The Majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Situated in Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is an ultimate perfection. It is a sanctum sanctorum for all the worshippers. The mosque has been constructed in Syrian architecture. It has been designed by Yousef Abdelky who is a pioneer in such an architectural field. It is a perfect blend of modern values and rich cultural history of Abu Dhabi.
It sprawls over an awe-inspiring area of 30 acres excluding exterior landscape and vehicle parking. This mosque was constructed in a time span of approximately 11 years. Its construction was completed in the year 2007. It is the largest mosque in the country and third largest in the world.
The mosque’s first ceremony was the funeral of its namesake, Sheikh Zayed, who was buried at the site. It is a key place of worship for all the Abu Dhabians and has a crowd of more than 41000 people on the day of Eid.
There is also a library which is located at the northeast end of the mosque. It houses a leeway of arts, calligraphy, books, sciences, coins etc. The collection dates back to more than 200 years and has been well preserved at the location. The collection is available in a plethora of languages ranging from Arabic, English, German, Korean, Spanish etc.
The progressive design of this mosque signifies unity. The mosque has been erected from the material which has been imported from a number of countries. Pakistan, Germany, Turkey, India, Italy, Morocco, New Zealand, Macedonia, UAE, UK, China, Iran etc. have provided different material for the construction of this mosque.
Around 3000 workers worked on this. 38 world famous contracting companies came together to build this awe-inspiring structure which is the holy place of worship for millions. Long lasting natural materials were used in its construction. Gold, crystals, ceramics, semi-precious stones, marble, silver etc. have been used.
The beautiful design of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque draws its inspiration from the Persian, Alexandrian and Mughal Mosque of Abu al-Abbas Al Mursi in Egypt. Some Indo-Islamic aspects have been inspired by the Badshahi Mosque of Lahore in Pakistan.
The minarets of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque are highly Arabic whereas the archways are essentially Moorish in their appearance. Beautiful to watch, the mosque attracts countless visitors from around the world every year. The U.A.E. government pays special attention to the maintenance of this grand mosque. Special allotments are considered every year for its betterment.
The Mosque is large enough to accommodate more than 40000 visitors at once. The main prayer hall of the mosque can house around 7000 people at once. There are also two smaller prayer houses which can house 1500 worshippers each. One of these prayer halls is specially designed for women.
The courtyard rises to an impressive 107 meters in height. It is decorated with beautiful floral designs and is one of the finest examples of mosaic artwork in the world. The courtyard is surrounded by four minarets on its either side. The most iconic aspects of its construction are:
- Ming Green and East White have been imported from China.
- Lasa from Tyrol, Laas, and Italy was used in elevators.
- Sivec from Macedonia and Prilep was used in the external cladding.
- Biano and Aquabiana have been imported from Italy.
- Makrana from India was used in offices and annexes.
Apart from these, there are some other architectural features which are very crucial to its construction. The Mosque houses the world’s longest carpet. Adorned in the main hall, this carpet was designed by Ali Khaliqi and measures approximately 60570 square feet. The carpet weighs a ponderous 35 ton and is made up of wool. It took around two years to complete its weaving.
The Mosque also houses chandeliers that are exclusively imported from Germany. The chandeliers incorporate lakhs of Swarovski crystals. The second largest chandelier has been set up in the mosque and extends to around 15 meters in height.
There are also beautiful pools that look glorious under the night sky. These pools reflect beautiful columns of the mosque.
The intricate lighting system of the Mosque has been specially designed by Speirs and Major Associates. The exclusive light work reflects the various phases of the moon.
There are also a total of 96 columns that have constructed in a highly artistic manner. These columns are situated in the main prayer hall and are inlaid with the mother of pearl. The 99 names of Allah are also calligraphed on Qibla.
The Qibla of the mosque is very unique. It has its own lighting system which has been integrated into its organic design. Mainly three calligraphy styles have been used in this Mosque.
The mosque is open for prayers all day long. The visiting time is from 9 AM to 10 PM except for Friday mornings. It changes during the holy month of Ramadan. There are however very strict dress codes. Women must be fully covered, including long sleeves to the wrist, trousers or long skirts up to the ankle, and a scarf or wrap to cover your head.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a paradigm in the world of artistic construction and is an architectural wonder. It has garnered a lot of appreciation for its fine designs and intricate craftsmanship. It is visited by millions of visitors every year. If you are scheduled to visit Abu Dhabi, keep this destination on your priority list for its grandeur.