Understand

Faisal Mosque or Shah Faisal Masjid is the national mosque of Pakistan. It is the 6th largest mosque in the world and the largest mosque in South Asia. Its construction started in 1976 and was completed in 1986 and covers an area of 54000 square feet. It is located in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, at the foot of Margalla Hills.

History

Faisal Mosque is named after a Saudi King, Shah Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz, who suggested building a national mosque in Islamabad and donated 130 million Saudi Riyals for its construction. It is regarded as the national mosque of Pakistan, ever since its conception. It was designed by a Turkish architect, Vedat Dalokay, who was selected after winning an international competition in which architects from 17 countries submitted 43 designs. Vedat Dalokay also won Agha Khan Architectural award for the design. Faisal Mosque is designed similar to a desert Bedouin’s tent.

See

The main courtyard of the mosque represents a beautiful view of Margalla Hills. Its enviable location allows a beautiful picturesque view of the mosque from miles away during day and night. The mosque is designed in contrast to the traditional domes found in most of the mosques. The eight-sided concrete shell shape of the mosque is inspired by the cubic shape of Ka’ba in Mecca as well as by a desert Bedouin’s tent. The four minarets are inspired by Turkish architecture. The mosque has a large main hall which has four 88 meter minarets on all of its four sides and the height of the main hall is 40 meters.

The entrance to Faisal Mosque is from the east where there a courtyard containing a small water pond. Next to the courtyard are stairs which lead to the main courtyard. If you go straight you will get to another courtyard with a larger pond with ablution place for Muslims. There are stairs around all four corners of the pond from where you can go to the main courtyard.

The International Islamic University was once housed under the main courtyard but is now relocated. However, the mosque still houses a lecture hall, a library, a museum and a cafe.

The interior of the mosque is covered in white marble and is adorned with mosaics and calligraphy by a famous Pakistani artist Sadeqain.

In the prayer hall, 10,000 worshippers can be accommodated. Additional 24,000 more could be accommodated in the porticoes and 40,000 in the courtyard.

There is a ground adjacent to the mosque where there is a mausoleum of a former president of Pakistan, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq.

Do

From the main courtyard of the mosque, you can have a picturesque view of the Margalla Hills. You can freely visit all the areas of the mosque and take photographs as well. However, there are some restrictions in the prayer hall, which is opened only at prayer timings and no one is allowed to take pictures there.

Anyone is free to visit Faisal Mosque however, mosques are Holy places so one should follow some instructions when visiting any of them.

  • Leave your shoes at the entrance.
  • Dress properly and women should wear a headscarf.
  • Avoid eating or making noise.

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