When you think of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the first thing that comes to mind is likely the glitzy skyscrapers and shopping malls of Dubai.
However, just a short drive away from Dubai lies the emirate of Fujairah, home to one of the country’s most impressive landmarks – the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Named after the founding father of the UAE, this mosque is not just a place of worship but a breathtaking masterpiece of Islamic architecture.
In this article, we’ll explore the history, architecture, and significance of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Fujairah. Get ready to embark on a journey to explore the breathtaking beauty and remarkable cultural heritage of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
This architectural masterpiece is a shining example of the country’s commitment to preserving its rich history and promoting unity. So, buckle up and let’s dive into the world of intricate design, spiritual significance, and fascinating history that makes this mosque truly unique.
History of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Fujairah
The idea for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was first proposed in 2013 by Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, the ruler of Fujairah.
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Fujairah, also known as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Fujairah, was established and inaugurated for prayer in 2015, with His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah, leading the first Eid prayer.
It is now the chief mosque in the emirate and holds the distinction of being the second-largest mosque in the UAE, next only to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which bears the same name.
The mosque was intended to be a symbol of the emirate’s commitment to cultural and religious tolerance, as well as a tribute to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE. Construction began in 2014 and the mosque was completed in 2015.
Architecture of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Fujairah is an architectural marvel that seamlessly blends traditional Islamic design with modern technology. The edification and assembly of the Fujairah Grand Mosque exhibits similarities to that of the well-known Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, also referred to as the Blue Mosque.
This enormous endeavor entailed a budget of AED 210 million and a decade of planning, entrusted to a team from Mabani Engineering Consulting. The execution of the project was under the supervision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the Government of Fujairah, and the UAE’s Ministry of Public Works.
A prodigious feat of construction, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Fujairah was erected from the ground up in 700 days, a sight of devotion that exemplifies refinement and splendor. Approximately 600 laborers dedicated their effort and toil to its realization.
The architecture of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque Fujairah was influenced by the conventional Ottoman architectural style, encompassing an area of 182,885 square meters in the heart of Fujairah, equivalent to three football playgrounds.
The mosque itself covers an area of 38,580 square meters, offering ample space to accommodate up to 28,000 worshipers, with a separate area reserved for 2,500 female worshipers.
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque Fujairah boasts an impressive 65 domes, with the main Men’s prayer hall featuring a series of domes that rest atop four primary pillars.
The design of the domes comprises a sizable central dome, or the “mother dome,” situated above four halves of the large dome on each of its sides. Furthermore, each of these domes is positioned over three halves of smaller domes.
The primary dome itself measures a staggering height of 58 meters, extending from the hall’s floor to its apex, with an external diameter of 45 meters and an internal diameter of 38 meters. Each of the four half domes has a diameter of 32 meters, while the surface of the mosque is adorned with an array of small domes.
The term ‘minaret’ has its roots in the Arabic word ‘Manara,’ signifying a ‘lighthouse’ or a site of ‘enlightenment.’ The six minarets of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque Fujairah exemplify the Ottoman minaret style, featuring a cylindrical body, which culminates in a conical pen-like shape.
These slender structures, enveloped in white marble, harmonize with the mosque’s design elements and vastness.
Of the six minarets, four are positioned at each corner of the primary prayer hall, or the Men’s prayer hall, soaring to a towering height of 100 meters and boasting three balconies each. The remaining two minarets are situated at the corners of the mosque’s courtyard, attaining a height of 89 meters with two balconies apiece.
Outer Courtyard (Sahan)
The Sahan, or courtyard, is a standard feature of larger, grand mosque structures and typically comprises an open, square or rectangular-shaped space.
At the Sheikh Zayed Mosque Fujairah, the Sahan holds a pivotal role and occupies the most extensive area of the mosque. A total of 4,884 square meters of the main courtyard is roofed, with a capacity of 6,750 worshipers. In addition, the open area spans 5,124 square meters and can accommodate up to 7,000 devotees.
Arcades (exterior corridors)
The four arcades of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque Fujairah augment its magnificence through their embellishments and aesthetics. Besides, they facilitate movement around the open, unroofed portion of the Sahan. Additionally, throughout Islamic history, mosque arcades have served as a platform for preaching and teaching religious disciplines to students.
Lanterns and lamps adorn the arcades, with some affixed to the structure while others dangle from the domes. The resplendent Ottoman style chandeliers, crafted from tinted glass and copper, contribute to the mosque’s grandeur.
