Scenes of Muslim Aspiration
1. Faisal Devji makes a similar point in ‘‘Muslim Nationalism: Founding Identity in
Colonial India’’ (1993). See also Eaton 2000 for an interesting survey of the di√erence
in symbolism between temple and mosque desecrations.
2. Many more mosques were sacralized in the ripple e√ects of that event, as
witnessed by subsequent e√orts of the Pakistani courts to erect secure defenses of
mosques by arguing that they constituted the threshold to heaven (N. Khan 2008).
3. While this practice of mosque committees has not been historically dated, in the
context of colonial India it is significant that it was only after protracted legal battles
with the colonial state that the Sikh community was able to dislodge traditional leaders
from their gurdwaras (literally gateways to the guru; Sikh places of worship) replacing
them with gurdwara committees to ensure that the wider Sikh community could exer-
cise a coordinated administration of its places of worship (Gilmartin 1988). However,
in the absence of a single structure of authority presiding over lay Muslims, in Pakistan
and elsewhere, such mosque committees were local centers of power for which the
idea of coordinated administration across mosques was anathema. For instance, any
outreach by the Auqaf Department, the provincial department in charge of managing
religious properties, was perceived as undue interference by my mosque-based inter-
locutors. My acquaintances within the Auqaf Department led me to understand that
the department stayed out of mosque-related administration as they were not revenue-
generating, as were shrines with their daily visitors numbering in the thousands.
4. The waqf is a technical instrument within Islamic law by means of which
property can be endowed in perpetuity, preventing its fragmentation or alienation.
This was a significant means by which the Muslim gentry ensured the integrity of their
property holdings in the face of Islamic inheritance law, which tended to be more
inclined to breaking up property to ensure fair inheritance. Moreover, as George
Kozlowski (1985) has argued, this was a means by which the Indian Muslim gentry
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