Khursid Alam Nadwi | KMNN
Bangalore. The Haji Sir Ismail Sait Masjid, located in Frazer town, a posh residential area of the city, is one of the significant and beautiful mosques of the city. It has always been an eye-catching sight for people of all faiths because of its simple beauty.
The area in which the mosque is located, was used by the military around a hundred years ago when there were only a handful of Muslim dwellers in the locality. Haji Sir Ismail Sait, a philanthropist and a great businessman of that time, built the mosque about 100 years ago with his own funds for the local Muslims. As the mosque came up there, the road in front was named as Haji Sir Ismail Sait Mosque Road, which unfortunately is known only as Mosque Road now.
Haji Sir Ismail Sait, who belonged to Cutchi Memon community of Gujarat, landed along with his parents in Bangalore around 1870. After the sad demise of his father in 1874 he started a business with his limited resources which expanded rapidly. His achievements were recognized by the Government of Mysore who conferred him with the title of ‘Fakrut-Tujjar’. An even bigger honour was bestowed upon him when he was knighted by the King of England in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. He was also the member of the Madras Legislative Council in 1911.
The structure of the earlier mosque could accommodate only 300 namazis at a time. With the increasing Muslim population in the area, it soon faced a shortage of space and the old structure was expanded in 1990. The work took five years to finish and the completed structure now extends over 20,000 sq.ft. and can accommodate 3000 worshippers at a time.
With fine etched glass work and arched windows on its frontage the renovated structure provides a pleasing view to the visitors. The interior decoration with the unique arch work and the classical craftsmanship adds beauty to the majestic mosque.
The mosque not only provides space for namaz but also undertakes a number of activities. Thus, it plays a very important and responsible role in the lives of local Muslims. It is a popular destination for people interested in increasing their knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah and Muslims from the surrounding areas converge at the mosque to listen to lectures on Islamic themes.
The mosque committee has made arrangements for the education of adults to provide them training in Islamic studies including Quran recitation. “The age of participants’ ranges from 18 to 80 years. Most of these learners are IT professionals, engineers and other professionals working in different sectors. The number goes up to 80 participants,” said Mr. Suhail Ahmed Sait, Secretary, and Masjid Committee member, Mr. Majeed Ibrahim Sait.
Several Madrasas are managed by the Mosque management. One of them is Madrasa Salsabeel which has been functioning for almost 17 years with students ranging from 6 to 15 years. Male students at this madrasa learn the Quran Nazira and Urdu from four teachers. In the same way, another Madrasa for girls also functions which has students in the same age range. Lady teachers are appointed to teach them.
“Earlier, boys and girls were taught in the same premises but girls were forced to discontinue their studies at the age of 12 or 13 and asked to continue their education at home. Noticing that the girls who dropped out were unable to continue their education at home and were wasting their precious time, it was decided to open a separate section for girls so that they continued their education up to the age of 15,” pointed out Mr. Suhail Ahmed Sait and Mr. Majeed Ibrahim Sait. “Manba-ul-Uloom, a Madrasa for Hifz-e-Quran with boarding and lodging facilities is also managed by the committee,” added Mr. Majeed Ibrahim Sait.
An annual function of each Madrasa is held where students are given away prizes on the basis of their educational performance. They are headed and supervised by Moulana Zubair Ahmed who has been serving as the imam of the mosque for the past 17 years. The teaching staff at the madrasas are well looked after as they are entitled to a housing allowance and bonus salary in the month of Ramzan.
The library called as Salsabeel has around 30,000 books on various subjects like Quran, Hadith, Fiqh, Khutbat etc. It is open for public after Asar prayer. It is said that Imams of different mosques in the area use the library. The mosque committee also extends financial help to Sir Ismail Sait School, an Urdu Primary School close to the mosque that was started by Sir Ismail Sait in 1928.
Haji Sir Ismail Sait Medical Centre attached to the mosque provides free medical aid to the underprivileged section of the surrounding area.
As there is an ample opportunity for men to learn and seek knowledge, women are not left unaided. The mosque committee has managed to make separate arrangements for the religious education of housewives. Four days in week, a class of Quran translation is conducted. A male scholar interprets the meaning of the Quran to them while paying due attention that their modesty is guarded. The mosque conducts summer classes in school summer vacations. It is also open to conduct preaching programs and get-together meetings within its premises.
Activities during Ramzan are the special feature of the mosque. Keeping in mind the businessmen of the locality, the management makes special arrangement of Taraweeh prayers after the regular taraweeh prayers. Arrangements for iftar are made every day and almost 300 people break their fast in this mosque.
As an important development, a modern guest house for travelling preachers (Jamaats) has been built here recently as most preachers from foreign countries land here. The guest house is equipped with all modern facilities and is luxurious.
The institution and all its activities are managed by a trust consisting of 7 members, whose present president is Mr. Zackria Hashim Sait, while Mr. Irfan Razack, managing director of Prestige group is the vice president. The trustee members include Mr. Suhail Ahmed Sait, Secretary, Mr. Majeed Ibrahim Sait, Mr. Aslam Fazal Sait, Mr. Mohammed Rafiq Sait and Mr. Shabbir Malik Sait.
In response to a question whether the mosque is doing anything to encourage communal harmony, Mr. Majeed Sait said that the mosque has set up an electronic display which displays the meaning of the Quranic Ayah. It is hoped that many people will benefit by the massage of the Quran.
Let us find out what Sangappa. D. M., a traffic police man stationed in Frazer Town has to say about. He said that people coming to the mosque have been supportive and cooperative as they assist in easing the traffic flow. However, in the month of Ramzan, people need to take care of others as they park vehicles on the road in the evenings which create problems for commuters.