Join us on our journey through the largest mosques in the world. With approximately 1.6 billion believers worldwide, Islam can boast of being the religion with the most followers only behind Christianity. This fact is due, in part, to its extraordinary extension throughout the globe.
From West Africa to Indonesia we can find countries whose inhabitants pray to Allah. This has led to the existence of many mosques, some of them lavish. And huge! In this article, we show you the largest in the world. If you are thinking of visiting one, we recommend that you first consult our article on the rules of conduct in a mosque.
Masid al-Jaram (Saudi Arabia)
Starting the list of the largest mosques in the world by Masid al-Jaram in Mecca is a must. And it is not in vain that Mecca is the holiest city for Muslims. Tens of thousands of people make pilgrimages there each year.
In fact, the pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the precepts of Islam, something that every Muslim has to do at least once in his life.
Consequently, to accommodate all the faithful who are going to see the famous Kaaba, really huge facilities have had to be set up. And it is that this mosque can accommodate up to 4 million people inside and in the surrounding areas!
Prophet’s Mosque (Saudi Arabia)
The next largest mosque in the world is also located in Saudi Arabia. And it is that the city of Medina also has great significance for the Muslim religion. In fact, the pilgrimage of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.
It is not surprising, then, that the second-largest mosque in the world is located in such an symbolic city. With its capacity for 1 million worshipers, its enormous facilities and its many minarets, it is a truly spectacular monument. Undoubtedly at the height of the event it intends to commemorate.
Djamaâ El-Djazair Mosque in Algiers
Third on the list is this Algerian mosque, which is also the largest in Africa. Its extension is no less than 30 hectares and has capacity for 120,000 people. In fact, up to 35,000 faithful can fit in its prayer room. Its minaret is, for the moment, after surpassing that of the Hassan II Mosque in Morocco, the highest in the world with its 265 meters.
As you can see, truly colossal numbers. The interesting thing about this mosque is that in its enclosure there are also other rooms that can encourage an interesting visit if you visit Algiers. For example, an exhibition area, a museum of Islamic history and art, amphitheaters, and a research center.
Ali Reza Shrine Mosque (Iran)
Within the many doctrinal and sectarian divisions of Islam, two large groups emerge as the great division of Islam: the Sunnis and the Shias. A division that has its counterpart in two large countries: Saudi Arabia and Iran.
This mosque, the third largest in the world, belongs to the Shiite sphere. That is why in his name we find reference to Ali, according to Shiism, the legitimate successor of Muhammad. In fact, the allusion to Ali comes from the eighth imam to whom this mosque is dedicated, who received the name in honor of the quintessential Shiite icon.
The Ali Reza Shrine Mosque has a capacity of 700,000 people and is located in the Iranian city of Mashad. At the stylistic level it differs greatly from other mosques in the Middle East. Their particular arches, the design of their domes and the use of tiles give Shiite mosques that unmistakable touch. Not in vain the Shiism settled in an ancient region with a lot of personality: Persia.
Faisal Mosque (Pakistan)
One of the largest mosques in Asia. Something that should surprise us given that Pakistan is one of the Muslim countries with the largest population (exactly 216 million people). Its location, on the outskirts of Islamabad, the capital of the country, makes it border the foothills of the Himalayas, which is a most inspiring location.
With its capacity for 300,000 people it is, as you can see, a modern design mosque. It was built in 1986 using the shape of Bedouin tents as inspiration. And why Bedouins if we are in Pakistan? Very easy: its construction was promoted and financed by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.
Taj-ul-Masajid Mosque (India)
Now we move not far away, to India. Specifically to the city of Bhopal, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, which lies in the center of the country. This state, in addition to hosting one of the oldest stupas in the world, is also home to the largest mosque in India.
Although it was promoted by the Mughal emperor in the mid-19th century, it was not until well into the 1970s that it could be completed. Partly because of the financing of the emir of Kuwait. This is not surprising, given that building a monument with a capacity for 175,000 people it shouldn’t be cheap.
And, as you can see, the set, despite its modernity, has deliberately retained the classic design. And it is that its elements, such as the domes and the decoration, have a strong flavor of Mughal India.
Istiqlal Mosque (Indonesia)
A mosque with strong religious and political significance in Jakarta. And it is that it was built in 1978 to celebrate the independence of Indonesia. It is worth remembering that Indonesia is home to 16% of the world’s Muslims.
That is why this mosque is also an attempt to demonstrate an unwavering faith, as well as to vindicate the power of the new Indonesian state. That is why its central dome is 45 meters high, in reference to the year 1945, when Indonesia became independent from the Netherlands. For the rest, it is a mosque, as you can see, huge. With its capacity for 125,000 people it is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia.
Hassan II Mosque (Morocco)
We close the list with a mosque that is very close to us: the Hassan II Mosque, in Morocco. It is located specifically in the iconic city of Casablanca, facing the ocean. It was built at the initiative of the Moroccan monarch, who spared no resources for its realization.
Completed in 1993, it has a capacity for 80,000 people and until 2019 it could boast of being the mosque with the tallest minaret in the world.
Its 200 meters were surpassed in 2019 by the 265-meter minaret of the Djamaa El Djazair mosque in Algiers. Visiting it is quite an experience since its coastal location makes it a very special monument and, without a doubt, different.
Badshahi Mosque (Pakistan)
This mosque was, at the time of its construction back in 1673, the largest mosque in the world. It was the time of Mughal rule in India and Emperor Aurangzeb sought to exalt the faith of Muhammad in this way.
As a good Mughal monument, it is ostentatious and beautiful. It has a capacity for 100,000 worshipers and has four 53-meter-high minarets. Its interior is truly lavish as the walls are covered with fine decoration and delicate arabesques.
The Great Mosque of Jamia (Pakistan)
Located in Bahria Town, Lahore, it is another of the recently built mosques. With a capacity for 70,000 faithful, it was inaugurated in 2014 and presents a wise mix of tradition and modernity. Well, at the same time that it honors the features of Mughal architecture, it introduces more modern construction techniques.
And as with the Badshahi Mosque, its interior is most ostentatious. Decorations in mosaics, marble and crystals abound in the square meter.
As a bonus track we have its no less lavish library, which contains one of the largest collections of books on Islam in the world. Nothing more and nothing less than 50,000 books and manuscripts inhabit its shelves.