Glimpses of Islamic Civilization in India
Sayyid Abdul Hai
Hospitals and Dispensaries
Maristan is the Arabic version of Bimaristan according to Sihah. Firuz Tughluq was the first Indian monarch, according to my information, who is credited with the opening of several hospitals, the biggest of which was at Delhi. He appointed not only salaried physicians and made provision for free supply of medicines but also ordered that all patients admitted to these hospitals should be given nutriment, milk, etc. till their complete recovery from the illness. Complete destruction of the hospital buildings of Firuz Tughluq renders it difficult to locate their sites.
Gulbarga Dispensary : It was a big dispensary established by Sultan 'Alauddin Hasan bin 'Ali Bahmani, whose physician in-charge was Hakim 'Alimuddin of Tabriz. All patients were provided free medicines along with nutritious food from the public exchequer.(Mahbub-i-Watan, Vol. I, p. 214).
Bimaristan-i-Kashmir. Saltan Zainuddin, King of Kashmir, had opened this hospital at Srinagar. Both Hindu and Muslim physicians had been appointed by him in this hospital.
Maritsan Mandu: Mahmud Shah Khilji of Malwa founded this hospital at Mandu, his capital, in 1445. The hospital had separate wards and indoor hospitalization facilities for the insane besides those suffering from other diseases and had a number of physicians to look after the patients. Anybody could get treatment at the hospital without paying anything for the treatment. Mahmud Shah Khilji had also created a trust for meeting the expenditure of the hospital and appointed Maulana Fazal Ullah with the title of Hakim-ul-Hukama as its chief physician.
Shafakhana Ahmadabad was at Bidar with several Muslim and non-Muslim physicians who were on the regular payroll of the State. A trust consisting of a number of villages had been created for the hospital by its founder Sultan Alauddin bin Ahmad Shah Bahmani.(Firishta, Vol. 1, p. 333).
Darulshifa Hyderabad. Established in 1597 at Hyderabad, the hospital had several well-paid physicians and was adequately provided with medicines, victuals for diet of patients and other necessities. Anyone, whether poor or rich, was allowed to take advantage of the hospital.(Hadiqat-ul-'Alam, Vol. 1 , p. 217).
Dawakhana Akbarabad. This hospital was perhaps set up during the reign of Akbar and existed till the end of Moghul rule in India.(Sil Chand; Tarikh Agra)
Another hospital at Agra was located near the Jami mosque and the fort which was destroyed during 1857 rampage. The Railway Station of Agra was built on the site occupied by the hospital.
A hospital built of white marble and artistically designed with rooms for the lodging of patients existed at Fatehpur Sikri. It was constructed by Akbar. Its wrecks are still traceable.
Fatehpur Sikri had one more hospital established by Sheikh Abul Faiz bin Mubarak of Nagore near his house. The hospital was sufficiently provided with medicines and nutriments for the patients.
Darulshifa Ahmadabad was built by Nawab Saif Khan at Ahmadabad in 1622, during the reign of Jahangir, when he was posted there as a Shiqdar in that province. The hospital was in existence during the closing years of the Moghul rule. Aurangzeb had appointed Hakim Raziuddin as the Chief Physician of this hospital in 1702 in place of Hakim Mohammad Taqi Shirazi. (Mirat-i-Ahmadi)
One more hospital was established by the Moghuls at Ahmadabad. This hospital also continued to function till the end of the Moghul rule. Shahjahan appointed Hakim Muhammad Hashim as the Chief Medical Officer of this hospital.
Maristan Surat was opened during the Moghul rule. Hakim Muhammad Ashraf Tabib was the Medical Officer-in-charge of the hospital during the reign of Aurangzeb. The son of Hakim Muhammad Ashraf Tabib succeeded his father after the death of the latter.
Delhi Hospitals. A hospital known as Darushshifa was established by Shah Jahan in 1649-50 near the Jami Masjid at Delhi. He appointed several highly paid physicians in this hospital.(Athar-us-Sanadid, p. 283).
