Delhi's Jama Masjid Shahi Imam Designates Son as Successor in Historic Ceremony

Continuing Generational Legacy: Tradition Upheld in Investiture Rite at Iconic Mosque

Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the current Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid, officially declared his son as his successor in a ceremonial investiture held in the mosque's courtyard.


During his address preceding the formal announcement on Sunday, Bukhari recounted the mosque's history and noted that the initial Shahi Imam was appointed by Emperor Shah Jahan.


Bukhari stated that the first Imam of Jama Masjid, Hazrat Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari, was appointed as the Shahi Imam at the age of 63.


According to tradition, Imams have traditionally declared their successors formally.


Following the tradition spanning over 400 years at Jama Masjid, Bukhari announced to a gathering of Islamic scholars and dignitaries, "I declare that Syed Shaban Bukhari is my successor."


Following the announcement, the traditional tying of the turban, known as 'dastarbandi', commenced in accordance with the longstanding tradition associated with investiture.


In November 2014, Syed Shaban Bukhari, aged 29, was inaugurated as the mosque's Naib Imam in a 'dastarbandi' ceremony.


His father publicly announced that if Syed Ahmed Bukhari were to be unable to continue his duties due to health reasons or demise, Syed Shaban Bukhari would assume the position of the 14th Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid.


The ceremony at the Mughal-era mosque, constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century, lasted for over an hour.


Several 'ulemas (Islamic scholars)' attended the ceremony, for which the mosque, a celebrated landmark and veritable symbol of old Delhi or Shahjahanabad, was beautifully adorned.


Posters congratulating the Shahi Imam and his son have been displayed along the street in front of the mosque, whose awe-inspiring architecture captivates both locals and foreign tourists alike.


Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the 13th in the lineage of Imams, is the son of Syed Abdullah Bukhari, who served as the 12th Shahi Imam until his passing at the age of 87 in 2009. 


Syed Ahmed Bukhari took over his father's position in October 2000.


Edited By: Arusha Farooq

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