All those beautiful mosques… My smartphone is full of photos, I am not kidding. You cannot deny it: it is a special kind of architecture. These Arabs know what they are doing.
There are however certain features that are common to all mosques. Every mosque has a mihrab, a niche in the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca: the direction in which Muslims pray. Also, most mosques have a minbar (or pulpit) from which an Islamic scholar is able to deliver a sermon or speech. Mosques come in all shapes and sizes: they differ from region to region based on the density of the Muslim population in a certain area.
Personally I am in love with minarets, those tall and beautiful towers of a mosque. The earliest mosques were built without minarets. The action of adhan could be performed in many other locations. The hadiths tell us that the Muslim community of Madina called out to prayers from the roof of the house of Muhammad, a house that doubled as a house for prayers. The oldest standing minaret is part of Tunisia’s great Mosque of Kairouan as you can see on the photo below.
Below you will find my top five of beautiful mosques from all around the world. Enjoy and share!
1) Al-Masjid al-Haram, Saudi Arabia.
The largest mosque in the world. It surrounds the Islam’s holiest place, the Kaaba, in the city Mecca.
2) Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, United Arab Emirates.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was designed to represent the cultural diversity of the Islamic world. In fact, Sheikh Zayed’s final resting place is in the actual mosque itself.
3) The Blue Mosque, Turkey.
The Blue Mosque, or Sultan Ahmet Cami, is situated in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I, this mosque is a fantastic example of classical Ottoman architecture and is therefore very photogenic.
4) Jama Masjid, India.
The largest mosque in India by far, it is located in Old Delhi, not too far from the historic Red Fort. It was commissioned by the famous Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1650. Inside its doors, Jama Masjid contains an antiquated copy of the Quran written on deer skin.
5) Al Nabawi Mosque, Saudi Arabia.
Al-Nabawi mosque is the second holiest mosque in Islam and the second largest mosque in the world, after the al-Haram mosque in Mecca.
If you have any other favorite mosques, feel free to let us know in the comment section below!