With Islam as its main religion, Dubai will have many mosques or masjids, the worshipping place for Islam followers. There are around 200 mosques in Dubai, where Muslims pray. However, Friday prayer, which is a congregational prayer held by Muslims every Friday, is attended more at prominent mosques in Dubai.
The Grand Mosque symbolizes Dubai’s deep-rooted Islamic culture. Located in the historic district of Bur Dubai, the mosque is one of the largest in the UAE with a capacity for over 1200 worshippers. Built in the 1900s as a Maktab or elementary school for children, its main purpose was teaching grammar and Islamic subjects such as Quran recitations. It was not until 1998 that Grand Mosque was rebuilt to its present status with a high minaret towering 70 meters.
The mosque is situated near the Textile Souk on the Bur Dubai side of the creek, which attracts many visitors every day. Its simplistic design does not instantly grab your attention as a mosque. However, a queue of shoes outside the huge complex reminds you of the importance of this place. The stunning Islamic architecture is beautified with Persian styled 45 small domes, 9 large ones and tall minarets adorned with blue mosaic work, stained glass panels, sandstone walls and wooden shutters. Non-Muslims are not allowed entry into the mosque but can visit the minarets.
Another mosque to mention along with the Grand Mosque is the Jumeirah Mosque. It is one of the most striking mosques in Dubai and non-Muslims can enter the holy place. The mosque is built in traditional Fatimid style with modern architectural influences and distinguished by its stone structure. As one of the most photographed mosques in Dubai, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding organizes regular tours for non-Muslims to encourage cultural understanding and better insight into Islamic values. Tours are arranged every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 10:00 am. Children under 5 years are not allowed. Visitors must gather at the Jumeirah mosque gate for tours.
Last but not least, the understated yet outstanding Ali bin Abi Talib Mosque in Dubai completes the circle Bur Dubai’s shapely domes with a tall, petering minaret create a healthy, religious aura. It is just next to the Dubai Museum in the textile area of Bur Dubai Souq.