- The Hassan II Mosque is a mosque situated in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest mosque in the country. Designed by architect Michel Pinseau, Hassan II Mosque is the largest religious monument in the world after Mecca.
The great Hassan II Mosque was commissioned by its namesake, King Hassan II, in part to provide Casablanca with a single landmark monument. On his birthday, July 9, 1980, the king declared: “I wish Casablanca to be endowed with a large, fine building of which it can be proud until the end of time... I want to build this mosque on the water, because God's throne is on the water. Therefore, the faithful who go there to pray, to praise the creator on firm soil, can contemplate God's sky and ocean.”
The Mosque began in July 1986 and was intended to be completed for the 60th birthday of former Moroccan king, but it ended up not being finished until August 30, 1993. The project is estimated to have cost as much as $800 million, funds that were remarkably raised entirely from public subscription.
The mosque rises above the ocean on a rocky outcrop reclaimed from the sea. This was inspired by the verse of the Qur'an that states "the throne of Allah was built on water."
Part of the floor is glass and offers a view down at the sea. This feature was a result of King Hassan II declaring: "I want to build this mosque on the water, because God's throne is on the water. Therefore, the faithful who go there to pray, to praise the Creator on firm soil, can contemplate God's sky and ocean."
Although Hassan II Mosque was designed by a French architect, it is Moroccan through and through. Nearly all the materials used in the construction, were taken from around Morocco, with the exception of some Italian white granite columns and glass chandeliers. Over 6000 traditional Moroccan artisans worked on the building over the course of its construction.
Hassan II Mosque is a vast building that can hold 25,000 worshippers inside and accommodate a further 80,000 in the courtyards and squares around it. The 210-meter minaret is the tallest in the world and is visible day and night for miles around. It shines a laser beam towards Mecca by night. The mosque also has a centrally heated floor, electric doors and a retractable roof.
- Interesting to know
The Hassan II mosque is one of the very few Islamic religious buildings open to non-Muslims. To see the interior you must take guided tour. Visitors must be 'decently and respectfully dressed' and once inside, you will be asked to remove your shoes. The hour-long tours are conducted in French, English, German and Spanish, and take in the prayer hall, ablution rooms and hammam.