A mosque is a place where Muslims worship. The word mosque comes from the Arabic word masjid. A mosque is symbolically very important to Muslims, and is a humble way for man to recreate pure divine presence on earth. Muslims worship, study and discuss Islam, and do many other things in a mosque and its compounds. In the United Kingdom, many mosques are used as community centers. They are also used to teach about Islam. Religious festivals and gatherings are held in mosques. Many mosques are known for their Islamic architecture. Here is an overview of the most beautiful Mosques in the world.
1. AL HARAM MOSQUE : The very first construction of the Kaaba was done by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ishmeel as a house of worship to one God. Allah says in the Quran that this was the first house that was built for humanity to worship Allah . Al Haram mosque is located in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds one of Islam’s holiest places, the Kaaba. One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim to perform the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his or her lifetime if they are able to do so. Multiple parts of the Hajj require pilgrims to walk seven times around the Kaaba in a counter-clockwise direction. This circumambulation (Tawaf), is also performed by pilgrims during Umrah.
2. AL– MASJID AN NABAWI : Al-Masjid an-Nabawi is a great mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. It stands on the site of a mosque built by the Prophet Muhammad himself next to his house and contains his tomb. It is the second holiest site in Islam. It was the second mosque built in history and is now one of the largest mosques in the world after the al-Haram mosque in Mecca. One of the most important place of this mosque is Green Dome, where the tomb of the Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is located. A square enclosure of 30×35 meters, the mosque was built with palm trunks and mud walls and accessed through three doors: Bab Rahmah to the south, Bab Jibril to the west and Bab al-Nisa’ to the east.
3. AL AQSA MOSQUE : Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and an Islamic shrine located in the Old City of Jerusalem. In the mosque itself is part of Al-Haram ash-Sharif or “Sacred Noble Sanctuary”, a site which is also known as Temple Mount as the holiest site in Judaism, because it is believed to be The Temple of Jerusalem once stood. The rectangular Al-Aqsa Mosque is 144,000 square meters, 35 acres, or 1/6 of the entire area within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem as it stands today. It is also called Al-Haram El-Sharif. The Dome of the Chain marks the exact central point of this Mosque.
4. HASSAN II MOSQUE : The Grande Mosquée Hassan II, located in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest mosque in the country and the 7th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 689 feet. Completed in 1993, it was designed by Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca. The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, the sea bed being visible through the glass floor of the building’s hall. The walls are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque’s outside grounds.
5. SULTAN OMAR SAIFUDDIN MOSQUE : The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Masjid is a majestic masjid in the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan. The masjid is named after Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the father of current Sultan Hassanil Bolkiah, and symbolizes the Islamic faith in Brunei. A conspicuous structure in the skyline of the city. The mosque considered one of the most beautiful mosques in the Asia Pacific and a major landmark and tourist attraction of Brunei. The building was completed in 1958 and is an example of modern Islamic architecture. The main feature of the masjid is the main dome which is covered with pure gold. The minarets are constructed out of marble. The prayer hall can accommodate over 3,000 people and has beautiful carvings with arches, tinted glass windows and marble columns.
6. ZAHIR MOSQUE : The Zahir Mosque is Kedah’s state mosque. It is located in the heart of Alor Star, the state capital of Kedah, Malaysia. It is one of the grandest and oldest mosques in Malaysia. The mosque was built in 1912, funded by Tunku Mahmud, son of the Sultan Tajuddin Mukarram Shah. The design was inspired by the vision of the late Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Abidin II. Its five large, black domes symbolize the Five Pillars of Islam. It is also the burial site of Kedah warriors who died while defending the state from the Siamese in 1821.
7. FAISAL MOSQUE : Faisal Mosque in Islamabad is the biggest mosque in south east and southern Asia and the fourth largest mosque in the world. The architect was Vedat Dalokay of Turkey, whose design was chosen in 1969 after an international competition. Construction was completed in 1986. The Faisal Mosque is located on an elevated area of land against a picturesque backdrop of the Margalla Hills. This enviable location represents the mosque’s great importance and allows it to be seen from miles around day and night. The mosque’s architecture is strikingly modern and unique, lacking both the traditional domes and arches of most other mosques around the world. The prayer hall can accommodate 10,000 worshippers.
8. TAJ UL MOSQUE : Taj-ul-Masjid, which literally means the ‘Crown of Mosques’, is one of the largest mosques in Asia. Spread across a sprawling campus, this imposing ‘dome of Allah’ is situated in Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh ( India) .The mosque is also used as a Islamic school during the day time. The mosque has a pink facade topped by two 18-storey high octagonal minarets with marble domes. It’s construction was started by Sultan Shah Jehan Begum of Bhopal (1868-1901) and it was completely built only after 1971 by the great efforts of Allama Mohammad Imran Khan Nadwi Azhari of Bhopal.
9. BADSHAHI MOSQUE : The Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, commissioned by the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671 and completed in 1673, is the second largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia and the fifth largest mosque in the world. It’s beauty, elegance, and scale epitomize Mughal cultural achievement like no other monument in Lahore. Badshahi Masjid is one of the famous locations where Qari Basit (1927-88), a widely acclaimed Egyptian Qur’anic Recitor, recited the Qur’an.
10. SULTAN MOSQUE : Sultan Mosque, located at Muscat Street and North Bridge Road in Kampong Glam Rochor District in Singapore is still considered one of the most important mosque in Singapore. Also known as Masjid Sultan, it was named for Sultan Hussein Shah. The mosque was first built in the 1820s. However the original structure was demolished about a century later to make way for the current building, which was completed in 1932. The mosque holds great significance for the Muslim community, and is considered the national mosque of Singapore. The most striking features of the mosque are its two gold onion domes above the east and west façades, each topped by pinnacles with crescent moons and stars.
11. THE KOL SHARIF : The Kol Sharif, located in Kazan Kremlin, was reputed to be at the time of its construction the largest mosque in Russia. Originally, the mosque was built in the Kazan Kremlin in the 16th century. It was named after Qols harif who served there. Qol sharif died with his numerous students while defending Kazan from Russian forces in 1552. It is believed that the building featured minarets, both in the form of cupolas and tents. Its design was traditional for Volga Bulgaria, although elements of early Renaissance and Ottoman architecture could have been used as well. In 1552, during the storming of Kazan it was destroyed by Ivan the Terrible. Since 1996 the mosque has been rebuilt in Kazan Kremlin, although its look is decisively modern. Its inauguration on July 24, 2005 marked the beginning of celebrations dedicated to the Millennium of Kazan.