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Islamabad, Pakistan

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G-7/4 Islamabad Pakistan

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  • Shah Faisal Mosque: Get To Know Islamabad's Grand National Mosque

    Located in the city of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, Faisal Mosque (also known as Shah Faisal Mosque) is set in front of a stunning backdrop of the magnificent Margalla Hills. It also functions as the National Mosque of Pakistan. This iconic building is not just a famous landmark in Pakistan as it dominates the Islamabad skyline, but an important one in the Islamic world, religiously and architecturally.​ Construction of Faisal Mosque Picture Credit: Pakistan Tours Guide The building of the mosque was completed over a period of 10 years from 1976 to 1986. The total cost of construction amounted to about US $120 million dollars, most of which was funded by King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, whose name was later given to the mosque.​ The mosque was built on an elevated piece of land and has been planned strategically that is can be viewed from most places in the city. But, one has to be up-close to truly take in the beauty and magnificence of Faisal Mosque, which is why a Halal trip to Pakistan will not be complete without a visit here!​ The Architecture of Faisal Mosque Picture Credit: ProPakistani An international competition was held to select the design for the mosque, which received over 40 applications from 17 different countries. It was Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay's design that was ultimately chosen. His unconventional design was inspired by the Bedouin tent in the middle of the desert. As such, the main structure of the mosque is shaped with sharp angles, like a tent, and not the traditional domed structures of Islamic architecture that most mosques around the world follow.​ The outside of the mosque is made up of 8 sides and consists of 4 sharp minarets that border its corners, each of them standing at 88 meters tall. Each of these minarets is known to be the tallest in South Asia. A popular myth states that the ever-paranoid American CIA wanted to inspect them in fear that they were disguised missiles – which, of course, they weren't.​ The roof on the interior of Faisal mosque is about 40 meters high, giving the already massive hall a feeling of endlessness. Faint sounds of the Qur'an being recited echo off the walls of white marble and mosaics. These walls are adorned with golden calligraphy by famous Pakistani artist Sadequain, with large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling (a massive Turkish gold-colored one hangs in the main hall). The ceiling itself is a piece of art, designed with sharp lines and grooves.​ Designer Vedat Dalokay was presented the Agah Khan Award for Architecture on his exceptional and unique design of Faisal Mosque. It is revered as one of the best examples of modern Islamic architecture in the world.​ A Later Addition When General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the former president of Pakistan, passed away in 1988, his funeral, which was one of the largest in Pakistani history, was held at Faisal Mosque. A mausoleum dedicated to him was then installed at the site adjacent to the mosque. People can stop by and offer prayers for the dead here.​ The Largest Mosque in the World Picture Credit: Prelo At the time of completion, Faisal Mosque was the largest mosque in the world, covering an area of about 54,000 square feet. The main hall of the mosque is said to have the capacity to accommodate 100,000 worshipers, and 200,000 can pray in the areas including the surrounding courtyards and porticoes.​ Faisal Mosque held this title until 1993, when it was overtaken by other mosques in size and capacity, namely by the two main mosques in Saudi Arabia (Masjid-Al-Haram, and Masjid-An-Nabawi), and the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco.​ Today, it still remains as the largest mosque in South Asia, as well as the fourth largest in the world.​ Visiting Faisal Mosque Picture Credit: Trover Faisal Mosque is one of Pakistan's most popular tourist attractions, and visitors both Muslim and non-Muslim are welcome here. There is no entrance fee (except to store shoes and other valuables), but guests are welcome to donate as much or as little as they want to the mosque's fund.​ Of course, as this is a religious building first and foremost, there are certain rules that visitors must adhere to. You must make sure to remove your footwear before entering, and that you are dressed well (long, loose-fitting clothes, and a head cover for women).​ Eating inside the mosque is prohibited, but not explicitly so in the courtyard and surrounding open areas. You should also be on your best behavior, and refrain from making loud noises or acting inappropriately. The main prayer hall is only open during prayer times and is the only area closed to non-Muslims. It is also the only place where photography is frowned upon.​ There is a separate prayer hall for women, which is decorated with zebra marble imported from Greece. Other than the prayer halls, the mosque houses a large ablution area, lecture hall, library, cafe, museum, and a small gift shop near the entrance. There is also a university here, educating about 700 students.​ The areas surrounding the main structure consist of courtyards and porticoes. The entrance has a circular pond, which then leads to a larger pond and fountains, as well as the stairs that lead to the main prayer hall. The entire area is surrounded by lush greenery, and of course, the Margalla hills stand tall and proud behind.​ Getting to Faisal Mosque The Shah Faisal Mosque in Islamabad is located at Shah Faisal Ave, E-8, Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan. Public transport is available from most parts of the city to Faisal Mosque. If you are traveling from outside the city, you can take an intercity bus to 8th avenue in Islamabad, and then take another bus or a taxi to the mosque. Taxi rates are pretty inexpensive, the fare would be roughly Rs. 80 from the Blue Area.​...

