The 600-year-old Nawab Shahi Jame Mosque in Dhanbari, Tangail. The Holy Qur’an is recited here 24 hours a day. This rule has not been violated in the last 90 years. Officially-appointed Hafezs take turns reciting the Qur’an inside the mosque.
It is said that Syed Nawab Ali Chowdhury arranged full-time recitation of the Qur’an in this mosque in 1926 to get rid of the torment of the grave under the direction of the Pir. This Nawab Bahadur died in 1929. He was laid to rest on one side of the mosque. The recitation of the Qur’an continues even after his death.
Khatib of the mosque and Imam Hafez Maulana Idris Hussain said that the recitation of the Qur’an does not stop for even a minute except during the prayers. This trend has been going on for 90 consecutive years.
At present, seven Hafez Qari are employed in the mosque. They recite the Qur’an one by one every two hours. It is also a rare occurrence in the world.
History tells us that two brothers, Ispinger Khan and Monwar Khan of Seljuk Turkish descent, built a traditional one-room mosque in the 17th century. During the reign of Emperor Akbar, two brothers defeated the oppressive zamindar of Dhanbari and took charge of the region. They built the mosque. Nawab Syed Nawab Ali Chowdhury expanded the mosque about 115 years ago and gave it a modern look. He was the first proponent of Bengali language, one of the founding members of Dhaka University and the first Chief Minister of United Bengal.
Prior to the renovation, the mosque was 13.62 m (45 ft) long and 4.58 m (15 ft) wide. The mosque was renovated to feature square and three-domed Mughal architecture. The floors and walls of this mosque, built in Mughal architecture, are decorated with mosaics of pieces of glass. The dexterous carvings carved in marble on the floor are remarkable. All the interiors are decorated with pieces of porcelain in mosaic designs, most of which are floral designs. In so many years, the design has not caught even a little crack. Although the antiquity has disappeared due to the renovations, the beauty of the mosque has increased a lot.
Three arched entrances to the east of the mosque; There are five more entrances to the north and one to the south. Built on an area of about 10 kathas, the mosque has four entrances and 9 windows and 34 small and large domes. The height of each of the big 10 minarets is about 30 feet from the roof.
The height of the two-storey minaret of the mosque is about 15 feet. The mihrab, which is 5 feet high and 3 feet wide, is very interesting and attractive to look at. There are three mihrabs on the west wall along the three east entrances. The central arch is octagonal, with many grooved arches on either side. The 10 copper moons placed on the top of the 30 feet high minaret enhance the beauty of the minaret. There are 16 Haribatis preserved in the mosque, which were initially used for lighting with coconut oil. There are also three chandeliers used during the Mughal period.
In this ancient and traditional mosque, you can perform the prayers of 200 worshipers together. Next to the mosque there are paved ghats and cemeteries. Nawab Bahadur Syed Nawab Ali Chowdhury was buried there. Mosques, adjoining madrasas and Eidgahs are run with the income from his waqfed wealth. Next to the mosque is a huge dighi on about 30 bighas of land. There is a paved ghat in it. The worshipers perform ablution there. Apart from that, there are many spacious and open spaces around the mosque, which attracts more visitors.
But at present the traditional dighi of Dhanbari Nawab’s house in Tangail is losing its tradition due to garbage. Its water is being polluted in the dirty water of the daily waste and sewage pipeline of the houses built on the bank of this lake which is more than a hundred years old.
At one time, different species of fish were farmed in this tank, and there was an ongoing fishing competition. Now fish farming is not like before. Although the water of all the ponds dries up in the dry season, the water of this largest tank in North Tangail remains stagnant.
Every day many people from home and abroad come to see the Dhanbari Nawab Shahi Jame Mosque in Tangail, listen to the recitation of the Qur’an and offer prayers here. The locals expect the government to renovate the mosque by declaring it an important historical site as a witness of tradition and time.