The concept of a floating mosque
There certainly is an unusual ring to the expression ‘floating mosque’. Numerous medieval and modern Islamic monuments, including mosques, have integrated flowing and sprinkling water in their architectural plans. This is largely because of the close relation between the Islamic concept of gardens and buildings. However, since Islam originated in a land that never had abundant water, the picture of mosques built on vast waterbodies is a little bizarre. Yet there are several ‘floating mosques’ today across the globe. Here it must be clarified that although termed a ‘floating mosque’, each of these are actually built on stilts. And the ‘floating’ part of them is more in the look than in architectural reality. Following are five stunningly beautiful floating mosques in various countries:
1. SULATAN OMAR ALI SAIFUDDIEN MOSQUE, BRUNEI
At a glance from the waters of the artificial lagoon created on the banks of the Brunei River the mosque indeed appears to be floating. This floating mosque is considered to be one of the most beautiful mosques in the Asia Pacific. The construction was completed in 1958. And the architecture, a mix of the Indian Mughal and Islamic Malaysian architectural styles, is a fine specimen of modern Islamic architecture. The mosque was named after the 28th Sultan of Brunei, and is located in Bander Serai Begawan, the capital of the nation.
2. TANJUN BUNGAH FLOATING MOSQUE
This mosque is in George Town, Penang, Malaysia. It is the first floating mosque in Malaysia. And it has been built over several years in three stages. In 1967 a tiny mosque was built on the sea coast. This was first expanded in 1977, making arrangements for 500 worshippers to pray at one time. But within three decades the local Muslim community found it too small to accommodate its need. Finally, in 2003, a totally new wing of the mosque began to constructed right on the sea, with huge stilts. The construction was completed in 2005. But the fifth Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah official opened the mosque to the public in 2007. Over 1500 people can now worship at a time in the floating mosque.
3. AL RAHAMA MOSQUE, SAUDI ARABIA
This stunningly beautiful mosque is one of the most visited attractions in Jeddah. It is also known as the Fatima Al-Zahara mosque, and is built on the Red Sea. This is the only floating mosque in the Kingdom of SaudiArabia. It was open to the public in 1985. The area of the mosque 2400 Sq. Metres. Tourists should view the mosque from Croniche Road to get the most beautiful view of the floating mosque. The architecture is a mix of modern and the traditional.
4. HASSAN II MOSQUE, MOROCCO
The huge 22 acre complex of this floating mosque is located Sidi Muhammad Ben Abdullah harbour and the El Hank lighthouse in Casablanca, Morocco. The building of the mosque stands partially on the Atlantic ocean and partially on the bank of the ocean. The construction of the mosque began in 1986 and was completed by the 60th birthday of King Hassan II in 1989. About 25000 people can pray inside the mosque’s prayer hall.
5. CRYSTAL FLOATING MOSQUE
The Masjid Kristal is also located in Malaysia. It is a grand monument made of steel, glass and crystal, and built in the Islamic Heritage Park in Wan Man island. It was opened to the public formally in
2008 by the 13th Supreme Head of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin. More than 1500 worshippers can pray at a time inside this beautiful mosque. Although made in modern times, the architecture largely follows the medieval Islamic architectural style.