The Ancient Imambara:
The ancient building of Hussaini Dalan is one of the oldest monument of city of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Which is an Imambargah (Hussiennieh) built in the name of Hazrat Imam Hussain (A.S.). It is one of the most attractive historic monument of old city of Dhaka.
Hussaini Dalan is not only an ancient monument but it has also a very important historical back ground behind it, which is full of religious faith. According to the lecture of Khan Bahadur Syed Aulad Hasan titled “Old Dhaka” and “Tawareeq Dacca” by Munshi Rahman Ali Tayeesh, Mir Murad the superintendent of the Nawara (Fleet of Boats) estates of Nizamat built the Hussaini Dalan in the year 1052 hijri (1642 A.D.). At the time prince Shah Shuja was the viceroy (Governor) of Bengal.
Vision of Mir Murad:
It has been written by many authors like “Khan Bahadur Syed Awlad Hasan, Mushi Rahman Ali” in their books on “Old Dhaka” and “Tawareeq Dacca” that Mir Murad had vision (Dream) one night, in which he saw “Hazrat Imam Hussain (A.S.)” building a house of mourning and desiring him to built a similar house in his (Hussain’s (A.S.) martyrdom). Mir Murad immediately commenced building the house the very next day. According to K.B Syed Aulad Hasan, the fact is, the building of an Imambara (House of mourning for Imam Hussain (A.S.) is considered as meritorious by a Shia-and Mir Murad, like a good Shia, did what every good Shia is expected to do.
From the following books the building of historical Hussaini Dalan is established:
* “Intekhab-e-Tareeq Jahangirnagar Dacca” by Naib Nazim Nusratjang, (Subedar Jahangirnagar, Dacca).
* “Tawareeqay dacca” by Munshi Rahman Ali Tayeesh.
* “Old Dacca” - A lecture by Khan Bahadur Sayed Aulad Hasan.
* "Old Dacca” – By Dr. Ahmed Hasan Dani.
* "Glimpses of Old Dacca” by Syed Mohammed Taifur.
In the weekly Magazine “Sar–Faraz” published from Lucknow, India dated 17th March, 1969, Hussaini Dalan has been considered as one of the most ancient Imambaras of the sub-continent (Indo-Pak).
Chauhadi (Boundary) of Hussaini Dalan:
Hussaini Dalan Imambara is situated in the southern part of the city of Dhaka about one kilometer from the river Buriganga. This part of Dhaka city is called “Old Dhaka”. The road in the north of the boundary (i.e. the main entrance) is called “Hussaini Dalan Road”. The south area is called “Tatkhana”. The west is called “Bakshi Bazar” and the east “Nazimuddin Road”.
The present area of Hussaini Dalan is approximately 6.2 Bighas (89,280 Sq. ft/ 8,453 Sq. Meters) according to the present boundary. This area is Exclusive of the Gas Garden consisting of an area of approximately 2.68 Bighas (38,575 Sq. ft/ 3,652 Sq. Meters) which was leased out by the Last Muttawali of Hussaini Dalan Late Nawab Khawaja Habibullah Bahadur on 21st December 1956 for 50(Fifty) years to a rich man of the locality Late Pearo Mia Sardar at a poultry sum of Rs. 250/- (Rupees Two Hundred Fifty) only per Annum.
If this gas garden would not have been leased out in such a manner it would have fetched 4-5 lacs of taka per annum to the Hussaini Dalan Imambara Fund, Which would have been a permanent source of income for this Sacred & Historical Building.
Dalan (The Main Building):
The main building “Hussaini Dalan” is situated in the middle of complex, built on an area of about 0.65 Bigahas (9,380 Sq. ft/ 88.05 Sq. Meters). In the south touching the building there is a “Pond” having an area of 1.01 Bighas (14,544 Sq. ft/ 1376.95 Sq Meters). This pond is the main attraction of this building which touches the walls of Hussaini Dalan.
