India’s first glass mosque, Madina Mosque of Shillong is a four-storeyed 120 feet high and 61 feet wide building which can accommodate 2,000 worshippers. It has been built with financial assistance from the Shillong Muslim Union
Madina Masjid, is an imposing and resplendent structure of glass dome and glass minarets. “It is an architectural marvel,” said Sayeedullah Nongrum, who is the General secretary of The Shillong Muslim Union ( SMU ) and Political Adviser to the chief minister of Meghalaya.
“The Madina Mosque took us one and a half years to complete, it is the only glass mosque in India and the largest one in the north-eastern region,” said Nongrum.
The mosque’s intricate glasswork casts a dazzling sheen on its premises at night. The mosque houses a orphanage named Meherba, a ‘Markaz’ or Theological institute that impart Islamic teachings and a library that has books on comparative religious studies.
Madina Masjid can accommodate 2,000 people and has separate space for women to offer their prayers. Around Rs.2 crores were spent on the building, with funds from SMU and other well wishers.
The unique thing about this mosque according to Mr Nongrum is that most of the labour were Hindus hailing from Coochbehar of West Bengal.
This mosque was built by Shillong Muslim Union. When Mr Nangrum took charge of the union as general secretary in 1982, he was given a paltry sum of Rupees 12.76 only. With that 12.76 rupees he started the work of rebuilding the Union without asking for a loan from anybody. With dedication and assistance from a network of friends and associates, he managed to raise enough capital to acquire an office for the Union in Shillong’s Police Baazar and establish a college. The revenue from this college later went into developing the Madina Masjid.
The Idgah was the first in the region to open its doors to women. “When our women go to the market, we men do not object. So, why cannot women go to a ‘masjid’ and offer prayers? Why fanatics object to it?” says Nongrum.
The Shillong Muslim Union was formed in 1905 in erstwhile East Bengal, which stretched from Siliguri to Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong to Dibrugarh but after India’s partition in 1947, SMU narrowed down its activities to Assam. Since Meghalaya’s formation in 1972, its activities have been limited to the state.