Built by founder of Slave or Mamluk dynasty, Qutb-ud-din Aibak, Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque or ‘Might of Islam’ is also famous as a Delhi’s Great Mosque or Qutub Mosque. It is foremost mosque built inside Delhi after Islamic conquest over India and is an oldest example that still survives of architecture by Ghurids in subcontinent of India. Construction of famous Jami Masjid or Friday Mosque starts in year AD 1193, when garrison of Muhammad Ghori occupies Delhi and Aibak was commander. Built simultaneously along with mosque, Qutub Minar appears as one standalone structure. Built as ‘Minar of Jami Masjid’, for one muezzin performing adhan, or calling for prayer and as one qutub, a Pole or Axis of Islam. This mosque resembles in design and style of Ajmer mosque or Arhai-din-ka Jhompra at Ajmer in Rajasthan. Built by Aibak in same time, Ajmer mosque’s construction begins after demolishing one Sanskrit school and earlier temples at this site.
According to one Persian inscription that still remains on eastern inner gateway, this mosque uses parts taken from destruction of 27 Jain and Hindu temples, which were there at same location previously during Prithvi Raj Chauhan and Tomars, leaving some parts of temple outside this mosque as it is. Muslim historian, Maulana Hakim Saiyid Abdul Hai’s compilation of historical records attests to Qutb-ud-din Aibak’s iconoclasm. This iconoclasm’s pattern was common in reign of Aibak, although one argument goes in a way, which states that this iconoclasm was politically motivated than religiously.
Built on one paved and raised courtyard this mosque measures 43 meters 32 meters and pillared cloisters surrounding it as Iltutmish added them between 1210 AD and 1220 AD. A stone screen lying between courtyard and prayer hall stood at 16 meters height added in AD 1196. Corbelled arches have Arabic motifs and inscriptions. Entrances to courtyard also make use of ornate mandapa domes from temples.
They make extensive use of pillars from these temples throughout edifice and in sanctuary beyond high arched screens. Today, what still survive on western side of this sanctuary are arched screens somewhere in between. It once led towards one series of aisle along with some low-domed ceilings especially for worshippers. After Qutub’s death, expansion of mosque continues. Iltutmish, successor of Qutbuddin extends original screen of prayer hall by 3 more arches. By Iltutmish’s time, Mamluk Empire was establishing so much that Sultan was able to replace majority of conscripted Hindu mason with Muslims. Therefore, this explains why arches added by Iltutmish are more stylistically Islamic than ones under rule of Qutb, also because material that they use under Iltutmish was not from temple’s demolition. Some additions towards mosque were by Alauddin Khilji, which includes Alai Darwaza. It is one formal entrance towards this mosque. Built by making use of white marble and red sandstone, Alai Darwaza also comprise of one court to this mosque’s east in AD 1300.
Today, this mosque lies in ruins, but you can see indigenous floral motifs, geometric patterns and corbelled arches among architectural structures of Islam. To west of this mosque, is one Iltutmish’s tomb, built by a monarch in AD 1235.