  • 10 Mosques You Must Visit in 2017

    These beautiful must-visit mosques in 2017 should be added the travel checklist of any Muslim traveler. Visiting historic mosques around the world is a great way to see how a country’s environment impacted the architecture, style and the religion of Islam as well.  It is interesting to see the unique prayer facilities for Muslims around the world. Read HalalTrip's guide to get more information.   1) Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque - Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is located in Bandar Seri Begawan – it’s also one the most famous mosques in the world and a symbol of Islamic faith to Brunei. Being the tallest building in the capital city with the prominent golden dome that shines brightly and marble minarets, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is considered as one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. The interior is just as impressive with chandeliers, stained glass windows, arches and marble columns. Another interesting feature is the 16th century style ceremonial boat that floats on the lagoon.   2) Mosque of Cordoba - Cordoba, Spain  The Mosque of Cordoba is one the mosques that every Muslim traveler should visit being part of the historic mosques around the world - where its history dates back to the 10th century. The mosque is also known as the Cathedral Mosque of Cordoba. The entrance to the building is through the Patio de los Naranjos courtyard decorated with fountains and orange trees. The interior is unique with red and white striped arches and 856 columns, where the mihrab is a beautiful gilded architectural piece.   3) Sheikh-Lotfollah Mosque - Isfahan, Iran     Sheikh-Lotfollah Mosque is one of the most famous mosques in the world and is considered as a masterpiece in Islamic architecture. The construction of the Sheikh-Lotfollah Mosque took place from 1603 to 1619 in Isfahan. The mosque is best known for its decoration of blue and turquoise tiles and its breathtaking interior of the dome decorated with blue and gold artwork. The exterior of the dome is covered in cream tiles – a unique feature is that the tile colours change during the day which makes this mosque one of the best mosques in the Middle East that has to be seen.   4) Shah Faisal Masjid - Islamabad, Pakistan Shah Faisal Masjid is one of the top mosques to see in 2017 being one of best mosques in Asia and the fourth largest mosque in the world. The mosque was established in 1986 and is located in Islamabad at the Margalla Hills – it is considered an example of contemporary architecture. The unique, modern design of the mosque is based on a Bedouin tent and the slim minarets are based on Turkish designs. Inside the mosque, visitors can see a Turkish style chandelier and the marble interior decorated with mosaics and calligraphy.    5) The Bursa Grand Mosque - Bursa, Turkey  Also known as Ulu Cami, The Bursa Grand Mosque is one of the historic mosques around the world and its construction took place from 1396 to 1399. It is built in the Sejuk style and showcases early Ottoman architecture with 20 small domes and 2 minarets. In contrast to the simple exterior, high beautiful arches supported by square columns decorate the interior of the mosque – the large space can hold at more than 1000 worshippers. There are 192 wall monuments of inscriptions by Ottoman calligraphers and other artifacts decorated with Islamic calligraphy.   6) Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates  Sheikh Zayed Mosque is one of the most visited mosques in the world and is especially prominent with its beautiful gardens from both bridges that are connected to Abu Dhabi. The mosque also serves as the final resting place of the first president of the UAE - Sheik Zayed. The architecture is certainly impressive with more than thousand pillars holding up over 80 domes and 3 styles of calligraphy that can be seen throughout the mosque - the crystal chandeliers, white marble and precious stone decorations and inlays create a breathtaking interior. It is also the third largest mosque in the world.   7) Sultan Qaboos Mosque - Muscat, Oman The Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Muscat is one of the mosques that every Muslim traveler should visit at least once. Built from Indian sandstone, the mosque is a great example of modern Islamic architecture. A crystal chandelier hangs high above the praying halls, and the main interior feature of the mosque is the beautiful hand loomed Iranian carpet that took four years to weave. The central dome and minarets are the highlight of the mosque’s exterior.    8) Jama Masjid - Fatehpur, India As one of the historic mosques around the world, Muslim travelers should not miss a visit to the Jama Masjid in Fatehpur. It was built between 1644 and 1656 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The mosque’s architectural style is Iranian with three gates, four towers and two minarets constructed out of red sandstone and white marble with a large courtyard enough to accommodate around 25,000 people.     9) The Crystal Mosque - Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia Also known as Masjid Kristal, this unique mosque is one of the most famous mosques in the world that is definitely part of the top mosques to see in 2017. The mosque was opened in 2008 and has WIFI access as well and has become a major tourist attraction.Located at the Islamic Heritage Park in Kuala Terengganu on Wan Man, it is constructed out of glass, crystal and steel and changes colours depending on the lights at night.   10) Al-Masjid an-Nabawī - Medina, Saudi Arabia As one of the historic mosques around the world, the list for top mosques to see in 2017 will not be complete without adding Al-Masjid an-Nabawī located in the city of Medina. It is also known as the Prophet’s Mosque and was first built in 622 and is filled with Islamic, Ottoman and Mamluk revivalist architecture. This mosque has a flat paved roof with 24 domes - the mosque also has two mihrabs and the well-known Green Dome built in 1279 is situated above the tomb of Prophet Muhammad and Muslim leaders Abu Bakr and Umar.      Click here for more of HalalTrip's Best 10 lists for 2017!     ...



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