Flâneur-ing through Ahmedabad–4: Badshah’s Hajira
Badshah’s Hajira (King’s Tomb) is the mausoleum of King Ahmed Shah who once ruled Ahmedabad in the 15th century and after whom the city is named. It is located in the old city in the bustling Manek Chowk area just beside Jama Masjid. The tomb is square shaped with latticed stone windows. These latticed windows, artistic craftsmanship, and domes and minarets give an exquisite look to the Tomb.
Along with the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed Shah, there lie the graves of his son Muhammad Shah and his grandson Qutbudin Ahmed Shah on either sides. They look beautiful covered with the sheets that people put over them. Women are not allowed in the central chamber near the graves.
While I was inside the central chamber for about 15 minutes, I noticed many Muslim men offering prayers, some by silently sitting in the corner and some bowing down to the tomb, kissing it and lighting incense sticks near it, while some patting themselves with a broom made of peacock feathers. Sometimes it amuses and baffles me to see people with such strong links to their religion. If I was a believer would I be so deeply involved with my faith? I don’t know; this concept of religion and faith fails to impress me. I can’t digest that there’s an intelligent entity (read God) above all of us which has created us and takes note of our actions all through our life to give appropriate sentence after death. I can’t call myself an atheist for I respect all religions equally and love to discover about them but I am definitely not a theist. I prefer to call myself pantheist for I do believe in something, the power of nature, for it is nature that has created us and it has enough potential to destroy us all.
Anyway at the entrance, as it is at most of the Muslim shrines, was printed on a board
لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله i.e. la ilaha illallah, Muḥammad rasulullah (I can read Arabic though can’t understand much yet) which means ‘There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of God’ These lines are called Shahadah, and a single honest recitation of the Shahadah in Arabic is all that is required for a person to become a Muslim. This declaration, or statement of faith, is called the Kalima. (Just like Baptism in Christianity).
Its fundamental first phrase ‘La ilaha illallah’ is the foundation stone of Islam, the belief that ‘there is no god but Allah’. The second phrase ‘Muhammad rasulullah’ fulfils the requirement that there should be someone to guide in the name of Allah, which tells that Muhammad is Allah’s Rasul, the Messenger.
Over the past centuries, these holy words have been represented in various forms, one of which can be found at this tomb.
(The obsession with middle east has taught me a tad about Islam :))