Islam – An Unknown Beauty

Allison Brown is a student at Colorado State University and a guest contributor to the API blog. Allison is studying abroad with API in Sharjah, UAE.

There are no words to accurately describe the United Arab Emirates. This amazing country is beyond anything I have ever experienced. With so much to see and do it can be a bit overwhelming. Everyday I am excited for what I will see, where I will go, and the new people I will meet.

The weekends here are different than in America. Friday and Saturday is the weekend and Sunday through Thursday we have classes. Friday is prayer day for Muslims so during the morning campus is pretty quiet. I feel that many people in the States have little knowledge about Islam, including me. I take the opportunities I have while I am here to learn about this Middle Eastern religion and how it helps shape the culture.

Last Saturday, I ventured to Abu Dhabi which is about an hour and a half away from Sharjah. The drive seemed much longer than that and I fell asleep on the way. When I woke up, I saw the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque off in the distance. It was unlike anything I have ever seen. The white marble was glowing and the 24 carat gold on the tips of the domes were glistening in the sunshine. It looked massive from a distance and once I had reached the parking lot I was speechless. While I was waiting for our tour to start, I couldn’t resist but to continue taking pictures of every angle and inch of this charming sight.

Once I wrapped my scarf around my hair, known as a hijab, I headed into the mosque to begin the tour. A gentleman in a candora greeted us and began to tell the group about the structure of the mosque. The late president of the UAE, His Heigness Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, projected the building of the mosque. There are 82 domes, four minarets and can hold up to 40,000 worshipers at one time. Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the UAE.

I was very excited to see the inside of the mosque because of how ravishing the outside looked, I knew I was in for a lovely surprise. After taking off my shoes, I walked into the foyer of the mosque where marble flowers covered the walls and a gorgeous chandelier made of Swarvoski Crystals hung above my head. There are seven chandeliers in the mosque that consist of millions of Swarvoski Crystals.

After gazing at the elegant marble flowers and the chandelier, we were taken through another door which lead to the main prayer hall. The first thing I noticed were three breath taking chandeliers. Then, I looked down and saw that I was standing on a colorful flower printed carpet, which I later learned was the largest carpet in the world. The carpet was made by approximately 1,300 carpet knotters in Iran and took about two years to make. The carpet had lines going across the width of it so worshipers know where to stand while praying.

Islam is a beautiful and intriguing religion that goes beyond the admirable mosques. I am really enjoying learning more and more about it while I am in the Middle East.








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  1. This place is seriously unreal. I’m glad more people are getting the privilege of experiencing not only the Grand Mosque but all that the UAE has to offer

  2. awesome post, awesome pictures 🙂

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