A Mosque is not only a place of worship for the Muslims but also a place with various roles including social, political, and aesthetic. There are certain specifications for a place to be called as a ‘mosque’ and once a mosque is established, it is supposed to stay there till the Final Day of Judgment as per the Muslim belief. Also, there are certain etiquette to be observed inside the mosques such as shoes are not allowed, cleanliness must be observed, clothing must be modest and gender segregation. Originally, the mosques were built on the Arabian Peninsula and as the religion of Islam spread to other places in the World, the mosques also spread. The domes and minarets are some of the characteristic features of the mosques all around the World. Especially in Muslin minority areas, the platform of the mosques is used to promote civil participation. It is also used to promote peaceful social co-existence during the times of conflict. Most of the largest mosques not only accommodate a large number of people, but also have an architectural style which appeals to one’s aesthetic sense. The architecture of these mosques is not only symbolic of Islamic architecture but it also reflects the architectural styles of these Mosques’ respective regions. This list of the top 10 largest mosques is made on the basis of the total number of people who can be accommodated inside a mosque including its main halls and courtyards.
10. Saleh Mosque, Yemen
Saleh mosque is the largest mosque in Yemen. Opened in 2008, it is not only one of the most modern mosques but is also a tourist attraction in Yemen. Built on a total area of 27300 square meters, it can accommodate 44,000 worshipers. It also has a special area reserved for the women. The Saleh Mosque’s beautiful architecture is a combination of Islamic as well as Yemeni architecture. The mosque stands proud with 100 meters high 6 minarets. The central roof has 5 domes where the main dome is 27.4 meters wide in diameter and 20.35 meters high above the roof. There are 10 doors leading to the eastern and the western sides of the mosque while 5 doors on the southern side which opens up to the courtyard. The building is surrounded by beautiful gardens adorned with flowers. The mosque is equipped with a modern sound system, air-conditioning, a library, and also a parking place.
9. Jama Masjid, India
Jama Masjid is situated in Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi (India). It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between the years 1644-58, the same emperor who built the Taj Mahal. This mosque is said to be Shah Jahan’s last architectural extravagance. It is built with sandstone and white marble. This splendid mosque, with the Red Fort on its East, is also a tourist attraction. It stands on a high platform, has 40 meters high two minarets, four towers, and three gateways one of which was reserved for the royals’ entry. It holds many historic relics including a holy Quran written on deer-skin. Its main hall can hold 10,000 worshipers while the courtyard can hold 75,000 worshipers.
8. Badshahi Mosque, Pakistan
The Badshahi mosque is one of the historic monuments of Lahore, Pakistan. Built by the sixth Mughal Emperor, Aurengzeb, it was completed in 1673. It once held the status of the largest mosque in the World (1673-1986) but now is the second largest mosque in Pakistan and the eighth largest mosque in the World. Its main hall can hold 5000 worshipers while its courtyard can accommodate 95,000 worshipers. The mosque has 4 minarets (53.75 meters high), 2 side domes and a central dome (20 meter diameter at the base, 15 meters height). The architecture show glimpses of Islamic, Persian, India, and Central Asian styles. The Badshahi Mosque has further architecturally influenced other mosques including the Shaikh Zayed Mosque (Abu Dhabi, U.A.E) and Taj ul Masajid (India).
7. Hassan II Mosque, Morocco
The Hassan II Mosque, completed in 1993, is located in the city of Casablanca, Morocco. It is Morocco’s largest mosque and seventh largest mosque of the World. With a height of 210 meters, it has the tallest minaret in the World. Complementing a single minaret, it also has a single dome. From the Mosque’s hall, the Atlantic Ocean is visible through the glass floor (since the mosque stands on a promontory). Its architectural style is Moorish. The main hall can accommodate 25,000 worshipers while the courtyard can hold a massive number of 80,000 people. It is away from the noise and pollution of the city, boosting a pleasant environment. Also, it has beautiful gardens and a courtyard with 41 fountains.
