As every religion has their own values and beliefs regarding worshipping, the same goes for Muslims. They have a certain place of worship called a mosque where they kneel down and pray to ALLAH SWT. History proves that Muslims used to be the most powerful people around the globe which gave them the upper hand to construct their own mosques for worshipping and not to ask for any sort of permission from anyone. Muslims have fiercely fought for their rights to freely worship throughout history and moreover they have managed to get it accomplished. Out of more than a million mosques around the world, Muslims created the top 15 of them. Various kings and leaders tried to eradicate them, but they didn’t succeed and they’re still in existence and that’s where people usually start to wonder about the super power of this religion. Despite the attacks on them they still managed to survived and give out a message of peace.
As a norm of every religion, even in Islam, a man or woman of any religion is allowed to enter in any mosque around the globe, except Makkah and Medina. The gesture of respect and shame is expressed when a man has to be covered from his belly button to his knees, at least, and a women must cover her body entirely including her face in order to avoid any sort of evil lustful eyes on her. Lets sum up all the interesting facts and figures about the 15 most incredible mosques around the world:
15. Jama Masjid (India)
India’s top tourist attraction, Jama Masjid, situated in capital city New Delhi was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan in the 16th Century. It took around 5000 workers, one million Rupees (and that was in the 16th Century) and around 15 years for the Mughal emperor to complete the construction of the mosque. With a capacity of over 25000 people, it is considered as the largest mosque in India. Emperor Shah Jehan is well known for his beautiful architectural buildings and this was one of his last designs. Constructed with expensive white marble and pure red sandstone, there are carvings all over the building that makes it one of the most spectacular mosques and a great sample of the Mughal emperor’s architectural work if you’re willing to explore it. If you are planning to visit, make sure you are physically prepared, as you will have to climb 121 stairs to make it inside the mosque.
14. Sultan Masjid (Singapore)
With more than 80 mosques in Singapore, Sultan Masjid takes the lead as it is one of the oldest mosques of them all. It was named after and made for the first sultan of Singapore, Sultan Hussein Shah. The mosque was first funded by Sir Stamford Raffles of East India Company, but then it was reconstructed by the Muslim community in 1932 with the help of the best architecture firm of that time. It was declared as a national monument of Singapore in 1975 and has a mix of Persian, Turkish, and Moorish style filled with plenty of gold glass bottles which makes it extremely attractive and eye catching. The mosque has a capacity of over 5000 devotees who can offer prayer at one time. You can find volunteers at the entrance of the mosque to guide and give you a tour of the mosque, which includes the history of the building and misconceptions about the religion and its people.
13. Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral (Spain)
The great mosque of Cordoba was built under the reign of Umayyad ruler Abd-ar-Rahman in the 7th century. His predecessors expanded it and made It was one of the largest religious building in the 10th century. This mosque has a great history as historians believe that it was a temple in the 5th century, a church in the 6th, mosque in the 7th, but then it was again changed into a church in 1252 by Holy Roman Emperor Charles. Today it is known as Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral due to disagreements on what name to use. The site seeing can be divided into two different areas, the courtyard with the fountain in the middle where you can even see the beautiful minaret and the prayer hall which is the best example of historical architecture. One cannot resist visiting this great historic place if they are in Spain.
12. Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque – Brunei
Established sometime between 1954-1958, this mosque was given the name of the famous king Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin. The royal mosque is located in the capital city of Brunei. Enormous amount of money have been spent in the establishment of this mosque as it is situated around the artificial lagoon right besides the famous and wonderful Brunei river. The minarets and walls are made up of pure Italian marble and the huge dome is made up of pure gold worth around $3.5 million which is certainly the pride of this mosque. The 52 meter minarets makes it the tallest building in the city which can be viewed from thousands of miles away. The building materials, like lavish Italian marble, bountiful chandeliers, and extravagant carpets used for the making of this overwhelming mosque were acquired from various countries around the globe like Saudi Arab, England, and many more. The shiny exterior can actually lead to goosebumps due to the marvelous view of the mosque. The entrance for tourists is free but just within the limits of the prayer hall.
11. The London Central Mosque (UK)
This mosque was built in the year 1978 from the design of an English architect by the name Fredrick Gibberd. With a capacity of over 5000 worshippers, the mosque is considered as the largest in the United Kingdom. The London Central Mosque is also an Islamic cultural center where the message of Islam is taught and shared with the believers. An eye-catching view of its shiny golden dome and minarets makes it exceptional. The cultural center contains a mix of restaurants, a parking garage, and a publishing house where you can purchase books on Islamic teachings. It is an ideal place for a visit where one can learn about the Islamic culture. People who are otherwise religiously inclined are allowed to enter the mosque but women must cover their bodies completely.
