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Al Noor Mosque in Sharjah - Free Tours


Page update - Oct 11, 2022

Al Noor Mosque is not the largest and not the most important mosque in Sharjah, but it is considered the most beautiful. Such title is valuable, because there are already more than 700 mosques in Sharjah. It is one of the three mosques in the UAE in which non-Muslims can enter.

Al Noor Mosque was started to be built in 2003 by the order of Her Highness Sheikha Jawahir bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, the wife of Emir of Sharjah. The mosque is said to commemorate Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, who died in London in 1999. The mosque opened in 2005.

The Arabic word "noor" translates to "light." That is to say, it is "The Light Mosque". The design of white marble from India and Italy confirms the name fully. Undoubtedly, it is worth seeing it, and to visit the tour inside is even more interesting. But first things first.

By the state of October 2022, the guided tours for non-Muslims are running. But the timetable has changed, and pre-registration is now required. Read all the details below on this page.

Where is located and how to get

Al Noor Mosque is located in the western part of the city of Sharjah, in the Al Majaz area, at the promenade of Khalid Lake, Corniche Al Buhaira Street.

Several hotels are within walking distance: Royal Tulip 72, Holiday International, The Act Hotel, Al Sheraa, Al Majaz Premiere, Prime Tower.

In case of other hotels, it is better to take a cab. The cab ride cost varies from AED 13.5 to AED 20 depending on the distance from the hotel. See our review "Money in Sharjah and the UAE" for the current exchange rates of dirham, and see the cab fares in the review "Taxis in Sharjah and the UAE".

Theoretically, you can take a local bus. Bus routes run along King Faisal Road, which is parallel to the waterfront. But the bus ticket costs 6 dirhams, and a cab is both more convenient and cheaper.

Nearby is the bridge to Al Noor Island, where the Butterfly Park is located. Many tourists come to see the butterflies and the mosque on the same trip. If you go along the waterfront to the south, you'll get to Al Majaz Park and the Sharjah Dancing Fountains show.

Price of admission

Free of charge in all cases.



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Opening Hours

For Muslims, the mosque is open during salah (prayer time).

Non-Muslims can only enter from Sunday to Thursday, only at 10 am (10-00). This is the time of the free guided tour organized by the Cultural Relations Center of Sharjah Emirate. We will talk about this tour in detail.

How to get inside for non-Muslims

If the day from Sunday to Thursday does not fall on a national holiday, you can get a free tour at 10 am (10-00). For a schedule of holidays, see our page "UAE Holiday Calendar".

On Mondays and Thursdays, you can come without prior reservation as these are Public Visit days.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Sundays, you must first make a reservation for the tour at the official website at:

http://www.shjculture.com/private-online-booking/

You should arrive earlier (better at 9-30 am) to the Al Noor Mosque so you can register in time. Registration takes place at the main entrance. After registration, you don't have to try to go inside, you have to wait for the guide.

The tour (in English) is very interesting. It is officially allowed to take photos and videos inside the mosque, but without a tripod or flash.

Do not forget about the dress code. Your clothes should cover knees and shoulders. We talked about clothing in the reviews "What is forbidden in the UAE" and "What to take to the UAE". Women can get a free scarf to cover the head. Naturally, the scarf must be returned after the tour. In the past (not anymore), they used to give out "abaya" (not to be confused with the "burqa"). Shoes must be removed before entering the prayer hall.

The tour lasts about one hour. Al Noor Mosque is not very big. The prayer hall is about 80x80 feet (25x25 meters) and has a capacity for 2200 worshipers - 1800 in the male hall, 400 in the female hall.

The interior of the prayer hall is very beautiful. The walls, arches, columns are decorated with beautiful geometric and floral patterns. Fragments of the Quran in Arabic script are done in beautiful calligraphy. Do not be lazy to raise your head and look at the paintings on the inner surfaces of the domes.

The guide will show you the mihrab, a special niche in the wall that shows the direction to Mecca. An imam prays in the mihrab. You will see the minbar, a wooden cathedra where the sermon is preached from during Friday prayers.

Note the variety of books on the shelves along the walls. Those are not only copies of the Quran that are kept there, but also other books on theology, philosophy, and Muslim law. Many of the books have bookmarks left by the parishioners. Al-Noor Mosque also serves as a library.

Notice there are many stands for the Quran which are called "rihal". According to religious law, the book of the Quran can never be on the floor. The book is placed on the rihal what is made of wood with elaborate carvings according to tradition.

After touring the prayer hall, the guide talks about the traditional way of life of the United Arab Emirates natives. You can try on traditional Arab clothing. Women can try on golden masks, which are no longer worn in the cities of the UAE, but can still be found in remote areas. With the Bedouins such a mask means that the woman is married. Such masks are called "Battoulah".

The tour ends with a treat of coffee or tea along with Emirati dates and sweets. During the meal, you can ask questions to the guide.



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What to see outside

Al Noor Mosque is built in the Ottoman style, very much the features of the famous Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul (also called "The Blue Mosque"). An important difference of Al Noor Mosque is that it doesn't have a courtyard as such.

Al Noor Mosque has two minarets 170 feet (52 meters) high. Since the mosque is active, there is a call to prayer five times a day, which works in the morning instead of an alarm clock. Like the Blue Mosque, Al-Noor has many domes, 34 in total. The central dome has a height of 103 feet (31.5 meters) and is surrounded by 4 smaller half-domes.

Al Noor Mosque looks impressive both outside and inside. It takes half an hour to walk around, including time for a photo shoot.

Al Noor Mosque Records

Despite its modest size, the Al Noor Mosque boasts about two records from the Guinness Book of World Records.

In July 2013, it hosted the longest Iftar table, 0.64 mile (1.03 kilometer) long. The table seated 2,500 people. Recall that Iftar is an evening meal during the holy month of Ramadan. Try to imagine a dinner table a kilometer long!

In July 2014, the world's largest donation box was placed there. The dimensions of the box were 20 feet long, 8,5 feet wide, and 10.5 feet high (6.1 meters long, 2.6 meters wide and 3.2 meters high). Donations were collected during Ramadan under the motto "Joy of Giving." How much money was collected in this box? The authors of the initiative do not say.

Tips for tourists

- If you get hungry or thirsty, walk along the street that parallels the waterfront. Both to the north and to the south there will be stores and cafes. The only difference is that to the north will be Burger King and to the south will be Pizza Hut;

- No shouting or talking loudly inside the mosque. Don't interrupt the guide, don't talk at times when he/she is telling something. Do not rush around as there will be plenty of time to take pictures;

- Do not take date fruits with you during treats, it is very indecent;

- If you walk along Al Estiqlal Street from the promenade, it will take you 20 minutes to get to Sharjah's Mega Mall.

Have fun sightseeing in Sharjah, and read our interesting pages about the UAE (find the list of the pages below).

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