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What’s Inside Sheikh Zaid Grand Mosque – from the courtyard to the mihrab

Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque consists of four Minarets known as the lighthouses, 82 domes in various sizes, 1000 columns, 30 acres of mosque premises, a library, the largest carpet in the world, the platform (courtyard), prayer halls, reflected ponds, and a lot more. 

The main prayer hall can fit 7000 worshippers, and the other two prayer halls (one for women) can house 1500 worshippers each. 

The Mosque, which takes its name from UAE’s first President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has the record of having the world’s largest domes of its kind and hand-woven carpet.

This article explores the inner workings of the Mosque, revealing its unique characteristics, designs, and spiritual core. 

What’s inside the Grand Mosque

Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the epitome of Islamic architecture and culture, which can house 40000 worshipers at a time.

The Mosque has four imposing minarets and a large marble-mosaic courtyard that can hold up to 30000 people. 

You can admire the seven magnificent German Chandeliers and the largest hand-knotted carpet, which weighs 35 tonnes and took two years to complete. 

Master calligraphers’ exquisite writing of Allah’s 99 names is also worth seeing. 

As dusk approaches, the captivating lighting system reflects the moon’s phases and generates a magical ambiance. 

Prepare to be struck by the magnificence and spiritual significance of this massive and popular Mosque.

T​ourists can also visit Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan’s tomb. 

Discover everything about Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque! from history to visiting tips, we’ve got you covered.

Courtyard 

This 17400 square meter (187292 square feet) courtyard floor is adorned with one of the largest marble mosaics in the world, made up of intricate floral patterns.

British artist Kevin Dean created these marble patterns of tulips and irises. 

It is one among the largest prayer places in the world.

Tickets  Prices 
Premium Full-Day Sightseeing Tour AED359
Fujairah East Coast Guided Tour AED1200
Full-Day Trip with Louvre and Mosque AED359
Sightseeing and Sheikh Zayed Mosque AED281
Sheikh Zayed Mosque Guided Tour AED231
Grand Mosque, Royal Palace, and Lunch AED473

Mihrab

Mihrab at Sheikh Zaid Grand Mosque
Image: szgmc.gov.ae

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s Mihrab (the direction Muslims face during their prayers), showcases the idea of a heavenly place with rivers of milk and honey. 

It is designed with gold foil and features a symbolic beehive.

It is located at the center of the Qibla wall, in a half-circle shape, representing the pre-electronic era when the Imam’s voice would echo throughout the Mosque.  

Columns 

Columns-of-Sheikh-Zayed-Grand-Mosque

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has 1,096 outside columns topped with palm-shaped plated aluminum decorated with white marble and valuable stones such as lapis lazuli, red agate, amethyst, abalone shell, and nacre.

Craftsmen designed these columns within the Mosque itself using a technique called “Pietra Dura,” which started in Italy first in the 16th century and then reached the Mughals in the 17th century.   

There are 96 interior columns with a Chinese-inspired design clustered around the domes. 

They are covered in pure white marble inlaid with mother of pearls.

Most of these artistic works are handcrafted.

Dive into the facts of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to enlighten your experience.

Lighthouses (minarets)

Lighthouse of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

With its four 107-meter (351-foot) minarets, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has three stories that showcase several Islamic architectural styles: an octagonal middle (Mamluk), an oval top (Ottoman with Mamluk influences), and a square base (Arab-Moroccan, Andalusian, and Mamluk).  

The word’ minaret’ comes from the Arabic word ‘Manarah,’ which means lighthouse. 

The library is located in this Minaret, which symbolizes knowledge as the actual light.  

Step inside the Grand Mosque! Explore its wonders and mysteries and discover what awaits you.

The pulpit (Menbar)

The Pulpit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Image: szgmc.gov.ae

The pulpit (Menbar in Arabic) is located next to the Mihrab and has 11 stairs for the imam, which is designed with rose carvings on cedar wood.

It has floral and shell designs made out of carved cedar wood inlaid with mother of pearl, glass mosaic, and white gold.

