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Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai: A Practical Guide to Visit

    The Jumeirah Mosque is the most important mosque in Dubai, embodying the city’s rich Islamic cultural heritage. Situated a stone’s throw away from the renowned Jumeirah Beach and one of Dubai’s most popular seafronts, this architectural wonder captivates with its traditional design embellished with intricate arabesques and a symmetrical facade flanked by two majestic minarets. Here, modernity and respect for cultural traditions converge harmoniously.

    This is the ideal place to delve into the deeply rooted Islamic religious and cultural traditions of the UAE. Despite sometimes being overwhelmed by the city’s opulent lifestyle, modernity, and incredible architecture, the melodious call to prayer that resonates five times a day from its mosques serves as a reminder of the UAE’s close ties with their Islamic culture. The Jumeirah Mosque holds a special place in this, as it is one of the few mosques in Dubai that also welcomes non-Muslims.

    Tourists from all over the world and of all faiths are welcome here. A visit to the Jumeirah Mosque offers a rare opportunity to explore the authentic and intimate aspects of local culture, providing insights into the teachings and customs of Islam. Guided tours, exhibitions, and various initiatives hosted within its walls allow visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the religion’s rites, traditions, and culinary customs, thus approaching a culture that is sometimes perceived as distant and enigmatic.

    Jumeirah Mosque: History and Interesting Facts

    The Jumeirah Mosque is considered the most important mosque in Dubai and one of the most significant landmarks in the United Arab Emirates. It is also one of the most beautiful mosques to visit in the country. The reason for visiting is closely linked to its cultural tours, which allow people of all religions to discover more about Islam and local culture.

    Commissioned between 1976 and 1979 by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the then Emir of Dubai and a key figure in the formation of the modern UAE, as well as the father of the current ruler of Dubai, the Jumeirah Mosque is located just a few steps from the sea and from what is now one of the liveliest areas of the city: Jumeirah Beach and its extensive seafront. Interestingly, if you happen to find a 500 AED note in your wallet, take a closer look: the mosque graced the 500 dirham notes issued before 2023, symbolizing its pivotal role in the city’s identity.

    Jumeirah Mosque Dubai

    Its beautiful traditional Islamic architecture is a fusion of tradition and modernity, influenced by the Fatimid and Abbasid styles, with motifs inspired by those traditionally found in the mosques of Syria and Egypt. Crafted entirely from luminous white stone, it shines particularly brightly under the sun and becomes very picturesque at sunset, when it takes on the warm hues of the golden hour.

    Adorned with arabesques and geometric patterns, as well as decorations with Arabic calligraphy, the mosque’s silhouette certainly captures attention with its symmetrical lines, its domes, the two towering minarets, and the large central dome. Surrounding it is a quiet garden with fountains used by the faithful for ritual ablutions.

    While Muslims can simply enter and pray, non-Muslims can visit the mosque on a guided tour. Inside, you can admire the large prayer room, arranged in a single room and capable of accommodating over 1200 worshipers. It is easy to be enchanted by the high arches with pastel-colored columns, by the light blue, cream, and pink palette that contrasts with the green of the large carpet that covers the floor, where the worshipers gather in prayer.

    The mosque is adorned with intricate stained glass windows and elaborate floral patterns, illuminated by decorated chandeliers and lanterns. Across from the entrance, you can see the mihrab, a niche indicating the direction of Mecca. Visitors can also admire the attached rooms, the so-called majlis, which host exhibitions and cultural events. During the month of Ramadan, you can easily see locals gathering here for the traditional iftar (the meal that breaks the fast) or night prayers, called tarawih, reminding us that this mosque is not only a beautiful structure but an active and vibrant heart for the local Muslim community.

    Jumeirah Mosque Tour: How to Visit the Mosque as a Tourist

    The Jumeirah Mosque is one of the few mosques in Dubai that welcomes non-Muslim visitors, providing them with a unique opportunity to learn more about Islam and local culture. For over two decades, it has hosted initiatives from the “Open Doors, Open Minds” program of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. This program organizes guided tours of the mosque and thematic events aimed at promoting a deeper understanding of the culture, food, and Islamic traditions.

    These initiatives offer an extraordinary chance to connect with the most authentic and lesser-known aspects of the United Arab Emirates. One of the most intriguing experiences, in our opinion, is the Cultural Lunches in the Historic District of Al Bastakiya. Here, you can sample various traditional local specialties and engage in conversations with locals about customs and traditions, including religious ones.

    If you wish to admire the interiors of the Jumeirah Mosque and learn more about Islam and its rituals, you could participate in one of the guided tours. These tours provide an interesting and broad – albeit concise – overview of local customs, prayers, and religious traditions. A notable feature is the opportunity to converse freely with the guide and ask questions, allowing you to satisfy any specific curiosities you may have about Islam and its customs.

    Guided tours are open to everyone, regardless of gender, age, or religion. They cost AED 40 per person, last approximately 75 minutes, and are conducted every day except Friday. The tour is conducted in English, and photography is permitted. There are usually two tours per day, at 10:00 and 14:00, and no advance booking is required. Simply arrive on-site at least 30 minutes before the tour and register. The registration point is located near the entrance. Please note that during the month of Ramadan, the timings may vary, so it’s advisable to inquire in advance.

