Islam is the second largest religion in the world in terms of number of followers. It is the last religion to come out of the Middle East Abrahamic tradition. Islam has spread mostly in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe while the other continents also contain Muslim populations. Islam has given the world great architectural and artistic contributions. Most of the Muslim holy sites are very popular for pilgrims and other tourists alike. Here are the top 10 Muslim holy sites in the world.
10. Hassan ll Mosque, Morocco:
The Hassan ll Mosque is located in Casablanca Morocco and is sometimes called “Casablanca Hajj”. It was completed in 1993 and is the 7th largest mosque in the world. Its minaret is 210 meters tall which makes it the world’s tallest minaret. The mosque can host 105,000 worshipers at one time.
9. Selimiye Mosque, Turkey:
Selimiye Mosque is located in Edrine Turkey and was completed in 1575 in the Ottoman tradition. It was commissioned by Sultan Selim ll and designed by architect Mimar Sinan. It is considered as a masterpiece of Islamic architecture in the world. The mosque complex contains a hospital, school, library, baths and a medrese.
8. Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul:
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque was completed in 1616 in Istanbul, Turkey. It is known popularly as the Blue Mosque for the exquisite blue tiles that adorn its interior. It is a popular tourist destination in Istanbul and one of the holy sites for Muslims around the world and is still used as a mosque.
7. Quba Mosque, Medina:
The Quba Mosque lies on the outskirts of Medina and is a very holy place for Muslims. The first stones of the mosque were laid my Prophet Muhammad himself as soon as he arrived on his emigration from Mecca to Medina. It is a very important mosque for Muslims as praying here is considered to be a very holy act.
6. Great Mosque of Djenne, Mali:
The Great Mosque of Djenne in Mali is a mud brick building that is considered an architectural achievement of the Sudano-Sahelian architectural style. It is located in the flood plain of the Bani River in the city of Djenne. The first mosque was built in this location in the 13th century. The current structure was built in 1907. It is a world heritage site and one of most famous landmarks in Africa.
5. Masjid Qubbat As-Sakhrah, Jerusalem:
Masjid Qubbat As-Sakhrah is also known as Dome of the Rock and is located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is the most controversial piece of property in the world as it is the holy place of Christians, Jews and Muslims. The controversy is over the foundation stone inside the building that is the rock under the dome.
4. Imam Ali, Iraq:
Imam Ali is located in Najaf, Iraq and is the third holiest place for the Shi’a branch of Muslims. It contains the tomb of Ali, the brother of Muhammad. The mosque was built over the tomb by Iranian ruler Daylamite Fannakhosraw Azod ad Dowleh in 977. Najaf is considered the third holiest Islamic city after Mecca and Medina in the world.
3. Al-Aqsa, Jerusalem:
Al Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is located on the same site as the Dome of the Rock. The mosque is believed to be the second house of worship built after the Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca. Although Muslim visitors can visit the mosque to pray the Israeli government sometimes restricts entry due to safety concerns.
2. Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, Medina:
The second holiest site in Islam is the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi or the Prophet’s Mosque situated in Medina. It was built by Prophet Muhammad and is now one of the largest mosques in the world. It is open 24/7 all year round and is a big destination for pilgrims who perform the Hajj from Mecca to Medina.
1. Al-Masjid Al-Haram, Mecca:
The Grand Mosque or the Al-Masjid Al-Haram is the holiest place for Muslims in the world. It is the largest Mosque in the world and covers an area of 356,800 square meters. Millions of pilgrims visit the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia each year to visit Mecca and Medina. During the Hajj period up to 2 million people can worship in the Mosque and is the largest gathering of people anywhere in the world.