More than five years in the making, the largest mosque in Sharjah opened its doors on the first Friday of Ramadan.
The Dh300 million building occupies 185,806 square metres and is surrounded by gardens and water fountains.
People came from around the country to pray and take photos of the long-awaited mosque, built and designed according to the Ruler of Sharjah Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi's vision of faith and aesthetics based on Islamic architecture.
Shakeel Ahmed, 55, an Indian businessman, came all the way from the Mareija area of Sharjah to perform dhuhr prayers at the mosque.
“I was really excited when I knew that the mosque was finally open,” Mr Ahmed said.
“I have a business at the Noaf area which I visit twice a week and every time I passed by the mosque I wondered when the construction work would be done. It took them a very long time to accomplish it but it is worth every single second of work. It’s a masterpiece and something that makes every visitor proud.”
Another worshipper, who came with his son, 9, said he was taken aback by the mosque’s interior design.
“The ceiling, windows, chandeliers – everything is well-designed and brings peace to the soul,” said Jasim Al Hamoudi, 32, an Emirati father of three.
“We were on our way back to Ajman when we decided to stop and pray at the mosque.
“I’m really proud to see my country putting in all the effort to build and design such a great mosque – it is really worth all the waiting and the hard work.”
His son Ali said he felt very happy to be able to pray in the mosque.
“It’s very big and beautiful. I was waiting for it to open,” Ali said. “I will tell my father to bring me here all the time.”
The mosque has several gates and entrances, including four public entrances, two for women, one for VIPs and one for buses.
The mosque’s main prayer hall has arched windows with stained glass, walls decorated with verses from the Quran, a large chandelier in the centre and a premium red carpet covering the floor.
Outside, the building has domes, minarets and columns designed to reflect a unique Islamic architectural style.
“You can’t get enough of its beauty and unique design,” said Salah Abdulsalam, from Jordan. “I see the mosque every time I pass by Maliha Road coming from Fujairah, and I was keen on finding out how it would look from the inside.”
Elevators are installed near the ablution areas and the women’s section for easy access.
“Everything is well designed and suits everyone – men, women, children and people with disabilities,” said Mr Abdulsalam, 28. “It is a great gift in Ramadan and the location is great because people can stop and pray before continuing their journey to the other emirates.”
The mosque is at the intersection of Maliha Road and Emirates Road in Tay area and can accommodate about 25,000 worshippers.
It has an inside capacity
of more than 5,000 worshippers, 610 of whom can be women.
The front hall and side lobbies have a capacity of more than 6,000 worshippers while the outdoor area can accommodate 13,500.
The mosque is equipped with two ablution areas and 100 wheelchairs for the elderly and people of determination.
Prayer chairs, water and copies of the Quran are placed around the prayer.
“The mosque garden is huge and can be a place for a family gathering. The children will love it,” Mr Abdulsalam said.
The mosque is also equipped to welcome non-Muslim visitors and lovers of knowledge from around the world.
It contains spaces and paths for non-Muslims, a museum, a gift shop, a cafeteria, open yards, fountains and waterfalls, and will house a large library rich in Islamic works.
The parking area can accommodate about 2,260 cars and buses. The mosque serves the areas of Tay, Seouh, Badea, Hawshi and Juwaiza.