There are less than 2 months to go before Micah and I return to Dubai, and until then I wanted to reflect on some past experiences that we’ve had in the UAE. First, the incredible Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, about an hour away from Dubai.
I gasped when I saw it from a distance. “THAT’S IT?!” I exclaimed, although obviously it had to be. I had never seen anything like it before. It was humongous – a palatial white structure jutting out of the Abu Dhabi skyline. The sight instantly reminded me of, please forgive this comparison, the Sultan’s palace from Aladdin. But a million times more extravagant. I’m just a Disney girl at heart and everything reminds me of Disney. 🙂
From a distance, the mosque is a wonder to behold. It’s overwhelming & breathtaking. Walking through the grounds and being able to enter the mosque was amazing too!
Some quick facts about the Sheikh Zayed Mosque:
- It’s the largest mosque in the UAE.
- It’s one of the only mosques that non-Muslims can enter.
- Construction costs totaled over half a billion US dollars [2 billion dirhams]!
- The prayer rooms can hold over 40,000 worshippers.
So, I had done my research, and I considered myself very well-prepared for this visit – especially fashionably prepared! I had a dress, leggings, and a jacket all picked out, along with a cute scarf that I planned to use to cover my hair.
Arms covered? Check! Ankles covered? Check! No cleavage? Check! Hair covered? CHECK CHECK! … Of course, as we pulled into the parking lot I realized that I forgot my scarf at home!（￣へ￣）Thankfully, the mosque has your back! They offer their female visitors free hooded robes to wear over their clothes. I honestly didn’t mind borrowing one. It’s all part of the experience. 🙂
There are friendly security guards throughout the grounds, and they pointed us in the right direction of the robe rentals. They also politely informed women if their hair started peeking out of their scarves. It’s easy to forget that not even a strand of hair can show while you’re inside a mosque. It’s all part of being respectful, so I didn’t mind wearing the robe or covering my hair, even though it did get a little hot.
Admission into the mosque is free and there are tours throughout the day, but we just explored by ourselves. We took our time appreciating all of the beautiful architecture and stunning decorations.
Our family photo from our trip:
Micah’s covering his face and my eyes are all squinty because the sun’s reflection was SUPER BRIGHT off of the white floors. It was almost blinding, so make sure you remember your sunglasses. ʘ‿ʘ
Although I’m not a religious person, visiting the mosque left me with a settling sense of calmness and peace. I enjoyed being around lots of other tourists who were also curious about this amazing place, and it was great to see everyone just be respectful of Islam and its teachings (like how women had to cover themselves and we had to walk barefoot inside the prayer rooms).
For anyone visiting Dubai, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a definite must see! The 1-hour drive to Abu Dhabi is totally worth it, and, while you’re there, you can also see some other spectacular sights, like the Emirates Palace (which I will post about in the future). I’m looking forward to taking all of our visitors down to Abu Dhabi to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and I can’t wait to go back! … this time, I will remember my headscarf. (✿◠‿◠)