The main building is two storied. The ground floor is hollow having graves in the northern portion beneath the 1st floor. The 1st floor has two big Verandahs one in the south with four pillars (Round Shape) and another in the north with four pillars (Square Shape). The two big hall rooms and between the two verandahs each measuring (1,430 Sq. ft/ 13.54 Sq. Meters and 935 Sq. ft/ 88.5 Sq. Meters) are utilized as “Prayer Room” and “Zari Khana” (Where the memory of Imam Hasan & Hossain (A.S.) Zari with Alam are kept). The prayer room is utilized for “Namaz-e-Panjgana, Namaz-e-Jumma and Majlises” (Large Mourning Gatherings). Majlises (Gathering) on the Shahadat Dates (The Dates of Martydom of Imams (A.S.) Rasul Akram (S.M.) and Hazrat Fatema Zehra (Salawatullah Alaiha) etc.) are held in the “Zari Khana”.
There are three more rooms in the first floor. One is called “Huqqa Khana” (289 Sq.ft/ 27.4 Sq. Meters) adjacent to prayer room is used for keeping precious items of Imambara. The room adjacent to the southern verandah is called “Nishist Gah” (340 Sq. ft/ 32.15 Sq. Meters) or sitting room where officials of Hussaini Dalan Imambara used sit and hold their meetings. The Naib Nazims also held their meetings. The Naib Nazims also used to sit in this very room in the olden days.
The main building has two stair cases one quite large in the east which is utilized as the main entrance to the Dalan and the other in the back (West) which is small and used by the Khadams etc. Recently a new small staircase in the north-west has been built for ladies.
Just above the “Huqqa Khana” there is a small room which is called “Bala Khana” (The place of the ladies) about (360 Sq. ft/ 34 Sq. Meters) from where the ladies used to hear & watch majlises from the holes in the wall just above the “Zari Khana”.
Tomb of Gaziuddin:
Opposite the main staircase in the East there was the Tomb of Nawab Gaziuddin Haider having eight graves called “Muqbara-e-Naiyeb Nazim”. Names of the four naiyebs Nazims are available who are:
* Nawab Nusrat Jang “1796-1823 A.D”
* Nawab Shamsuddowla "1823-1832 A.D"
* Nawab Qamaroddowla "1832-1836 A.D"
* Nawab Gaziuddin Haider "1836-1842 A.D"
The building of the Muqbara collapsed sometimes in 1985. The boundary of the building has been built but entire structure including the roof could not be re-built due to lack of funds.
Naobat Khana (the place for beating Drums):
The double storied building having an area of about (1056 sq.ft/100.00sq. Meters) situated in the north at the main entrance is called “Naobat khana” wherein in the old days when loudspeaker etc. were not available Naobat (Drums) were beaten to inform people about the timing of “Majlis” in Muharram this is a beautiful building just in front of Hussaini Dalan with arches (Mehrabs).
Ganj -E-Shaheedan & Kotwali Building:
Adjacent to the “Nabat Khana” there is a building in the complex of Hussaini Dalan which has an area of about (1800 Sq. ft/ 170.4 sq. Meters).There are two portions of the building. The one facing north having Arches as high as “20-25ft” is called “Ganj-E-shaheedan” where “Tazias” of about “15ft” height is kept during Muharram which was brought out in the processions of “Ashura (10Muhrram)” every year. The second part (internal side) facing east is called “KOTWALI” (place for police during Muharram).The first floor of this building was utilised for keeping police force during Muharram and ground floor is utilised for keeping “Zulzanah” The horse in the memory of Imam Hussain’s (A.S) horse) which is brought out in the three Muharram processions from Hussaini Dalan on the nights of “8th ,9th Muharram” and the day of “Ashura (10Muhrram)”.
New Structure in the West:
This new building stand in the west adjacent to the Main Hussaini Dalan building which was built in 1985 with a contribution of some foreign Devotees and the chairman Mr. M.M. Ispahani Sadri.This is a two storied building having two big rooms in the ground floor with toilets and two rooms in the first floor. The total area of this building is about (900 Sq. Meters).
The rooms of the ground floor is utilized as “Madrasa” where children both boys and girls up to 12 years of age are taught “Quran and Diniyat” the basic religious teachings. About 35/50 students of the “Shia Community” attend the classes in the evening from the surrounding areas. The first floor has two rooms, one is used by the “Pesh-e-Imam & Imam-e-Jumma Namaz” for his stay and the other room is used as “Superintendent’s Office”.
The small old “Tin Shade Gusal Khana” (Place for bathing and washing of Dead bodies) was first taken over by Mr. Mohammad Ali to renovate it in a modern way with Tiles Floor & Wall etc. Due to unavoidable circumstances he could not even complete 40% of the total work.
However a member of Hussaini Dalan Management Committee Mr. Mir Enayet Ali completed the balance job nicely & beautifully. The floor 2 high platform and man height walls are all made of Tiles. 3(Three) types of water connections is necessary for washing Dead Bodies, have also been installed.
Courtyard Between Dalan & Naobat Khana:
The courtyard in the open field between Dalan building & Naobat Khana is also “230 ft” (South to North) X 150 ft. (West to East) i.e 34,500 Sq. ft (3,366.29 Sq. Meters) area. Out of this open space about (12,240 Sq. ft/ 1,158.8 Sq. Meters) is used as Graveyard for Shia Isna Ashari.There was about 8 ft. Wide Kutcha Road bisecting this courtyard of open space. Dhaka City Corporation has built a pucca road in the year (1994) by Mayor Mirza Abbas.
Space between The Pond & Southern Wall:
The open space between the pond & southern wall measuring about 160 ft. (West to East) X 42 ft. (South to North) i.e an area of (6720 Sq. ft./ 636.22 Sq. Meters) is also used as Graveyard.
Southern Gate & Space Between Eastern Wall & Pond:
The south gate is used by the devotees entering from the Topkhana side. The space between the bank of the pond & eastern wall is about (32’X182’) i.e (6006 Sq. ft / 568.62 Sq. Meters) is used as thorough fare from Southern gate.
Open Space Between North Road Side Boundary Wall & Naobat Khana Ganjshaheedan Building:
This open space in front of the main entrance is about (162’X27’) i.e (4,373 Sq. ft / 414.11 Sq. Meters). A plan was drawn up in 1985-86 to build a commercial building in this space which was not approved by the D.I.T (Dhaka Improvement Trust) saying it will disturb the beauty of Hussaini Dalan.
Management of Hussaini Dalan:
Until the death of “Mir Murad” the founder of the ancient beautiful Hussaini Dalan. The management of Hussaini Dalan was run by him independently from his own pocket.
After the death of “Mir Murad” in 1131 Hijri the Naib Nazims of the then Dacca managed the affaires of Hussaini Dalan and paid Rupees 2500/-(Two Thousand Five Hundred) only annually for its expenses out of the “Khalsa”(As mentioned in the books by Khan Bahadur Syed Aulad Hasan, Munshi Rahman Ali Tayeesh, Dr. Dhani) etc. The names of the “Naib Nazims” who acted as “Muttawalis” have been mentioned in item “Tomb of Gaziuddin” of this article.
After the death of last Naib Nazim, Gaziuddin Haider in 1842 A.D. there was a vacuum in the Management of Hussaini Dalan. At the stage of when Muharram came nearer, for managing the religious functions in Hussaini Dalan, the then collector of Dacca wrote a letter to the Commissioner of the then “Bengal Lord Oclone” of “British Regime” who authorized “Rs. 2500/-” from Calcutta to be given for management of Hussaini Dalan annually from the annual pension of “Late Gaziuddin Haider”.
In 1844 A.D. a new management committee consisting of four members was formed unofficially. The Chief of this committee was Nawab Khawja Alimullah (The founder of Nawab family of Dacca). After the death of Alimullah, Khawja Abdul Ghani became the care taker and later by an “Official Order No: 2678”(Political) Govt. order Dated: 18th August, 1891 A.D. Khawaja Ahsanullah became the loan administrator of Hussaini Dalan. During his period an “Earth Quake” occurred and the northern part of the Dalan was damaged partly. Khawaja Ahsanullah reconstructed the building and removed the present eastern part. The “Silver Zari Mubarak” is the contribution of Late Nawab Salimullah, which is used to wrap the wooden Zari in the Ten Days of Muharram every year. The management of Hussaini Dalan by the Nawab Family of Dhaka ended with the death of Nawab Khawaja Habibullah (Extracts from “Hussaini Dalan” by Mostafa Kamal published in “Padukhap” on 30th December, 1981).