Muhammad Khan, upon whom was conferred the title of Nawab Khair Andesh Khan, had set up a hospital at Delhi for which he secured the services of Hakim 'Abdur Razaq of Nishapur, Hakim 'Abdul Majid of Isfahan, Mirza Muhammad 'Ali of Bukhara and Hakim Muhammad 'Adil for its Tibbiya wing and Kewal Nain, Sukhanand and Nain Sukh for the Ayurved section. The Nawab also endowed landed property for running the hospital, supply of medicines and food etc. for the patients. The hospital served the rich and the poor alike.(Khair-ul-Tajarib)
Darushshifa Lucknow. The hospital was established by Hakim Mahdi Ali Khan, a minister of King Nasiruddin Hyder. The hospital had indoor facilities and an attached pharmacy for preparation and dispensing of drugs. The first head of the hospital was Mirza 'Ali Akbar bin-Al-Haj-Ghoghai. The hospital continued to function for a long time.(Kamaluddin Mashhadi, Qaisar-ut-Tawarikh).
Other Moghul Hospitals: The Moghul rulers had set up a number of hospitals, then known as Darushshifa, which were mostly in big cities like Agra, Delhi, Lahore etc. In 1608, Jahangir ordered that similar hospitals should be established in every major city with an attached pharmacy and free kitchen so that Hindu and Muslim patients could be given free food with medical treatment till their complete recovery. He also ordered that every patient discharged from a hospital should be given a lump sum amount.
Some Famous Tombs and Shrines
Tomb of Saiyid Salar Mas'ud Ghazi. The tomb of Saiyid Salar Mas'ud Ghazi is one of the magnificent shrines in India. The tomb was built, according to Firishta, of burnt bricks and mortar by Muhammad Tughluq. Ibn Batutah has also made a mention of the shrine.
Tomb of Sheikh Bahauddin Zakarya of Multan is one of the significant monuments of Muslim rulers of Multan. The building has been extensively renovated and additions made to it from time to time but its present form is substantially that of the original. The shrine also contains the tomb of the saint's son, Sheikh Sadruddin.
Tomb of Khwaja Mo'inuddin Chishti was built at Ajmer of white sandstone by Shaykh Husain bin Khalid Nagauri. This was the first building over the grave of Khwaja Mo'inuddin Chishti. Thereafter Mahmud Shah Khilji I, the king of Malwa and Akbar added several edifices around the shrine. Shahjahan also erected mosque of white marble in 1627. A large number of people make pilgrimage to the saint's shrine
Tomb of Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. The tomb is in old Delhi. It has a fine marble screen running round the grave which was installed by Farruk Siyar.(Athar-us-Sanadid, p. 238) Of the several mosques built near the tomb, one was constructed by Shah 'Alam.
Tomb of Sheikh Fariduddin Ganj Shakar is at Ajodhan.(Now called Pak Patan in Pakistan) One of the doors of the shrine is known as Bihishti Darwaza or the Door of Paradise.
Tomb of Khwaja Nizamuddin Muhammad bin Ahmad Budauni is at Ghiyathpur (now Nizamuddin) at a short distance from old Delhi. The first building of the shrine was constructed under the orders of Muhammad Tughluq. A mosque, constructed of white marble, is stated to have been erected by 'Alauddin Khilji. There are a number of other graves, some of which are of certain kings and princes of Delhi, within the enclosure of the shrine.
Tomb of Sheikh Bu 'Ali Qalandar is in Panipat. The tomb of marble, covered by a magnificent cupola, is surrounded by granite walls. Nearby is a mosque of reddish stone ornamented by elegant carving. The mausoleum is believed to have been erected by one of the sons of 'Alauddin Khilji, to which further structures were added, from time to time, by Nawab Muqurrab Khan, Lutf Ullah Khail, Rizq Ullah Khan and others.
Tomb of Ghiyathuddin Tughluq. The mausoleum was built by Muhammad Tughluq at Tughluqabad (Darul Aman). The tomb is built of red sandstone and has a simple white marble dome, yet, because of its gorgeous splendour it is regarded as one of the treasured gems of Islamic architecture.(Athar-us-Sanadid, p. 189).
