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JFRA 1 Jame al Anwar

8,000.0015,000.00
Photographer: Sh Qusai Malindiwala
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JFRA 10 Jame al Anwar

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As the custodian of Fatimi culture and thought, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA provided the philosophical basis for the architectural restoration of al-Jami al-Anwar, and made key decisions pertaining to its structure during his numerous visits. The restoration reflected not only principles of Fatimi architecture in its physical form, but also its spiritual—the science that elevates and shapes the soul. Throughout the entire project, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin’s RA detailed instructions and deep insight helped overcome the many hurdles that were faced. His leadership was inspiring, his vision enlightening. The ultimate purpose in restoring al-Jami al-Anwar was to revive it as a place of worship. During his many site visits, Syedna Burhanuddin RA would often lead salaat or conduct a session of remembrance and zikr, known as a majlis, where the Holy Quran and other prayers are recited. Ultimately, these acts were just as responsible for the restoration of the masjid as were the physical acts of rebuilding. The renowned Egyptian architect, Dr Hasan Fathy, a strong advocate for the conservation of the historic buildings of al-Qahira, was brought on as chief architect of the project. Beginning with a series of discussions, regarding the nature of the restoration, guided by Syedna Burhanuddin RA, Dr Fathy supervised the preparation of detailed architectural drawings and plans by other architects and engineers. (Extracted with minor edits from page 85-87 of ‘al-Jami al-Anwar-The Luminous Masjid’)
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JFRA 12 Bir Jame al anwar

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JFRA 2 Jame al Anwar

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Photographer: Sh Taha RajaHis Holiness Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA has repeatedly stated that all barakat prevalent in Dawat Hadiyah was due to the completion of one grand undertaking: the restoration of al-Jami´ al-Anwar. Originally completed in 403/1013, the construction of the masjid commenced under Maulana al-Imam al-Aziz Billah AS and was completed by his successor Maulana al-Imam al-Hakim bi Amrillah AS. Sadly, this grand masjid was later ravaged by time and people—used at one point by Napoleon as a stable and barracks.  Seeing the state of this sacred space, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA expressed his desire to restore al-Jami’ al-Anwar to its historical grandeur.  His successor, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, ably assisted by his own noble successor, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS completed the renovation of al-Jami’ al-Anwar in 1401/1980.  Much like Imam al-Hakim AS completed the vision of his father Imam al-Aziz AS in building al-Anwar, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA and Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS brought to life the vision of Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA in renovating al-Anwar. The revival of Fatimi architecture reasserts the culture and faith of the Fatemi Imams AS. This culture and faith was meticulously preserved by Duat Mutlaqin SA, the vibrant results of that preservation being eloquently alluded to in Syedna Burhanuddin’s RA words at the inauguration of the renovated al-Jami’ al-Anwar: “We have returned, as we had left.” The restoration and revival of Fatimi architecture by Duat Mutlaqin SA is a call to remain steadfast to the beliefs and values eternalized in Fatimi buildings, as expressed by Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA at the inauguration of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, Karachi: “Fatimi monuments stand distinguished by their unique beauty. We have tried to express our beliefs and values through these buildings till they speak out through the language of brick, stone and mortar and find expression in the campus’ arches, prayer niches and minarets. As long as belief is steadfast in the heart, it is impossible for it to be precluded from expression.”
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JFRA 3 Jame al Anwar

