Saturday, 25 April 2009

Sheikh Zayed Masjid


Across the Islamic world, Muslim cities are often defined by their historical masjids. The Sheikh Zayed Masjid, on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi is actually fairly new and was officially opened towards the end of Ramadan
two years ago. There is still some landscaping work to be completed on the grounds, but you can see the green embankment and sometimes they turn on the water features.

It's an incredibly beautiful construction - a modern synthesis of Moorish and Mughal architecture composed mostly of white marble with an interior of white gypsum and coloured marble floral patterning (28 different styles of marble for the decor and the mosaic). It has the largest carpet in the world (all 47 tonnes of it shipped over from Iran) and the heaviest copper and gold plated chandeliers imported from Germany, made up of 1 million Swarovski crystals (there are seven of them, the largest of which is 10 metres in diameter with a 15 metre drop in the main hall).

The masjid has a 82 domes, covers an area of 22,412 square metres with a potential to hold a capacity of 40 thousand - it is rated amongst the biggest masjids in the world. There are four minarets, standing at 107 metres. You can see one of the courtyard minarets in the picture here.


Sheikh Zayed, the founding father of the union that is the UAE has his final resting place here. His mausoleum is on the grounds, though it's strictly no photography. You can, however, peer through the grills and listen to the qira'at as you approach the chamber.

As a family, we often choose to pray Jum'ah here. I include some pictures I took there last week straight after Jum'ah prayer.


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