Tomb of Sheikh Ruknuddin stands on an elevated mound in Multan. The shrine, built by Muhammad Shah Tughluq is a structure of burnt brick, lime and mortar decorated with flowers raised in white and azure colours. The tomb occupies a unique place among the architectural monuments of the city.
Tomb of Sheikh Nasiruddin Mahmud. This mortuary building at Delhi was built by Firuz Shah Tughluq. The masonry building is crowned by a large dome while the inner portion of it is graced by fine lattice-work. Muhammad Shah also made certain additions in the original mausoleum. ( Athar-us-Sanadid, p 203)
Tomb of Sheikh Burhanuddin Gharib is at Aurangabad, 16 km. from the city. Also known as Rauza, the mausoleum has the graves of several kings and nobles.
Tomb of Khwaja Gesu Daraz. The shrine of Sheikh Syed Muhammad bin Yusuf al-Husaini popularly known as Khwaja Gesu Daraz, at Gulbarga, is modeled after that of Khwaja Mo'inuddin Chishti, not only in design but also in delicacy of treatment and artistic refinement.
Tomb of Sheikh Badr'uddin Madar is at Makanpur. The majestic edifice is crowned by a swelling dome. A mosque was built by Aurangzeb near the shrine which is visited by devotees annually like the shrine of Syed Salar Mas'ud Ghazi.
Tomb of Ahmad Shah Vali. The tomb of Ahmad Shah Vali (d. 1436), the Bahmani King of Deccan, stands on the outskirts of Bidar. The dome of this magnificent building rises to a height of 45 cubits. The interior is adorned with brilliantly colored paintings in the Persian style and enriched with beautiful inscriptions worked out in golden letters on a deep blue ground. The edifice is one of the finest specimens of architectural memorials. The tomb of 'Alauddin Shah, son of Ahmad Shah Vali, and other Bahmani kings are also at Bidar.
Tomb of 'Ali Barid Shah at Bidar is an imposing building; the central chamber rises to a height of 64 feet (25.507 meters) with a massive dome of 11 feet (3.048 meters) over it on a mound 75 feet (22.86 meters) high from the ground. The facade of the building thus towering to about 150 feet (51,42 meters) presents an impressive view while its inner decoration consists of Naskh and Nast'aliq inscriptions in gold and deep blue letterings with golden azure painting. It is one of the finest memorials erected in Deccan.
Tomb of Humayun. The tomb was built by Humayun's widow, Haji Begum, in 1567. Completed in 16 years at a cost of rupees 15 lakhs, this magnificent edifice of chiseled stone and marble is surrounded by spacious lawns, gardens, canals and fountains. The mausoleum is perhaps the most attractive Moghul monument excepting, of course, the Taj at Agra.
Tomb of Akbar. This edifice was built at Sikandara near Agra, by his son Jahangir. It is a wonderful pyramidal structure profusely decorated with white marble and ornamented calligraphy.
Jangangir's tomb at Shahadra, 6 Km. form Lahore, built by Shahjahan in 1627, is monument of surpassing beauty. This structure of chiseled marble and red stone has been raised on a rocky eminence. The tomb of the Emperor has been built on a small platform inside the majestic edifice decorated with inlaid semi-precious stones like lapis lazuli, sapphire, coral, jade, etc.
Tomb of I'timad-ud-Daula. Standing on the bank of the river Jamuna on a raised ground, the tomb is a fine structural gem of white marble. Its perforated white marble screen and tomb of pale yellow marble present a pleasing contrast. Its delicacy of treatment and chaste quality places it in a class by itself.
