A sacred citadel of solace and prestige – The Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi!

One of the largest mosques in the United Arab Emirates and the third largest in the world, Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi is a sight to behold!

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque has always been an important place for worship for the daily prayers, Friday prayers and Eid prayers. The beautiful Sheikh Zayed Mosque attracts about 5.8 million admirers, worshippers and tourists every year. It has also welcomed some celebrities in all these years like in 2007 the UK’s Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall toured the site. 

The mosque was built under the vision of the late president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. His ideology was to create a structure that would unite the Islamic world with its cultural and historical values. This mosque is a classic symbol of modern and contemporary values of art.

Architecture

Built on more than 12 hectares of area, this exquisite place of worship was constructed by Yousef Abdelky, an architect from Syria.  The beautiful architecture of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is inspired by Persian, Mughal and some very specific ideas from the Alexandria mosque in Egypt. Also the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan gives it the Indo-Islamic flavor it’s famous for. There were more than 3000 workers working with the lead contractor Impregilo from Italy and 38 sub-contracting companies took part in the construction of this brilliant architecture.

The main building is rotated about 11 degrees south of true west aligning it in the direction of Kabba in Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Unlike a common divine destination, this mosque will be frequented by art and architectural aficionados apart from followers of the Islam religion for generations to come. And you want to know what compels all these citizens of the world to come, pay their homage to this monument? It is the vast intricacy and details of design, architecture and boisterous labour that this monument is made up of. From the carpet which weighs 35 tons and took over two years to complete and is the world’s largest carpet made by Iranian artists Ali Khaliq to the imported chandeliers from Germany, each aspect speaks depth of legacy and calm.

Three calligraphic styles have been adopted for the mosque, namely Nakshi, Thuluth and Kufic which was drafted by Mohammed Mandi Al Tamimi. The 96 columns in the prayer hall are clad with marble and inlaid with mother of pearl. The pool along the arcade getting illuminated at night reflects these resplendently crafted columns. 

There are several special elements that are unique to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque like: 

  • It is a testament to some of the best architectural design in this grand mosque of Abu Dhabi with 96 columns in the prayer hall and all are clad with marble and inlaid with mother of pearl.
  • The 99 names of God are featured on the Qibla wall in the traditional Kufic calligraphy. It is designed by the prominent UAE calligrapher Mohammed Mandi Al Tamimi.
  • In the organic design, the Qibla wall also features subtle fiber optic lighting.
  • The pure white colour of the Sheik Zayed Mosque adds to the unique feature of the place making it a symbol of purity and piety.

The structure of Sheikh Zayed Mosque is not just grand but also very fine and select. The Mihrab or Niche is in the middle of Qibla wall. It is one of the essential features of the mosque as the imam stands in the center to lead the worshippers. This entire intricate pattern is inspired by the idea of heaven or paradise from the Holy Quran. Another splendid feature of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is that it comprises 82 domes and 24-carat gold glided chandeliers making this place one of its kind. 

This expansive mosque against the blue skies, Sheikh Zayed Mosque quite literally wraps itself in what is known as the purest color of nature – in white marble! The colorful stones forming floral patterns adorn the walls all across and provide the perfect pop of color! 

More than a place of worship!

The entire architecture of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is done by keeping in mind the historical values that it upholds but has tried to blend it very successfully with the modern art and architecture to uphold the ideology of the late prime minister who built it a view that it will stand as an example of cultural exchange. 

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is known for opening up its doors for various cross-cultural events that promote dialogue through several activities like exhibitions, social initiatives like cancer awareness campaigns, environmental initiative and blood donation initiatives.

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque grand mosque authorities have undertaken initiatives it has to raise awareness in the community. This is a unique place of culture, religious and social exchange that will surely bring about a positive change in society.

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is increasingly becoming a symbol of unity, beauty and growth. By accepting the modern world within the traditional values it is laying the groundwork for coexistence and social growth. This majestic architecture is beyond a building. It is a humble abode to all those who are seeking answers to their questions and is a place for people to find serenity by feeling the presence of God. 

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