Istiqlal Mosque, or Masjid Istiqlal, (Independence Mosque) in Jakarta, Indonesia is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. This national mosque of Indonesia was build to commemorate Indonesian independence, as nation’s gratitude for God’s blessings; the independence of Indonesia. Therefore the national mosque of Indonesia was named “Istiqlal”, an arabic word for “Independence”.
After the acknowledgement of the independence Indonesia from The Netherlands in 1949, there was a growing idea to build a national mosque for this new republic, befitting for a country with the largest Muslim population in the world. The idea of constructing a grand Indonesian national mosque was launched by KH. Wahid Hasyim, Indonesia’s first minister for religions affairs,and Anwar Cokroaminoto, later appointed as the chairman of theMasjid Istiqlal Foundation. The committee for the construction of the Istiqlal Mosque, led by Anwar Cokroaminoto, was founded in 1953. Anwar proposed the idea of a national mosque to Indonesian President Sukarno, who welcomed the idea and later helped to supervise the construction of the mosque. In 1954, the committee appointed Sukarno technical chief supervisor.
Sukarno actively followed the planning and construction of the mosque, including acting as the chairman of the jury for the mosque design competition held in 1955. The design submitted by Frederich Silaban, a Christian architect, with the theme: “Ketuhanan” (Indonesian: Divinity) was chosen as the winner. The foundation stone was laid by Sukarno on 24 August 1961 and the construction took 17 years. Indonesian president Suharto inaugurated the Indonesian national mosque on 22 February 1978. It is still the largest mosque in the region: more than 120,000 people can congregate at the mosque at the same time.
The rectangular main prayer hall building is covered by a 45 meter diameter central spherical dome. The dome is supported by twelve round columns and the prayer hall is surrounded by rectangular piers carrying four levels of balcony. Staircases at the corners of the building give access to all floors. The main hall is reached through an entrance covered by a dome 10 meters in diameter. The interior design is minimalist, simple and clean cut, with minimal adornment of aluminium geometric ornaments. The 12 columns are covered with aluminium plates. On the main wall on qibla there is a mihrab and minbar in the center. On the main wall, there is a large metalwork of Arabic calligraphy spelling the name of Allah on the right side and Muhammad on the left side, and also the calligraphy of Surah Thaha 14th verse in the center.
The latter structure is directly connected to the arcades which run around the large courtyard. The mosque also provides facilities for social and cultural activities, including lectures, exhibitions, seminars, conferences, bazaars and programmes for women, young people and children.
Some Muslims in Indonesia said Istiqlal’s dome and minaret structure was too Arabic in style. They regarded the architecture as being out of harmony with the Islamic culture and architecture in Indonesia. In response, former president Suharto began an initiative to construct more mosques of the Javanese triple-roofed design.
Hagia Sophia (Turkish: Ayasofya, Greek: Αγία Σοφία; “Holy Wisdom“, Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia) is a former patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. It was the largest cathedral ever built in the world for nearly a thousand years, until the completion of the Seville Cathedral in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between A.D. 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and was in fact the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site (the previous two had both been destroyed by riots). It was designed by two architects, Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. The Church contained a large collection of holy relics and featured, among other things, a 50 foot (15 m) silver iconostasis. It was the patriarchal church of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the religious focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly 1000 years.
In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and Sultan Mehmed II ordered the building to be converted into the Ayasofya Mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed, and many of the mosaics were eventually plastered over. The Islamic features — such as the mihrab, the minbar, and the four minarets outside — were added over the course of its history under the Ottomans. It remained as a mosque until 1935, when it was converted into a museum by the Republic of Turkey.
For almost 500 years the principal mosque of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia served as a model for many of the Ottoman mosques such as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque of Istanbul), the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, and the Rüstem Pasha Mosque.