It holds lectures and speeches for thousands of worshippers under a crescent dome. 

Planning a trip to the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque from Dubai? Discover the easiest and most efficient ways to reach this iconic landmark!

Chandeliers

Chandelier inside Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque is equipped with seven large gleaming chandeliers made by Faustig, a company based in Munich, Germany. 

The largest one, which stands 15 meters tall (49 feet) and weighs 12 tons, is in the main hall. 

These are made of gilded stainless steel covered with 24-carat gold-plated gilded brass and Swarovski crystals. 

These chandeliers cost AED30 million ($8.17million).

These chandeliers were made with about 40 kg of 24-carat galvanized gold. They have a 10-meter (33 feet) diameter and a 15-meter (49 feet) height.

The carpet

The carpet of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The carpet is housed in the Mosque’s main hall and was named the largest carpet in the world by Guinness World Records in 2007.

1200-1300 Iranian women and men worked on this largest carpet making it unique with 2.5 billion individual knots.

This carpet is made out of 70% wool and 30% cotton.  

It took two years to complete, has 32 transverse lines, weighs 35 tons, and covers 5,400 square meters (58125 square feet) with floral designs and medallions that resemble Chandeliers.

Let’s not not forget to read about the dress code of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, so that we can avoid the last minute disappointment.

Lunar lighting

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s exterior is bluish-gray at night due to a lunar lighting system that reflects the moon’s different phases. 

The illumination changes from low to bright in time with the phases of the moon caused by 22 lighting towers that house projectors, providing a distinctive atmosphere. 

Speirs and Major Associates from the UK designed this lighting system.

Marble

Marble exterior at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s bright white marble exterior, collected from Macedonia, Italy, India, and China, shines like the Taj Mahal.

It’s made of Sivic marble from Macedonia, covering 164,000 square meters (1765281 square feet), with mosaic decorations using 30 types of marble. 

Prayer halls feature premium Italian marble like Lasa, Aquapiana, and Biancopi.

Domes

The Domes at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has 82 domes in different sizes. 

The largest three domes are right above the main prayer hall. 

The design’s features include crescent-shaped finials covered with gold-glass mosaic, onion-shaped “crowns,” and cladding of pure white marble.

Verse fragments from the Quran adorn the traditional Moroccan-style dome inside.

The domes are beautiful from the inside. Their beauty, design, and lovely lighting will leave you speechless.

Reflective pools

Reflective-pools-at-Sheikh-Zayed-Grand-Mosque

The Grand Mosque is all the more charming at night because the bright blue water pools reflect its exquisite columns and arcades.  

The pool’s area is 7,874 square meters (84755 square feet).

Library 

The Grand Mosque has a library dedicated to preserving and celebrating Islamic heritage while fostering intellectual exchange.

You can have a virtual tour to the library

Aren’t you excited now to go on a tour to visit the Mosque? 

Check out the following tours, which will give you a memorable lifetime experience in The UAE.

Virtual tour of Grand Mosque

Since you read this far, you can take a virtual tour to the mosque before you embark on Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s visit.  

FAQs

Here are a few frequently asked questions about what’s inside Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque:

Can non-muslims step into the Grand Mosque?

Yes, non-muslims can visit the Grand Mosque; everyone strictly needs to follow the dress code.

Is the Grand Mosque’s interiors air-conditioned?

Yes, the Mosque’s interior is air-conditioned.

Can you pray in the Mosque?

The Grand Mosque is open for prayers; there are three prayer halls, one exclusively for women. 

Can we enter the Mosque with our socks on?

Yes, you need to remove your shoes and sandals before entering the Mosque. You can wear your shocks on and it is recommended as the marble floor gets cold.

Are wheelchairs allowed inside the Grand Mosque?

Yes, wheelchair services are available at the Mosque.

Can visitors enter the main prayer halls?

Yes, visitors can enter the main prayer halls and see the beautiful craftsmanship, except during prayer times.

Is photography permissible?

Yes, you can take photos only for personal use. Also, you should avoid taking pictures of worshippers. If you want to take professional photography, you need to take permission.

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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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