A visit to the iconic Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat in the north of Oman, built in the style of Islamic architecture and combining the best materials of the West with the East, reveals that the design of this mosque – an everlasting legacy of late Sultan Qaboos – was mainly influenced by worship considerations. As the main prayer hall, the women’s prayer room, the paved outdoor area in the gardens, and the additional usable space of the courtyard and corridors can accommodate about 20.000 worshippers.
But more striking is the way how the 14 meters high chandelier, made in Italy and containing around six hundred thousand sparkling Swarovski crystals, led me in a straight line (an energy line) to the most important part that you can find in every mosque. Namely, the qibla wall orientated towards the sacred mosque in the city of Makkah. The qibla wall contains a wall niche called a mihrab decorated with superb mosaics.
At the Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Salalah in the south of the Sultanate, that can accommodate 14.000 worshippers, the panelled wall decoration of the mihrab in the main prayer hall, took four months to fix 20.000 miniaturized pieces of different types of marble on panels by using water jet cutting and laser.
In Muscat and Salalah the mosques are for special Friday prayers and are open for non-Muslims.
But the colors of the dome of Sheikha Salma Al-Ma’ashani Masjid (mosque) in Taqah – not open for non-muslims- make me stay still and meditate.
In the early centuries of Islam, domes were closely associated with royalty.
A Sheikha is a female member of a ruling Arab family. The mother of the late Sultan Qaboos calls Sheikha Mazoon bint Ahmad Ali Al-Ma’ashani. She died in 1992 and the late Sultan Qaboos had her buried in Taqah.
Over time, domes became primarily focal points for decoration or direction of prayer.
The more than 1000 halogen bulbs of the chandelier in the Sultan Qaboos Grand mosque in Muscat showed me a beautifully decorated dome, which to me symbolically represents the vault of heaven.