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ABU DHABI ● Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque home of the world's largest carpet
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque home of the world's largest carpet

The epitome of vacationing in a Muslim country is to visit a Mosque! "He who builds a mosque in the way of Allah, God will build a house for him in paradise." So said Abu Bakr. Mosques are a symbol of Islamic architecture, and they play an essential role in reflecting the superiority of Allah the Almighty and for Muslims to join together and perform the ritual of prayer (Salat) together. In the Muslim faith, Ramadan is marked by 29-30 days of fasting from dawn to sunset to purify oneself by removing material desires to focus entirely on devotion and service to God. I had the incredible privilege of visiting Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), during Ramadan, which made my vacation super memorable. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims build stronger relationships with Allah through fasting, selfless actions, and praying. If I was not aware of Ramadan I would have found it strange to see many bus and shuttle drivers assembling on the ground (literally). They were crossed-legged with a sajjāda (prayer rug) at the bus stops breaking their fasts, I saw this on my visits to "The Dubai Mall" at sunset on several occasions.


JW Marriott- Marquis - Dubai, UAE
JW Marriott- Marquis - Dubai, UAE

It's my fifth day in UAE. At 9 AM, I'm scheduled to take my PCR test to enter the city of Abu Dhabi. At the time of vacation, a PCR test is required within 24-hours of visiting Abu Dhabi. The cost was USD 100, plus you had to be fully vaccinated. Regardless, I still felt like a child, happy with anticipation about my visit to the largest Mosque in the UAE, The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque! The nurse came to my hotel room and proceeded with the agonizing q-tip swirling up and around my nostril. It's now the day of the anticipated tour. I was appropriately dressed, or so I thought because when I arrived at the Mosque, I went to the lady's room to freshen up after the hour ride from Dubai. However, the staff informed me that I needed to cover my entire arm. Fortunately, there was a gift shop where I was to purchase a pair of black sleeves for 10AED (2.72 USD).

After clearing security, which resembled a TSA checkpoint, I had to show proof of negative PCR. Then onto the moving sidewalk, a short elevator ride, and a golf cart to let me out in front of The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

The Magnificence, The Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque doesn't disappoint with its bold architecture and over-the-top style. I couldn't witness any praying as I did when I visited Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca in Morocco. Nevertheless, I was just as excited about the tour of this 72,178 square feet mosque! The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is 9th among the largest mosques in the world, and it is not only famous for its size but for its mind-blowing ornaments. This magnificent building has 82 domes (qubba in Arabic), 24-carat-gold gilded chandeliers, and a 60,546-square-foot hand-knotted carpet which is also the world's largest. The rug took more than a thousand weavers over a year to complete, and 38 tons of cotton and wool. The most dominant color of the Mosque is the white walls which were 100% made of Macedonian. Throughout this beautiful piece of architecture, the more than 1,000 columns are adorned with colorful stones not stenciled that are in the shape of flowers all over the Mosque.

A mosque to the Muslim faith is a place to kneel and touch their foreheads to the ground as a sign of submission to the will of God. You may or may not be impressed with the facts I shared but do not cheat yourself of a chance to visit this gigantic monument in Abu Dhabi. Be sure to check out my video "Shopping in Dubai" on my Youtube channel across N abroad Travel to get tips on how to shop in Dubai. Get more inspiration, tips, and hacks by following me on Instagram, and subscribe to the blog.


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