Although it is sometimes referred to as Saint Sophia (Greek for wisdom), the Greek name in full is Ναός τῆς Ἁγίας τοῦ Θεοῦ Σοφίας, Church of the Holy Wisdom of God, and it was dedicated to the Holy Wisdom of God rather than a specific saint named Sophia.
The Mezquita (Spanish for “mosque“) of Cordoba is a Roman Catholic cathedral and former mosque situated in the Andalusian city of Córdoba, Spain. Under the rule of Islam, it was built as the second-largest mosque in the world, and is perhaps the most accomplished monument of the Umayyad dynasty of Cordoba. After the Spanish Reconquista, it was transformed into a church, and some of the Islamic columns and arches were replaced by a basilica in early Baroque style. Today it houses the main church of the diocese of Cordoba in Spain
The construction of the Mezquita started in approximately 600 A.D. as a Christian Visigothic church. Later, the Mezquita (originally the “Aljama Mosque”) was reworked for over two centuries to refashion it as a mosque, starting in 784 A.D. under the supervision of the first Muslim Emir Abd ar-Rahman I, who used it as an adjunct to his palace and named it to honor his wife. The land was bought by the Emir from the previous owners. It is believed that the site included the Visigothic cathedral of St. Vincent. When the forces of Tariq ibn-Ziyad first occupied Córdoba in 711, the Christian cathedral was suppressed.
Several explanations have been proposed to explain the mosque’s unorthodox orientation. Some have suggested the mihrab faces south because the foundations of the mosque are borrowed from the old Roman and Visigoth constructions. Others contend that Abd ar-Rahman oriented the mihrab southward as if he were still in the Ummayyad capital of Damascus and not in exile.
The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd ar-Rahman III ordered a new minaret, while Al-Hakam II, in 961, enlarged the plan of the building and enriched the mihrab. The last of the reforms was carried out by Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir in 987.
It was the most magnificent of the more than 1,000 mosques in the city and was at one time the second largest mosque in the Muslim world. It was connected to the Caliph’s palace by a raised walk-way, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for the islamic rulers of all times.
The city in which it was built was subject to frequent invasion and each conquering wave added their own mark to the architecture. The building is most notable for its giant arches, with over 1,000 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, and granite. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple which had occupied the site previously, as well as other destroyed Roman buildings. The double arches, pictured above, were a new introduction to architecture, and helped support the tremendous weight of the higher ceilings. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch. The Mezquita also features richly gilded prayer niches. A centrally located honey-combed dome has beautiful blue tiles decorated with stars. The mihrab is a masterpiece of architectural art, with geometric and flowing designs of plants. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 A.D. with the completion of the outer naves and orange tree courtyard.
In 1236, Cordoba was recaptured from the Muslim army by King Ferdinand III of Castile and the mosque was reconsecrated a Christian church. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the structure of the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features: Enrique II rebuilt the chapel in the 14th century.
The most significant alteration was the construction of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the structure. It was constructed by permission of Carlos V, king of united Spain. Its reversion to a Christian church (officially the Cathedral of the Assumption
The Shah Faisal Masjid in Islamabad, Pakistan, is among one of the largest mosques in the world. It is a state National Mosque. It is a popular masjid in the Islamic world, and is renowned for both its size and its architecture covering an area of 5,000 square meters with a capacity of 300,000 worshippers.
The impetus for the mosque began in 1966 when the late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia suggested it during a visit to Islamabad. In 1969, an international competition was held in which architects from 17 countries submitted 43 proposals. After four days of deliberation, Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay’s design was chosen. Construction of the mosque began in 1976 by National Construction of Pakistan, led by Azim Borujerdi, and was funded by the government of Saudi Arabia, at a cost of over 130 million Saudi riyals (approximately $120 million USD today). King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz was instrumental in the funding, and both the mosque and the road leading to it were named after him after his assassination in 1975. The mosque was completed in 1986, and used to house the International Islamic University. The mausoleum of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, whose 1988 funeral at the site was the largest in the history of Pakistan, is located adjacent to the mosque. The farcical nature of the burial is in the fact that the only thing that is buried there is the “alleged” lower jaw of Zia-ul-Haq. Furthermore, there is no conformation as to whether the bone belongs to either the pilot or fellow passengers on the Pakistan Air Force No. 1 in which Zia died. The site is known amongst the locals as “Jabrah chowk” (Jaw Zone). Many conservative Muslims criticised the design at first for its non-conventional design and lack of the traditional dome structure, but virtually all criticism was eventually silenced by the mosque’s scale, form, and setting against the Margalla Hills upon completion.
