The King Faisal Mosque in Sharjah.
Sharjah's mosque where the faithful can listen and learn
SHARJAH // For Abubaker Al Hajj, the King Faisal Mosque provides an ideal place to hear readings of the entire Quran during Ramadan.
"The Quran was revealed in this month and the Prophet used to recite the whole of it during this month," says Mr Al Hajj, 60, an Emirati resident of Shuwaykhen.
"Sometimes I cannot read the whole of it myself as I used to during my youth, so I choose a mosque like this one to listen to it from start to end."
At 12,000 square metres, the mosque is among the biggest, most recognisable landmarks in Sharjah.
It is in the heart of the city on King Faisal Road, tucked among the Central Souq, Al Jubail Bus Station and the Sharjah headquarters of Dubai Islamic Bank.
Jafari Al Morsy, 35, an Egyptian resident who attended the first taraweeh prayers at the mosque, says he is impressed at the way the imam read the first part of the Quran.
"I have listened to every part of Surat Baqara like it was just being revealed," Mr Al Morsy says.
Established in January 1987, the mosque is named after King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the former ruler of Saudi Arabia.
Sheikh Abdullah Al Khayal, the director general of the Sharjah Department of Islamic Affairs, says the prayer halls can accommodate almost 17,000 people.
The building's ground and first floors are devoted to the men's mosque.
The second floor is occupied by the Sharjah Department of Islamic Affairs and Awqaf, including offices and a general library.
The library contains about 7,000 books on Islamic history and thought, and the modern books of Hadith and Sharia, plus scientific, literary and cultural works.
The basement is given to the women's mosque and has its own library. The Sharjah International Charitable Organisation also has its offices there.
Outside the mosque is the Ramadan iftar tent, which provides iftar nightly to more than 100 workers and is sponsored by Sharjah Islamic Bank.
"The holy month of Ramadan has its special sanctity that is maintained by every Emirati," says Hassan Abdullah Al Balgoni, the head of the public relations and social responsibility division at the bank.
"This month has, also, its public rituals. The interest to preserve the rituals of Ramadan is shared by institutions, which are keen to play an effective role in this regard."
The mosque holds lectures at night during Ramadan: Thursday is for Hadith; Saturday for Fiqh; Sunday Aqidah; and Wednesday's lecture is on how to pray.
On the right side of the mosque, near the women's prayer hall, is a large area where people can donate old clothes to be given to the less fortunate.
It is organised by Sharjah Charity International, which also has offices at the mosque.
"It is a big garment collection area and most clothes here would go to poor people in other foreign countries," says a spokesman for the charity.