Ramadan 2020: 6 of the Most Beautiful Mosques Around The World
Like many events in 2020, this year’s Ramadan is likely to be a little different compared to the usual. Yet, while many may be asked to keep inside their homes during Islam’s most spiritual month, it doesn’t take away from the beauty of both the faith and its many religious artefacts.
Ramadan is one of the most deeply revered traditions of the Muslim community—it is in fact, a pillar of the religion. Held on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, it is when Muslims believe God to have sent the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad. For believers, this is a month of deep faith and introspection, one of communal prayer, fasting, and self-sacrifice. It concludes a month later, on Eid al-Fitr, when Muslims celebrate the “Feast of Fast-Breaking”.
In honour of Ramadan, and of hajj (the pilgrimage that Muslims usually undertake to go to Mecca), we’ve compiled a list of some of the world’s most beautiful and historic mosques. Although there may be fewer pilgrims making their way to Mecca this year, we hope this list will inspire people of all religions to see the beauty of Muslim tradition.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (United Arab Emirates)
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is—in one word—grandiose. Its gold-tipped minarets gleam beautifully under the Abu Dhabi sunlight, a bright and shining contrast to the pristine white of its domes and arches. As one of the world’s largest mosques, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is home to 82 domes, more than 1,000 columns, 24-carat-gold gilded chandeliers and also features the world's largest hand-knotted carpet. Its beautiful courtyards carry reflective pools that lead you to its main prayer room. Designed by multiple architects and artisans, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a beautiful display of how various cultures can come together to create a spiritual utopia for people of all backgrounds.
(Related: Tatler Itinerary: What To Do In Abu Dhabi)
Shah Jahan Mosque (Pakistan)
The Shah Jahan Mosque stands proudly in the city of Thatta, which was the capital of the Sindh province between the 16th and 17th centuries. Designed in traditional Turkish and Persian style, the mosque is characterised by its red bricks and blue tiles. Stepping inside the premises promises an awe-inspiring glimpse at intricately designed archways, ceilings, and walls. Built with 100 domes in total, the Shah Jahan Mosque is also one of the most acoustically-sound. It is said that a person speaking inside one end of the dome can be heard at the other end.
The Blue Mosque (Turkey)
The Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish, is a beautiful culmination of Ottoman and Byzantine design. Its interior is lined with over 20,000 pieces of handmade ceramic tiles, some of which depict flowers, fruits, and trees. The upper levels of the mosque are dominated by the colour—blue paint on the walls and over 200 stained glass windows. Verses from the Qur'an are also present, done by Seyyid Kasim Gubari, thought to be the greatest calligrapher of his time. Its exterior is just as magnificent as its interior with an arrangement of towering minarets, a spacious court, and a hexagonal water fountain.
(Related: From Local Bazaars to Iconic Attractions—Here Are the Best Things to do in Istanbul, Turkey)
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque (Iran)
Sometimes called The Pink Mosque, Iran’s Nasir al-Mulk Mosque houses an amazing prayer room best known for its gorgeous stained glass windows and intricate Persian carpets. Its carved pillars frame a kaleidoscope of colours that pour into the premises every day—definitely a magical sight to behold. The structure has survived multiple earthquakes and is a promising destination to the faithful every year.
Jama Masjid of Delhi (India)
The Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India. Situated in Delhi, its construction began in 1644 and was completed by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. It is mostly made of red sandstone and marble, with a massive courtyard that can accommodate 25,000 worshippers at a time. Visitors are welcome to climb up into any of its four towers, which offers a commanding view of the busy streets of Delhi. It’s also interesting to note that the mosque houses multiple relics of the Prophet Muhammad, including a Qur'an written on deerskin as well as a sandal once owned by the prophet.
(Related: Travel Like A Maharaja In India)
Masjid Selat Melaka (Malaysia)
The Masjid Selat Melaka is a beautiful waterside mosque at the historic city of Melaka, Malaysia. It sits shoreside on an artificial island and is especially striking at dusk or at dawn, when the sun paints the sky a thousand shades of blue, pink, orange, and purple.