Several weeks after we arrived in KSA, in January of 2014, we went on our first trip to Bahrain. Bahrain is an island kingdom just over the causeway from Al Khobar where we live. Based on traffic it can take anywhere between one to three hours to get there.
What stood out when we first arrived in KSA, were the many mosques we saw, different shapes, sizes, and styles. I became fascinated by mosques, and interested to learn more about Islam. I really wanted to visit a mosque. I knew most mosques don’t allow non-Muslims to enter which made me even more curious to see the inside of a mosque. I was delighted to learn that the Al-Fateh Grand Mosque in Bahrain was open to the public on certain days and offered a tour and information session. So we decided to visit the Ahmed Al-Fateh Mosque.
Located in Manama the capital of Bahrain, the facility includes the Grand Mosque, the Ahmed Al-Fateh Islamic Center, a department of Qur’anic studies (the study of the Quran) and the National Library of Bahrain an Islamic library. The center is named after the conqueror and first ruler of Bahrain.
It is the largest worship place in Bahrain and is consider one of the world’s largest mosques. The construction began in 1984 and the mosque was opened in 1988. It occupies an area of 70,000 square feet (roughly the size of 1-1/4 foot fields) and can accommodate up to 7,000 worshippers. Daily prayers as well as Friday prayers are held at the mosque. The floors of the mosque are covered with Italian marble and is covered with a carpet manufactured in Scotland that has geometric patterns resembling windows. The dome stands 132 feet high and is 82 feet in diameter. It is made of fiberglass, the largest fiberglass dome in the world. The dome has 12 Iranian stained glass windows inscribed with the name Allah in Arabic. Hanging from the dome is a large chandelier made in Austria with hand blown glass lamps all made in France. The windows and doors are made of teak wood imported from India. The interior is covered with geometric shapes and patterns, this is very typical of Islamic art which focuses on these patterns and Arabic calligraphy.
The tour consisted of a talk about the unique features of the mosques interior, a very good description of what is done before, during and after prayer and described the different parts of the prayer. It was very informative, there was also lots in handouts of information on Islam and becoming a Muslim. Below are some pictures.