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Qadam Rasul

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Islam Portal

Qadam Rasul (also Qadam Rasul Allah) (English: Footprint of the Prophet), are shrines and mosques that contain stones believed to bear the footprint of Muhammad, the prophet and founder of Islam. Qadam Rasuls have been constructed in various traditions of Islamic architecture across the Middle East and South Asia. A prominent example of such a shrine is Qadam Sharif in Delhi.[1]

Imprints and relics

Many Muslims, especially in South Asia, believe that whenever Muhammad trod on a rock his foot left an imprint. Some pilgrims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia have recovered stones believed to bear such an imprint. However, this belief does not sanctioned by the orthodox religious leadership.[2] Similar objects having been claimed as being the personal effects of Muhammad are preserved in shrines across the Middle East and South Asia. A notable example includes the Hazratbal mosque in Jammu and Kashmir, where a hair of Muhammad is supposedly preserved.[3]

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem bears one of the most famous footprint stones, where Muhammad is believed to have left on his mi'raj. Other such footprint stones are preserved in Cairo in Egypt, Damascus in Syria and Istanbul, in Turkey.

Indian shrines

There are numerous Qadam Rasul shrines in India located in Delhi, Bahraich (in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh), Ahmedabad (in the state of Gujarat), and in Cuttack (in the state of Orissa). Two of the most important Kadam Rasul shrines are located in the Indian state of West Bengal and in Bangladesh. The oldest shrine in West Bengal is located in Gaur and was constructed by Sultan Nusrat Shah in 1531. The tradition is that the footprint stone came originally from the meditation room of the 13th century saint Jalaluddin Tabrizi. It was moved to Gaur by Sultan Hussain Shah. The Gaur shrine is designed like a hut with a square room and verandahs on three sides. The central domed room contains a small, carved pedestal of black stone that holding the relic.

The Qadam Sharif in Murshidabad is a building complex, with its oldest mosque built in 1781 by Basant Ali Khan, the chief eunuch of Mir Jafar. In 1788, the relic from Gaur was brought to the complex by Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah, but subsequently returned to Gaur by Mir Jafar. However, the enclosure contains a number of family graves of the nawabs, a guesthouse and some other structural remains. The Qadam Sharif is also roofed over by three domes, which are ribbed and bulbous in appearance. Decorated with lotus petals at their base and having constricted necks, the domes rest on octagonal drums that rise quite high above the parapet level. Four octagonal corner towers are capped by cupolas with mouldings along their shaft above the roof level. The eastern wall of the mosque contains three pointed doorways framed within engrailed arched openings. The qibla wall inside contains three cusped mihrabs, of which the central one is larger than the other two. Attached to the south wall of the mosque there is a small room which is usually kept locked. Eight pieces of stone inscriptions are found affixed on the southern wall of the room. These Arabic-Persian inscriptions contain verses from the Quran and were brought from the ruins of Gaur and Pandua.

Bangladesh shrines

File:Kadom Rasul.jpg

In Bangladesh, the best known Qadam Rasul is that of Narayanganj, located across the Shitalakshya River from the city of Narayanganj. According to Mirza Nathan's Baharistan-i-Ghaibi, written during the early 17th century, this footprint was purchased from Arab merchants by Masum Khan Kabuli, an Afghan chief who had rebelled against the emperor Akbar. At the time a fortress built on raised ground marked the site. Inside it a shrine was erected in 1778 by Ghulam Nabi, a landlord of Dhaka. It is a single-domed structure with a verandah in front. In the middle of the chamber is the altar of the relic, which is usually kept in a metal dish submerged in rose water. The shallow imprint is cut in the shape of a foot; circular dents just below the upper edge indicate the toes. Incense, flowers, and money are offered at the shrine. The Mughal administrator Yasin Khan built a Qadam Rasul in 1719 in Chittagong, now in Bangladesh. It has a mosque in the centre, with two rooms on either side; one houses the footprint of Muhammad, and the other that of Abdul Qadir Gilani, a 12th century saint of Baghdad. There is another Kadam Rasul shrine in Bagicha Hat within Chandanaish zila of Chittagong District.

See also


  1. Anthony Welch. "The Shrine of the Holy Footprint in Delhi." Muqarnas. Vol. 14. Leiden: E.J. Brill. 1993, 166-178.
  2. Perween Hasan. "The Footprint of the Prophet." Muqarnas. Vol. 10. Leiden: E.J. Brill. 1993, 335-343.
  3. "Kadam Rasul". banglapedia. Retrieved 2007-07-06. 


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