6. Istiqlal Mosque, Indonesia
The Istiqlal Mosque, meaning the Mosque of Independence, opened in 1978 to commemorate the independence of Indonesia. Located in Jakarta, it is Indonesia’s as well as South-East Asia’s largest mosque. The mosque has two domes and a single minaret; the main dome has a diameter of 45 meters (symbolizing 1945 Proclamation of Indonesian Independence). It has 7 gates of entrance. The architectural style of the Mosque is very modern and International, prompting the critics to question its lack of resemblance with Islamic and Indonesian architecture. The Mosque is surrounded by a garden which houses a pool and a splendid fountain. Amongst the Libyan leader Gaddafi, Prince Charles of the United Kingdom, the United States’ president, Barack Obama has also visited this mosque (in 2010).
5. Taj-ul-Masajid, India
The name of the Masjid translates to ‘The Crown of Mosques’. Taj-ul-Masajid is located in Bhopal, India. Its construction began in the 1800s on the instructions of the Begum of Bhopal during the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar. However, unfortunately, due to lack of funds and political instability, the construction was delayed. It was finally completed and opened in 1985. Its architectural style is typical of Mughal architecture, resembling the Badshahi Mosque of Lahore and Jama Masjid of Delhi. It has 3 domes and 2 minarets. It is ranked as the 5th largest Mosque of the World since it has the capacity to accommodate 175,000 worshipers.
4. Faisal Mosque, Pakistan
Faisal Mosque is the largest mosque in Pakistan, located in the capital city of Islamabad. It is also Pakistan’s national mosque, completed in 1986. It has a marvelous design made by a Turkish architect, Vedat Dalokay. This huge and spacious mosque has a unique design, mimicking a desert Bedouin’s tent. Thus, although it does not have a traditional dome but it is adorned with 90 meters high 4 minarets (tallest minarets in South Asia). The Mosque is named in the honor of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia who grandly funded this project. It is sitting at the beautiful foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. It was World’s largest mosque from 1986-1993. It has a capacity to accommodate around 100,000 worshippers inside the prayer hall while about 200,000 worshipers can cover its courtyard and adjoining grounds. Till this day, it is the largest Mosque of the Sunni Muslims in the South Asia and the 4th largest Mosque in the World.
3. Imam Reza Shrine, Iran
Imam Reza Shrine, located in Mashhad (Iran) is a huge complex. It marks the place of death of the seventh Imam of the Shiites, Imam Reza, who was killed there. It has a golden dome and minarets. The complex includes a library, a cemetery, prayer halls, dining halls, and a university. It has seven courtyards where each courtyard can accommodate a 100,000 people. It is the largest mosque in Iran and gets 3rd position in top 10 biggest mosques in the world.
2. Masjid Nabawi, Saudi Arabia
The Masjid Nabawi is not only the second largest mosque in the world but also the second most revered Islamic site. Established in Saudi Arabia, it was opened in 622 AD. It was also the second mosque to be built in the World after the prophet Muhammad migrated to Medina. Its characteristic features include the Green Dome, 10 minarets (each 105 meters tall), 3 mahrabs and a minbar. Its architectural style is classical Islamic and Ottoman. Since it is a major pilgrimage site for the Muslims, its total capacity of a 1000,000 is utilized during the Hajj.
1. Masjid al-Haram, Saudi Arabia
Masjid al-Haram is the holiest site for the Muslims since its center is the heart of Islam, The Kaaba, known as the House of God. The Kaaba was established during the time of Prophet Abraham. It also provides the direction facing which all the Muslims around the World pray. Masjid al-Haram opened around 638 AD. Masjid al-Haram is located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It has 9 minarets, each 89 meters high. Its current total area is 88.2 acres where the World’s largest annual gathering takes place during Hajj (which includes circumambulating around the Kaaba) and when its maximum capacity of holding 4 Million worshipers is utilized. However this great expansion of Masjid al-Haram has come at a cost of the demolition of some of the ancient buildings for example the house of Abu Jahal, and the house where Muhammad was born.