Sunday, February 3, 2008

In and Around Shaikh Zayed Al Nahyan Mosque

This weekend all of us went to the newly-opened Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque in Abu Dhabi. This is the front facade. The grounds are still under construction.

I drive by the mosque often. M and I were excited to visit, but the kids, at first, weren't so enthusiastic. As soon as we arrived, however, they changed their minds. Immediately you feel you are in a very special place that the whole world will come to know.

We are non-Muslim westerners, but no one looked askance at us. We took off our shoes when we arrived; my daughter was handed an abaya and a shayla and I (finally) got to wear my abaya and shayla.

A close-up of one of the many beautiful columns.
I believe this is the main prayer hall. The carpet is the largest in the world; it was made in Iran and flown to Abu Dhabi in nine pieces.
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Curious said...

The pictures are beautiful..! Is it also open for non muslims?

Frances Gunnison said...

Thank you for the compliment - M took all of the photos, as usual.
The mosque is open to all. We took off our shoes when we arrived, and my daughter was given an abaya and shayla to wear in the main prayer hall. (I had one on already.)
I don't know if it is open to everyone on Fridays, as this is their holy day.
Once the call to prayer started we were gently guided out of the main prayer hall, but we were allowed to walk around the courtyard outside.

Land-Frau said...

Frances, congrats, you wore your abaya in public.How did you feel? Bet you looked lovely!

Frances Gunnison said...

I loved wearing my abaya!

Eppler Family said...

Hi Frances,

beautiful pictures - I'm really surprised you got in that easy... Franziska and I will go on a guided tour on Feb 27th. It's organized by the "German ladies of Abu Dhabi". But as I was reading your blog I thought that an individual visit makes it even more special...


Frances Gunnison said...

We did enjoy visiting, but I bet you'll learn more on a guided tour than we did on our own.
I've heard many things about the mosque but who knows what is true and what isn't?
In other words, I wish there was some literature at the mosque, or even some plaques giving official information on the materials used and what different parts of the mosque are used for. At the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, for example, there are free, guided tours of the cathedral that are led by volunteers trained in speaking about that majestic building.
Keeping the mosque open to all certainly engenders good feelings in non-Muslim visitors; the government could enhance that bridge-building by educating non-Muslims with more information about Islam.

Anonymous said...

Seeing these pics have increased my urge to visit the Mosque soon. In fact I was planning yesterday to go there, but yet again procrastination took over me. Thanks for sharing the pics & I must say you have a great blog. Cheers :-)

Frances Gunnison said...

Thanks Dubai Guy, your blog (Life in Dubai)is terrific by the way. Also, I stand corrected: there are tours of the mosque. I will post the info on my blog soon, if not today.

Frances Gunnison said...

DearDubai Guy,
Please accept my apologies: your excellent blog is "Dubai Guy Diary" - not "Life in Dubai." I am sorry! Though I am usually fairly scatter-brained, I don't mix up people's blogs...I blame it on this darned broken arm of mine!