Taj Mahal. The majestic mausoleum of Arjumand Banu, built by her husband Shahjahan, standing by the side of the river Jamuna, is a queen of architecture and the most perfect and finest of buildings standing on earth. The structure was completed by 20,000 workmen laboring for 22 years at a cost of Rupees 3,17,48,026. The mausoleum of chaste white marble stands on a raised platform occupying a square of 186 feet, with the angles deeply truncated so as to form an unequal octagon. The great dome having a circumference of 58 feet and its accompanying kiosks rise to height of 213 feet. At the corners of the rectangular ground storey rise tall and slender minarets of 162.5 feet, in graceful proportion of the central pile. The internal decorations consist of inlaid work in precious stones such as agate and jasper, with which every spandrel and other salient points in the architecture are richly fretted. Likewise, the inscriptions from the Holy Qur'an around the main archways, artistically designed and chiseled, and the bold scroll work of flowery pattern add an entrancing charm to its beauty.
Tomb of Muhammad bin Ibrahim Shah. Muhammad 'Adil Shah, King of Bijapur, himself built this eternal resting place for himself. Its great dome is one of the most striking pieces of architecture in India; for the room in which the tomb is located is the largest single cell ever constructed. The entire structure measures 400 feet in length and 150 ft. in width, of which the central portion of the cupola covers eighteen thousand square feet.
Tomb of Rabi'a-Daurani. Located at Aurangabad, the tomb houses the grave of a queen of Aurangzeb who modeled this monument on the pattern of Taj Mahal. With a surrounding garden leading up to the main building, the monument of pure marble stands on an elevated eminence with four minarets at the corners of the terrace. An amount of Rupees 99 lakhs is reported to have been spent on the construction of the mausoleum which is the most embellished building in Deccan.
Tomb of Safdar Jang. Abul Mansur Khan Safdar Jang was the Prime Minister of Ahmad Shah, one of the later Moghuls. His tomb built by his son Shuj'a-ud-daula, Nawab of Oudh, at a distance of 6 Km. from Delhi, is large and pretentious structure. Rupees three lakhs were spent on the construction of this monument.
Imambara or Husainiyah
Before we describe Imambaras, often called Husainiyah, let us explain the purpose for which these are erected. The martyrdom of Husain is celebrated by the Shi'ahs, at places by the Sunnis too- during the fist ten days of the month of Muharram in especially erected halls or enclosures. 'Alams-Husain's standards and the miniatures of his mausoleum known as T'aziah are kept in these buildings which are decorated and profusely illuminated during the days of celebration, when the event of Imam Husain's martyrdom is harangued in prose as well as in poetry to whip up the feelings of the faithful. Processions with taziahs and alams are taken out during the month of Muharram and Safar.
Imambara Asfi, one of the biggest in India, was constructed at Lucknow in 1792 at a cost of fifty lakh Rupees (S. Kamaluddin Husaini, Tawarikh Avadh, p. 112) under the supervision of Kifayat Ullah Khan of Delhi. Lime and mortar was sunk in an area of 500 sq. feet on which the foundation of the huge edifice was laid. The main structure of the Imambara, measuring 100 feet in length, rises gradually in parts: the first one where tazias are kept has an elevation of 25 feet, the second one rises to 30 ft. and the highest portion goes up to another 25 ft. This building of lime, burnt brick and mortar has a spacious frontcourt, the three sides of which are enclosed by huge buildings and a big mosque. The Imambara is regarded as one of the finest monuments in India.
Imambara Husainabad. Nawab Muhammad 'Ali Shah, King of Lucknow built this Imambara at Lucknow between 1837-1842. The main structure has been built of lime and brick stone but white marble slabs also cover certain portions of the building. The courtyard in front is enclosed by pavilions, platforms and an oblong tank, with stairs reaching to the water which was once stocked with different varieties of fishes, while the courtyard had a luxuriant garden. Nawab Ahmad 'Ali Shah had also created a trust of rupees 12 lakhs which was held by the British Government for meeting the expenses of the Imambara and giving financial help to the pilgrims going to Iraq, out of the interest accruing from the amount placed at its disposal.( Najm-ul-Ghani; Tarikh Avadh, Vol. V, p. 14).
Shah Najaf is yet another Imambara at Lucknow constructed by Nawab Ghaziuddin Haider between 1814 to 1827. The Imambara takes its name from the city of Najaf where Imam Ali (A.S.) is buried.
India During Muslim Rule