8,000.0020,000.00
Vistas of al-Jami al-Anwar in all its breath-taking glory never fail to inspire! An appreciation of this glory increases when we remember that His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, ably assisted by his successor, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS revived and restored this historic masjid, formerly ravaged by man, natural calamity and time, in a mere 27 months. “Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA categorized the many facets of restoring al-Jami al-Anwar into seven stages. 1. Cleaning and excavation 2. Recording and documentation 3. In-depth research 4. Survey of architectural development 5. Materials 6. Construction and completion 7. Ornamentation” (extracted from ‘al-Jami al-Anwar- the Luminous Masjid’, page 56) Achieving this result in the best of circumstances would be considered miraculous. Hence, this outcome was all the more incredible when we consider that the restoration was such a monumental task that not even national or international organizations with vast resources considered undertaking. Negotiating permissions, conducting meticulous research, garnering human and material resources and removing almost 29000 cubic metres of sediment and earth from the masjid premises were just some of the works to be accomplished before construction could begin. Furthermore, all of this needed to be achieved in the challenging, relatively unfamiliar at the time Egyptian socio-administrative context. Even today, this momentous achievement has the potential to inspire all who feel they face insurmountable odds while trying to achieve their goals. Especially, in present times, when there is hardly an individual whose life has not been complicated by new challenges, the 27 months in which al-Jami al-Anwar was restored to its original grandeur motivate us all to strengthen our resolve, reorient ourselves to our goals and unceasingly persevere until we reach them. '- -- '
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JFRA 7 Jame al Anwar

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Traditionally, in common with many other Muslims, the Dawoodi Bohra community spends the initial days of the Islamic year in commemoration of the martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammed’s SAW grandson, Maulana al-Imam al-Husain AS. His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA wished to avail the use of the newly-restored al-Jami al-Anwar, providentially completed in time, to honour these revered days of remembrance at the start of the year 1401. During Fatimi times, and later carrying on into the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods as well, al-Jami al-Anwar was a seat of learning where scholars from different schools of thought held sessions of teaching. In keeping with this Fatimi tradition, al-Dai al-Fatimi Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA delivered sermons over a period of nine days expounding on topics of Islamic thought and philosophy and recounting the virtues of the Prophet Mohammed SAW and his Ahle Bayt AS, particularly Imam Husain AS, whose remembrance is of prime importance during these days. This was the start not only of the new Islamic year, but a new phase in the history of al-Jami al-Anwar and the Dawoodi Bohra community. As invocations of Allah’s name and verses of the Holy Quran echoed throughout the masjid during prayer time and Syedna Burhanuddin’s RA discourse filled the air resonating against the broad piers and walls, the Luminous Masjid was beaming, for it was alive and alight once again. The long awaited moment, twenty-seven months if not centuries in the making, had finally arrived. . Excerpt extracted with minor edits from ‘al-Jami al-Anwar-The Luminous Masjid’
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JFRA 8 Fatemi design

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This sublime rotated square, which boasts reflective symmetry on multiple axes, adorns the monumental portal of al-Jami al-Anwar. It was recreated from remnants of an original square that was preserved on a recessed wall panel in the form of a blind niche on the north-eastern side of the portal. This recessed panel came to light in 1324/1907 due to conservation work undertaken on the façade of this Jami masjid. This discovery further established that Maulana al-Imam al-Hakim AS deliberately chose to emphasize the main entrance to the masjid through the use of a projecting portal and also highlighted its significance through detailed ornamentation. Today, the monumental portal of al-Jami al-Anwar stands resplendent due to the accomplishments of His Holiness Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA and his successor, His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS. (Adapted from information extracted from pages 284-94 of ‘al-Jami al-Anwar–The Luminous Masjid’)
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JFRA 9 Jame al Anwar

8,000.0020,000.00
The foreground of this picture captures one of two ablution pools within the sehn of al-Jami al-Anwar. The one seen in the photo is situated in the western corner of the masjid. His Holiness Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA wished to restore al-Jami al-Anwar not simply as a historic monument, but as an active, living place of worship that catered to the requirements of prayer. Foremost among these requirements is ritual purity through ablution. For this purpose, plans for an ablution pool, or hawd, were developed and one was built in the northern and western corners of the masjid. As the water rises at the centre of the hawd, it flows out through grooves created in the marble surface, each groove becoming a spout. Due to extensive usage, the ablution pools have been restored multiple times, most recently in 1437/2016. The 15th century Egyptian historian, al-Maqrizi, who has written extensively about the Fatimi Imams SA, documents the presence of installations for the provision of water within and around al-Jami al-Anwar.” (Extracted with minor edits from page 204 of ‘al-Jami al-Anwar-The Luminous Masjid’)
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