10. Crystal Mosque (Malaysia)
Built in 2006, the Crystal Mosque is one of the most unique and attractive mosques in Malaysia, which plays host to a number of mosques, since Islam is their official religion, but Crystal Mosque definitely takes the cake. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions is Malaysia. The uniqueness of this mosque can be seen from the exterior where its walls, minarets, and tomb are made with crystal, steel, and glass. The reflection, which can be seen from the river, gives out a soothing ambiance thanks to the flowing water. The mosque can accommodate up to 1500 worshippers and is situated in the Islamic heritage center of Malaysia. It took a budget of $80 million to construct it to completion. It will cost you 20 ringgits if you are entering in the theme park based heritage center.
9. Schwetzingen Mosque (Germany)
The Schwetzingen Mosque is a 250-year-old mosque located in Germany built in the year 1779. It is also the first mosque to be built in Germany and was designed by the French architect Nicolas de Pigage. At first the construction of the mosque was for aesthetic purposes for the Schwetzingen palace, but was eventually turned into a worship structure thanks to the persistence of the public. The mosque was built at a time when Turkish architecture was in fashion and was found around the world.
8. Umayyad Mosque (Damascus)
Umayyad Mosque, also known as the great mosque of Damascus, is situated in Syria and is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world, built in the 6th century when Arabs invaded Syria. This extremely historic mosque was first a temple in 3000 B.C, then it became a church. However, Muslims conquered Damascus and the church was divided into two parts; a mosque for the Muslims and a church for Christians. The eastern part was secluded for the Muslims and the western part for Christians. Later on, the church was demolished and a new church was constructed. The Great Mosque is a must-see, as it still has the furniture and mosaics from the 6th – 8th century. The mosque features a spacious prayer hall which can hold up to 15000 devotees and a huge minaret in the southeastern corner, known as the “Minaret of Jesus,” as Muslims believe that Jesus will appear in this minaret on the day of judgment. Unfortunately, you cannot visit the grand mosque at the moment due to the Syrian civil war and some parts of this mosque have also been destroyed due to heavy fighting.
7. Masjid-e-Aqsa (Israel)
The Al-Aqsa Mosque, situated in Israel, is the third holiest place and the second oldest mosque in the world, also it has a great importance for Jews and Christians as it is believed Jesus and Moses used to pray there. It was the first Qiblah for Muslims before masjid-e-haram in Saudi Arab. The mosque has been a center of dispute for many as Israel wants to claim it and turn it into a Jewish temple, but at the same time the Muslim countries are against the takeover. The mosque is huge and at a distance it is like a small city which contains trees, fountains, the dome of rock, religious court offices, rooms for scholars, museums, and can hold up to 400,000 worshippers at one time. The mosque is not filled with any luxurious gold structure but due to its historical background and heritage it is of great importance for many believers around the world. The mosque is open for Muslims to visit at any time but non-Muslims cannot visit during prayer times.
6. Faisal Masjid (Pakistan)
The beautiful modern designed mosque was built and designed by an award winning Turkish architect. The construction began in 1976 as per the order of the late King Shah Faisal (Saudi Arab) to Pakistan. The area is surrounded with the beautiful view of lush Margalla hills in capital city Islamabad. Pakistan, being the most powerful Muslim nation, has more than 200,000 mosques but Faisal Masjid is totally exceptional and is regarded as the national mosque of Pakistan. The shape of the mosque is an eight-sided concrete shell inspired from desert Bedouin’s tent and Mecca. The interior of the main hall is decorated with mosaics and covered with white marble and calligraphy of Quranic verses. A tent shaped mosque with four minarets, it can accommodate around 60,000 worshippers at a single time and can be seen from miles away around the city. The place is open for everyone to visit at any time of the day without any fees.
