Do you ever wonder which are the largest mosques in the world? As the number of Muslims around the world increases, there need for places where people can fulfill their prayers is also increasing. That’s why today, you can find mosques that can accommodate more people than the population of a small country and some are even large enough to have their own zip code! In this post, we’ll see which are the 15 largest mosques in the world by area.
16. Jamkaran Mosque, Jamkaran- 40,000 Square Meters
Jamkaran is a small village in Iran located around six kilometers away from the city of Qom. According to several historic sources, this mosque was built in 984 C.E. by Sheikh Hassan ibn Muthlih Jamkarani. The rear of the mosque is home to a well of requests where according to legends, the Twelfth Imam shared a brief shining moment of loving communication with the Creator. Supposedly, this revelation happened on Tuesday which is why today, at this place, pilgrims from around the country come every Tuesday to tie strings in a knot in hope that their wishes will be received by Imam Mahdi.
The mosque saw a lot of changes throughout the years but it remained relatively under the radar until the early-2000s. However, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power, one of the first things he did was to donate £10 million to the mosque to turn the normal-size mosque into one of the largest mosques in Iran. Today, the mosque can easily accommodate up to 150,000 pilgrims.
15. 1st November of 1954 Great Mosque, Batna- 42,000 Square Meters
The mosque of 1st November of 1954 was built in the city of Batna in the 1980s to commemorate the Algerian War of Independence that started on the same date. Today, the mosque has a maximum capacity of 30,000 worshippers and stretches across 42,000 square meters. It’s also the second-largest mosque in Algeria.
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14. Samarinda Islamic Center Mosque, Samarinda- 43,500 Square Meters
Located on in a suburb of Samarinda, the Samarinda Islamic Center is one of the largest mosques in Southeast Asia. Its main building area covers 43,500 square meters and the main tower consists of 15 floors with a height of 6 meters. The mosque has seven minarets; one main and six additional minarets that reference to the Six Pillars of Islam. There’s also a huge dome that reaches 99 meters in height (a reference to the 99 names of Allah). And speaking of symbolics, there are also 33 steps that connect the ground floor to the main floor, or 11 steps per floor (which is the number of Islamic prayer beads). Today, the mosque can accommodate up to 40,000 worshipers.
13. Uganda National Mosque, Kampala- 48,562 Square Meters
Even though much younger than most mosques on this list, the Uganda National Mosque is one of the largest mosques in Africa. After its construction in 2006, the mosque was named after Moammar El Gaddafi. This mosque was the colonel’s gift to the Muslim population of Uganda. However, after his death, the mosque’s name changes to Uganda National Mosque because the new Libyan administration was reluctant to keep investing in the mosque that honors the name of Gaddafi.
Today, this mosque is also home to the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council and has a capacity of 20,000 worshipers. The most prominent feature of this mosque is the 50-meters high minaret tower accessible via 304 steps that lead to the top.
12. Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, Dhaka – 50,000 Square Meters
With 1,252 people per square kilometer, Bangladesh is the world’s most densely-populated country. Having this and the fact that Bangladesh is a predominately Muslim country in mind, it’s no surprise that Bangladesh’s capital is home to one of the largest mosques in the world. Located in the center of Dhaka, Baitul Mukarram is the national mosque of Bangladesh.
The mosque was constructed in 1968 and is a beautiful mix of modern and traditional elements with a maximum capacity of 40,000 people. Its main building lies on an elevated platform and has eight floors with a total height of 99 feet. There isn’t a dome in the main building but this is compensated by the two-domed entrance porticoes on the southern and northern side of the premises.
11. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul- 60,000 Square Meters
On this list of the largest mosques on the list, Hagia Sophia is the oldest one; it has been around since even before Islam became a religion. Constructed in 537 in (then) Constantinople, Hagia Sophia was the largest Byzantine cathedral. Throughout the years, Hagia Sophia was a Christian Cathedral (until 1,054), an Orthodox Church (1054-1204 and 1261- 1453), a Roman Catholic Cathedral (1204- 1261), a mosque (1453-1935), and a museum (1935-2020).
Recently, the museum was turned into a mosque once again by Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and its current maximum capacity is somewhere around 30,000 worshipers. Today, Hagia Sophia is an important part of Turkey’s cultural heritage and one of the most precious gems of Istanbul.
10. Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca- 90,000 Square Meters
Home to the second-tallest minaret in the world, this is the largest mosque in the Mediterranean and second-largest in Africa. It was built on the Atlantic Ocean as a way of paying homage to the throne of Allah that was built on water referenced in the Qur’an. Today, the mosque is a mix of Islamic, Moorish, and Moroccan architectural style and is actually a lot more than a mosque. It’s one of Casablanca’s most prominent landmarks and has its own museum, Koranic school, a hamam, and a big library. Today, the mosque can accommodate up to 90,000 visitors at a time.
9. Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta- 93,400 Square Meters
If we take worshiper capacity into consideration, that Istiqlal Mosque could make a case for the largest mosque in Southeast Asia but since we’re ranking the largest mosques in the world by area, this mosque comes close-second and ninth in the world. This mosque also happens to be the national mosque of Indonesia, hence, the name ‘Istiqlal’, meaning liberty/independence. The mosque was opened in 1978 and can accommodate up to 200,000 visitors.
