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Finding Serenity in Faisal Mosque

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It’s evening, and I can hear the call of prayer from my house. I know it’s coming from Faisal Mosque, which is only a few minutes’ drive from my house. I suddenly feel the urge to go and offer my evening prayers at this magnificent mosque. I grab my car keys and head in the direction of mosque. When I’m offering my prayers, I sit there for some time to feel the serenity. Everything seems quiet and noble. In this moment, I know that this is my favorite place. Some of you might ask, a mosque? Aren’t women supposed to like shopping at the markets or visiting other exciting places? For me, nothing beats the mosque.

The mosque is fundamental to Islam, and it is known to play a major role in the distribution of knowledge, truth and justice. Mosque is actually an English word. In Arabic, the name for mosque is Masjid.

The mosque is the place to worship Allah subhanatalla (God). It’s also a place where meetings are held regarding significant matters. In the past, and even these days, young children go to mosques for religious education. Muslim rulers and caliphs of almost every era have paid special attention to the construction of the mosques around Pakistan, keeping in mind the role and significance of mosques Islam.

We believe that Allah does not need our worship; instead, we need his guidance and worship. Whenever I am seeking guidance, I offer prayers, and the place that gives me absolute peace of mind is Faisal Mosque.

Faisal Mosque is one of the largest Masjids in South Asia. It is located in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, between the Margalla hills, the westernmost foothills of the Himalayas. It was designed by Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay, a renowned Turkish architect and a former mayor of Ankara, Turkey. His most famous project was the Faisal Mosque, which he completed in 1986.

The idea to build this marvellous Masjid was conceived by King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and funded by the Saudi government. The construction of the mosque was completed with estimated costs of 130 million Saudi Riyal. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are Islamic countries that together share the bounties and traditions of Islam. Relations between the two countries have always been friendly, and during the reign of King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz in (1903 -1975), the King decided to present this special gift to increase harmony and unity between two countries. Faisal Mosque is symbol of love and peace between the two countries. Upon Shah Faisal’s death, it was decided that the Masjid should be named the Shah Faisal Mosque in the honor of King.

Dalokay designed Faisal Masjid to resemble a desert Bedouin’s tent, and it has since become an iconic structure in Islamabad and throughout the world. Its location, with the picturesque backdrop of the Margalla Hills, represents its great significance and means everyone can see it from miles around both day and night.

Faisal Masjid’s interior fascinates me, so much so that I find it difficult to put into words. The main tenet shaped hall is built using white marble, decorated with mosaics, and features a spectacular Turkish-style chandelier. The inside hall calligraphy is prepared by the Pakistani artist Sadeqain. Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi, a world-renowned Pakistani artist who was best known for his skills as a calligrapher and a painter.

Faisal Masjid was considered the largest Masjid in the world from 1986 until 1993, when it was overtaken in size by the newly completed Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. In the 1990s Faisal Masjid slipped to fourth place in terms of size due to the consequent enlargements of the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) of Mecca and the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina at Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, it is huge. Faisal Masjid prayer hall can accommodate 10,000 Muslim worshippers. There is room for an additional 24,000 in the porticoes and 40,000 in the courtyard.

Many people visit Faisal Masjid to pray and witness its beauty on daily basis. I encourage you to come to Islamabad to learn more and be inspired by the beauty of the Shah Faisal Mosque.

PAKISTAN-Palwasha-Khan-M

 

MEET THE LOCAL: PALWASHA KHAN

 

Image. Photo by Palwasha Khan.

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