Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at Abu Dhabi, is the largest mosque in UAE. The holy shrine was initiated by the late president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the historical and modern values of architecture and art. His grave is located at the adjacent complex. The design is inspired from Persian, Mughal, and the Alexandrian Mosque of Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque in Egypt, also the Indo-Islamic mosque architecture, particularly the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan being direct influences. The dome layout and floorplan of the mosque is inspired from the Badshahi Mosque. Its archways are quintessentially Moorish and its minarets classically Arab.
The mosque is built using long-lasting materials, including, marble stone, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals and ceramics. From countries such as India, Italy, Germany, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, China, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Republic of Macedonia and United Arab Emirates.
The mosque also houses a library in the northeast minaret, with publications on a range of Islamic subjects, including, sciences, civilization, calligraphy, the arts, and coins, including some rare publications dating back over 200 years. The collection has books in Arabic, English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Korean.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has many special and unique elements:
- The carpet in the main prayer hall is considered[to be the world’s largest carpet made by Iran’s Carpet Company and designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi.
- The mosque has seven imported chandeliers from the company Faustig in Munich, Germany with millions of Swarovski crystals.
- The pools along the arcades reflect the mosque’s spectacular columns, which becomes even more glorious at night. The unique lighting system was designed by lighting architects Speirs and Major Associates to reflect 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.
- The 99 names (qualities or attributes) of God(Allah) are featured on the Qibla wall in traditional Kufic calligraphy, designed by the prominent UAE calligrapher — Mohammed Mandi Al Tamimi.
- In total, three calligraphy styles — Naskhi, Thuluth and Kufic — are used throughout the mosque and were drafted by Mohammed Mandi Al Tamimi of the UAE, Farouk Haddad of Syria and Mohammed Allam of Jordan.