The Gawhar Shad Mosque

The Gawhar Shad Mosque/Masjid in Mashhad

The Gawhar Shad Mosque/Masjid in Mashhad
The Gawhar Shad Mosque/Masjid in Mashhad

The Gawhar Shad Mosque/Masjid in Mashhad

The Gohar Shad Mosque is part of the Iram Reza Shrine complex. It was built at the behest of GoharShad, who was the wife of Shah Rukh and the sister of Qara Yusuf Turkman. Gharshad died in A. H. 861 or A. D. 1457. She was mother of the Timurid ruler Ulugh Beg.

From Percy Molesworth Sykes 1915"

"The Mosque of Gawhar Shad.—Among the greatest benefactors of the Shrine was Gawhar Shad, wife of Shah Rukh, and to her piety we owe the magnificent mosque called by her name, which perhaps constitutes the crowning architectural achievement of the Mongols. It is, indeed, a noble quadrangle, with four great arches. That to the south-west, known as the Aywan-i-Maksura, or “Portico of the Sanctuary," supports a blue dome, and in it the services are held. The illustration shows the beautiful tile and plaster work inside the Portico; it also gives the pulpit which, according to Shi’a belief, will be ascended by the Twelfth Imam on the Day of Judgment. The loftiness and elegance of the quadrangle, together with its perfect proportions and exquisite tile-work, make it the noblest mosque in Central Asia. In front of the magnificent portico is an inscription in large white letters on a dark-blue ground which struck me as most beautiful. I give a translation, as it is typical and of historical value:

" Her Highness, the Noble in Greatness, the Sun of the Heaven of Chastity and Continence, Famous for Nobility and Honor and Piety, Gawhar Shad, may her Greatness be eternal, and may her Chastity endure and may her Charity increase with true Thought and high, and with Pious Intent of Heart of Lofty Ideal for fulfilling and accomplishing her hopes in Allah, may He accept it ; from her private property for the benefit of her future state and for the Day on which the Works of every one will be judged, with Zeal for Allah and with desire to please Allah and with Thankfulness for the Benefits of Allah and for Praise of the Benefits granted by Allah, built this Great Masjid-i-Jami, the Holy House, in the era of the reign of the Great Sultan, and the more Just Khakan, the more Generous, the Lord of Rulers of the Arabs and of Ajam, the Sultan, son of a Sultan, the Father of Victory, Shah Rukh, son of Timur Gurkani, Bahadur Khan. May Allah make eternal his Kingdom and Empire! And may he increase on the inhabitants of the world his Goodness, his Justice and his Generosity! Thus may Allah accept her work with beneficent acceptance and may He bless her with His choice blessings and may He grant her the greater of the boons which He has promised to the good! Baisunghur, son of Shah Rukh, son of Timur Gurkani, wrote this inscription with hope in Allah in 821 (1418)."

No description of this great mosque would be complete without a reference to the “Mosque of the Old Woman." The legend runs that an old dame who owned a tiny plot of the land required by Gawhar Shad declined to sell it at any price, but insisted that a separate mosque should be erected on it. To the eternal credit of the Royal Consort this unreasonable demand was complied with, and the “Mosque of the Old Woman " testifies to the fact."