Faisal Mosque (Faisal Masjid)

- Pakistani

The Faisal Mosque, at its initiation was conceptualized as the national mosque of the newly formed Islamic nation and was intended to symbolize the hopes and aspiration of Pakistan. The Faisal Mosque is the largest mosque in South Asia and one of the largest mosques in the world, located in the national capital city of Islamabad.

Faisal Mosque is situated at the north end of Faisal Avenue, putting it at the northernmost end of the city and at the foot of Margalla Hills, the westernmost foothills of the Himalayas. This desirable location represents the mosque’s great importance and allows it to be seen from miles around day and night.

The impetus for the mosque began in 1966 when the late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia suggested it during a visit to Islamabad. Construction of the mosque began in 1976 by National Construction of Pakistan, led by Azim Khan and was funded by the government of Saudi Arabia, at a cost of over 130 million Saudi riyals (approximately 120 million USD today).

King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz was influential in the funding, and both the mosque and the road leading to it were named after him after his assassination in 1975. The mosque was completed in 1986, and used to house the International Islamic University. But recently International Islamic University is relocated to a new campus. In the Faisal Mosque there are still a library, lecture hall, museum and cafe.

The Faisal Mosque’s architecture is a departure from the long history of South Asian Islamic architecture. It is one of the most outstanding and modern Islamic architecture examples in the world.

The mosque’s architecture is extremely modern and unique, lacking both the traditional domes and curves of most other mosques around the world. Faisal Mosque is shaped like a desert Bedouin’s tent designed by Turkish architect, Vedat Dalokay.  Vedat Dalokay’s design was selected through an international competition.

The minarets borrow their design from Turkish tradition and are like thin pencil. The interior of the main tent-shaped prayer hall holds a very large chandelier and its walls are decorated with mosaics and calligraphy by the famous Pakistani artist Sadeqain. The mosaic pattern decorates the west wall, and has the’kalima’ writtern in early kufic script, repeated in mirror image pattern. Each of the Mosque’s four minarets are 80 m (260 ft) high (the tallest minarets in South Asia) and measure 10 x 10 m in circumference.

The Faisal Mosque has a covered area of 5,000 m2 (54,000 sq ft). It can accommodate 10,000 worshipers in its main prayer hall, 24,000 in its porticoes, 40,000 in its courtyard and another 200,000 in its adjoining grounds. Entrance is from the east, where the prayer hall is fronted by a courtyard with porticoes.
A large number of tourists come to see the Faisal Mosque. They enjoy the beautiful sights of Faisal Mosque. The interior of the prayer hall only opens at the time of prayers.