The Mehrab at Sheikh Zayed Mosque Fujairah draws attention to the Qibla wall, which faces the southwest and features a beautifully curved wall adorned with marble. The wall displays a verse from the Holy Quran (اللَّهُ لَاإِلَٰهَ إِلَّاهُوَالْحَيُّ الْقَيُّوم) (Allah! there is no Allah but He the living the Self-Subsisting Eternal).
Two rectangular hollows frame the Mehrab, with a Quranic verse from Surah Ibrahim engraved on each side, (رَبِّ اجْعَلْنِي مُقِيمَ الصَّلَاةِ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي) “My Lord! Make me to establish proper worship, and some of my posterity.” Above the right hollow, the Quranic verse from Surah Tahrim reads (رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِنْدَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ) “My Lord! Build for me a home with thee in the Garden.”
The pulpit, or the Minbar, is situated on the right side of the Mehrab, at the forefront of the main hall wall.
Engineers ensured the pulpit’s height and vastness matched that of the main prayer hall, accommodating the large number of worshipers.
Furthermore, numerous steps were added to facilitate an unobstructed view of the Imam (Khateebb) during religious sermons.
(A pulpit in a mosque is a raised platform or structure used for delivering sermons or speeches during Friday prayers or other religious occasions. It is also known as a minbar and is usually located on the right side of the mosque’s prayer hall, facing the congregation.
The pulpit is typically made of wood, stone, or other sturdy materials and may be intricately carved or decorated with Islamic calligraphy and other designs. The person delivering the sermon stands on the pulpit and speaks to the congregation, providing guidance, inspiration, and wisdom based on Islamic teachings and traditions.)
The main prayer hall
The primary prayer hall, or the Men’s prayer hall, is the largest in the mosque, with a capacity of approximately 11,840 worshipers. The hall becomes particularly congested during significant religious gatherings, such as Eid, Taraweeh, Ramadan prayers, and Friday prayers.
In addition, the mosque features a separate prayer hall designated for female worshipers, with a capacity of around 2,500 devotees.
The carpet is the most prominent and characteristic feature of the mosque, covering an area of 12,500 square meters. It was crafted in Belgium and required a team of 15 skilled technicians, who utilized four sewing machines to create it.
These individuals toiled continuously for 90 days to complete the carpet, while its assembly on the floor involved 15 workers laboring round-the-clock for 30 days.
A total of 485 chandeliers embellish the Sheikh Zayed Mosque Fujairah, crafted in the Ottoman style with 130 internal units and 355 external units.
The roof of the primary prayer hall features four focal chandeliers, each with a diameter of four meters. Additionally, the main entrance hosts five chandeliers with diameters of 180 and 290 centimeters and a height of 50 wall lighting units. The largest chandelier in the Men’s prayer hall is unmatched in the Gulf region, measuring 18 meters in height, 13.5 meters in diameter, and weighing seven tons, distinguished by its unique style.
Significance of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
As mentioned earlier, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Fujairah is not just a place of worship but a symbol of tolerance and cultural exchange. The mosque is open to visitors of all faiths, and guided tours are available to provide visitors with a deeper understanding of Islamic culture and tradition.
The mosque’s library houses a collection of books and resources related to Islam, as well as a digital archive of the late Sheikh Zayed’s speeches and writings. Additionally, the mosque’s courtyard is home to a replica of the Kaaba in Mecca, which is considered the holiest site in Islam.
A. Unrivaled Architectural Beauty
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Fujairah boasts awe-inspiring architecture, blending traditional Islamic designs with contemporary elements. Its grand structure, adorned with white marble and dazzling gold, leaves visitors speechless. The intricate calligraphy etched into the walls, along with the stunning mosaic patterns, further accentuate its splendor.
B. A Symbol of Unity and Peace
One of the primary purposes of this mosque is to serve as a symbol of unity among the diverse population of the UAE. The mosque welcomes people of all faiths and cultures, providing a platform for understanding and peaceful coexistence.
C. An Environmental Marvel
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque also embraces eco-friendly initiatives. Solar panels on the roof generate clean energy, while the gardens surrounding the mosque are irrigated using recycled water.
D. The Visionary Behind the Mosque
The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, envisioned the mosque as a testament to the cultural and religious values of the country. His dream was brought to life, and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque stands proudly today as a reflection of his vision.
Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
If you’re planning a trip to the UAE, a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Fujairah is a must. The mosque is open daily to visitors from 9am to 12pm (noon), with the exception of Friday mornings when it is closed for prayers.
Visitors are required to dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the mosque. Guided tours are available for a small fee and provide visitors with a wealth of information about the mosque’s history and architecture.