It is located at the end of Shaharah-e-Islamabad, putting it at one end of the city and in front of a magnificent backdrop provided by the Margalla Hills. It is a focal point of Islamabad, and famous and recognized icon of the city
The masjid has an area of 5,000 square meters and can hold about 300,000 worshippers, including those in the adjacent grounds. It is one of the largest mosques in the world. Its relatively unusual design fuses contemporary lines with the more traditional look of an Arab Bedouin’s tent, with its large triangular prayer hall and four minarets. However, unlike traditional masjid design, it lacks a dome, and like a tent, the weight of the main prayer hall in the center is supported by the four minarets. The minarets borrow their design from Turkish tradition and are thin pencil like. The interior of this prayer hall holds a very large chandelier and its walls are decorated with mosaics and calligraphy by the famous Pakistani artist Sadeqain. The mosaic pattern adorns the west wall, and has the ‘kalima’ writtern in early kufic script, repeated in mirror image pattern.
The masjid’s architecture is a departure from the long history of south Asian muslim architecture. However, in some ways it makes a bridge between Arabic, Turkish and Pakistani Muslim architectural traditions.
The Imām ‘Alī Holy Shrine (Arabic: حرم الإمام علي), also known as Meshed Ali or the Tomb of ‘Alī, is a mosque located in Najaf, Iraq. ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib, the cousin of Muhammad, First Shī‘ah Imām, and the fourth caliph is buried here. Buried next to Ali within this mosque are Prophets Adam and Noah according to Shi’a belief.
The Imām ‘Alī Mosque is the third holiest site (see below) for some of the estimated 200 million followers of the Shī‘ah branch of Islām worldwide – approximately 20 percent of total Muslims. It is estimated that only Karbalā, Makkah and Madīnah receive more Muslim pilgrims.
Asia Times Online reports about Qom being the second holiest city in Iran. In an attempt to impress the importance of the Hazrat-e Masumeh shrine located in Qom, the article quotes the following famous hadith:
[O]ur sixth imam, Imām Ja‘far as-Sādiq, says that we have five definitive holy places that we respect very much. The first is Makkah, which belongs to God. The second is Madīnah, which belongs to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, the messenger of God. The third belongs to our first Imām of Shia, ‘Alī, which is in Najaf. The fourth belongs to our third Imām, Husayn, in Karbalā. The last one belongs to the daughter of our seventh Imām and sister of our eighth Imām, who is called Fātimah, and will be buried in Qom. Pilgrims and those who visit her holy shrine, I promise to these men and women that God will open all the doors of Heaven to them.
The Cultural Heritage Photo Agency based in Iran states: “The world’s 120 million Shias regard Najaf - a center of scientific, literary and theological studies - as their third holiest site, behind Mecca and Medina”. Modarresi News calls it: “The place was the burial site of Islam’s second most important figure and third holiest shrine“.
Zaman Newspaper, based in Turkey, reports that “Because Najaf is home to the Imam Ali tomb and Mosque, Shia Muslims regard Najaf as the third holiest city after Mecca and Medina”. Referring to Najaf, ShiaNews.com describes it as “the place is the burial site of Islam’s second most important figure and third holiest shrine”
The Guardian described Najaf, as the third holiest place of Shi’ite Muslims The Boston Globe reports “for the world’s nearly 120 million Muslim Shias, Najaf is the third holiest city, behind Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The CNN website states: “the Shia the city of Najaf, Islam’s third holiest city after Mecca and Medina and home to the Tomb of Imam Ali, cousin of Muhammad and father of Karbala’s Husayn ibn Ali”.
