Visiting Mosques

Discovering More .... Dubai


Visiting Mosques

‘Mosques in the United Arab Emirates do not allow access to non-Muslims, however, there are two mosques that you can visit; the Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai and the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Jumeira Mosque  



The exterior of Jumeira Mosque

This cream coloured mosque, dating from 1983, is built in a typically Arabic style. It has a double minaret and a domed roof supported by columns. It is lit up by thousands of little lights at night.  

Non-Muslims can only visit this mosque as part of a tour. Tours are operated by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) and run everyday except Fridays. They start at 10am, although you should arrive about 15 minutes early. Unless you are in a large party, you do not need to book ahead. There is a small charge of 10 AED payable when you arrive.  Men and women should dress modestly and ladies will need to cover their hair. Abayas, shawls and dishdashas are lent to visitors if they are needed; all visitors will need to remove their shoes before entering.  

The tour is very informative and includes a demonstration on the ritual washing and the movements used whilst praying. The actual mosque is a large room with the prayer times electronically displayed. There is plenty of time for questions and these often included topics on why women are covered.

Jumeira Mosque - internal view

The Jumeirah Mosque is located on Beach Road and there is plenty of parking nearby. It a little way from the metro and so you will need to use a taxi or book with a tour company, if you are not driving yourself.

Nearby is the Lime Tree Café – a good place to take coffee and cakes after your visit.

Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

This is the Emirates largest mosque and is dedicated to the first president Sheikh Zayed who died in 2004. It is also known as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

It is an impressive building with four minarets and three large as well as 79 smaller domes. There are 1092 white columns adorned with inlaid semi-precious stones in botanical designs that line the rooms and courtyards. This work was carried out by Indian craftsmen from the same region as the Taj Mahal and used similar techniques to those used to decorate the Taj Mahal. Inside there is a handmade carpet from Iran that covers more than 5000sq m and a multi-coloured 15m chandelier with 2 million Swarovski crystals that was made in Germany.

Entrance to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The tour of the Grand Mosque is different in tone from the Jumeirah tour; it is more about the architecture and history of the mosque rather than covering the Islamic faith. The Mosque is stunning and well worth the visit if you are in Abu Dhabi. Women are provided with an abaya to wear before entering; this is to ensure that woman are decently covered.

There are several tours each day except Fridays. The first trip of the day is 10am and is the least busy as it is before the main tourist coaches.

Tour the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque  - Free entry Rashid al-Maktoum Road (Airport Road) South.

Floral decoration at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Most of the mosques you see around Dubai are in the same Arabic style – with a central dome and minarets, however, near the Fabric Souk close to the Creek is the Iranian mosque – a very different style. You can not enter the mosque, but the outside decoration is impressive.

Iranian Mosque