„Qutb-ud-Din Aybak also is said to have destroyed nearly a thousand temples, and then raised mosques on their foundations. The same author states that he built the Jami Masjid, Delhi, and adorned it with the stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants, and covered it with inscriptions (from the Quran) containing the divine commands. We have further evidence of this harrowing process having been systematically employed from the inscription extant over the eastern gateway of this same mosque at Delhi, which relates that the materials of 27 idol temples were used in its construction.“

—  Qutb al-Din Aibak, Dr. Murray Titus quoted from B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
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Qutb al-Din Aibak12
Turkic peoples king of Northwest India 1150 - 1210
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„Iron Pillar: “…In our opinion this pillar was made in the ninth century before (the birth of) Lord Jesus… When Rai Pithora built a fort and an idol-house near this pillar, it stood in the courtyard of the idol-house. And when Qutbu’d-Din Aibak constructed a mosque after demolishing the idol-house, this pillar stood in the courtyard of the mosque…
”Idol-house of Rai Pithora: “There was an idol-house near the fort of Rai Pithora. It was very famous… It was built along with the fort in 1200 Bikarmi [Vikrama SaMvat] corresponding to AD 1143 and AH 538. The building of this temple was very unusual, and the work done on it by stone-cutters is such that nothing better can be conceived. The beautiful carvings on every stone in it defy description… The eastern and northern portions of this idol-house have survived intact. The fact that the Iron Pillar, which belongs to the Vaishnava faith, was kept inside it, as also the fact that sculptures of Kirshan avatar and Mahadev and Ganesh and Hanuman were carved on its walls, leads us to believe that this temple belonged to the Vaishnava faith. Although all sculptures were mutilated in the times of Muslims, even so a close scrutiny can identify as to which sculpture was what. In our opinion there was a red-stone building in this idol-house, and it was demolished. For, this sort of old stones with sculptures carved on them are still found.
”Quwwat al-Islam Masjid: “When Qutbu’d-Din, the commander-in-chief of Muizzu’d-Din Sam alias Shihabu’d-Din Ghuri, conquered Delhi in AH 587 corresponding to AD 1191 corresponding to 1248 Bikarmi, this idol-house (of Rai Pithora) was converted into a mosque. The idol was taken out of the temple. Some of the images sculptured on walls or doors or pillars were effaced completely, some were defaced. But the structure of the idol-house kept standing as before. Materials from twenty-seven temples, which were worth five crores and forty lakhs of Dilwals, were used in the mosque, and an inscription giving the date of conquest and his own name was installed on the eastern gate…“When Malwah and Ujjain were conquered by Sultan Shamsu’d-Din in AH 631 corresponding to AD 1233, then the idol-house of Mahakal was demolished and its idols as well as the statue of Raja Bikramajit were brought to Delhi, they were strewn in front of the door of the mosque…”“In books of history, this mosque has been described as Masjid-i-Adinah and Jama‘ Masjid Delhi, but Masjid Quwwat al-Islam is mentioned nowhere. It is not known as to when this name was adopted. Obviously, it seems that when this idol-house was captured, and the mosque constructed, it was named Quwwat al-Islam…”“

—  Syed Ahmed Khan Indian educator and politician 1817 - 1898
About antiquities of Delhi. Translated from the Urdu of Asaru’s-Sanadid, edited by Khaleeq Anjum, New Delhi, 1990. Vol. I, p. 305-16

Shah Jahan photo

„After describing the destruction of temples in Benares and Gujarat, this author stated that “The materials of some of the Hindu temples were used for building mosques.”“

—  Shah Jahan 5th Mughal Emperor 1592 - 1666
Muntikhabu’l-Lubab by Khafi Khan, cited in Sharma, Sri Ram, Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors, Bombay, 1962. quoted from S.R. Goel, Hindu Temples What Happened to them

 Iltutmish photo
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Qutb al-Din Aibak photo

„The first thing the Muslim Sultanate of Delhi started on was construction of impressive buildings. The first sultan Qutbuddin Aibak had to establish Muslim power in India and to raise buildings "as quickly as possible, so that no time might be lost in making an impression on their newly-conquered subjects". Architecture was considered as the visual symbol of Muslim political power. It denoted victory with authority. The first two buildings of the early period in Delhi are the Qutb Minar and the congregational mosque named purposefully as the Quwwat-ul-Islam (might of Islam) Masjid. This mosque was commenced by Aibak in 592/1195. It was built with materials and gold obtained by destroying 27 Hindu and Jain temples in Delhi and its neighborhood. A Persian inscription in the mosque testifies to this. The Qutb Minar, planned and commenced by Aibak sometime in or before 1199 and completed by Iltutmish, was also constructed with similar materials, "the sculptured figures on the stones being either defaced or concealed by turning them upside down". A century and a quarter later Ibn Battutah describes the congregational mosque and the Qutb Minar. "About the latter he says that its staircase is so wide that elephants can go up there." About the former his observations are interesting. "Near the eastern gate of the mosque their lie two very big idols of copper connected together by stones. Every one who comes in and goes out of the mosque treads over them. On the site of this mosque was a bud khana, that is an idol house. After the conquest of Delhi it was turned into a mosque."“

—  Qutb al-Din Aibak Turkic peoples king of Northwest India 1150 - 1210
Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5 (quoting Gordon Sanderson, 'Archaeology at the Qutb', Archaeological Survey of India Report, 1912-13; Ibn Battutah)

 Aurangzeb photo

„Middle of 1698: ‘Hamid-ud-din Khan Bahadur who had been deputed to destroy the temple of Bijapur and build a mosque (there), returned to Court after carrying the order out and was praised by the Emperor.“

—  Aurangzeb Sixth Mughal Emperor 1618 - 1707
Akhbarat. Jadunath Sarkar, History of Aurangzib, Volume III, Orient Longman, New Delhi, 1972 reprint, pp. 185–89., quoted from Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers.

