Faisal Mosque Islamabad
Located in the foothills of the Margalla Hills, the Faisal Mosque is one of the largest and most impressive structures in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Named after its benefactor Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the mosque is the largest in Pakistan and one of the most famous and historically significant in the country.
When Saudi King Faisal paid a historic visit to Pakistan in 1966, he gave a massive $120 million grant to build a mosque in Pakistan. Vedat Daluke, a Turkish architect who designed the mosque, was deemed worthy of the competition.
Graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at Istanbul Technical University (ITÜ) in 1949, Dilke worked as an architect for the Turkish National Postal Service, PTT, and the Ministry of Public Works in 1950-1951. He did post-graduate studies at the Sorbonne Urban-ism Institute in Paris in 1951-1952 and worked in the offices of such distinguished architects as Auguste Parret and Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Cor busier. Daluke founded his architectural workshop in the capital Ankara in 1954. Between 1964 and 1968, he served as president of the branch of the Ankara Chamber of Architects and general secretary of the Turkish Chamber of Architects.
However, Daloke entered politics later in his career. In 1973, he became mayor of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) with 62% of the vote in Ankara, and continued in this role until 1977. After serving as mayor of Ankara, he continued to work as a freelance architect.
The facade of the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan, April 20, 2015. (Closure)
The land near the base of Margalla Hills was given to the Government of Pakistan for the construction of Faisal Masjid. However, the Saudi monarch was assassinated in Riyadh in March 1975, and the foundation was laid by his successor, King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, just a year later. In this case, the government of Pakistan gave the mosque and the road leading to this place named after the late Shah Faisal.
Once considered the largest mosque in the world, the Faisal Mosque was thought to be the national mosque of Pakistan. The mosque project was completed in 1986. The International Islamic University was established in the shrine a few years ago. But the university moved to a new campus in 2000.
The unusual design of the Faisal Mosque, without the domes and arches of other mosques around the world, is revolutionary in terms of combining the modern with the traditional. It is the culmination of modern architecture combined with traditional Pakistani art and decoration. This unconventional, artistic design and design is raising its profile in South Asia.
Interior view from Faisal Mosque. (Wikimedia Commons)
The 54,000-square-foot mosque resembles a Bedouin tent in the desert. The tent-like roof of the mosque is a truncated pyramid with four large minarets at its four outer corners. While the mosque’s octagonal central hall is influenced by Arab culture, the beautiful minarets are influenced by Turkish architecture.
Unlike traditional mosques around the world, the Faisal Mosque is not supported by a dome or an arch. The mosque is built of white marble, and its interior is decorated with ornate Turkish mosaics and chandeliers. The interior design is also available in several colors such as cerulean blue, cobalt blue, chrome green, deep and rich olive green, lemon yellow and chrome yellow orange with gold tones, calligraphy and abstract mosaic work. The west wall of the mosque has a mosaic design on which is written kalma (Islamic phrases usually spoken by Muslims) in Kufi script, repeated in a mirror image. The calligraphy and mosaic decorations, which add to the aesthetic value of the mosque, were created by Pakistani artist Sadeqeen. Architect Daluke once said of the mosque that he tried to capture the spirit, proportions and geometry of the Kaaba in a purely abstract way.
The exact arrangement:
The four walls of the mosque building extend in the shape of an isosceles triangle on a 215-foot base and are made of steel and concrete. The Haram of the mosque is 656.66 square feet while its roof is 131.24 feet above the ground level. On the eastern side is the main entrance to the sanctuary, which is further divided into nine vertical concrete blocks filled with crescent motifs.
There are various decorative designs on the outer walls of the mosque. A 13-foot ceiling, 4 inches above the ground level of the north courtyard, attaches to the north wall. And the roof is surrounded by a low wall that measures 1. 10 ft. The roof floor is paved with gray granite that contrasts with the white color of the mosque.
When it comes to the sloped roof of the Faisal Mosque, it is designed in a pyramid shape but has a gable roof structure at the bottom that is influenced by Greek architecture, while the sloped lines at the corners are inspired by the pyramid roof. Each diagonal triangular slab joint forms a gable point. This gable point is over 40 feet above the portico ground. The front beams that form the gable point at the top are attached to a rectangular, solid, 3D block that measures 4 feet, high, 3 feet, wide and 4 feet, 7 inches long. The variegated design of white Thassos marble covering the ceiling panels is visible in the distance and gives the soft impression of a network of vertical and horizontal lines.
A view from the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. (Wikimedia Commons)
Over a period of time, mosque minarets have become a symbol of Islam. The design of the minarets is also a combination of different elements from different places including Arab countries, Iran and Turkey. Above the mosque is a crescent-shaped gilded copper finial depicting minarets.
In terms of size and capacity, the Faisal Mosque can accommodate about 250,000 worshipers at a time inside its Haram and 100,000 worshipers outside in the courtyard. During Ramadan, the number of worshipers doubles, not only to pray at this mosque but also to attend special training lectures on Quran and Hadith here.
Today, the mosque has become a cultural icon and represents the sacred cultural symbol of Pakistan. Many believe that the mosque represents the hopes and aspirations of the people of the country, making it a national symbol of Pakistan. Due to its international reputation, it has become a major tourist attraction and an example of the influence of Islamic architecture. It is visited by visitors and tourists from other parts of the country. The Faisal Mosque is mentioned several times, even in the famous book “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini.