The date of construction of this rectangular platform mosque
cannot be confirmed, as the inscription tablet over the central doorway is now
missing. Based on stylistic reference, the mosque was possibly built during the
reign of Shaista Khan or even later by Dewan Manawar Khan in memory of his
grandfather Musa Khan. Most probably it was built during the second half of
seventeenth century CE. The Musa Khan Mosque is located on the western side of
Shahidullah Hall, Dhaka University, and within 500 meters of the Khwaja Shahbaz Mosque.
The Musa Khan Mosque is located near Mir Jumla’s Gate (Dhaka
Gate), one of the oldest Mughal architectures of Dhaka, signifying the
prominence of the place. The Musa Khan Mosque represents a typical Bengali
platform mosque; that is, a three domed mosque sits on a rectangular raised
platform. The mosque is a typical Bengali Mughal type where the central dome is
larger than the other two.
The mosque has an oblong plan of 52'2" x 27'0"
externally and 43'0" x 16'4" internally. The structure is divided
into three equal interior bays, roofed over by three fluted, bulbous domes,
resting on drums. The proportionately smaller lateral domes are placed on the
equal size bays by splitting each dome into a half-dome and placing it on a
pendentive. Probably the large arched cells underneath the platform were used
for living purposes. The space
underneath the platform were arranged in four rows, where both eastern and
western cells can be accessed from the exterior while inner cells are accessed
through the eastern cells. The platform is accessed by a straight flight of
stair on the south-west leading through a simple gateway.
The rectangular structure is buttressed by four corner
octagonal turrets, capped by plastered cupolas. These turrets are rise slightly
above the parapet walls and ribbed in typical Bengali fashion. Parapets are
straight instead of the curvilinear cornice of pre-Mughal types. The eastern or
main facade is visually divided into three sections. Each section contains an
entrance doorway, flanked by its own pair of slender engaged columns. The
entrances correspond to the three domes above and adorned by cusped arches. The
western wall is internally recessed with three semi-octagonal mihrab niches,
which are all arched. The arch of the central mihrab is multi-cusped, while the
others are of plain four-centred. The larger central mihrab is projected
outside having usual ornamental turrets.
The mosque was restored and repaired by the Department of Archaeology, Bangladesh, and is now a protected monument.
Asher, C. B. Inventory of Key Monuments. In The Islamic Heritage of Bengal, George Michell, editor. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 1984.
Hasan, P. Sultans and Mosques: The Early Muslim Architecture of Bangladesh. London: I. B. Tauris, 2007.
Islam, I., and Noblea, A. Mosque Architecture in Bangladesh: The Archetype and Its Changing Morphology. Journal of Cultural Geography, 17(2), 5-25, 1998.