Muhammad of Ghor photo

„Hasan Nizami writes that after the suppression of a Hindu revolt at Kol (Aligarh) in 1193 AD, Aibak raised “three bastions as high as heaven with their heads, and their carcases became food for beasts of prey. The tract was freed from idols and idol-worship and the foundations of infidelism were destroyed.” In 1194 AD Aibak destroyed 27 Hindu temples at Delhi and built the Quwwat-ul-Islãm mosque with their debris. According to Nizami, Aibak “adorned it with the stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants”. In 1195 AD the Mher tribe of Ajmer rose in revolt, and the Chaulukyas of Gujarat came to their assistance. Aibak had to invite re-inforcements from Ghazni before he could meet the challenge. In 1196 AD he advanced against Anahilwar Patan, the capital of Gujarat. Nizami writes that after Raja Karan was defeated and forced to flee, “fifty thousand infidels were despatched to hell by the sword” and “more than twenty thousand slaves, and cattle beyond all calculation fell into the hands of the victors”. The city was sacked, its temples demolished, and its palaces plundered. On his return to Ajmer, Aibak destroyed the Sanskrit College of Visaladeva, and laid the foundations of a mosque which came to be known as ADhãî Din kã JhoMpaDã. Conquest of Kalinjar in 1202 AD was Aibak’s crowning achievement. Nizami concludes: “The temples were converted into mosques… Fifty thousand men came under the collar of slavery and the plain became black as pitch with Hindus.”“

—  Hasan Nizami
Hasan Nizami, quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231 Ch. 6

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Qutb al-Din Aibak photo

„Hasan Nizami writes that after the suppression of a Hindu revolt at Kol (Aligarh) in 1193 AD, Aibak raised “three bastions as high as heaven with their heads, and their carcases became food for beasts of prey. The tract was freed from idols and idol-worship and the foundations of infidelism were destroyed.” In 1194 AD Aibak destroyed 27 Hindu temples at Delhi and built the Quwwat-ul-Islãm mosque with their debris. According to Nizami, Aibak “adorned it with the stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants”. In 1195 AD the Mher tribe of Ajmer rose in revolt, and the Chaulukyas of Gujarat came to their assistance. Aibak had to invite re-inforcements from Ghazni before he could meet the challenge. In 1196 AD he advanced against Anahilwar Patan, the capital of Gujarat. Nizami writes that after Raja Karan was defeated and forced to flee, “fifty thousand infidels were despatched to hell by the sword” and “more than twenty thousand slaves, and cattle beyond all calculation fell into the hands of the victors”. The city was sacked, its temples demolished, and its palaces plundered. On his return to Ajmer, Aibak destroyed the Sanskrit College of Visaladeva, and laid the foundations of a mosque which came to be known as ADhãî Din kã JhoMpaDã. Conquest of Kalinjar in 1202 AD was Aibak’s crowning achievement. Nizami concludes: “The temples were converted into mosques… Fifty thousand men came under the collar of slavery and the plain became black as pitch with Hindus.”“

—  Qutb al-Din Aibak Turkic peoples king of Northwest India 1150 - 1210
Hasan Nizami, quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231 Ch. 6

Arun Shourie photo

„Furthermore, we are instructed, when we do come across instances of temple destruction, as in the case of Aurangzeb, we have to be circumspect in inferring what has happened and why.... the early monuments – like the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in Delhi – had to be built in ‘great haste’, we are instructed... Proclamation of political power, alone! And what about the religion which insists that religious faith is all, that the political cannot be separated from the religious? And the name: the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, the Might of Islam mosque? Of course, that must be taken to be mere genuflection! And notice: ‘available materials were assembled and incorporated’, they ‘clearly came from Hindu sources’ – may be the materials were just lying about; may be the temples had crumbled on their own earlier; may be the Hindus voluntarily broke their temples and donated the materials? No? After all, there is no proof they didn’t! And so, the word ‘plundered’ is repeatedly put within quotation marks!
In fact, there is more. The use of such materials – from Hindu temples – for constructing Islamic mosques is part of ‘a process of architectural definition and accommodation by local workmen essential to the further development of a South Asian architecture for Islamic use’. The primary responsibility thus becomes that of those ‘local workmen’ and their ‘accommodation’. Hence, features in the Qutb complex come to ‘demonstrate a creative response by architects and carvers to a new programme’. A mosque that has clearly used materials, including pillars, from Hindu temples, in which undeniably ‘in the fabric of the central dome, a lintel carved with Hindu deities has been turned around so that its images face into the rubble wall’ comes ‘not to fix the rule’. ‘Rather, it stands in contrast to the rapid exploration of collaborative and creative possibilities – architectural, decorative, and synthetic – found in less fortified contexts.’ Conclusions to the contrary have been ‘misevaluations’. We are making the error of ‘seeing salvaged pieces’ – what a good word that, ‘salvaged ’: the pieces were not obtained by breaking down temples; they were lying as rubble and would inevitably have disintegrated with the passage of time; instead they were ‘salvaged ’, and given the honour of becoming part of new, pious buildings – ‘seeing salvaged pieces where healthy collaborative creativity was producing new forms’.“

—  Arun Shourie Indian journalist and politician 1941

Amir Khusrow photo
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