Currently airing on SBS is the revelatory The Mosque Next Door. Set in and around the Holland Park mosque in suburban Brisbane and filmed over a year, this three-part series is exposing viewers to the oft-misconstrued daily lives of Aussie Muslims.
Mosques can be found in nearly every country on Earth. These sacred structures bring Muslims together in prayer, study, rest and reflection, and are renowned for their architectural complexity and aesthetic power.
Nasir Al Molk Mosque, Iran
This unique mosque, built in 1888, is famous for its intricate, kaleidoscopic patterning. Natural light passes through the perimeter’s stained-glass windows and turns the interiors into a carnival of colour.
Abu Darwish Mosque, Jordan
This striking structure sits on top of one of seven hills in the town of Amman and is visible from the other six. Completed in 1961 and marked by its elaborate network of two-tone stones, the Abu Darwish Mosque can house over 7000 simultaneous worshippers.
Xining Dongguan Mosque, China
Named after the street on which it sits, this impressive mosque spans three acres and is one of the largest in all of China. Its design draws from both Chinese and Islamic architecture, and its grounds are used not only as a place of worship, but also as a religious education centre.
Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, Egypt
Arguably one of the most remarkable mosques ever constructed, this palatial building eventuated under the rule of the great Mamluk Sultan’s son, taking five years to reach completion in 1359. Every aspect of the mosque was built to a grand scale and designed to include four separate schools – one for each of the Sunni schools of thought.
Aymani Kadyrova Mosque, Russia
Looking more like an interplanetary sports arena than a place of prayer, this modern marvel in the Chechen Republic was erected in 2014 to great fanfare. What separates this mosque from others is its high-tech flair – including a sleek, shapely façade that lights up at night in bright neon.
Baitun Nur, Canada
This mosque, located in Alberta, is the largest in all of Canada. Completed in 2008, Baitun Nur is unique for its steel-capped dome and minaret. After its construction, the mosque was regarded as a strong sign of solidarity from Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the nation’s moderate Muslims.
Faisal Mosque, Pakistan
Between its completion in 1986 and 1993, this Islamabad mosque was the largest in the world, and today it remains well within the top 10. Its grounds were built to fit roughly 200,000 Muslims, and the structure itself cost nearly $160 million AUD.
Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, Saudi Arabia
The original (and much smaller) mosque around which the mammoth present day structure was built was established by none other than Muhummad himself in 622. It was the third mosque ever built on Earth, and its endless array of intricate features speak of centuries worth of history, including the tombs of Muhummad and the first two Rashidun caliphs, Umar and Abu Bakr.
The Great Mosque of Touba, Senegal
West Africa’s largest and most famous mosque was built in 1887, and is known for its assemblage of domes and minarets, the largest of the latter standing at 285ft tall. Each year, a pilgrimage to the mosque, known as the Grand Magal, attracts between one and two million Muslims from all over the globe.
Hassan II Mosque, Morocco
Not only is this Casablanca mosque the largest in the nation, but it also boasts the tallest minaret in the world (689 feet). Erected in 1993, Hassan II is striking for sitting on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and for the laser installed in the tip of its minaret, which reaches a distance of approximately 30km.
Marree Mosque, Australia
And for something completely different... While this South Australian mosque is no longer functional, its remnants tell of a history relatively unknown to us Aussies. It was built as a place of peace and tranquillity by an Afghan cameleer around 1882, and is rumoured to have been abandoned by its ageing caretaker in 1956 due to an inability to maintain it.
The Mosque Next Door airs Wednesday nights at 8:30pm. You can catch previous episodes at SBS On Demand: