Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Mosque or Grand Mosque In Abu Dhabi | A Photo Essay

What better time to visit the Grand Mosque, but now. More than 40,000 people gather here for worship during Eid. This is also one of the few mosques where non-Muslims are permitted to enter. Inspired by Arab, Mughal and Moorish mosque architecture, the design of the mosque is an amalgamation of cultures. Do plan your visit to the mosque around sunset. Arrive much before sunset and soak in the beauty of the architecture and the intricacies of the design by daylight and then watch the sun go down slowly, the golden rays fleeting in through the pillars. The grandeur of the mosque resplendent in its white glory during the day time and as soon as the mosque is lit up by all the lights, the huge courtyard begins to feel like a page out of the Arabian Nights. There is a sublime feeling as the evening call of Adhan (the Islamic call to prayer) fleeting through the minarets. Apart from being the largest mosque in the UAE and the eighth largest mosque in the world, the thoughts that have gone into the design also reflects the multicultural living of the UAE – the design and construction ‘unites the world’, using artisans and materials from many countries including Italy, Germany, Morocco, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, China, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Greece and more. The main prayer hall (further below) accommodates over 7,000 worshipers and the carpet that dons the floor is the largest in the world, and built on the site that took almost two years to complete. If you are interested in more staggering statistics (like the Dhs 2 billion that was spent on the construction or the millions of Swarovsky crystals that make up the Chandeliers or the 2,268,000,000 knots that weaved the carpet or that the unique lightning system reflects the phases of the moon – beautiful bluish gray clouds are projected in lights onto the external walls and get brighter and darker according to the phase of the moon… and many more!), read here. Admission is free, but a note of Wisdom hereif you are driving from Dubai, don’t miss the exit at Al Maqtaa bridge. You will have to drive up to the signal to take a U-turn back, once the mosque is in view at your left. The prayer hall closes down during the Prayer times, so do check up on the timings (02 441 6444). Men and women, both need to be sensitive to the dress code. Abayas (the black robe that are worn in the Muslim world) are available for ladies but if any clothing that covers the knees and arms, will suffice. It helps to carry a scarf to cover the head. While you can take tour the mosque on your own, there are timings for guided tours too ( more information here), including a Sunset tour.

Eid Al Adha: This is an important 4-day religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of the prophet ʾIbrāhīm (Abraham) to sacrifice his young firstborn son Ismā’īl (Ishmael) as an act of submission to God, and his son’s acceptance of the sacrifice before God intervened to provide Abraham with a ram to sacrifice instead… read more.

Festivities bring in lots of varied emotions – emotions of togetherness, memories of childhood and hope for the future. There is a unique feeling living in a city like Dubai, where people from all over the world have gathered to build their homes. Whereas Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan – the Islamic holy month of dawn-to-sunset fasting, Eid al-Adha means ‘solemn festivity’. Tomorrow is Eid al-Adha, also known as the Greater Eid or Eid al-Zuha. In India it is called the Bakhri-Eid or the Feast of Sacrifice. I am born a Hindu but I have grown up celebrating all festivals from all religion in Kolkata. An earlier post talks about this multi-cultural upbringing that shaped my own philosophies in life. Childhood memories of Eid brings in the sweet taste of Semaiya Kheer/Vermicelli Pudding, also called Shemaiyer Payesh (an earlier blogpost here) and the Firni or the Rice Pudding (a blogpost here). Before all the sweets get mingled up in my head, here’s a pictorial journey to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, capturing the transition from day to evening to night time. And Eid Mubarak to all of youmay there be peace and happiness all around!

Signing off… Ishita

Disclaimer: Please note that this is not a sponsored blog and all the opinions and views stated here are my own and are independent. While you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from this post. You can see more pictures of my travel and food journey here.

If you are staying in Dubai during the Eid break, the following posts may be of help:

If you would like to cook something special for Eid:


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