Faisal Mosque is the mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan. Located on the foothills of Margalla Hills in Islamabad, the mosque features a contemporary design consisting of eight sides of concrete shell and is inspired by a Bedouin tent.
Combined the structure cover an area of 54,000 square ft, the mosque dominates the landscape of Islamabad. It 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.
Faisal Mosque was the largest mosque in the world from 1986 until 1993, when it was overtaken by mosques in MENA region. Faisal Mosque is now the fourth largest mosque in terms of capacity.
Faisal Mosque is the mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan. It is the largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia and the fourth largest mosque in the world.
It was named after the late king of Saudi Arabia, Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz, who backed and financed the construction.
Faisal mosque is a major tourist attraction, and is referred as a contemporary and influential feature of Islamic architecture.
The impetus for the mosque began in 1966 when King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz supported the initiative of the Pakistani Government to build a national mosque in Islamabad during an official visit to Pakistan.
King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz was instrumental 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.
Many conservative Muslims criticised the design at first for its unconventional design and lack of a traditional dome structure, but most criticism ended when the completed mosque's scale, form, and setting against the Margalla Hills became evident.
In 1969, an international competition was held in which architects from 17 countries submitted 43 proposals. The winning design was that of Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay.
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 120 million USD.
The mosque was completed in 1986, and used to house the International Islamic University.
The Faisal Mosque is the work of Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay, who won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the project.
The mosque's architecture is modern and unique, lacking both the traditional domes and arches of most other mosques around the world.
Faisal Mosque is an eight-sided concrete shell inspired by a desert Beduoin's tent and the cubic Kaaba in Mecca, flanked by four unusual minarets inspired by Turkish architecture.
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 mosque's unusual design is a departure from the long history of South Asian Islamic architecture, fusing contemporary lines with the more traditional look of an Arab Bedouin's tent, with its large triangular prayer hall and four minarets. However, unlike traditional masjid design, it lacks a dome. The minarets borrow their design from Turkish tradition and are thin and pencil like.
Entrance is from the east, where the prayer hall is fronted by a courtyard with porticoes. The International Islamic University was housed under the main courtyard, but recently relocated to a new campus. The mosque still houses a library, lecture hall, museum and cafe. The interior of the main tent-shaped hall is covered in white marble and decorated with mosaics and calligraphy by the famous Pakistani artist Sadequain, and a spectacular Turkish-style chandelier. The mosaic pattern adorns the west wall, and has the kalimah written in early Kufic script, repeated in mirror image pattern.
The Faisal Mosque has 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.
Although its covered main prayer hall is smaller than that of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca (the world's third largest mosque), Faisal Mosque has the third largest capacity of accommodating worshipers in its adjoining grounds after the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) of Mecca, the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (Prophet's Mosque) in Medina.
When visiting a mosque, you must leave your shoes at the door.
Dress properly, covering everything except hands and head, but women should wear a head scarf too.
Avoid dancing, singing or making noises.
The mosque is not a picnic place but still it is open for families, students, tourists, delegations and foreigners to visit.
This place is very peaceful and you are free to visit all areas of the building and take photographs. Some restrictions are for the inside of main prayer hall, that is opened only at the times of prayers and photography is not allowed in it.
You can take an elevator or staircase up each of the four 280ft towering minarets to the visitors gallery, 190ft above the ground, offering fantastic view of urban Islamabad.
There are no charges for anyone to enter but you can give donation for the mosque if you want.
Nearby Attractions: Parliament House, Quaid-i-Azam University, Daman-e-Koh, Margalla Hills, Saudi Pak Tower Building and Pir Sohawa.