A. Guided Tours and Cultural Experiences
The mosque offers guided tours for visitors, providing insight into its architectural features, history, and religious significance. Additionally, cultural activities such as Q&A sessions and Arabic coffee tastings are available to enhance the visitor experience and promote cultural understanding.
B. Dress Code and Etiquette
To show respect for the mosque’s religious nature, visitors are expected to adhere to a modest dress code. Long, loose-fitting clothing that covers the arms and legs is required, and women must wear a headscarf. Shoes should be removed before entering the prayer hall.
C. Location and Accessibility
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located in the heart of Fujairah, easily accessible by car or public transportation. Ample parking and wheelchair access are available to accommodate all visitors.
The central location of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Fujairah renders it a prominent landmark visible from various vantage points throughout the emirate. Positioned on Mohammed Bin Matar Road and proximate to the Hamad Bin Abdulla Road on the E89 highway, the mosque is easily reachable from any location within Fujairah. In addition, the mosque offers a spacious parking facility with a capacity of around 3,000 cars.
Frequently asked questions
- What are the visiting hours for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Fujairah UAE?
The mosque is open to guest visitors daily between 9 AM to 12 PM (noon), after 12 PM, tourists visitors are not allowed because then prayer time starts and only worshippers are allowed to enter the mosque after 12 PM during prayer times.
- Is there an entrance fee to visit the mosque?
There is no entrance fee, making the mosque accessible to everyone.
- Can non-Muslims enter the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque?
Yes, the mosque welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds, promoting cultural understanding and mutual respect.
- Are there any restrictions on photography inside the mosque?
Photography is allowed in most areas of the mosque, except during prayer times and in designated prayer areas. Visitors are encouraged to be respectful and considerate when taking photographs.
- Are there any restrictions on videography inside the mosque?
Yes, If you have a camera (does not matter which size or quality), they will not allow you to make videos with camera. However you can use your mobile for making video clips, in order to use your camera or GoPro, you have to take a special permission from the authorities before making videos inside the mosque. Because they did not allow me to record video with my GoPro, so I had to take the permission. huh!
- How long does it typically take to tour the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Fujairah UAE?
A complete tour of the mosque, including the guided tour and time for personal exploration, can take anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours.
- Are there any facilities for children at the mosque?
Yes, there is a dedicated children’s play area within the mosque complex, providing a safe and enjoyable space for young visitors.
- Is there a dress code for children visiting the mosque?
Children are expected to dress modestly as well, with boys wearing long pants and girls wearing long skirts or dresses with sleeves. It is not mandatory for young girls to wear a headscarf.
- Are there any dining options available within the mosque complex?
Yes, there is a cafeteria on the premises, offering a selection of snacks, beverages, and light meals for visitors to enjoy.
- Can I participate in prayers at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque if I am not Muslim?
Non-Muslim visitors are welcome to observe prayers from designated areas, but they are not allowed to actively participate in the prayers.
- Are guided tours available in languages other than English?
Guided tours are primarily conducted in English, but Arabic and other language tours can be arranged upon request, subject to availability.
- Can I rent an abaya and headscarf if I didn’t bring my own?
Yes, the mosque provides abayas and headscarves for female visitors who may not have their own. These can be rented for a small fee.
- Is it possible to host events or group visits at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Fujairah UAE?
Yes, the mosque can accommodate group visits and special events, such as educational tours, cultural exchange programs, and conferences. Prior arrangements and booking are required for such events.
- Are there any souvenir shops within the mosque complex?
Yes, there is a souvenir shop where visitors can purchase a variety of items, including books, artwork, and traditional Emirati crafts, to remember their visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
- Is it necessary to book a guided tour in advance?
While booking in advance is not mandatory, it is recommended to ensure availability, especially during peak visiting hours or for large groups.
- Are there specific areas designated for women to pray at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Fujairah UAE?
Yes, the mosque has a separate prayer area for women, providing a comfortable and respectful environment for female worshippers.
My Final Thoughts
I would say the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Fujairah, UAE, is a remarkable architectural marvel and a symbol of unity, peace, and cultural heritage. With its stunning design, fascinating history, and welcoming atmosphere, it is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the UAE.
So, take the time to explore this crown jewel of Fujairah and immerse yourself in the rich culture and spiritual ambiance that makes the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque a truly unforgettable experience.
Whether you’re a devout Muslim seeking a place of worship, an architecture enthusiast appreciating the grandeur of its design, or a curious traveler eager to learn about Emirati culture, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Fujairah offers something for everyone.
So, pack your bags, and let the allure of this remarkable destination captivate your heart and soul.
Watch in 4K, Fujairah’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque 🕌
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