In 2012, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), announced that a $68 million mosque would be constructed in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), a growing emirate in the country’s northern region.
This represents an honor for the people of Ras Al Khaimah and His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, as well as acknowledgement of the increasing importance of the emirate and its prominent position in the UAE.
More Than a Local Mosque
A look at the scope of the plan illustrates the new project’s importance to the people of RAK and surrounding areas. According to the UAE’s president, the building will house 28,000 worshippers and will cover 18,000 square meters—about the size of 2.5 football fields.
In addition to the mosque itself, the building will house an Islamic museum, a library, shops, elaborate gardens for relaxation and a memorization center for the study of the Quran.
The new mosque, which will be named Sheikh Khalifa Mosque, will provide area residents with an opportunity to deeply study their religion and culture. Education has been a key focus of Ras Al Khaimah and Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi for many years; this new mosque will play an important role in local cultural education. By giving residents and visitors a place for study, leisure and fellowship, the UAE and RAK governments hope to strengthen cultural ties and to provide the community with an important center that will build pride in the region.
Location of the New Mosque
The building will be located south of RAK city in the area of Al Dhait, a more densely populated urban area than other parts of Ras Al Khaimah.
Ras Al Khaimah and Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi recently awarded more than 1,000 residential housing plots in the area. Currently the neighborhood has no major mosque for special functions, only what are known as “Friday” mosques.
The Building of a Cultural Landmark
The new mosque is considered part of the vision of the UAE president, as well as Ras Al Khaimah and Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, to provide a vital cultural, intellectual and social center for the people of RAK.
Although no timeline has been given for the construction of the mosque, its sheer size indicates that the process may take some time. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is the country’s largest mosque. That mosque covers only 412 square feet more than RAK’s proposed new mosque, destined to become one of the world’s largest.
Soon the people of Ras Al Khaimah will have a new site in which to worship and study their own culture and religion that rivals the huge mosques of much better-known cities and industrial areas.