Lucknow: The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation, set up for construction of a mosque at Dhannipur village in Ayodhya, has distanced itself from claims by a member of the same foundation that a “sacred” brick has been brought from Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia to lay the foundation of the new mosque.
Foundation Chairman Zufar Farooqui, who also heads the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, said, “I have no knowledge about any such brick from Mecca or Medina.”
The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation is the trust formed by the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board to look after the Dhannipur project in Ayodhya.
Farooqui’s reaction came when asked to respond to claims by Haji Arafat Shaikh, Chairman of the Masjid Muhammad Bin Abdullah Development Committee, that the first brick to be laid for the foundation of the new mosque at Dhannipur village in Ayodhya district has been brought to Mumbai after consecration in Mecca and Medina.
The proposed mosque will be called “Mohammed Bin Abdullah Masjid”, the All India Rabta-e-Masjid, an organisation of mosques across the country, had said after a meeting of clerics in Mumbai in October 2023.
Shaikh, who is also a member of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation, has said that the brick, baked in a Mumbai kiln, was consecrated in Mecca and Medina before being brought back to Mumbai by five devouts.
“As the Chairman of Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation, I will ask Shaikh to clear the air about this matter,” Farooqui further said.
The black soil brick, adorned with inscriptions of the mosque’s name and Quranic passages, is set to be transported to Dhannipur village near Ayodhya after the beginning of Ramzan on March 12, Shaikh has said.
Shaikh also claimed that “peers” or holy men, would lead a grand procession, carrying the sacred brick from Kurla to Mulund, the last suburb of Mumbai on the eastern flank. The brick will then be taken to Lucknow and finally to Dhannipur.
“There will be a break in the journey every 300 km for prayers,” Shaikh claimed.
He said that it was still to be finalised if the brick was to be carried by foot or in a vehicle.
Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation Spokesperson Athar Hussain said, “I have no knowledge about such bricks brought to India from anywhere. Haji Arafat Shaikh has been made Chairman of the Masjid Muhammad Bin Abdullah Development Committee and a member of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation for raising funds. He is expected to work for that only.”
The Supreme Court on November 9, 2019, had mandated the construction of a mosque in Ayodhya and allotment of five-acre land for it at an alternative site.
The land for the mosque complex was given to Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board by the state government in consonance with the Supreme Court order in the Ayodhya title case.