Hyderabad: The thought that first comes to mind when one sights the Masjid Mir Mahmood Shah is how such a tiny structure can be so majestic, so awe-inspiring.
This is perhaps the only reason that very few people are aware that this masjid is the smallest mosque in the world.
Measuring just 9.2 ft x 12 ft, totalling just 110 sq. ft or 10.21 sq. mt, the Mir Mahmood Saheb masjid is named after the Sufi saint who came from Iraq during the rule of Abdullah Qutb Shah, in the 16th Century.
The masjid, built in stone with only one arch and two minarets, is so small, that not more than five people can offer prayer in it at the same time.
Compare this 110 sq ft edifice with the ‘Dhai Seedi Ki Masjid’ in Bhopal, the thus far undisputed claimant to the tag of the world smallest mosque, the Mir Mahmood Saheb masjid is much tinier.
The Dhai Seedi Ki Masjid, which sits atop a bastion-cum-watchtower in the wall of the Fort of Fatehgarh, was built by Dost Mohammad Khan somewhere in the early 1700s.
Initially a makeshift mosque built for the guards to offer prayers, the Dhai Seedi Ki Masjid has been measured to be 16 sq. mt, smaller than the another “world’s smallest mosque” measuring 25 sq mt built in 2002 at Naberezhnye Chelny, an industrial city in west-central Russia, in honour of those who fought Ivan the Terrible.
Overlooking the massive Mir Alam Tank, built on the edge of the hillock now called MM Pahadi or Mir Mahmood ki Pahadi. The Mir Mahmood hillock is at an elevation of 530 metres above sea level.
The Golconda fort is at an elevation of 539 metres. Even with construction of multi-storeyed housing and office blocks, most of the hillock give a vantage point view of Golconda fort. Sadly, time is taking a toll on this majestically tiny Masjid Mir Mahmood Shah, with plants growing on its terrace and walls.
Hopefully, the authorities realise the tourism potential of this tiny marvel and take up repairs.
Incidentally, soldiers under a Muslim ruler used to build miniature mosques wherever they offered congregational prayers, if their halt was for a considerable amount of time.
One such mosque, measuring three ft in length and five ft in height and built of stone in typical Qutb Shahi style of architecture, delineated with arches and minars is located in Eluru in Andhra Pradesh.
This miniature mosque is believed to have been built during the early 16th Century when the coastal tracts of Andhra, including Kondapalli and other forts, were annexed by Sultan Quli of the Qutb Shahi dynasty in 1530 AD.
However, this miniature mosque cannot be considered for the ‘Smallest mosque’ tag since prayers are not offered inside the structure and also, namaaz is not offered five times a day in this masjid.