After the death of Nawab Habibullah in the year 1959 A.D. the then (Pakistan Govt. Appointed a Management Committee) consisting of following members:
* Mr. (Justice) M. A Ispahani (Judge of High Court) - Chairman.
* Additional Deputy Commissioner (Reevenue)- Ex-Officio Member/Secretary.
* Major Nawab Khawaja Hasan Askari- Member.
* Haji Ghulam Hossain Shirazi- Member.
After the resignation of Mr. (Justice) M.A. Ispahani, Dr. Syed Ejaz Hussain Jafri became the Chairman. After the departure of Dr. Jafri (Justice) M.A. Ispahani again became Chairman.
Management Committee After Emergence of Bangladesh:
After the independence of Bangladesh, the Management Committee was reconstituted as follows:
* Mr. Syed Isthiaq Ahmed- Chairman Ex-Attorney General Bangladesh.
* Mr. Mirza Ali A. Shirazi- Member.
* Dr. Syed Wakil Ahmed- Member.
* Mr. Syed Manzoor Hussain- Member.
* Addl. Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) Ex-Officio Member/Secretary.
This was according to the “Order No. 273, Dated: 10th Jume, 1975” the Ministry of Home Affairs (Section- 5). Govt. of Peoples Republic of Bangladesh.
Constitution of Sub-Committee:
For taking care & management of the affairs of Hussaini Dalan the Management Committee Appointed a Sub-Committee (Working Committee) the same year 1975 consisting of following members:
* Mr. Mirza Shamshad Ali- President, Superintendent of Hussaini Dalan.
* Mr. Syed Akram Hossain- Member/Secretary.
* Mr. Mir Enayet Ali- Member.
* Mr. Syed Safder Ali- Member.
* Mr. M.M Sadeq- Member.
Practically the sub-committee is totally involved in the management & care of Hussaini Dalan.
Finance For The Management of Hussaini Dalan:
Even after 375 years the amount of Tk. 2600/- (Two Thousand Six Hundred) only is the yearly grant from the Govt. to meet expenses of Hussaini Dalan which is not even sufficient enough for 10 days expenses of Hussaini Dalan.
However, the huge annual expenses of salary/wages of staffs, repair & maintenance, yearly white washing, Muharram Processions, Majlises which amount to near about Tk. 3,00,000/-(Three Lacs) is met from the contributions & donations collected from “Chiragi Box”(Approx. Taka Three Lacs Per Annum) and contributions of other devotees.
Due to lack of reasonable fund proper maintenance and essential repair works are kept only up to extreme emergency cases.
Newly Constructed Northern Boundary Wall (1989):
The construction of the new boundary wall to protect the vacant space misused earlier by the Mohalla people was done in 1989 with the gracious help of a devotee who contributed Tk. 1,05,000/- (One Lac Five Thousand Only). The balance amount was contributed by the Late Chairman Mr. M. M. Ispahani & others.
Writings On The Foundation Stone Of Hussaini Dalan:
The following verses are inscribed in the foundation stone fixed near the main staircase of Hussaini Dalan. “In the reign of the monarch whose glory is great, world-wide whose fame is, and mighty whose state. This house of mourning Syed Murad did build One Thousand Fifty Two Hijra its date”.
* Mr. Mirza Ali Behrouze Ispahani, Chairman.
* Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) Ex-Officio Member Secretary.
* Mr. M. M. Faiz Shirazi- Member.
* Captain Syed Ali Asgher Rizvi- Member.
* Mr. Syed Ali Jowher Rizvi- Member.
* Mr. Mir Enayet Ali- Member.
* Mr. Syed Taqi Mohammad - Member.
* Mr. Akther Hossain - Member.
* Mr. Syed Bashir Ali - Member.
* Mr. Syed Iltefat Hossain - Member.
* Mr. M. M. Badshah Shirazi - Member (Ex-Officio) Adviser, Hussaini Dalan Imambara.
* Mr. M. M. Firoz Hossain - Superintendent. Hussaini Dalan Imambara.
* Mr. Mirza Firoz Hossain - Superintendent
* Mr. Mirza Syed Emdad Ali.
