Mosques that host some of the world’s largest Eid congregations

An aerial night view of the majestic Grand Mosque in Makkah teeming with worshippers. (SPA)
Updated 07 June 2019

Mosques that host some of the world’s largest Eid congregations

  • Muslims worldwide will gather this week in mosques and outdoor locations for Eid Al-Fitr prayers
  • Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah is the holiest mosque in Islam, being the site of the Hajj pilgrimage

DUBAI: Muslims will soon observe Eid Al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of Ramadan. 

Eid Al-Fitr, which means Festival of the Breaking of the Fast, will see Muslims gather for the congregational prayer in mosques or special prayer grounds around the world. Preachers congratulate Muslims on the blessed occasion, pray to Allah Almighty to accept their fasting, charity and good deeds, and wish them good outcomes.  

MASJID AL-HARAM (GRAND MOSQUE)

Location: Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Capacity: 900,000 worshippers; 4 million during Hajj




An aerial night view of the majestic Grand Mosque in Makkah teeming with worshippers. (SPA)

History: Dates back to the era of Prophet Ibrahim, who built a smaller, simpler version with his son Ismael. The late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz launched a major extension project in 2007 to raise the masjid’s capacity to two million. After passing through the control of various caliphs, sultans and kings, the mosque is under the control of the King of Saudi Arabia in his capacity as the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

Significance: The Grand Mosque is the holiest site in Islam, being the place of pilgrimage for the Hajj and also as the main phase for Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage. The masjid includes sites such as the Kaaba, the Zamzam Well, Maqam Ibrahim and the hills Safa and Marwa. 

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THE PROPHET'S MOSQUE

Location: Madinah, Saudi Arabia




The Prophet's Mosque in Madinah. (SPA file photo)

History: Built by Prophet Muhammad in 622 AD, the original mosque was an open-air building and served as a community center, a court and a religious school. The structure was expanded many times over the years in the reign of the caliphs and the Umayyad, Abbasid and Ottoman states. The largest expansion operation was undertaken by the Kingdom in 1994.

Significance: Many pilgrims who perform Hajj travel to Madinah to visit the Prophet’s Mosque due to its strong connection to the life of the Prophet. The masjid is home to the tomb of Prophet Muhammad. Every year tens of thousands of pilgrims perform the ritual of Itikaaf, involving seclusion and staying in the mosque with the intention of worshipping.

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FAISAL MOSQUE

Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

Capacity: 100,000 worshippers




Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan. (Supplied photo)

History: Impetus for the masjid’s construction came from Saudi King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz. In 1969 an international competition was held in which architects from 17 countries submitted 43 proposals. The winning entry was that of Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay. Construction began in 1976 and ended in 1986. The design was conceptualized as the national mosque of the country and a symbol of the hopes and aspirations of Pakistan. It was dedicated to the memory of King Faisal, who bore the cost of the project as a gift to the Pakistani people.

Significance: The shape of Faisal Mosque is inspired by a desert bedouin’s tent and the Kaaba in Makkah, flanked by four unusual minarets inspired by Turkish architecture but lacking both the traditional domes and arches of most other mosques. The walls are adorned with golden calligraphy, with large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The ceiling itself is a piece of art, designed with sharp lines and grooves. The mausoleum of General Zia Ul-Haq is located adjacent to the mosque.

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SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE:

Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Capacity: More than 40,000 worshippers and visitors




The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. (Supplied photo)

History: Designed by Syrian architect Yousef Abdelky and constructed between 1996 and 2007, the project was launched by the late president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. The architects were British, Italian and Emirati, and design inspiration came from Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, Egypt and other Islamic countries. More than 3,000 workers and 38 companies took part in the mosque’s construction.

Significance: Sheikh Zayed’s vision for the Grand Mosque was to incorporate architectural styles from different Muslim civilizations and celebrate cultural diversity. The largest mosque in the UAE, it is the key place of worship for daily prayers, Friday gathering and Eid prayers. The hollows of the domes are etched with verses from the Qur’an and painted with gold leaves in Naskh lettering.

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JAMA MASJID

Location: New Delhi, India

Capacity: 25,000 worshippers




The Jama Masjid in New Delhi, India. (Supplied photo)

History: Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan after he moved his capital from Agra to Delhi, the mosque’s construction began in 1644. The architect was Ustad Khalil, who used red standstone and white marble. The construction, involving 5,000 artisans, was completed by 1656. The masjid was inaugurated by a cleric from Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Sayed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari, on whom Shah Jahan bequeathed the title Shahi Imam. These days, the masjid is managed by the Delhi Waqf Board and the Jama Masjid Committee under the direction of the present Shahi Imam.

Significance: The mosque faces west toward Makkah and houses several relics of Islamic religious significance, including an age-old transcript of the Qur’an. Each year thousands of Muslims throng the masjid to offer special Eid prayers in the morning. Seven arched entrances are inlaid with inscriptions in black marble detailing the history of the mosque.

 

 

 

Disclaimer​ : An earlier version of the article had erroneously stated that "The Grand Mosque, which surrounds the Kaaba, has a Green Dome in the southeast corner. First painted green in 1837, the dome is built above the Prophet’s tomb and the tombs of Caliph Abu Bakr and Caliph Umar."


Amazon indigenous leaders accuse Brazil of ‘genocide’ policy

Updated 18 January 2020

Amazon indigenous leaders accuse Brazil of ‘genocide’ policy

  • Hundreds of elders gathered this week at Pairacu, deep in the rainforest, to form a united front against Bolsonaro’s environmental policies
  • “We do not accept mining on our lands, loggers, illegal fishermen or hydroelectricity. We are opposed to anything that destroys the forest,” a leader said

PIARACU: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s pledge to open up the Amazon to mining companies was tantamount to “genocide,” indigenous leaders said Friday at a meeting to oppose the government’s environmental policies.
Hundreds of elders gathered this week at Pairacu, deep in the rainforest, to form a united front against Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, which have seen deforestation in the jungle nearly double since the Brazilian leader came to power a year ago.
“Our aim was to join forces and denounce the fact that the Brazilian government’s political policy of genocide, ethnocide and ecocide is under way,” the group said in a draft manifesto drawn up at the end of the summit.
“We do not accept mining on our lands, loggers, illegal fishermen or hydroelectricity. We are opposed to anything that destroys the forest,” the text said.
They also said that “government threats and hate speech” had encouraged violence against Amazon communities and demanded punishment for the murder of indigenous leaders.
At least eight indigenous leaders were killed last year.
Brazil’s leading indigenous chief, Raoni Metuktire, said Thursday he would personally travel to the capital Brasilia to present the meeting’s demands to Congress.
“Over there, I’m going to ask Bolsonaro why he speaks so badly about the indigenous peoples,” said the 89-year-old leader of the Kayapo tribe.
Preliminary data collected by the National Institute for Space Research showed an 85 percent increase in Amazon deforestation last year when compared to 2018.