The Grand Mosque is the largest and most modern mosque in the country of Kuwait. A mosque is a place of worship for followers of the Islamic faith. Muslims often refer to the mosque by its Arabic name, which is Masjid Al Kabeer. Without a doubt, Islam is the single most powerful motivating force in Kuwait. All Kuwaitis are Muslim, except for very few that come from Christian Kuwaiti families. Islam is divided into several groupings the Sunnis and the Shias. The Sunnis are the majority, while the Shias make up only about 15 % of all Muslims and there are several other small groupings.
The buildings in Kuwait are amazingly built and their structure is unique to the Middle East. The Grand Mosque was completed in 1986 and is an outstanding example of Islamic architecture. It is located in the heart of Kuwait City. It is built on 45,000 square meters, out of which the building itself covers 20,000 meters. As you walk in to the mosque, there is a room with little shelves on the wall. This is where you remove you shoes and store them. Then shoeless, you can enter the mosque and you will be in the main prayer hall. This room measures 72 meters wide on all sides. It has 22 teakwood doors. The room is lit up by 144 windows. It is a big open room and in the middle there are small shelves that form a 350 foot square. They contain Islamic reference books and documents. This is also where they kneel and say their prayers.
The ceiling is a beautifully painted dome that is 26 meters in diameter and 43 meters high. Painted on it is the "Asma al-hosna," which means the 99 names of God. They are the names of God that are revealed in the Qur'an, the religious text of Islam.
The mosque can accommodate up to 10,000 men in the prayer hall. And when I say men I mean men only. In the Islamic religion men and women are not allowed to pray in the same area. The women have a separate hall and that can hold up to 950 women.
To accommodate the large number of vehicles belonging to visitors and worshippers, the mosque contains a 5 level parking area underneath the eastern courtyard. This area can hold up to 550 cars. Who would think that you would see a parking ramp for a church? But it is said to have hundreds of visitors a day, sometimes thousands.
As you climb up in the pulpit in the front, you over look the entire room. You can see all the gorgeous chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. And the walls are beautifully done. The big teakwood doors are surrounded by colorful tiles making out shapes like suns and flowers. They are mainly the colors yellow, blue, tan and white. But they add a nice touch to the atmosphere of the mosque. All in all this is an amazing place to see!