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Shah Jahan Mosque, Woking

Shah Jahan Mosque
Basic information
Location Oriental Road, Woking, England
Geographic coordinates
Affiliation Sunni Islam
Website .uk.orgshahjahanmosque
Architectural description
Architect(s) W. I. Chambers
Architectural type Mosque
Architectural style Indo-Saracenic
Completed 1889 (1889)
Minaret(s) 0 (2 miniature)

The Shah Jahan Mosque (also known as Woking Mosque) in Oriental Road, Woking, England, is the first purpose-built mosque in the United Kingdom. Built in 1889, it is located 30 miles (50 km) south-west of London.


  • Construction 1
  • Ahmadiyya period 2
  • Sunni mosque, 1935 onwards 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The dome of Shah Jahan in 1945
Drawing by W. I. Chambers, in The Building News and Engineering Journal, 2 August 1889

The Shah Jahan Mosque was built in 1889 as one of the first mosques in Western Europe by Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner.[1] It is built in Bath and Bargate stone in indo-saracenic style commissioned by Shah Jahan, Begum of Bhopal (1868–1901), and maintained since then as a Waqf.

Shah Jahan Begum made sizable donations towards the building of the mosque and also contributed generously towards the founding of the “Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College” at Aligarh, which developed into the Aligarh Muslim University.

A drawing of the Woking Mosque by the architect W. I. Chambers was published in The Building News and Engineering Journal, dated 2 August 1889, shortly before the Mosque was completed.[2] It was opened to the public in October or November, 1889.[1]

Ahmadiyya period

The mosque fell into disuse briefly between 1900 and 1912. And in 1913, Leitner's son was on the point of selling the mosque to a developer. The Indian lawyer Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, who had just arrived in England, was instructed by Noor-ud-Din, the first successor of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, to establish an Islamic mission in the mosque.[3] Khwaja took the case to court, arguing that the mosque was consecrated ground and enjoyed the same rights and status as a church. He won and as a result was able to purchase the mosque and its grounds for a nominal sum from the inheritor.[4][5] The Woking Muslim Mission was thus established.

Imams of the mosque include: Kamal-ud-Din, Sadr-ud-Din, Abdul Majid, Shaikh Hafiz Wahba, Marmaduke Pickthall, Muhammad Yakub Khan, William Bashyr Pickard, Mustafa Khan, Nazir Ahmad, Aftab-ud-Din Ahmad, S. M. Abdullah, Muhammad Yahya Butt, Iqbal Ahmad, Ghulam Rabbani Khan, Sheikh Muhammad Tufail.[6]

Sunni mosque, 1935 onwards

In 1935 the Mosque broke ties with the Ahmadiyya movement and returned to being a Sunni mosque.[7] Current Head Imam of the mosque is Muhammad Saeed Hashmi.[8] It is a Grade II* listed building.

See also


  1. ^ a b Dr Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner (1840–1899), builder of the Shah Jehan Mosque, and founder of the Oriental Institute.
  2. ^ Woking Mosque architect’s drawing, 1889
  3. ^ Siobhan Lambert-Hurley Muslim Women, Reform and Princely Patronage: Nawab Sultan Jahan ... 2007 -- Page 57 ... the aforementioned Khwaja Kamaluddin, to resuscitate the neglected mosque patronized by her mother at Woking, Surrey, just outside of London, and establish the Woking Muslim Mission of which she was the primary benefactor – making ..."
  4. ^ History of the Mosque, page 2, viewed at July 15th, 2008
  5. ^ British Muslim Heritage – London’s Mosques
  6. ^ Remembering 50 years ago (The Light & Islamic Review, Volume 72, No. 3, May–June 1995, pages 10-13);
    Dr. S. M. Abdullah, Imam of the Woking Mosque;
    Eid Sermons at the Shah Jehan Mosque;
    Biography of Iqbal Ahmad Sahib
  7. ^ C. T. R. Hewer Understanding Islam: The First Ten Steps 2006- Page 190 "But in 1935, it broke all ties to the Ahmadiyya movement and returned to being a Sunni mosque. It became the custom at Woking to rotate the imams for Friday Prayers between the different schools of law so that all groups could be kept ...
  8. ^ Shah Jahan Mosque: The Imam

External links

  • Website: Shah Jahan Mosque
  • AAIIL: Woking Mosque and the Woking Muslim Mission
  • BBC: Forty Eight Hours – Tour: Woking Mosque (Photo of the Mosque in the 1900s)
  • British Muslim Heritage – London’s Mosques
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