Sharjah: Mosques in the emirate of Sharjah open their doors to female worshippers in Ramadan even though they may not usually do so during the rest of the year.

"Not all mosques provide a female prayer room, and that may be because there is simply no demand for it during the year. But during Ramadan, mosques have instructions to provide access to women, and the imam has the responsibility to make the necessary arrangements," says Abdullah Omran Al Khayyal, Director of Mosque Affairs at the Sharjah Department of Islamic Affairs.

"All the mosques are open to women and nobody should think otherwise," he said.

The reason as to why mosques do not cater to females during the rest of the year ultimately depends on the imam's decision as to whether the mosque in that particular neighbourhood is popular among women.

Some of the mosques that stand out in the city, known either for its architecture or its history, include the Al Noor Mosque, King Faisal Mosque and Al Daleel Mosque.

The Al Noor Mosque was built on the same model as the mosques in Turkey, while King Faisal Mosque is the largest in the city with a capacity of 16,667 worshippers.

The Al Daleel Mosque is primarily known among residents as the oldest since it was built in 1919, according to Al Khayyal. Situated in the old souq, known as Souq Al Arsa, the mosque was eventually renovated in the mid-1990s and holds up to 250 worshippers.

Having 310 mosques in the emirate should be sufficient to cater to all worshippers. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon to see people praying on Friday outside the mosque's doorsteps since only 178 mosques are open for the Friday prayers.

When it comes to naming a mosque, the person responsible for building it has to consult first with the Department of Islamic Affairs.

"When somebody decides to build a mosque, they are given a list of names to choose from, such as those of the prophets and the sahaba." The sahaba were the companions of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), who had either met or seen him.

"But if someone wants the mosque in their name they then have to write an official request to the chairman, which may be rejected. But many people do not like naming mosques after themselves because it is seen as boasting," says Al Khayyal.

With the growing number of residents in the city, the Department of Islamic Affairs has taken into consideration all nationalities and so worshippers are provided with sermons in four languages: Arabic, English, Urdu and Malayalam.

The sermons are known as khutba, which is when the imam publicly preaches at the dhuhr (noon) congregation prayer on Friday.

There are 148 mosques that provide khutba in Arabic while 30 cater to non-Arabic speakers.

Al Qasba Mosque gives the khutba in English, and the 29 others which are in the industrial areas and in Al Saja'a are conducted either in Urdu or in Malayalam.

Number of facilities

Sharjah city: 310
Along Al Dhaid Road towards the Eastern Region: 33
Al Dhaid city: 58
Al Madam: 75
Khorfakkan: 66
Kalba: 65
Dibba Al Hisn: 27

Capacity of worshippers:

Al Noor Mosque (in Al Majaz): 1,800
King Faisal Mosque (in Al Soor): 16,667
Al Taqwah (in Al Majaz): 760
Al Salaf Al Saleh (in Al Juraina): 3,664
Al Arqam Ibn Abi Al Arqam (in Al Juraina): 1,600
Al Qasba Mosque: 650
Al Mukhawwy Mosque (in Al Khan): 500
Al Agrouby Mosuq (in Al Khan): 100
Al Daleel Mosque (in Al Shuwaiheen): 250


Activities are being held across Sharjah for the emirate's Ramadan festival, organised by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and local government departments.

A total of Dh11 million is being offered in daily and weekly prizes by the Higher Organising Committee, sponsors and retail outlets, including raffle draws every day and cash prizes worth Dhs40,000. Other prizes include gift vouchers and products from Paris Gallery, tickets from Air Arabia, Nissan cars from Arabian Automobiles, prizes from Adnoc, tickets from Sharjah Museums Department and several spot prizes at shopping malls.

Customers can drop raffle entries in any of the 65 drop boxes located inside selected outlets. The Festival's Higher Organising Committee, chaired by Shaikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, wants this year's edition to be distinguished in terms of the nature and diversity of its events.

Location: Across Sharjah
Date: Until September 30
Time: 6-11pm
Source: Sharjah Commerce Tourism Development Authority figures

Have your say
Which is your favourite mosque in the UAE? What makes it so special to you? Is there a lack of female prayer areas in mosques? Tell us at or fill in the comments form below.

Your comments

Sharjah definitely stands out among other emirates in terms of beautiful mosques. I am proud to be a resident of Sharjah.
Yeasin Rahman
Posted: September 05, 2009, 13:49

Sharjah is capital zone of Islamic culture. One can see ture spirit of Islam at Sharjah.
Mohammad Badshah Khan Al Basyaie
Ras Al Khaimah,UAE
Posted: September 05, 2009, 13:37

It is unfortunate to say, the number of mosques and its capacity in Abu Shagara, a highly populated residential area in Sharjah, do not match well enough to its demand. Many of the residents need to sweat in unbearable temperature when they perform their Friday prayers and Taraveeh (special prayer during Ramadan) outside the mosque halls in Abu Shagara. Authorities should expand the capacity of or add number of mosques in residential areas where density of population is higher.
Askar Usman
Posted: September 05, 2009, 13:20

This is excellent. However, there no Jumma Masjids between Al Taawun Mall and Kesba area. Sharjah Awqaf should look into this or Dubai Municipality should construct a bridge at Safeer Mall so that people can cross to the other side to reach a Jumma Masjid.
Fahim Tawfiq
Posted: September 05, 2009, 11:49

Sharjah, Masha' Allah is known for its distintive culture, art and architecture that shows up in the mosques and government buildings that are built in and around the city. There are tens of masjids in Sharjah that are worth visiting for their distinctive style in both exterior and interior designs and atmosphere. Facilities for ladies not only include just place for praying, but also security, special parking lots and play garden for smaller kids, etc.
Posted: September 05, 2009, 09:32

Mashallah im proud to be living in a city with more than 300 mosques!!
Posted: September 05, 2009, 08:00