Sea and spirituality meet at Saudi Arabia's Floating Mosque in Jeddah

Mosque built in 1985 is popular among worshippers and families during Ramadan

Jeddah’s renowned Floating Mosque was the first to be built on the waterfront and is one of the most popular landmarks of the coastal Saudi city.

The all-white structure with its turquoise dome is easy to spot and seems as if it is floating on the Red Sea.

Also known by the names Al Rahma and Fatima Al Zahra, the mosque was built in 1985 over 2,400 square metres.

Its magnificent architecture includes 52 white domes supported by large pillars and 56 carved windows adorned with Islamic art and motifs to let in the sun.

It is anchored to the shore by a low-walled passageway.

The mosque is equipped with advanced sound and lighting systems and can accommodate 2,300 people, with an outdoor area for worshippers and families who wish to visit and enjoy the peace and tranquility.

“I love the women’s section. It is so different from any other mosque,” Khadija Khan, a Pakistani woman living in Jeddah, told The National.

The prayer hall, made entirely of wood, is suspended in the middle of the mosque above the men's praying area, which opens to the courtyard facing the sea.

“It is the most peaceful and spiritual place to pray," Ms Khan said.

"You can watch the waves wash up at the shore and it looks like the mosque is indeed floating in the sea. It is a very powerful feeling."

The interior of the men’s section is as unique, with a beautifully designed grand chandelier suspended over the centre of the room and supported by eight pillars.

During Ramadan, the mosque is visited by locals at sunset to break their fast and late at night for prayers.

“I remember coming here every Ramadan during iftar time,” said Shaheen Iqbal, an Indian resident of Jeddah.

"A large group of family friends would gather close to maghreb [sunset prayer], and we would set up our food and drinks and wait for the adhaan [call to prayer].

“It is part of my childhood as it is for many other expats growing up in Jeddah. In fact it is a must-see place for all tourists who visit Jeddah."

The mosque is open all day and is a favourite for families who want to spend time with their children and enjoy picnics by the corniche.

Alaa Abdullah, a Lebanese woman living in Jeddah, said she often went to the mosque with her children to enjoy the corniche and pleasant summer evenings.

“It is the perfect spot for my family. I can pray and meditate here while my young kids play games or fly kites and we enjoy the waves together,” Ms Abdullah said.

Updated: May 3, 2021 02:02 PM

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