5. The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque is also known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque and is located in the capital city of Turkey. The mosque was built in 1616 during the reign of Ahmed I and is also named after him. The mosque is called “Blue Mosque” due to the interior tiles surrounding the walls. One of the top tourist destinations of Turkey, it is a lavish beauty and a must-see place to discover the beauty of the post-classical era. The streaming domes which seems like a river of domes with 6 pencil shaped minarets rules the skyline of Istanbul. Usually mosques have 1-4 minarets but Blue Mosque has 6 minarets, which was a source of controversy for the king, as the only mosque that had 6 minarets was Masjid-Haram (the holiest place). Later on the king sent his men to build the 7th minaret for masjid-e-Haram. The mosque is decorated with 20,000 handmade blue tiles, while some of the tiles features history in form of abstracts, flowers and fruits; the place is lit with 260 windows and when the direct sunlight hits the walls and floors, it creates one of the best views in Istanbul. The mosque can accommodate more than 50,000 worshippers at a time. Its open for a Muslim to visit at any time of the day but closed for non-Muslims during 5 prayers.
4. Qolsharif Mosque
Located in Russia and built in the 15th century, this stunning mosque is named after the teacher Qol Sharif, who was martyred in that mosque with hundreds of students while defending the holy place in 1552 from Russian forces. The mosque got rebuilt in 2015 with the contribution of several Muslim countries like UAE and Saudi Arab. Currently, the mosque serves as a museum with daily 5 time prayers. The Masjid-e-QolSharif is one of the largest modern mosques of Russia. Although there is nothing left of the original structure from the 16th century, much of the designs are inspired from the old Ottoman empire architecture. The building was completed with classy furnishings including Roman mosaic, classical stained glass windows, handmade wood and stone carvings, golden embroidery, and a granite paneled façade. The interior features natural stones like onyx marble, granite, and serpentine. The mosque can accommodate around 6000 worshippers. This must-visit place is open for everyone to visit and enjoy the beauty.
3. Sheikh Zayed Mosque
This is one of the most lavish mosques and is located in world’s most luxurious place, Abu Dhabi. A mosque which was a dream of Sheikh Zayed and fulfilled by his son Al-Nayhan in 2007, this beauty attracts visitors from around the world, from different denominations and religious backgrounds. A visit to the mosque reveals that no expense was spared. The mosque is covered with amazing pearl white marble, and with 82 domes and 5 minarets, the place can accommodate around 40,000 worshippers at a single time. Featuring 1000 marble columns covered with precious stones, 24 carat gold gilded crystal chandeliers of around 12 tons each, the largest hand-knitted carpet in the main prayer hall, and a lot more make this a very beautiful place. The visuals of the floral designed walls, abstract designed floor, and all the decorations are unforgettable. The mosque is open for tourists daily from 9 am to 10 pm except for Friday mornings, as the time is dedicated for worshippers only.
2. Masjid Nabawi (Medina –Saudi Arab)
Masjid Nabawi is more than a mosque. It is the second holiest place for any Muslim, the third oldest mosque after Al-Aqsa and Masjid-e-Haram, and the house of Prophet (P.B.U.H). Masjid Nabawi is located in Medina – Saudi Arab and was originally built by Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and was later renovated to keep up with the increase in number of visitors. It is said to be the one of the most visited places on earth. Covered with green and red carpets, it is believed that in the great green dome there is no Muslim who can stand without crying since they are reminded of their deeds. The modest structure which was 98 ft. x 115 ft. now covers the area of 82000 square meters. The gold clad structure has a capacity of around a million worshippers at the same time. There is an empty grave beside Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) which is kept for Prophet Jesus as Muslims believe that He will return before the day of judgement. This mosque is open for everyone to pray at any time but unfortunately non-Muslims cannot enter the place as it is not permitted by Islam.
1. Masjid Haram (Mecca – Saudi Arab)
Masjid Haram is the holiest, oldest, most lavish, largest, and sacred of every Muslim and it surrounds the Kaabah, located in the heart of Makkah – Saudi Arab. The construction was started by Prophet Adam (the first man on earth), rebuilt by Prophet Ibrahim with his son Prophet Ismael in around 2030 BC, expanded by Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), and is still expanding to date. It now covers an area of around 400,000 m2. There are several miraculous spots which can be found in this mosque including the “well of Aab-e-ZamZam” where there is an unlimited flow of pure water with pH7 for the past 4000 years. This is also the only mosque which has 7 minarets and is heavily covered in gold and extremely precious stones. The sang-e-marmar tiles cover the entire area of the mosque which keeps itself cool during very hot weathers. Only the cloth of Kaaba (the round cube structure) is made of 670 kg of ornate black and gold silk fabric which contains around 15 kg of pure gold and is replaced every year during the Hajj. Around 150 million people visit this holy place each year. Just like Madina, non-Muslims aren’t allowed to enter the Mecca city, but Muslims can visit at any time.