The Faisal Mosque is considered as one of the most holy mosques in the world. It is located in the Islamabad city of Pakistan. The mosque has the honor of being the largest mosque not just in Pakistan but the entire Southeast Asia. It ranks sixth in the list of World’s largest Mosques. The Faisal mosque had been the largest mosque of the world for almost 7 years from the year 1986 up to the year 1993. The Hassan II mosque located in Casablanca in Morocco over took its position after its completion. At the same time the Grand Mosque of Mecca commonly known as the Masjid-al-Haram and the Prophet’s Mosque of Media which was commonly known as the Al-Masjid al- Nabawi were expanded. The Grand Mosque as well as the Prophet’s Mosque is located in Saudi Arabia. Thus in the year 1990 the Faisal Mosque was pushed to the fourth place in the requisites of size.
Faisal Mosque is considered as the National Mosque of the country of Pakistan. The total area covered by the mosque is 5,000 sq. m. Around 300,000 worshippers are accommodated in the mosque at a single time. Around 100,000 are accommodated in the mosque’s central prayer hall and the porticoes and also the courtyard. The remaining 200,000 worshippers are accommodated in the adjacent grounds. Even though the main prayer hall of the Faisal mosque is smaller than the Hassan II mosque its accommodating capacity is more than that of the mosque Hassan II. The Faisal mosque has in all four minarets. The height of each minaret is around 260 feet. They are declared as South Asia’s tallest minaret. The circumference of each minaret is around 10 x 10 m.
The small burial chamber that belonged to the General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who died in the year1988, is located in the vicinity of the Faisal Mosque. The memorial service at the location is considered as the biggest funeral ever seen in the history of Pakistan.
The late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz was the one who supported as well as financed the construction of the mosque. The mosque has got the name from the late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz who was originally from Saudi Arabia.
The Faisal Mosque is located in the Islamabad city. It is the capital of the country. It is positioned in the northern end of the Faisal Avenue. This section is the northernmost section located in the city’s end. The excellent backdrop of the mosque is offered by the Margalla Hills. The Margalla Hiils are the foothills of the Himalayas located at its western end. It is considered as the most crucial point of the city. The Faisal Mosque symbolizes the Islamabad city.
In the year 1966 the thought of the mosque was been initiated. The late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz was having the official visit to Pakistan and it was than when he proposed the financial help to the Pakistani government for the mosque’s construction. A competition was been held to select the architect of the mosque. Around 43 proposals from 17 different countries have participated in this international competition. The design by the Turkish architect named Veday Dalokay was been selected after the serious deliberation that was going on for almost 4 days.
The actual construction of the mosque was been started under the leadership of Azim Borujerdi in the year 1976. The National construction of Pakistan was responsible for the mosques construction. The mosques construction which cost around 130 million Saudi riyals was been funded by the Saudi Arabia’s government. King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz was helpful in the funding of the mosques and thus the mosque as well as the road that makes way to the mosque is been named after the assassination of the king in the year 1975.
The completion of the mosque took around 10 years and was ready by the year 1986. The International Islamic University was also housed in the mosque. Initially, the design of the mosque was been criticized by many Muslims as it was very much critical and non-conventional also the traditional dome was also absent in the structure. The criticisms came to a halt once the mosque was completed because of its huge scale and excellent backdrop.
The Agha Khan architectural award was given to the Turkish architect to Vedat Dalokay for his design of the Faisal Mosque. The uncommon design of the mosque combines the traditional look of the Arab’s tent with the modern designs. The central hall is triangular in shape. The four minarets of the mosque are placed surrounding the main prayer hall. The design does not accommodate a dome which is present in every traditional mosque’s design. The minarets are thin and look like pencil. The minaret’s design is been borrowed from the traditional Turkish designs. The walls at the interior of the prayer hall are been adorned with the various calligraphies and mosaics that are created by the very popular Pakistani artist named Sadequian. The western wall of the prayer hall is decorated by the mosaic. The Kalimah is written on this wall in the old Kufic script. The same Kalimah is repaeted by the means of the mirror figure prototype.
The long history that was attached to the architecture of almost every mosque in South Asia was departed by the Faisal Mosque. It is considered as one of the best example that displays the modern Islamic architecture in the world.
How to reach
The Benazir Bhutto International airport is the nearest airport to the Faisal Mosque. The airport is well connected with the various domestic as well as the international countries across the world. The nearest railway station is Margalla Railway station. The distance from the airport as well as station to the mosque can be easily covered in the various buses that fly to and fro the mosque. You can also hire a taxi or rent a car and reach the mosque.
When to visit
The time of the year to visit the Faisal mosque in Islamabad is in the months of September and October. The atmosphere is the city during this period is quite cool and pleasant.
Tips for visiting the Faisal Mosque
The mosque is open to the Muslim as well as the non-Muslim visitors. You can visit the mosque anytime in the day. It is advisable to avoid the prayer timings. You are required to remove your shoes outside the mosque’s door. You are required to dress conservatively. Every part of the body except for the hand and the head is to be covered. The women are required to cover their head with the head scarf. You can also visit the Visitors gallery positioned in the minarets at a height of 190 ft. Staircase as well as elevator is available to reach the gallery. From the gallery you will have a wonderful view of the Islamabad city.