    Actually, a visit to the Jumeirah Mosque is not just a guided tour of the building, but an engaging experience that offers a glimpse into some often overlooked aspects of local daily life. The visit begins in the courtyard, where you can observe the fountains where worshipers perform ritual ablutions before prayers, known as wudhu. The guide will demonstrate how a Muslim performs these ancient purification rituals. The tour then proceeds to the interior of the mosque, where you can admire the large prayer room and sit on the expansive green carpet that covers the floor, right where the worshipers gather in prayer.

    You will have the opportunity to learn how Muslims pray, and the guide will explain some basic prayer rituals. Here, the guide will also provide an engaging introduction to the Islamic religion and the five pillars of Islam. The topics covered are quite varied, ranging from the Hajj – the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim should undertake at least once in their life – to daily customs and rituals, holidays, and cultural norms.

    The guides are often women, adding another layer of interest to the visit. One aspect that often piques the curiosity of visitors is the Hijab, the characteristic Islamic veil. During your visit, you will have the opportunity to learn more about this ancient tradition and how it is worn.

    Another delightful aspect is that before the tour, you will be able to taste some traditional local specialties, such as authentic Arabic coffee, tea, and snacks like dates and luqaimat – delicious local sweets that resemble fried doughnut balls dipped in honey. You can also explore the exhibitions that are often housed in the majlis, the rooms around the mosque.

    For instance, there is a permanent exhibition on Dubai’s past, with photographs and objects that narrate the story of local history in the era before the discovery of oil and up to the 1980s. There is often also the opportunity for women to have their hands decorated with henna and for everyone to take a photo with the falcon, a symbol of the Emirates.

    Is there a dress code to visit the Jumeirah Mosque?

    Yes, there is a dress code for visiting the Jumeirah Mosque. Visitors are asked to dress modestly and behave respectfully. It is recommended to wear long trousers and a shirt. However, there is some flexibility as long as your clothing is not transparent or overly revealing, and your shoulders and knees are covered. This applies to both men and women.

    Women will need to cover their hair, so you may want to bring a scarf or something similar for this purpose. But don’t worry if you’re not adequately covered. You can borrow traditional attire like the kandoora for men and the abaya for women, as well as a sheila to cover women’s hair, free of charge. Also, remember that you’ll need to take off your shoes before entering the mosque.

    How to Get to Jumeirah Mosque

    The Jumeirah Mosque is situated on Jumeirah Beach Road, just a short distance from the La Mer neighborhood, at the northern tip of Jumeirah Beach. Given the absence of nearby metro stations, the most common ways to reach the mosque are by taxi or by taking a bus that stops close to La Mer.

    Just a short walk away, you’ll find stops for buses no. 8, 88, 9, and T10. The first two bus routes provide a connection between the mosque and Deira as well as the Dubai Gold Souk. The third route links to the well-known Al Ghubaiba Bus Station, which also has a metro station. The last route, T10, connects to the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa, another location with a metro station.

    Jumeirah Mosque Visiting Hours

    Non-muslin tourists can visit the Jumeirah Mosque only on guided tours, which are conducted at 10:00 and 14:00 daily, except on Fridays. The exhibitions in the majlis are open every day from 9:00 to 17:00, with the exception of Fridays. For Muslims who wish to visit for prayer, the mosque is open every day, typically until 8:00 pm, although these times may vary.

    Which Other Mosques in Dubai Are Open to Non-Muslim Visitors?

    Don’t believe anyone who tells you that the Jumeirah Mosque is the only mosque in Dubai open to visitors. Anyone who says this likely has a superficial understanding of Dubai or has never visited. As a local, I can assure you that there are several other fascinating mosques in the city. Some of these are open to non-Muslim visitors, and even better, some offer free admission!

    One of the most beautiful is the Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque, inspired by the Ottoman style of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. Although it may not be widely known among tourists, it stands as one of the largest mosques in the UAE and welcomes all visitors during non-prayer times. The Grand Mosque of Bur Dubai – located opposite the Dubai Museum – is also open to non-Muslim visitors (free of charge, with tours at 9:30 from Sunday to Thursday), as is the beautiful Mohammed Bin Ahmed Al Mulla Mosque in Dubai Marina.

    Other interesting mosques can only be visited externally, such as the Al Salam Mosque and the beautiful Imam Hussein Mosque, also known as the Iranian Mosque (which is sometimes open for visits, just ask on-site). There are also a couple of contemporary architecture mosques that can be admired from the outside and sometimes allow tourists to take a peek inside. The most beautiful ones are the DIFC Grand Mosque (especially at sunset and in the evening), the City Walk Mosque, and the Mosque of the Light.

    Things to Do and See Around the Jumeirah Mosque

    The Jumeirah Mosque is located opposite the expansive Jumeirah Beach and the vibrant La Mer neighborhood. This area is one of Dubai’s trendiest, renowned for its numerous shops, restaurants, bars, and beach clubs. From here, you can enjoy long seaside walks or take a bus that travels the entire promenade up to the iconic Burj Al Arab.

    A short stroll away is the Etihad Museum, which offers an intriguing overview of the history of the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, during your stay in Dubai, you should not miss the opportunity to visit the most beautiful mosque in the UAE, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

    Planning your trip to Dubai? Then you should check out our GUIDE TO THE BEST THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN DUBAI.