Although it is illegal for non-Muslims to enter mosques in the United Arab Emirates, this mosque will be an exception. The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority announced that tours of the mosques will be given to both Muslims and non-Muslims beginning in mid-March 2008 in order to promote cultural and religious understanding.
The design of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque has been inspired by Mughal and Moorish mosque architecture, the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore and the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca being direct influences. The dome layout and floorplan of the mosque was inspired by the Badshahi Mosque and the architecture was inspired by both Mughal and Moorish design, particularly the Badshahi Mosque and the Hassan II Mosque. Its archways are quintessentially Moorish and its minarets classically Arab. The design of the mosque can be best described as a fusion of Arab, Mughal and Moorish architecture.
The Mosque is large enough to accommodate 40,000 worshippers. The main prayer hall can accommodate up to 9,000 worshippers. Two rooms next to the main prayer hall, with a 1,500-capacity each, are for the exclusive use of women.
There are four minarets on the four corners of the mosque which rise about 115 m (380 ft) in height. There are 57 domes covering the outside yard and the main building as well. The domes are decorated with white marble and the interior decoration is made of marble. The courtyard is paved with floral marble designs and measures about 17,000 m2 (180,000 sq ft).
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 and designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi. This carpet measures 5,627 m2 (60,570 sq ft), and was made by around 1,200 weavers, 20 technicians, and 30 workers. The weight of this carpet is 47 tons – 35 tons of wool, and 12 tons of cotton. There are 2,268,000 knots within the carpet.
This mosque also holds the largest chandelier. There are seven imported chandeliers from Germany and are copper and gold-plated. The largest chandelier has a 10 m (33 ft) diameter and a 15 m (49 ft) height.
Both of these records were previously held by the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Oman.