Saleh Mosque

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al-Saleh Mosque
جامع الصالح
Alsalh-24-2-2014 (16481824622).jpg
Saleh Mosque is located in Sanaa
Saleh Mosque
Shown within Sanaa
Basic information
Location  YEM
Geographic coordinates 15°19′33″N 44°12′28″E / 15.3258°N 44.2077°E / 15.3258; 44.2077Coordinates: 15°19′33″N 44°12′28″E / 15.3258°N 44.2077°E / 15.3258; 44.2077
Affiliation Islam
Municipality Sana'a
District Sana'a
Prefecture Sana'a
State Yemen
Region Yemen
Year consecrated November 2008
Ecclesiastical or organizational status In use
Status Active
Leadership Ali Abdullah Saleh
Architectural description
Architectural type Mosque
Architectural style Yemeni architectural style or Himyarite architecture
Construction cost 60 million US dollars
Capacity 44,000
Dome(s) Five
Dome height (outer) Four of 20.35 metres (66.8 ft)
Dome height (inner) One central of 39.6 metres (130 ft)
Dome dia. (outer) 13.6 metres (45 ft)
Dome dia. (inner) 27.4 metres (90 ft)
Minaret(s) 6
Minaret height 100 metres (330 ft)
Materials Reinforced Cement Concrete with local materials

The Saleh Mosque or Al Saleh Mosque (Arabic: جامع الرئيس الصالح) is the largest and most modern mosque in Sana'a, Yemen. It lies in the southern outskirts of the city, south of the Al Sabeen Maternal Hospital. Inaugurated in November 2008 by Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, it is named in his honor.[1][2] The mosque, 27,300 square metres (294,000 sq ft) in size, has a central hall which is 13,596 square metres (146,350 sq ft) with an occupancy capacity of 44,000.[3] The building cost nearly US$60 million to construct.[4][5] Open to non-Muslims, the mosque is frequented by tourists, and promotes moderate Islam. Security measures include police and bomb-sniffing dogs.


The President of Yemen was criticized in 2008 for undertaking such a grand project when the country was suffering with socio-economic problems. Several accidents occurred during its construction. The minarets collapsed multiple times, resulting in some deaths. After these occurrences, the site was used to build the Islamic college and the garden next to the mosque.[6] It is also mentioned that Hayel Said, a local businessman, was threatened with reprisals and annulment of his business licenses if he did not pay for the building of the mosque.[6] It is also reported that because of the fluid political situation in Yemen where the Zaidi tribal elites are influential, the Saleh's palace mosque was bombed in June 2011 with the president badly injured;[7] the bombing took place at the instigation of tribal elites who supported the youth movement which sought a national leadership change.[8]

The Saleh Mosque appears on Yemeni currency. It is depicted on the face of the 2007 issue 250 rial note.[9]

Architecture and fittings[edit]

The mosque was constructed using different types of stone, including black basalt stones as well as limestone in red, white and black.[10] The building is compared in its beauty and architectural elegance with the Masjid al-Haram, in Mecca.[6][11] It was built in a fusion of "Yemeni architecture and Islamic styles", with many Quranic verses inscribed on the walls.[3] The layout is referred to as "Himyarite architecture".[1]

The building has wooden roofs and seven ornate domes.[12] There are five domes in the main roof, the main dome measuring 27.4 metres (90 ft) in diameter with a height of 39.6 metres (130 ft) above the mosque's roof. The other four domes measure 15.6 metres (51 ft) with height of 20.35 metres (66.8 ft) above the roof level of the mosque. Windows fitted with stained glass are locally referred to as qamariyah. Of the fifteen wooden doors, ten of them are situated on the eastern and western sides, and five open south towards the Islamic college and ablution areas.[3] The doors are 22.86 metres (75.0 ft) in height and include engraved copper patterns. Four of the six minarets are 160 metres (520 ft) in height.[13]

