Dubai: With at least one mosque located in every area, the UAE currently has 5,036 beautifully built mosques across its seven emirates, and is aiming to build 215 more.
Known for its traditionally built mosques and Islamic architecture, one can hear the call for prayer anywhere, as some areas have more than three mosques located along the same street.
Gulf News talked to the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments that confirmed that statistics released in June showed that the number of mosques stands at 5,036 to date.
“There are plans to build more mosques during this year, and the number of mosques that are due to come into operation until the end of 2014 stands at 215,” said Dr Mohammad Mattar Al Ka’abi, Director-General of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments.
The authority has confirmed that construction of the new mosques has already started in different emirates.
The reason behind building more mosques across the country is due to its fast-paced development and growing population. “The appeal for building mosques is increasing across the UAE in general due to the urban expansion and construction of new cities and towns,” he explained.
With the UAE being home to more than 50 nationalities, the demand for mosques to carry out the Friday sermon in languages other than Arabic has also naturally increased.
The statistics showed that out of 5,036 mosques in the UAE, 2,024 mosques hold the Friday sermons in Arabic while 115 mosques hold it in English and Urdu. “The request for more mosques establishing [the] Friday sermon in non-Arabic languages is under study,” said Dr Al Ka’abi.
Faisal Ahmad, a Sharjah resident from India, regularly attends the Friday prayers at the Al Qasba mosque, which holds the sermon in English. While the mosque is not too far away for his home, Faisal said that the demand for mosques holding the Friday sermon in English is on the rise.
“People from as far away as Ajman and Dubai regularly come to the Al Qasba mosque every Friday to hear the sermon in English. Because of that the mosque is sometimes overcrowded,” he said.
Dubai resident Aleem Ali, also faces a similar situation every Friday. “I live close to Mirdif but I have to drive down to a mosque on Jumeirah Beach Road to hear the sermon in English.
“I think the UAE has done a great job with building beautiful mosques that it has become the country’s national landmark, but the only problem is that because of the large number of expatriates, there aren’t enough mosques holding the Friday sermon in languages other than Arabic.”
With more than 200 new mosques currently under construction and the request for more mosques to cater to Muslim expatriates under study, the number of mosques in the country is poised to reach 5,251 by 2015. Currently, Al Ain has the highest number of mosques at 1,069, followed by 935 mosques located in the Eastern Region, and 903 in Ras Al Khaimah. The UAE also the fourth largest mosque in the world — the Grand Zayed Mosque located in Abu Dhabi.