Shah Faisal Mosque

Iconic Shah Faisal Mosque Islamabad

Shah Faisal Mosque Islamabad is located at the foothills of Margalla Hills National Park. Just behind the Shah Faisal Masjid is the habitat of the Asian Common Leopard. 

Shah Faisal Mosque Chandelier
Faisal Mosque Chandelier

Map Location of Shah Faisal Mosque

I’ve never really planned to go to this huge Faisal mosque located right at the center-line and Northern end of Jinnah expressway, in the E-8 Pakistan Navy Sector of Islamabad, heading towards Margalla hills. It just happened that my followers asked that I review this Mosque too at the foothills of lush green Margalla.

Shah Faisal Mosque Map
Shah Faisal Mosque Map
faisal mosque

Beautiful Views around Shah Faisal Mosque

It was an overcast day, with a slight drizzle. The clouds were hanging low, hiding at the top of Margalla hills. As I drove towards the E-8 sector, the mosque appeared on the horizon and kept growing bigger till we were in the vast parking lot. 

Shah Faisal Masjid Interior
Shah Faisal Masjid Interior

The mosque itself in on the edge of Green Margalla Hills National Park and has its own wildlife.

Unique Architecture Shah Faisal Mosque

I was taken aback by its unique architecture shaped like a Bedouin tent. Its Turkish architect, Vedat Dalokay, thought it would capture the eye of the judges in 1979, a time when Pakistan was going the Arab way and it did work – he did get the job!

There is also a crescent made up of brass installed at the apex of this pyramid-shaped mosque

What is the tower on mosques called?

Towers on the four corners of mosques are called Minarets or Minaar in Arabic

Faisal mosque has four minarets that rise straight up like arrows with pointed ends.

Faisal Mosque

History of Shah Faisal Mosque

The mosque was opened in 1986 at the cost of $120 million (0.18 Million Saudi Riyals). Faisal Mosque is 5th largest in the world and the largest in South Asia.

This mosque is even bigger than Shah Mosque of Isfahan and Shah Abbas Mosque of Iran.

Faisal Masjid Mimbar (Pulpit)
Shah Faisal Masjid Mimbar (Pulpit)

This Mosque and University in its basement was completed at a time when Pakistan had only four universities in the whole of the country.

Like our Mughal ancestors, we revere monuments we build for our spirit, but nothing for our soul.

faisal mosque

Dress code of Shah Faisal Masjid

I took off my shoes, went into the museum that had various Quranic texts placed in it.

Women try to dress modestly and cover their heads with scarfs and remove their shoes.

Separate Enclosure for women to pray

This mosque is probably the only one in all of Pakistan that has a separate enclosure for women to offer their prayers along with men, 5 times a day.

Therefore, this mosque is several generations ahead in civilization and culture from the rest of Pakistan.

Faisal Mosque

Mosque Interior

I then went into the courtyard and was amazed at the lavish spending on pure white marble tiles, electric fittings, water fountains, gold plated metal objects, carpets, chandeliers’ and lighting. I was told there was a madrassa in the mosque as well.

Faisal Mosque

The inner sanctum of the mosque was unlike anything I had seen in Pakistan. 40m high roof, tapered on top, balconies on the side, column-less main hall, and tall windows.

The prayer place is fully carpeted and clean.

There are no internal beams to keep the triangular roof erect and a massive chandelier hangs from the apex of this pyramid.

The most interesting thing I saw was women praying alongside men.

Dilapidated Grave of Dictator Zia ul Haq

I come out of the mosque and I see General Zia’s dilapidated grave – once the most powerful man in Pakistan.

His fate should be a message to all the Pharaoh who suffer from God Syndrome, that power is ephemeral 

Parking Area

The mosque has a huge parking area where kids play cricket

I walk a few yards ahead and a wave of beggars, transvestites, street urchins and garbage block my way and wonder whose job was it to give these people a decent life?

Faisal Mosque

Trail 6 hike behind Shah Faisal Mosque

I hurriedly take out my mountain bike and ride behind Faisal mosque into biking trail No 6 that touches the outer boundary of Pakistan Navy Complex Golf Course E-8 Sector and goes 4 kilometers into Margalla hills, across streams and think vegetation. I feel peace here.

Beware, there are leopards there as well

Faisal Mosque

I don’t think it’s a good idea to go to trail 6 alone as I could hear rustling in the buses, with no one to be seen for miles.

Mosque Universities of Islam

I wish all our mosques could be like AL Quaraouiyine in Fez, Morocco, built in 859 AD, the first university of the Muslim world.

Shah Faisal Mosque Contact Number

Faisal Mosque Phone Number is  051 2854860

What is Shah Faisal mosque famous for?

Shah Faisal Masjid is probably the only mosque in Pakistan that allow women to pray inside the inner sanctum, along with men, in separate enclosures. Also, it offers beautiful views of surrounding Margalla hills which families love. Faisal mosque also conducts Nikah (wedding) ceremonies inside its premises and is quite popular in the Pseudo Islamabad crowd.

Did Kind Faisal Build the Faisal Masjid?

Saudi Kind Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz did finance the initial mobilization money for this mosque to the tune of $28 million.

Shah Faisal Masjid Jumma Timings

Jumma timings are around 1:30 pm at Faisal Masjid


Taking nothing away from Shah Faisal mosque, it is definitely worth seeing and offering prayer inside.

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