Former president Asif Ali Zardari inaugurated the Bahria Town Grand Jamia Masjid on Sunday.
The mosque is billed as being the seventh largest of its kind. The main hall of the mosque can accommodate 25,000 worshippers and it has a total capacity of 70,000. It has 21 domes and four 165 feet high minarets. These specifications make it the largest mosque in Pakistan in terms of covered area. Much of the building has been designed by Nayyar Ali Dada. It features marbled floors, tailor-made chandeliers and its ornate halls have been beautified with 4,000,000 mosaic tiles. The tiles have been handcrafted by artisans from Multan.
An area on the second floor of the mosque has been reserved for women. The basement of the mosque has been reserved for an Islamic art gallery and a religious school. These will start functioning in a few months.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Arfan Ghani, an architect, said the building followed traditional Mughal architecture. He said it had similar a similar scale and proportion.
Bahria Town chairman Malik Riaz said on Monday that the real estate developer had constructed scores of mosques in Lahore and Islamabad. He was speaking after the Bahria Town Grand Jamia Masjid was opened to the public on the first day of Eidul Azha. Riaz said the mosque would become the hallmark of Lahore Bahria Town. He also hoped the mosque would become a symbol of Pakistan across the Muslim world.
Allama Shamsul Arfeen, the imam of the mosque, led the prayers and explained the significance of sacrifice in the Eid sermon. Several bureaucrats, religious scholars and noted people from all walks of life were present on the occasion.
Tayyab Khan, a resident of Bahria Town, welcomed the initiative. He said the other three mosques in Bahria Town were usually packed with worshipers during routine congregations due to their small size. Khan said the mosque would be filled to the brim during routine prayers as several residents had gone elsewhere to offer Eid prayers.
Sana Javed, a student, said she was glad that space had been reserved for women. She said she would visit the mosque regularly with her friends. Zubair Aslam, another resident of Bahria Town, said the number of people living in the area had increased as the locality had developed. He said the mosque would also cater to the needs of people living in the town’s vicinity.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2014.