Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai

Dubai isn't all modern skyscrapers - head to Jumeirah Mosque for a bit of history

Jumeirah (Arabic for beautiful) is a name befitting for one of Dubai’s most exclusive oceanfront neighbourhoods. One of Dubai’s oldest neighborhoods, it was once a modest home to pearl divers and fishermen long before the high-rise buildings popped up. Jumeirah is also home to Dubai’s ‘most photographed mosque', that is the Jumeirah Mosque. One of Dubai's largest mosques, it has a capacity for 1,200 worshipers.

Fortunately, Jumeirah happens to be one of only three mosques in the whole of the Emirates that allows non-Muslim visitors. You can visit Jumeirah Mosque as part of a guided tour organized by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. This centre organizes many cultural activities as part of the ‘Open Doors, Open Minds’ cultural program.Their initiative is aimed at bringing down the barriers between various cultural groups who live in the Emirates – very worthwhile, given the rapid growth of this country, which is home to a population comprising over 136 nationalities.

The Jumeirah Mosque was completed in 1978, before the local boom in modern construction and development. Commissioned by His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the late ruler of Dubai, it is built in the opulent Fatimid style, which dates back to 909-1171 AD. Fatimid is considered to be the Renaissance of Islamic architecture, characterized by intricate geometric designs, keel motifs, Kulif calligraphy and elegant shape. As you stand before Jumeirah Mosque you’ll be amazed to see how starkly it contrasts against Dubai’s modern backdrop. The first thing we want to point your attention to is the symmetrical façade and geometric arrangement of the domes, towers and portals. As you approach the mosque you will see the delicate keel designs embellished on the domes.

Tours begin promptly at 10.00 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Reservations are not necessary, but proper attire is required to enter the mosque so be sure to wear long sleeves and trousers (no fitted or transparent clothing). Women must also wear a headscarf that can be borrowed at the entrance. After this cultural trip we recommend a visit to the surrounding area, which has lots to see in the way of attractions, but, make a point to return to Jumeirah Mosque around sunset to witness it light up with the different shades of a setting sun.

Jumeirah Mosque

Located at the intersection of Al Jumeirah Road (D94) and 17B Street in Jumeirah 1, Dubai

Tel. +971 (0)4 3536 666. Tours begin promptly at 10.00 a.m. and last for an hour and a half (no reservations are necessary). Cost of tour, 10 AED