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Classroom Activities & Projects

Muslim Mughal Mojari

Level: High school-Grade 11 to 12


Go to the 'Splendour of the Royal Courts of India' section of the web exhibition and locate the jewel-encrusted mojari worn by the Nizam of Hyderabad.

Explain that Muslim Mughals brought the mojari with its exaggerated upturned toe to India from Central Asia in the sixteenth century. Using the 3D feature, rotate the shoe to see that the shoe has been constructed so that the back of the shoe, or quarter, is then flattened to make a backless shoe, or mule. Because Muslims pray five times a day, footwear that is easily removed has traditionally been favoured. The practice of wearing mules may have originated from people pushing down the backs of their shoes to simplify their removal when preparing for prayer. The fact that footwear in the Islamic world is often made with quarters that are glued down, could be a subtle expression of the wearer's piety.

A level of opulence previously unseen in India prevailed during the Mughal's two-century reign. Their legacy was the conversion of millions to the religion of Islam, and the adoption of styles and aesthetics by Muslims and Hindus alike.

The Nizam of Hyderabad wore this pair of mojari in the early 19th century. Hyderabad broke away from the Mughal Empire in 1724 and was an independent, Islamic kingdom in the 19th century ruled by the Nizam.

Research Topic:
Research the role of prayer in the religion of Islam. Include a discussion of prayer times and direction, prayer rugs, the need for ablutions, the call to prayer etc.