* Mr. Syed Nazim Ali.
* Mr. Mirza Md. Aquil.
* Mr. Syed Sajid Hossain.
* Mr. Syed Mehdi Reza.
* Mr. Mir Zulfiqar Ali.
* Mr. Mirza Farruque Hossain.
* Mr. Syed Baker Reza Mazlum.
* Mr. Abdul Hye.
* Mr. Syed Ather Ali.
* Mr. Syed Fasih Hossain.
* Mr. Syed Fida Hossain Tabatabayee.
Member of the major repairing and development committee of Hossaini Dalan Imambara:
* Mr. Mir Enayet Ali - Chairman.
* Mr. Mirza Zahir Ali - Vice Chairman.
* Mr. Syed Feda Hossain - Member.
* Mr. Mirza Ahmed Hasan Shirazi - Member.
* Mr. Syed Ather Ali - Member.
* Mr. Syed Faiyaz Hossain - Member.
* Mr. Syed Rowshan Hossain - Member.
* Mr. Syed Wajed Hossain - Member.
* Mr. Syed Shah Ali Abu - Member.
* Mr. Syed Imroze Ali - Member.
* Mr. Syed Jamal Bebahani - Member.
Developments In Hussaini Dalan (July-June 1993-1994):
Pucca Road From Southern Gate Of Hussaini Dalan Premises:
The Ex-Mayor of Dhaka City Corporation Mr. Mirza Abbas M.P who visited this sacred Imambara Muharram 1412 Hijri(1990 A.D.) himself saw the sufferings of thousand of devotees walking in knee deep water. Mr. Mirza Abbas (M.P) realized the immense sufferings of thousand of devotees and informed the Management Committee Of Hussaini Dalan that he will spare no stone unturned to make a high Pucca Road. Within 2(Two) Years Mr. Mirza Abbas (M.P) fulfilled his commitment and built the pucca road accordingly through Dhaka City Corporation’s efforts. May the Blessings of Allah be with Mr. Abbas for such a noble work.
Rebuilding Of Kotwali Building As Shefa Khana:
lmost 80% of thisold ancient structure in the north-west of Hussaini Dalan premises had fallen in early 90’s. Is was demolished and new building of similar shape was build and completed in December, 1998. The cost of foundation and ground floor was met from the Hussaini Dalan fund. The entire 1st floor was built by Hussainia Trust through the kind courtesy of the than Chairman of Hussaini Dalan Imambara Management Committee Late Mr. M. M. Ispahani (Sadri). This building was than turned into Shefa Khana (Free Dispensary) and was inaugurated by M/S. His Excellency Mr. Gorjizadeh 1st Secretary of Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran and Mr. M. M. Ispahani on 24th November, 1998. Darul Quran Foundation was given the responsibility on their request to run the Shefa Khana. Now 2 (Two) Doctors, one G.P and one Dentist sees over 50/60 patients per day. Free medicine is also provided to the deserving poor patients.Renovation Of Naobat Khana Building & Shifting Of Hussaini Dalan Library:
The Darul Quran Foundation, Dhaka has renovated the Naobat Khana building beautifully and has shifted the library of this building. The Chief Patron of Darul Quran Foundation in a simply ceremony inaugurated this library on 3rd Safar 1415 HIjri (13th July, 1994 A.D.) on the auspicious Birth Anniversary of Hazrat Imam Mohammad Baqar (A.S.)- Baqar-ul-Ulum. Mr. M. M. Ispahani, Members of Hussaini Dalan Imambara Management Committee and few dignitaries were present on the occasion of the inauguration ceremony. The formal opening of this beautiful library was made in Rabiul Awal 1415 Hijri (August, 1994 A.D.) by Hazrat Ayatollah Shahrukhi Saheb.
Arch Shaped Boundary Wall On The Left And Right Side Of MainInternal Road From North To South:
Hussaini Welfare Association and Narus Saqlain Janakalyan Sangstha, Dhaka built the above walls with gardening on both sides of the main internal road from the contributions of the devotees.
