Category Archives: Mosques

My visit to Sheikh Zayed Mosque Abu Dhabi


It was on Friday 24th December 2010. On the first siam.te from outside you feel that another Taj Mahal with a different combination of small and huge domes of milky white marble has been constructed. The outer area is encircled with wide macadamized roads leading to underground parking of cars with green turf lawns between the road and wide water tanks all around the mosque periphery. The tanks are lined with blue  small sized tiles. From the underground parking  escalators leads you to the courtyard of the mosque, which is surrounded by covered areas on the three sides borne on marble pillars with flower designs engraved on all sides filled with colored marbles giving a thrilling joyous look. The courtyard floor is also paved with small cut pieces of marble got from the wastage with huge flower designs of deep colors. The front mosque has a central dome resting on four supports rising from the mosque floor each support comprising of four huge circular pillars bedecked with flowers with a marble jail work on the undersurface of the dome and a huge chandelier perhaps the world’s costliest one. There are two more identical domes of a smaller size on either side of the central dome with similar supports and floral designs. The mihrab has Allah’s names inscribed on pentagon flower designs with carvings of flowers that are lit up from behind the wall and present a look that cannot be described in words or photographs. The floor carpet is without an apparent joint and has a matching bold flower design. This entire structure has arrangement of focusing of lights from outside with blazer lights carried on standind towers all around. The minarets rise above the dome heights adding to the glory of the mosque. The Friday prayer inside the mosque was a unique experience giving a feeling of the presence of Allah and the angels around. The sermon of the Imam was in eloquent Arabic and most of it could be understood though in Arabic. The discipline was of par excellence. Outside the mosque on the north side lies buried the Sheikh Zayid in open courtyard where a small domed structure accommodates persons reciting Quran to bless the soul of the erstwhile Emir. The maintenance of this huge establishment is ensured to its perfection. I wish that all people find an opportunity to see this recent marvel on earth created by the late Sheikh Zayid who welded the 7 emirates in to one United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has changed the face of the country to the most planned, organized, cleanest, modern and an artificial paradise.There are no taxes imposed on people.



MosqueThe majestic Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the most imposing religious and national landmark in Abu Dhabi to date. It is also arguably one of the most important architectural treasures of contemporary UAE society-initiated no less by the late HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who is fondly thought of as father of UAE.The Mosque is seen as a construction to ‘unite the world’, using artisans and materials from countries such as Italy, Germany, Morocco, India, Turkey, Iran, China, Greece and the UAE. More than 3000 workers and 38 renowned contracting companies took part in the construction of the Mosque. The initial architecture design was Moroccan, but it evolved to include many global features, including exterior walls that are of traditional Turkish design. Natural materials were chosen for its design and construction due to their long lasting qualities, including marble, stone, gold, semi- precious stones, crystals and ceramics.
The 22,412 sq. km.  Mosque site is equivalent to around the size of five football fields and can accommodate 40,960 worshippers. The mosque features 82 domes of Moroccan design and all decorated with white marble. The main dome’s outer shell measures 32.8 meters in diameter and stands at a height of 70 meters from the inside and 85 meters from the outside—the largest of its kind , according to the Turkish Research Centre for Islamic History and Culture. The Mosque has about 1000 columns in its outer areas which are clad with more than 20,000 marble panels inlaid with semi-precious stones, including Lapis Lazuli, red agate, amethyst, abalone shell and mother of pearl. The 96 columns  in the main prayer hall are round in shape and inlaid with mother of pearl.  Additionally, the Mosque has four beautiful minarets standing at almost 107 meters each at the 4 corners of the Mosque. Reflective pools, totaling 7,874 sq. meters and laden with dark tiles, surround the Mosque, whilst colored floral  marble and mosaics pave the 17,000sq. meter courtyard which is decorated with white marble from Greece. The pool reflects the Mosque’s spectacular image, which becomes even more resplendent at night. The entire exterior and interior presents a dazzling look with reflective lights without any power cuts ever. The underground parking accommodates the vehicles visiting/praying in the mosque.
An equally impressive interior design complements the Mosque’s awesome exterior, Italian white  marble and inlaid floral designs adorn the prayer halls and the Mosque’s interior walls have decorative gold glass mosaic features, particularly delicate on the western wall. The main glass door of the Mosque is 12.2 meters high, 7 meters wide and weighs about 2.2 tones. The main prayer hall features the world’s largest chandelier under the main dome—being 10 meters in diameter, 15 meters in height and weighing over 9 tones. The M0sque’s seven colored chandeliers from Germany, feature  thousands of Swarovski crystals from Austria and some glasswork from Italy and c0st about US $ 8.2 million (AED 30 million)
The main prayer hall can fit in around 7,126 worshippers and also features the world’s largest  hand-knotted carpet. Designed by Iranian artist, Al Khaliqi, the carpet was hand-crafted  by 1,200 artisans in small villages near Mashhadin  in Iran, a region renowned for its carpet making expertise. The artisans were flown to Abu Dhabi to stitch the carpet pieces together for the final fitting. Consisting of 2,268,000,000 knots, the Mosque carpet is estimated to be valued at US $ 8,2 million (AED 30 million). The Qibla wall 9 facing the direction of the Holy City of Mecca) is 23 meters high and 50 meters wide and is subtly decorated so as not to distract worshippers from prayer. Gold-glass mosaic has been used in the Mehrab ( the niche found in the middle of the Qibla wall)
The ninety nine names (qualities) of Allah featured in the Qibla wall exemplify traditional Kufi calligraphy, designed by the prominent UAE calligrapher—Mohammad Mandi. The Qibla wall also features subtle fiber—optic lighting which is integrated as part of the  organic design. In total three separate calligraphy styles—Naskhi, Thuloth and Kufi—are used throughout the Mosque and were drafted by Mohammad Mendi (UAE), Farouk Haddad (Syria) and Mohammad Allam (Jordan)
The Mosque has 80 Iznik panels—highly decorated ceramic tiles popular in the 16th century—with features distinctly in Istanbul’s imperial  and religious buildings. Traditionally hand crafted each tile was designed by Turkish calligrapher Othman Agha. Different types of marble have been used throughout the mosque and include Sivic from Greece and Macedonia, used in the external cladding ( a total area of 1,15 119 sq. meters of cladding has been used on the Mosque including the four minarets); Lasa from Italy used in the internal elevations, Makrana from India used in the annexure of the offices, Aquabiana and Biano from Italy, Fast White and Ming Green from China.
World Records:
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque made some world records. 

  • The Carpet laid out on the vast expanse is the “ WORLD’S LARGEST CARPET” made by Iran’s Carpet Company. It measures 5,627 sq. meters (60,570 sq.ft.) and was made by around 1,200 weavers, 20 technicians and 30 workers. The weight of the carpet is 47 tons—35 tons of wool and 12 tons of cotton. There are 2,268,000,000 knots within the carpet costing US$ 8.2 million.
  • The Mosque also holds the largest chandelier. There seven imported chandeliers from Germany made from gold plated copper and fitted with millions of Swarovski crystals. The largest chandelier has a 10 meter (33 ft.) diameter and 15 meter (49 ft.) height.
  • Both of these records were previously held by the Sultan Qabus Grand Mosque in Oman.
  • Architects: Mohammad Ali Al-Ameri, Spatium, Halcrow, Speirs and Major Associates.
  • Domes: 82 domes of seven different sizes.
  • Dome diameter (outer): 32,2 meter (106 ft,)
  • Minaret Height: 107 meter (351 ft,)
  • Construction Cost: 2 billion dirhams (US $ 545 million)

Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili FIE

Chief Engineer (Retd,)