Located in Islamabad, Pakistan, the Faisal Masjid is the largest masjid in South Asia and the fourth largest masjid in the world. Built in the year 1986, it was named after the late king of Saudi Arabia, Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz, who backed and financed the construction. Designed by Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay, the buliding looks like an Arab Beduin’s tent, flaunting the Margalla Hills in its backdrop. The unique modern design of the complex exemplifies the eviction of the traditional Islamic architecture of using domes and arches. Vedat Dalokay received the Agah Khan Award for Architecture for this astonishing piece of constructional art.
Coated with white marble, the interior section of the masjid is decorated with mosaics and calligraphy by the famous Pakistani artist, Sadequain. The main prayer hall contains a huge Turkish-style chandelier in its center. The thin, pencil like minarets display Turkish traditions all over their structure. The sharp features of the minarets created the impression among the American intelligence to be missiles in disguise. Against the dark of the night sky this grand complex is a site of enchanting beauty, glittering like a large piece of crystal encircled with four sharp illuminated minarets.
The Faisal Masjid has covered area of 5,000 m2 (54,000 sq ft). It can accommodate 10,000 worshipers in its main prayer hall, 24,000 in its porticoes, 40,000 in its courtyard and another 200,000 in its adjoining grounds. Although its covered main prayer hall is smaller than that of the Hassan II Masjid in Casablanca (the world’s third largest masjid), Faisal Masjid has the third largest capacity of accommodating worshipers in its adjoining grounds after the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Masjid) of Mecca, the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Masjid) in Medina. Each of the Masjid’s four minarets are 80 m (260 ft) high (the tallest minarets in South Asia) and measure 10 x 10 m in circumference.