The interior space is 24 metres (79 ft) from floor to ceiling.[1][2][3] While the plush carpeting contains intricate patterns, huge chandeliers have colorful and flower-like patterns. The three-storied building which includes the Quran College, also contains libraries and over two dozen classrooms,[13] enough space to accommodate 600 students.[10] Three large rooms are specifically for women;[10] a small hall can accommodate 2,000 women.[14]

The mosque has a modern central air conditioning and sound systems, as well as full security arrangements, including bomb-sniffing dogs. The building stays lit through the night.[12] Thorn Lighting International, through its distributor Al Zaghir, was the lighting contractor.[15] Diah International served as the subcontractor for civil and mechanical engineering;[16] Sodaco Engineering & Contracting also provided services in the building's construction.[17]


Situated in close proximity to the Presidential palace, the mosque is set within the Al Sabeen square, which is the country's largest parade square.[10] The mosque was built on a large area of land which was acquired from Beit Zuhra, of a well-known local family; it is said that when Zuhra refused to sell the land at a low price, his eldest son was abducted for ransom and released three months later, after Zuhra agreed to sell the land for the mosque at a low price.[11] Nearby is an amusement park named FunCity.[18] The grounds include sprawling gardens, green courtyards, and parking space for thousands of vehicles, part of an integrated services plan.[3]


As people of all religions can visit the mosque,[19] tourists are present in large numbers. The mosque also promotes moderate Islam,[20] to a large number of people, which is considered a positive feature in the light of the Al-Qaeda influence.[18] Women pray in an enclosed area separated from the main central hall.[1][3] The Saleh Mosque is the only Yemeni mosque where police and bomb-sniffing dogs are used for inspecting worshippers.[13] Prayers are also broadcast over the national television network to reach a larger viewing audience.[21]



  1. ^ a b c d "Al Saleh Mosque". Official Website of Yemen Tourism. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Big_Mosque_For_President_Puzzles_Yemens_Poor_a/ Big mosque for president puzzles Yemen's poor". Associated Press. 21 November 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Al-Saleh Mosque in Yemen". Islamic Arts Organization. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Yemen's new $60m mosque". BBC News. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Al-Saleh Mosque, Sana'a, Yemen". National Geographic. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Yemen: The story of al-Saleh Mosque". Bikymasr Independent news for the world. 20 November 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  7. ^ Pherson, Katherine Hibbs; Pherson, Randolph H (23 October 2012). Critical Thinking For Strategic Intelligence. CQ Press. pp. 289–. ISBN 978-1-4522-2667-5. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Beverly Dawn Metcalfe; Fouad Mimouni (1 January 2011). Leadership Development in the Middle East. Edward Elgar Publishing. pp. 301–. ISBN 978-1-84720-615-2. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  9. ^ Cuhaj, George S. (11 March 2011). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: Modern Issues 1961 - Present. Krause Publications. pp. 1078–. ISBN 978-1-4402-1584-1. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d Arrabyee, Nasser (November 21, 2008). "Huge mosque inaugurated in Sana'a". Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Mosquing the Problem". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Black, Ian (January 24, 2010). "Yemen: discontent and poverty simmer in west's new front against al-Qaida". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c "Yemen's Poor Outraged by Massive Mosque for President". Fox News. November 23, 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  14. ^ Al-Omari, Moneer (November 24, 2008). "Yemen's Grandest Mosque Inaugurated". Yemen Post. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Al Saleh Mosque - Yemen's 'national wonder' lit by Thorn". Thorn Lighting. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  16. ^ "President Ali Abdullah Saleh Mosque". Diah International. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "Al Saleh Mosque Sana'a, Yemen". Sodaco. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Hersh, Joshua (March 5, 2010). "Yemen: A Night in FunCity". The New Yorker. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  19. ^ "Travel & Activities". Yemen College for Middle Eastern Studies. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  20. ^ "Yemen: Days of Reckoning". National Geographic. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  21. ^ "Yemen: a tale of 2 mosques". Independent Online. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 

External links[edit]