Abu Dhabi hosts the third largest mosque in the world – after the ones in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
This fabulous building has visiting hours every day except Friday. The American University of Sharjah, where my wife is employed, ran a tour including free transportation. There is no entry charge at the mosque.
They also provide free abayas for the women. Men just have to dress respectfully, so I had to leave my cut off jeans and Grateful Dead T-shirts at home. Doesn’t my wife look cute in black?
The courtyard has a total of 1,048 columns. The entire mosque is made with white marble. The decorations on the columns are meant to emulate a garden. The Arabic word for garden and heaven are the same, so they emulate heaven as well.
This is a detail shot of one of the heavenly flowers. They are all inlaid with semi precious stones. The blue here is Lapis Lazuli.
This is the entrance to the main prayer hall. Some 41,000 worshipers can be accommodated in the mosque, 7,126 in the main prayer hall. Again, the foyer is made to look like heaven. Our guide was well educated and speaks English as well as I do.
Before a worshiper enters the mosque they must perform the ablution. This is a ritual to assure your body is clean before you pray. It is quite involved and must be done in a certain way. This is interesting enough for you to look at HERE
Another astonishing feature of the mosque is the over 5,625 m2 large carpet in the main prayer hall. It has been hand-knotted by about 1,300 Iranian craftsmen out of 35 tons of wool and 12 tons of cotton. With a total of 2,268,00 knots, the carpet is the largest in the world. Its estimated value is about US$30 million.
Colored with 25 natural colors, the green color is predominant as it was the favorite color of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
In August 2007 the Iranian masterpiece was dissected and brought to Abu Dhabi, where it was fixed together again in the mosque.
Included into the carpet are horizontal lines which are slightly raised over the primary carpet-height. These are for the worshiper’s alignment. The effect of the special knotting-technique is that the lines are not visible from a distance, but only for the worshipers. Look closely, the line is tough to see, but it is there. If you have ever watched a prayer service in a mosque you will see that the men are lined up perfectly, shoulder to shoulder. The proximity is to prevent evil spirits coming between the worshipers. Women use a different prayer hall to prevent the men’s attention from being distracted. The only thing I was distracted by was the beauty of this carpet and how it felt on my bare feet.
Major international companies specialized in the manufacturing of crystal chandeliers garnished the mosque with seven gold-plated chandeliers in different sizes, made of Swarovski crystals. This the largest of the lustres. It was the largest in the world when it was installed. The largest now is in the grand mosque in Doha.
Time for us heathens to leave. The mosque is, of course closed to non worshipers for prayer. Muslems pray five times a day. The time for prayer changes every day, and in every geographic location. It is based on the position of the sun. So, you ask, why are there six times on this clock? The top one is the time of the sunrise.
When we left I was again impressed by this magnificent mosque. I hope you are as well.
I owe you one more post from Zanzibar, so stay tuned. If you have not subscribed, please do so. Also, I really like comments, hint hint.
Tags: Abu Dahbi, grand mosque Abu Dhabi, largest carpet in the world, Sheik Zayed, Sheik Zayed mosque, world's largest carpet, world's largest chandelier