Faisal mosque (فیصل مسجد) is one of the largest mosques in Pakistan, located in the north of Faisal Avenue, capital city Islamabad in the foothills of Margalla. Faisal Masjid is a major tourist attraction in Islamabad and often referred to as an influential symbol of Islamic architecture. Its courtyard and main hall have the capacity to hold 10K worshippers at the same time.
Shah Faisal Mosque was named after the late king of (KSA) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ‘Shah Faisal’. The design of the mosque is inspired by Bedouin tent. The construction was started in 1976 funded by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. A contest was held across 17 countries in the world to choose the right design and famous Turkish architect (Vedat Delokay) was declared as the winner of the contest.
The mosque is an open house for everyone to visit however there are few contradictions.
- Women should wear a headscarf
- Appropriate dressing for women is mandatory
- Women who are on periods/menstruating shouldn’t visit
- Both men and women are not allowed to enter the mosque wearing shoes. Take a pair of socks with you or walk barefoot
- No one is allowed to enter the hall of the mosque, but only during the prayer times
There are other Do’s and Don’t’s clearly written on the entrance of mosque make sure to follow them or you will end up in jail.
Faisal mosque follows the Islamic and contemporary architecture style, eight-sided concrete shell inspired by Arabian deserted tent model and the cubic Kaaba in Mecca, surrounded by four unusual minarets (each 90 meters tall) inspired by Turkish architecture.
“I tried to capture the spirit, proportion and geometry of Kaaba in a purely abstract manner. Imagine the apex of each of the four minaret as a scaled explosion of four highest corners of Kaaba – thus an unseen Kaaba form is bounded by the minarets at the four corners in a proportion of height to base. Shah Faisal Mosque akin to Kaaba.”
Explains architect Vedat Delokay to his students in a design class
Faisal mosque houses a library, lecture hall, museum, and cafe. A few years back International Islamic University used to have their campus inside courtyard but recently relocated at a new campus.
Its floors are covered with beautiful white marbles and decorated with mosaics and calligraphy designed by famous local artist Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi (best known for calligraphy and his unique style of paintings, also received Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, and Pride of Performance by Pakistani Government) and a spectacular Turkish style chandelier.
The view is spectacular from inside as well outside, unfortunately, it became a tourist destination instead of a spiritual or religious one. However, if you are planning to visit Islamabad or Rawalpindi add Faisal mosque to your todo list. It is worth watching.
Directions: Shah Faisal Ave, E-8, Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory
You can also take a taxi from the Blue Area to get there or the metro, PIMS metro station is a few meters away.