8. Great Mosque of Central Java, Semarang- 100,000 Square Meters
The only mosque in Indonesia and Southeast Asia bigger than Istiqlal (by area) is the Great Mosque of Central Java. This mosque has a distinct architecture with three buildings forming a U-shape with the domed mosque in the middle. The courtyard features six hydraulic umbrellas that reference to the six tenets of Iman and onsite, you’ll also find a library and accommodation facilities for pilgrims to stay overnight. Finally, perhaps the most impressive feature of this mosque is its roof that resembles a traditional Javanese house and symbolizes the ascending into heaven for anyone who seeks Allah’s blessing.
7. Faisal Mosque, Islamabad- 130,000 Square Meters
Covering 130,000 square meters with a maximum capacity of 300,000 people Faisal Mosque is one of the most beautiful places in Pakistan and the largest mosque in the country. It’s named after Saudi King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, responsible for financing the construction of this mosque that later becomes the national mosque of Pakistan in its new capital, Islamabad. Upon its construction in 1986, Faisal Mosque was the largest mosque in the world until 1993. Today, it’s still one of the largest mosques in the world and can accommodate up to 300,000 pilgrims.
6. Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque, Doha- 175,164 Square Meters
Named after the founder of Wahhabism, Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque, this is the national mosque of Qatar. The mosque dates back to 2011 and it stretches across 175,164 square meters but even though the surface is so big, the mosque has a capacity of “only” 30,000 people. Additionally, there are 3 main doors and 17 side entrances with 65 domes that cover the whole structure. Interestingly, even though the mosque was built in 2011, there were already many controversial events surrounding it. Some of them include banning parents with children from entering the mosque during tarawih, preachers denying the 09/11 events, and calling for the end of Jews, Christians, and Shia on several different occasions.
5. The Prophet’s Mosque, Medina- 384,000 Square Meters
Also known as Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, The Prophet’s Mosque also has this name because it was established by the prophet Muhammad himself. He originally lived very close to this mosque in Medina after he escaped from Mecca and his tomb is located in the Green Dome that’s perhaps the most prominent part of the mosque. The Prophet’s Mosque is also famous for being the third mosque in the history of Islam and the first mosque in Arabia to use electricity. Throughout the years, the mosque was modified and expanded several times. Today, it’s a beautiful mix of Islamic, Mamluk, and Ottoman styles, and can also accommodate up to 1,000,000 pilgrims.
4. Al-Haram Mosque, Mecca- 400,800 Square Meters
Al-Haram or the Sacred Mosque is not only one of the largest mosques in the world but it’s also the holiest and arguably the most prominent one. The mosque is named by the Qur’an as the first house built for humanity’s worship of Allah. It covers 400,800 square meters and every year during Hajj, it accommodates up to 4,000,000 people! Some of the mosque’s most notable features are the Black Stone (the cornerstone that rests in the center of the courtyard and the Abraham Station (a rock that supposedly represents Abraham’s footprint). Unfortunately, non-Muslims can’t visit this mosque (just like the Prophet’s Mosque) and can’t even enter the holy city of Mecca.
3. Djamaa el Djazaïr, Algiers- 416,000 Square Meters
Djamaa el Dazair is the most recent addition to the list of largest mosques in the world and home to the tallest minaret in the world (73 meters). The construction began in 2012 and the mosque was completed in 2019. Interestingly, the main constructor was the China State Construction Engineering Corporation while the winning design was one of the German architects KSP Juergen Engel Architekten.
The mosque covers an area of 416,000 square meters with a capacity to accommodate 120,000 people with a parking lot that can accommodate 7,000 vehicles. The most spectacular parts of the mosque are the prayer hall with 618 octagonal columns and 6 kilometers-long calligraphic writing engraved with lasers and the dome that rises to 70 meters of height and has a diameter of 50 meters.
2. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat- 416,000 Square Feet
This list of largest mosques in the world couldn’t be complete without one of the most luxurious mosques; the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat. Similarly like the mosque in Doha, this mosque has a relatively small capacity (“only” 25,000 people) compared to its massive size. The mosque was built in 2001, took 6 years to complete and they sure didn’t save on anything while building it.
The men’s prayer hall has a stunning chandelier (arguably the world’s largest) that comprises 600,000 Swarovski crystals and 24-carat gold plating and the mosque is also home to the world’s largest handmade Persian rug.
1. Imam Reza Shrine, Mashhad- 598,656 Square Meters
Last but certainly not least, we round up this list with the largest mosque in the world; Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad, Iran. This grandiose mosque is also the religious and spiritual center of Iran. It was built around the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Imam of Twelver Shiites. After the Islamic Revolution in Iran, this spiritual center has been expanded with several additional courts, a museum, an Islamic university, four seminaries, a cemetery, and a library.
The Imam Reza Shrine covers 598,656 square meters, most of which covered by important cultural sites. Hence, no wonder this place is also known as “The heart of Shia Iran”. Today, this is a pilgrimage site for Shias from around the world and has a maximum capacity of 1,500,000 visitors.
Finally, it’s your turn; did you ever visit any of the largest mosques in the world? Which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
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