Located in the Shekher Killa area of Char Poragachha Union in Ramgati Upazila of Lakshmipur, the As-Salam Jame Mosque possesses one of the rarest architectural features in Bangladesh.
The two-storied mosque, which is a unique combination of aesthetics and an avant-garde architectural style, has no windows.
The mosque was designed by Nabi Newaz Khan Shomin - an architect from the renowned Bangladeshi architectural firm Archeground Limited - and his team.
Construction and funding
According to the local people, the project began in December 2017, on the lands of the Rahima Mumtaz and Saif Salahuddin Trust of Lakshmipur.
The trust wanted to create something for the locals' welfare and that is why it donated the land. The mosque was opened to the public at the end of 2021.
The trust also bore the construction cost of the 10,800 square foot mosque. Inhabitants and visitors describe it as one of the most beautiful architectural structures in modern-day Lakshmipur district.
Meanwhile, the As-Salam Hafezia Madrasa in the education complex built around the mosque is being transformed into an international standard institution for Hafezi and English education.
Features that make the mosque unique
As mentioned earlier, the mosque has no windows. There are only two doors for worshippers to enter and exit. Although there are no windows, the mosque is always well-lit during the day, without the help of electric lights.
The facade and roofs have been designed in an avant-garde style to allow light and air to enter the mosque. While sitting inside, the worshippers can enjoy the beautiful play of light and shadow.
Inside the mosque, the temperature is remarkably lower than the outside. The ceiling is relatively high, making the space cooler even on a hot, sunny day. The thick brick walls, fins and jalis act as heat barriers, while inviting diffused light in.
There are four water reservoirs inside the mosque, which also help to keep everything cool. Moreover, the design of the mosque allows warm air to go upward and get exhausted in a controlled way.
The ground floor is divided into two parts, connected with a brick archway. One can approach the main part of the mosque on the west side through this archway, which has serene water features on both sides.
A stairway is placed at the east side of the mosque to access the first floor where the women's praying space is situated.
The roof of this mosque is not like other conventional installations. It has been designed as the fifth facade of the mosque, which allows light and ventilation to pass in a creative manner.
In addition to regular prayers, the As-Salam Mosque will also be used as an Eidgah.
On condition of anonymity, the chief executive and one of the trustees of the Rahima Mumtaz and Saif Salahuddin Trust, a senior lawyer of the Bangladesh Supreme Court, said he was running the trust for public welfare. The trust is named after his parents.
The trust is planning on constructing an international standard Hafezia Madrasa, a girl's school and a college around the mosque.
The trustee said, "The first part of our initiative was to complete the mosque, which is done. And the second part of the initiative - the Hafezia Madrasa - was launched a few months ago. On the other hand, the girl's school will begin in 2023. The college will also commence soon, within the next two to three years."
Regarding this exceptional public interest work, he said, "I do not do politics outside of my career as a lawyer. I want to do something for the people. I have always felt that lawyers who leave behind a lot of money at death have very tragic outcomes. I do not know how much they spent on the welfare of others. Many of them have left behind a lot of wealth, but their children did not grow up as well-rounded individuals."
"On the contrary, the children of those who did not leave behind money have become successful adults. After seeing all these, I decided that I will spend the lion's share of my income on charitable work. And that charitable work will be exceptional and of a high standard. This is the beginning," he added.
Ashraful Alam Hannan, founder of 'Swapna Niye', a volunteer organisation involved in various activities of the As-Salam Jame Mosque and Education Complex, was interviewed in the courtyard of the mosque.
He said, "I think the As-Salam Mosque with such a beautiful and avant-garde construction style will introduce Lakshmipur in a new way to the whole country and even the world."