Of the 1,418 mosques in the emirate of Dubai, Al Farooq Omar bin Al Khattab Mosque, officially opened in the Al Safa area on July 29, 2011, is the largest. The mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, is located behind the Emarat petrol station near the second interchange of Shaikh Zayed Road.
The landmark structure, matching the emirate’s ambition, accommodates 2,000 worshippers, apart from an Islamic Centre attached, both spanning over 8,700 square metres.
Mohammed Jassim Al Mansouri, Head of the Engineering Section at the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai, told Khaleej Times that the Islamic Centre attached to the mosque is designed to play a similar role that the historic Blue Mosque in Turkey played, with its extended community centre, a public kitchen, a hospital, a bazaar and a school.
However, Dubai’s Blue Mosque complex won’t have a hospital or a public kitchen. It rather houses a school for teaching the Holy Quran and Islamic courses, a library with a collection of some 4,000 Islamic and other religious titles to help advance learning, and a lecture hall that hosts inter-faith dialogue to forge better religious understanding.
“Our idea is to pass on the message of Al Farooq, the second Caliph and beloved companion of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), who as a ruler extended his arm of benevolence to people of all faiths,” said Abdul Malek, Manager of the Islamic Centre.
Elaborating, he said Omar bin Al Khattab gave general amnesty to the Christian and Jewish population of Jerusalem after it was peacefully occupied by Muslim troops.
“Aiming to continue his legacy of peace and brotherhood, the centre will host regular inter-faith dialogues and talks by non-Muslim scholars to dispel misconceptions about different religions.”
Funded by Dubai-based businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor, the mosque’s architecture is a mixture of Ottoman and Andalusian styles, bringing peace and serenity.
The structure is based on Turkish mosques of the Ottoman era — more precisely the legendary Blue Mosque — though on a much smaller scale. The interior decorations, designs, calligraphy, inscriptions and patterns are taken from the Moorish style of Islamic Spain.
Held by a central dome that is 30 metres high and supported by 21 other half and full domes, resembling the Turkish style of building, the mosque has four 70-metre-high minarets.
“Handmade by the specially flown in Moroccan craftsmen, who are still the guardians of Andalusian science of building, the intricate geometric designs and glazed tile patterns coupled with a mesmeric mix of calligraphy, Quranic inscriptions and 124 stained glass windows combine to form the most soothing symphony for a connoisseur’s eyes,” said Al Mansouri. The grandeur and splendour of the interior take one back to the realms of the Mughals, the Ottomans and the Moors. It’s just that like the person it is named after, Al Farooq. It stands tall.