The beauty and grandeur of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi does not make it a surprise if someone says that it is the largest of United Arab Emirates and is the eight largest worshipping place for Muslims in the world. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the main place of worship in the UAE and was the idea of the late President of the country Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. As he was the initiator behind the construction of the mosque, his final resting place was also made within the premises and marked the first occasion to be held in the mosque.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is not only a worshipping place but is also a piece of art in itself. The structure is made of 82 domes, 1,000 columns and chandeliers having Swarovski crystals fitted in them. It is a place where artistic inspirations from across the world have been brought together. The design of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is inspired by both Mughal and Moorish styles. The raw materials which have been used to build and adorn the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque have been brought from various countries like Italy, Germany, India, Pakistan, China, Iran, and more. Marbles, gold, crystals, and ceramics have gone in to the creation of the mosque.
It is because of these inputs that the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is adorned with chandeliers which are made of 24 carat gold each of which weighs twelve tonnes. The yet another spectacle of the mosque is its carpet of the prayer hall which is the largest in the world having been knotted by hand. The artist who designed the carpet is Ali Khaliqi and it has been made by Iran’s Carpet Company. It weighs 35 ton and has been made out of wool. It took two years to complete the carpet. The Qibla walls of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque have inscription of the 99 names of God or Allah. They have been calligraphed by the prominent UAE calligrapher named Mohammed Mandi Al Tamimi. He has used three styles of calligraphy namely Naskhi, Thuluth, and Kufic.
The volume of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque can be well ascertained from the fact that it can accommodate 40,000 devotees in the entire premises. Out of them 7,000 can be held in the main prayer hall itself. There are two more small prayer halls which can accommodate 1500 people each. Out of the two halls one is exclusively for women. The four minarets which stand on the four sides of the main courtyard have each a height of 107 metres. The courtyard is wrapped in marble mosaic which has a beautiful floral design on it.
There are to see through the entire Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The best time to take the tour is during the evening because the photographs of the shrine taken during this time are truly mesmerizing. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open every day for visitors except Fridays.