Rebuilding And Renovation of Hussaini Dalan Pond:
The reconstruction and renovation of the Hussaini Dalan Imambara Pond which was in a very dilapidated condition as all the three bank walls and stairs were broken was taken up in 2001 A.D. by Dhaka City Corporation and was completed in phases from 2003-2004 under the instruction of Mayor Md. Hanif and efforts of Ward Commissioner Late Golam Morshed. It has now a new look with increased beauty of the premises again. Dhaka City Corporation has also built free Toilets for the devotees adjacent to the southern wall of Hussaini Dalan Complex.
New Developments (1996-2005 A.D.) Repair, Renovation and Reconstruction Of Main Dalan Building:
The Main Hussaini Dalan Building has been in a bad shape and dilapidated condition since 1980 A.D. Every year minor repair and renovation were done within the limited financial ability of Hussaini Dalan Imambara Management Committee, But the roof and burgies were in such a bad condition that apprehensions were there that Allah forbid they may fall any day. However, in early 1996 a plan was chalked out to thoroughly Repair And Renovate the Roof, Burgis, Ceiling and other parts of the main building in phases. Appeals to all the devotees home and abroad to extend help to save this ancient building was made time to time. One of the Members Of Hussaini Dalan Imambara Management Committee visited Iran in 1995. Met many dignitaries there including the than President His Excellency Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani. Fortunately when His Excellency Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani visited Dhaka in 1996 he sent his wife Her Excellency Khanam Rafsanjani to see Hussaini Dalan Imambara herself. She was the first contributor of Tk. 2,00,000/- (Taka Two Lacs Only) towards the Repair and Renovation of Main Hussaini Dalan Building. Then the contributions of Hazrat S. M. Naqi Shahrukhi from time to time. Generous donations of the than Hussaini Dalan Imambara Management Committee Chairman Late Sadri Ispahani and majority of Mominaats came pouring in. In a period of 1996-2005 nearly Tk. 1,00,00,000/- (One Crore) has been made in Reconstruction, Repair, Renovation, Painting works etc. The entire Roof, Ceiling, Burgis, Walls, Floors etc. have been Rebuilt, Repaired or Renovated keeping the old architectural designs as it is. Mosaic works has been done in three floors (Two Main Rooms And Southern Verindah) and Eastern Verindah towards the main Stairs. The internal wall decoration was done with Tiles through the kind courtesy of Hazrat Ayatullah Shahrukhi who bought technical persons from Iran to do the specialized work. He also donated a beautiful Chandilier.Another similar Chandilier was donated by a devotee.
The Management Committee of Hussaini Dalan has following plans:
Rebuilding, Repair and Renovation of “Ganj-e-Shaheedan” building which is in a bad and dilapidated shape and may fall any day. The approximate cost will be over Tk. 5,00,000/- (Five Lacs only).
Extension of “Shefa Khana” (Kotwali Building) up to 3rd floor.
Building a room in the 2nd floor of western building where the “Imam-e-Jumma” stays and a temporary Hussaini Dalan office exists which is used by the superintendent of Hussaini Dalan as office and holds meeting etc.
Building a small room with toilets in the North-West corner of the space near “Ganj-e-Shaheedan” for the stay of “Security Guards”.
Darogahs (Superintendents) of Hussaini Dalan
|Late Mir Emdad Ali||
Middle of the 19th Century.
Late Syed Mohammed Ali Alias Mumdu Mirza
Perhaps last part of 19th Century.
Late Agha Mirza Mohammad Kazem Shirazi
After Mumdu Mirza up to 1915 A.D.
Late Mirza Mohammad Jafar Shirazi Alias Zulqadar (Zulu Miah)
Late Mirza Mohammed Hashem Shirazi
For nearly 40 days after the death of his father (Zulu Miah).
Late Mirza Mohammad Hossain
Late Mirza Shamshad Ali
Mr. M. M. Badshah Shirazi
1995 - 2007 A.D.
Mr. Mirza Firoz Hossain
Present superintendent (Appointed Date - 1st April, 2007)
Last Update 10 - 12 - 2012 (Ref: Information from Hussaini Dalan Imambara Superintendent)
Collected from the booklet "Hussaini Dalan 2006" by "M. M. Faiz Shirazi, (Member - Hussaini Dalan Management Committee)