Namaz at India Islamic Cultural Centre

Photo & text by Kashif-ul-Huda,

The building of the India Islamic Cultural Center (IICC) takes your
breath away. The beautiful dome, intricate calligraphy and delicate
design in beautiful Persian tiles make you spellbound. The
administration of IICC can be forgiven for taking 22 years to complete
its construction.

Between Indira Gandhi laying the foundation stone of the Centre on
August 24, 1984 and her daughter-in-law inaugurating it on June 12,
2006, it took many people and much money to see to its completion. It
is a beautiful example of Muslim’s and the Indian government coming
together to give shape to an institution.

With the objective to “promote understanding among the people of
different religion and help the promotion of the cause of national
integration,” IICC has quickly become an important institution.

Last year, it saw a bitter fight between businessman Sirajuddin
Qureshi and present Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid for the
post of the president. Though Mr. Qureshi was able to win the election
easily, the quarrel symbolizes the prestige of the institution.

Though it has become a hub of Muslim related activities like
seminars, conferences, and meetings, the space allocated for namaz
(prayers) seems to be an after-thought. You have to go down a flight of
stairs to get to the place. Though there is a proper wuzu-khana the
musalla (prayer place) is neatly tucked away from important parts of
the building. It is out in the open with only a few rows with overhead
covering. During winter the musalla moves in-doors in the basement. I
did not see any place for women to offer prayers. There is no mihrab,
dome or beautiful columns as is found in other masaajid of India. In
short, the building does a wonderful job of hiding an important pillar
of Islam.

Namaz at IICC [IICC photo]

So, a premier institution of Indian Muslims that have the backing of
some of the biggest names of the community comes up short in the
“Islamic” part of its name, let’s hope it holds up to the “Indian” tag.

IICC in daylight [Photo by s.prigge]


There is need to make a space for Masjid also..

is one of the marvelous building, it takes 22 years and it has
Indo-Iranian art and all the important seminars, symposium, Islamic
activities are organised there very fine, but where is our Masjid. Its
mean as muslim who did not want to pray with execuse that i am busy
that kind of people had planned that culture centre. In every nonmuslim
home they have a little space of Mandir but we people are so uncontious
about our prime goal and future plan. We build this for the development
for our own community who doest feel that Salat (Namaz) is the Farz
(Duty)…. what a good example of our Elite class muslim… this things
will be written in history and our new generation will learn more and
hate us…where is our Islamic value….


have been to this centre, located in the posh neighbourhood of the
capital- it should be renamed Indian Muslim Centre, as it is that only
– a meeting place for elite Muslims, sort of like a social club.
Perhaps some people are embarrassed to pray in the open, so they have
tucked away the prayer hall at the bottom of the monument.

Further the membership fee is out of bounds for a commoner, so I don’t
know what kind of Islam is being represented to the Indian masses.
Apart from being located in Delhi, there doesn’t seem anything Indian
either here.

Namaz at India Islamic Cultural Centre

it is surprizing a Islamic Cultural Centre does not have proper Masjid
for prayer. If you are not able to show one of the important amd
mandatory functions of Islam properly what kind of Islamic Culture you
want to show to the people of the world. The place marked for the
prayer is very small. There is urgent need to construct a proper Masjid
at IICC.

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    It was great and very pleasant to have spent a few hours at the centre on 1.11.2009 during my visit to Delhi. I am truly grateful to the founders of this august centre which will go a long way to help the Muslim community in various ways for its progress.

    Afzal Hussain