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Friday, May 01, 2009

Sheik Zayed mosque

Last weekend when Ihad a chance to attend the NCCN regional conference and stay at the exclusive Armed forces officers club ,AbuDhabi city ,the first thing I noticed was its proximity to the Grand mosque or Sheik Zayed mosque one of the the worlds largest .

In fact whenever I drove into Abudhabi or returned to AlAin the mosque loomed like a mystical castle attracting me to visit its splendour but I kept putting it off, but this day I was determined to do so and I did ,and it turned out to be one the best experiences in my life .

It was half a kilometre from the club and I decided to walk it ,

none accompanied me as my friends turned me down opting instead for a nap in thier rooms at the end of the day in the conference hall ,

the sun was still up at 4pm and as I crossed the bridge ,flyover and roundabout I was the only person on the road could see the speeding cars below in the road leading away from Abudhabi

the mosque loomed in front becoming bigger and bigger as I approached .
It shimmered in the sun and its golden turrets glowed against the burnished sky ,

reaching its marbled corridors I could forget the warm walk as it was cool and pleasant .

Shiek Zayeds memorial

( where he is buried adjacent to the mosque )

was a hallowed place and one could see through the chinks a mullah deep in prayers ,incense perfuming the atmosphere .

H.H.Shiek Zayed was a charismatic and much liked ruler and is known too all and respected as the father of the Uited Arab Emirates .

I then ventured into the mosque itself entering into the cavernous marbled courtyard the size of a couple of football fields

The corridors had pillars filled with floral motifs ,

One was reminded of the Taj Mahal which should have been in the back of the mind of the designers .

The world largest carpet adorned the floor of the cental hall and huge chandeliers lighted the room as the devout prayed in the altar .

One had total freedom to enter the mosque regardless of religion.

The visit was a spiritual and wholesome experience for me and I walked back with satisfaction that my long due visit was more than what I thought would be .
The picture below shows an Airforce plane in the armed forces officers club and in the background one can see the fading silhoutte of the grand mosque ,
let the forces of violence in us humans be smothered by the all supreme .

some facts on the mosque from weikipedia :

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and the sixth largest mosque in the world.[1][2][3] It is named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder and the first President of the United Arab Emirates, who is also buried there. The mosque was officially opened in the Islamic month of Ramadan in 2007.
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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]
Both of these records were previously held by the
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Oman.


Hari Nair said...

It is nice they are opening it up to non-muslims. In an earlier life, I spent a fascinating six months in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. One of my regrets was not being able to explore the lovely mosques that I could glimpse into but could not get into. Maybe one day a trip into UAE for this might be an antidote.

Here is a post on Saudi Arabia.

Paresh Palicha said...


Maddy said...

certainly interesting though it presents a slightly gaudy facade in terms of architechture. i prefer the feel of Turkish mosques, especially the blue mosque in istanbul...

Dr. Deepak Shah said...

Thank you very much for posting such a lovely piece of information, with beautifully taken photographs, Thanks for forwarding the link of blog.

Bala said...

Great posting Hariettan! This really makes me want to visit the mosque. It is nice to know that they open it up to people of any religion.

Sindhu said...

Hi Dr.

Glad you stopped by my blog. I appreciate your comments. It is real nice that you are planning to write about Pooram in your blog. I would appreciate if you could share or republish that in my blog too

You have a nice blog too. I am yet to go through fully. Will also want learn more about "Shilpa" the trust.

Thanks & Cheers

Ren Charles said...

Hi Dr,

That was wonderful piece of information and as always well narrated in the 'Harimohan' style.


Creativity!! said...

Wonderful Post :)

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