Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque: Gem of Chechnya
What is the largest mosque in Europe? Well, the answer to this not really cent per cent watertight, but what has been generally claimed, has truly surprised me. The largest mosque in Europe is said to be located in Shali. A town very close to Grozny, the capital city of Chechen Republic, within Russia. And it is brand new. Whether it is the largest mosque in Europe is arguable, but the Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque is certainly grand and beautiful. It was built in 2019. And it is also, definitely, the largest mosque in Russia. Akhmad Kadyrov mosque has been named after the first President of the Chechen Republic.
Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque and Ottoman architecture
First of all, Akhmad Kadyrov mosque is truly beautiful and has a striking similarity with mosques of the Ottoman empire. The proximity of design between the two is simply because it has been designed exactly in keeping with Ottoman architecture. According to news media reports, the mosque is “unique in its design, and majestic in its size and beauty.” The marble decorated main prayer hall of the mosque is large enough for 30 thousand people to pray together. The beautiful park outside can accommodate another 70 thousand people on special days. Located right on the banks of the picturesque Sushna River, Akhmadov Kadyrov Mosque’s park and garden area is 14 hectares.
The architecture of the mosque is indeed grand. The floor area is 5000 Sqmt. Over the main prayer hall is a vast dome, with a diameter of 16 Mt and a height of 32 Mt. On four corners of the mosque are four minarets, each 62 Mt. in height. The marble used to decorate the interior of the mosque has been brought from the mines of Marmara Adasi island in Turkey. Verses of the holy Quran have been inscribed on the walls with gold of the highest quality.
Chandeliers like Medina
One of the main attractions of the mosque are its stunning chandeliers. There are 36 of them. These chandeliers have been carefully designed as replicas of two of the oldest mosques in the world. 27 of them are look-alikes of Jerusalem’s Dome of Rock. Out of the remaining nine, eight look exactly like the chandeliers in Medina’s Masjid al-Nawi. The biggest chandelier in Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque is a replica of the one at the Kaba in Saudi Arabia. Many tons of bronze, 2.5 Kg of high-quality gold and a million pieces of Swarovsky crystals have been used to build the chandeliers.
Chechens, i.e., people traditionally living in Chechnya are predominantly Muslims. They follow Shafi’i Madhhab tradition of Sunni Islam. People of this region embraced Islam between the 16th and the 19th century. There is also a sizable number of Sufi followers among Chechen Muslims. Naqshbandiya and Qadiryia traditions of Sufism are two of the most popular Sufi sects in Chechnya. Culturally, the Chechens strongly believe in freedom. They have a unique term for greeting each other. Marsha Oyilla, which in English literally means ‘enter into freedom’. This strong sense of liberty among Chechens have often led sociologists to compare them with the French.
(Written by Author and Translator Nilanjan Hajra)