An ideal blend of Islamic traditions and the rich history of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is also the epitome of stunning Islamic architecture. It is one of the largest mosques in the world, representing the magnificence of its home country and the architectural genius of the Muslim empires of the era gone by.
The design blends together different Islamic architectural schools making it the perfect symbol of the region’s rich traditions, culture and history. A highly visited tourist attraction, the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is full of superlative feats of design and architecture. Read our detailed review of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre to understand why this is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the GCC region.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has 82 domes, 24-carat gold chandeliers, 1,000 columns and the world’s largest hand-knit carpet. The main prayer hall has one of the world’s largest chandelier. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque interior was superbly designed by a team of experts.
Envisioned by the late H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre Abu Dhabi conveys a message of peace, tolerance and diversity. It links the glorious past of the Trucial States to the UAE’s thriving present.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is famous for promoting Islamic values and heritage. If you are a visitor or plan to visit the UAE soon, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Tour should be at the top of your to-do list. It is also one of the top attractions that people visit during long weekends in Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque History
His Highness the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan started planning for the mosque in the late 1980s. On November 5, 1996, work commenced on a mosque that could accommodate over 50,000 worshipers. It took around 11 years to complete the construction and the mosque opened its doors for the public on Eid Al Adha in 2007. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque UAE’s cost for construction was close to AED 2B!
The architectural wonder – Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Facts
One of the most interesting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque facts is that more than 3,000 workers from 38 contracting companies took part in the construction. Craftsmen from Greece, New Zealand, China, United Kingdom, Turkey, Morocco, Germany, Italy and India were part of the process.
The 82 domes made of white marble cladding are the most striking feature of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The traditional Islamic crescent finials are decorated with gold-glass mosaic.
An interesting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque fact is that the minarets of the mosque were built in Mameluke, Ottoman and Fatimid styles. It’s a beautiful fusion of traditional art, design and Islamic architecture.
The use of multi-coloured marbles gives a unique look to the mosque. Crowns in the columns are placed on the bottom, which is quite innovative and a slight diversion of how columns are designed usually.
The colour of the walls, carpet and columns follows the overall theme of the mosque. Glass work is highly impressive, using Islamic designs of symmetry as well as repetition. Altogether the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque architecture is nothing short of breathtaking.
Cultural tours of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
You can take part in the cultural tours of the Mosque’s passageways and halls under the direction of qualified Emirati guides. You will learn about Islamic civilisations, cultural traditions, architectural aesthetics and the history of the mosque. Non-Muslims are also welcomed to this stunning mosque where thousands attend to offer prayers each day and ask for blessings from God.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Library
A modern and specialised library is present for visitors at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It is located on the ground floor of the Visitors’ Centre. If you are interested, you can read about the rich Islamic heritage. Many books highlight the role of Muslim scientists of the past.
The vision for the future is to create a multicultural society through intercultural discourse and interactions. Non-Muslims can learn about the history of Islam and become more aware of Islamic values, paving the way for interfaith harmony.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Library days and timing
You can visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque library on the following days and times:
Sunday to Thursday from 09:00 am to 06:00 pm
(Friday & Saturday closed)
Religious Courses at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The mosque management organises Quran memorisation and recitation courses. Qualified reciters, approved by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments are present to facilitate the process. So, if you are a resident of Abu Dhabi, this could help you discover your spiritual side. Moreover, you can send your children as well, as generally, the Quran memorisation process starts at an early age.
Do we have to buy Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque tickets?
No, you dont have to buy Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque tickets as entry is free.
How can I take Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque tours?
Many tour operating companies offer Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque tours. The mosque has its own free guided tours as well. Three tours are conducted on weekdays, two on Fridays and five on Saturdays. Please note that these guided tours are for large groups only.
What is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque dress code?
While the mosque is a tourist attraction, it is still a sacred place of prayer and worship. So when you visit the mosque, wear modest clothes. You should wear a full-sleeved shirt and pants. Women must wear head scarfs as well. If ladies forget to carry one, they can get an abaya from the mosque for free.
Where is Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque located?
Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street, Abu Dhabi
How can I contact the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque management?
You can call them at +971-2-419-1919
What are the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque opening hours?
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque hours are as follows:
Saturday – Thursday from 09:00 am to 10:00 pm | Fridays from 04:30 pm to 10:00 pm
What are the prayers call timings at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi?
Abu Dhabi prayer timing
Fajr: 04:04 am
Sunrise: 05:30 am
Dhuhr: 12:26 pm
Asr: 03:46 pm
Maghrib: 07:16 pm
Isha: 08:42 pm
* Start of prayer may differ from prayer call time
* Prayer timings change frequently during the year
Can I take pictures in Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque?
Yes, you can take as many pictures as you like when you visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. If you are really into photography, go during the afternoon as the sunlight can help you take some amazing Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque pictures. However, please ensure that you are respectful at all times.
How can I go to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque from Dubai?
You could travel via bus, or a taxi or even drive yourself. Driving your own car is the cheapest option, which should cost you about AED 27 to AED 30 (depending on your car). You can also use a taxi which would cost you around AED 250 if you are traveling from the centre of Dubai. Last, bus travel is another cheap option. Whilst you only pay around AED 35, it takes around 3 hours to get there, if you are starting from the Al Ghubaiba bus station.
This wraps up our guide to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Regardless of your religious beliefs, this is one place that should be on your bucket list. The grandeur of this mosque is a sight to behold, and one that you will regret missing out on.
While Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world, the other beautiful mosques in Abu Dhabi are also worth visiting if you have the time. However, if you have young children, go for some indoor activities for summer in Abu Dhabi. Or perhaps you would want to create a happy balance for the adults and kids by visiting the beautiful beach resorts in Abu Dhabi. To know more about the best entertainment and leisure spots in the capital city, stay tuned to MyBayut.