen the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the learned and the unlettered, all united in their quest for spiritual enlightenment. People irrespective of everything in one voice - unanimously upon the call of Kateeb would say: ‘Dis Aalaw - Myani Khodayy’ which loosely translates to, call to him, oh my lord.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, the city is left to pick up the pieces, to try and make sense of the senseless, to find comfort in the face of unimaginable loss. The people, who had gathered at the mosque to seek comfort and guidance, are now left to wander the streets, their faces etched with sorrow, their eyes brimming with tears. The silence that has fallen over the city is oppressive, a heavy shroud that seems to suffocate the very breath out of its residents.

And yet, even amid this unimaginable grief, there is a glimmer of hope. For in the face of destruction, we are reminded of the indomitable spirit of our community. We are reminded that even as the physical structure of our beloved mosque lies in ruins, its essence – the love, the faith, the resilience – remains unbroken. We will rebuild, we will recover, and we will emerge stronger, our bonds forged in the fire of adversity.

The Bazar Masjid may be gone, but its memory will live on, a beacon of light in the darkness, a testament to the power of faith and the indomitable human spirit. As we mourn the loss of this sacred space, we must also draw strength from its legacy, and strive to rebuild not just a building, but a community, a people united in their grief, their hope, and their determination to rise from the ashes, stronger, wiser, and more resilient than ever before.

BY Fayiq Wani