Breathtaking architecture, fascinating history, inspiring culture, and unforgettable beauty… 

Did you know, around 75 per cent of the UAE population is Muslim? It will come as no surprise then that the UAE is home to some of the most breathtaking mosques in the world, some of which allow modestly-dressed non-Muslims in for a tour in-between prayers.

Here are six of the most beautiful mosques to visit in the UAE: 

Grand Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai

jumeirah mosque

The Grand Jumeirah Mosque first opened back in 1979 and was a gift from the Late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the former Ruler of Dubai and father of the current Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.  This architectural treasure has grown to be one of the emirates’ most loved landmarks for its interactive Open Doors. Open Minds program. Located in Jumeirah 1, the mosque is open to the public at 10am and 2pm every day except Fridays (timings may differ during Ramadan). The 75-minute tour costs Dhs35 per person and comes with light Emirati refreshments at the majlis before the program starts so be sure to get there early for registration.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The largest mosque in the UAE, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, is easily one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. With a total of 82 domes and over 1,000 columns and surrounded by reflective pools, just the sight of the mosque takes your breath away. From marbled halls to gold-plated chandeliers, mosaic artwork to amethyst-and-jasper-embedded columns, the place of worship is a sight to behold. Sheikh Zayed Mosque was the vision of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – the Founding Father of the UAE. Its open-door policy welcomes visitors from all over the world and up to 50,000 worshippers daily.

Abrahamic Family House, Abu Dhabi

Abrahamic Family House

Saadiyat Island’s Abrahamic Family House is now welcoming worshippers. At the heart of the Abrahamic Family House: Imam Al-Tayeb Mosque, St. Francis Church, and Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue. Elegant and minimalistic, the mosque’s exterior is made up of seven arches, reflecting the importance of the number seven in Islam. In addition to the three individual sites of worship, there are communal areas such as the serene and reflective peace garden. To make the most out of the experience, book online in advance to secure yourself one of the expert ‘storytellers’. Entry is free of charge.

Al Noor Mosque, Sharjah

al noor mosque

Al Noor Mosque is Sharjah’s only mosque that is open to non-Muslims with free one-hour tours at 10am every Monday and Thursday. Dominating the emirate’s skyline and overlooking Khalid Lagoon, the mosque has a classic Ottoman design with 34 domes and the interior of the mosque is etched with intricate calligraphy of verses from the Holy Quran. As a popular tourist destination, the mosque offers free traditional Emirati dress upon entry as well as Arabic coffee or gahwa.

Al Bidya Mosque, Fujairah

On the road between Dibba and Khorfakkan, lies the oldest standing mosque in UAE: Al Bidya Mosque. Built from mud and stone, the ancient religious building is still in use and is recognised by UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its unique architecture, with four domes instead of one, and archaeological carvings. The small prayer room can accommodate up to 70 people.

Al Bidya, Fujairah. @visitfujeirah

Iranian Mosque, Dubai

Not too many people know about this beautiful mosque, but you might be lucky enough to stumble upon it while wandering around the area near the Textile Souk. Also known as the Ali ibn Abi Talib Mosque, the building is adorned with intricate blue tiles. It’s one of two ornately decorated Iranian mosques in Dubai – the other, Imam Hussein Mosque, is located in Satwa.

Images: Social/Unsplash