Towering magnificently along the Corniche and skirting the coast and inland of the emirate to as far as the eastern region of Khorfakkan, 600 mosques dot Sharjah, the capital of Islamic Culture for 2014.
Of these, 300 are in the heart of Sharjah and on its immediate outskirts. However, the most significant are the King Faisal Mosque, the largest among them; Al Noor Mosque, the most magnificent; and Al Maghfirah, which sits in the Al Seef area, on the banks of the creek.
Al Noor Mosque on Buhairah Corniche is famous for its architecture which resembles the ‘Blue Mosque’ in Turkey. It is bedecked with 34 elegant cascading domes in the exterior.— KT photos by M. Sajjad
Sherifa Madgwick, manager of Communication and Development of the Sharjah Centre for Cultural Communication, says that Al Noor Mosque that stands beside the Khalid lagoon on Buhairah Corniche is the most famous. “It is hosting mosque visits every Monday at 10am for expatriates and tourists for them to know about UAE culture and religion.”
Sprawling in a 12,000-square-metre area, King Faisal Mosque is the largest in the emirate.
What makes Al Noor Mosque magnificent is the architectural design, which is influenced by the classical Turkish Ottoman architecture exhibited in the exceptional Sultan Ahmed Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque in Turkey.
Specifically, Al Noor Mosque is bedecked with 34 elegant cascading domes in the exteriors that always catch the eyes of visitors and faithful. “The central dome is surrounded by several half domes and finally at each corner by four small cupola domes,” Madgwick says.
On the order of Shaikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the construction of Al Noor Mosque started on April 6, 2003 and was completed after two years. It has a Ladies Section and can accommodate 2,200 people — 400 in the Ladies Section alone.
Situated on the Corniche, Al Noor Mosque is a living testimony to local residents, whose families have lived in this oldest settlement in the emirate.
Al Maghfirah Mosque in Al Seef area was opened in 2002.
King Faisal Mosque earns the honour of being the largest among Sharjah’s mosques and named after King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, former Ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Sprawling in a 12,000-square-metre area in the heart of Sharjah on King Faisal Road, it is near the Central Souq, Al Jubail Bus Station and the Sharjah headquarters of Dubai Islamic Bank. King Faisal accommodates 17,000 people, 12,000 of whom can sit inside. It has a Ladies Prayer Hall, which many female faithful find accessible to go. Local resident Amirah Al Tayer says that she often goes to this mosque on Eid as it is in the heart of the city. “It is very convenient for my family as we live nearby,” she says.
Built in 1984 and opened to believers by 1987, King Faisal Mosque holds lectures at night during Ramadan on Hadith, Fiqh, Aqidah and how to pray.
The third, Al Maghfirah Mosque, stands elegantly in the Al Seef area near Radisson Blue Hotel. Built in 1999, it opened for the general public in 2002 under the guidance of Shaikh Sultan.
This mosque accommodates 3,000 people in all, 2,000 of whom can sit inside. Said Al Thani, a resident of the Corniche area, says that he looks at this mosque like a sun among the stars of heaven. “It is God’s home, so I often perform my prayers in this mosque.”