On the website of The Virtual Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the Islamic World, a division of the University of Georgia, under Miscellaneous Relevant Links, it cites a link to a news story “about Iraqi troops using the shrine of Ali in Najaf and about the instructions given to American troops not to damage the shrine, which, after Mecca and Medina, is the holiest city for Shias.” And “American authorities have not taken an active public role in the mosque investigation because of Iraqi sensitivity to any US presence at the Najaf Shrine. The mosque is the most sacred Shia shrine in Iraq and the third holiest in the world after Mecca and Medina”
It is believed by majority of Shī‘a Muslims that this mosque is the authentic burial place of Lady Zaynab, whereas the mosque in Cairo by the same name belongs to: Zaynab b. Yahya b. Zayd b. ‘Alī Zaynul ‘Ābidīn (ie. the great gand-daughter of the Twelver Shī‘a’s Fourth Imām).
On September 27, 2008, a there was a car bomb attack on the intersection leading up to the mosque
Al-Azhar University (pronounced “az-HAR”, Arabic: الأزهر الشريف; Al-ʾAzhar al-Šarīf, “the Noble Azhar”) in Egypt, founded in 975, is the chief centre of Arabic literature and Sunni Islamic learning in the world and the world’s second oldest surviving degree granting university. It is associated with Al-Azhar mosque in Old Cairo. The university’s mission includes the propagation of Islamic religion and culture. To this end, its Islamic scholars (ulemas) render edicts (fatwas) on disputes submitted to them from all over the Sunni Islamic world regarding proper conduct for Muslim individuals or societies (a recent example being the clarification and thus prohibition of female genital cutting). Al-Azhar also trains Egyptian government appointed preachers in proselytization (da’wa).
Its library is considered second in importance in Egypt only to the Egyptian National Library and Archives. In May 2005, Al-Azhar in partnership with a Dubai information technology enterprise, ITEP launched the H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Project to Preserve Al Azhar Scripts and Publish Them Online (the “Al-Azhar Online Project”) with the mission of eventually providing online access to the library’s entire rare manuscripts collection (comprising about seven million pages)
Baitunnur (also spelled Baitun Nur or Baitun Noor) (Arabic for “House of Light”) is a mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the Castleridge community of Calgary, Alberta. It is known for being the largest mosque in Canada. It is estimated that there about 3,000 members of the Ahmadiyya community in CalgaryThe mosque complex is 4,500 m² (48,438 sq ft) in size. A 97 ft (29.6 m) tall steel-capped minaret tower and large steel dome are the most noticeably externally visible features of the mosque. Around the exterior of the building are written 99 Arabic words, each an attribute of Allah’s character as stated in the Qur’an. In addition to a place for worship, the mosque complex includes classrooms, office space, a children’s area, a kitchen and a community centre. In the prayer hall of the mosque hangs a 400-kilogram chandelier that cost $50,000. Baitunnur is the seventh Ahmadiyya mosque by Naseer Ahmad, the chief designer. Manu Chugh Architects served as the local architects for the project.
The Bait´ul Futuh Mosque (engl.: House of Victories) is the largest mosque in Western Europe. It was built by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in 2003. It is in the south-west London suburb of Morden.
- Area: Entire site is situated on 5.2 acres (21,000 m2)
- Capacity: Can accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers in three prayer halls
- Facilities: Includes gymnasium, offices, library and television studios.
- Cost: £5.5 million contributed by the community’s members
- Location: Next to Morden South railway station and 150 yards from Morden Underground station.
- Foundation Stone Laid by: Mirza Tahir Ahmad
- Inaugurated by: the current head of the Ahmadiyya organisation, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who bases his operations in nearby Fazl Mosque, but does give his weekly Friday sermon from Baitul Futuh.