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al bidya

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Straddling through all the magnificent skyscrapers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you must have marveled at all that emirates has to offer, the world of wonders is right underneath your footsteps! However, keeping aside the glamour and stardom, you can also revel in the sweetest bliss and simplicity of tranquility. To experience the generosity of divinity, Al Bidya Mosque is a perfect respite in its amusing simplicity. This forms one of the oldest extant mosques in the entire United Arab Emirates.

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Where is Al Bidya Mosque?

Al Bidya Mosque is an archaic and historical mosque in the Emirate of Fujairah, of the United Arab Emirates. It was known to be the oldest mosque in the country, before the discovery of ruins of a 1000-year-old mosque dating back to the Islamic Golden Age around September 2018, near the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Mosque in the city of Al Ain, in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is located in the small village of Al-Badiyah or Al Bidiyah, which is about 40 km (25 mi) north of the Emirates capital city that also came to be known as the "Ottoman Mosque'' in the UAE. Al Bidya dates back to 1446  when it was built into the hillside between the Gulf and the Hajar Mountains as it was made entirely of mud and stone with radiocarbon which is why dating a precise age is nearly impossible.

The mosque is located near the village of Al Bidya on the east coast located at one of the emirates of UAE known as Fujairah. Its origins largely remain a mystery for many people as even the elderly locals reportedly know very little about its early historical developments and significance.

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The architecture of Al Bidya Mosque

The architecture of this mosque is unique mainly because it has fewer dimes than all the other mosques. It has four layered domes, each containing a central pillar to support the structure of the mosque. While it now has modern lighting and air conditioning, the worn Minbar (pulpit), niches for decoration or lighting, with tiny windows for lighting and ventilation echo to the archaic days.

Before visiting this place, you must adhere to their customary practices, therefore all the tourists must be dressed moderately and can visit this place of worship that still features daily prayers. You can find a lot of surroundings in the area such as old watchtowers, ruins of buildings, and market stalls where crafts are currently sold. The area is dotted with local flora that you will find anywhere in UAE.

There are several archaeological sites close to and surrounding Al Bidya Mosque due to its extreme proximity to the mosque since it is registered as "Al Bidya Archaeological Mosque" on the archaeological maps, these very sites include the following features:

  • Four elegant and rustic watchtowers.
  • Stone walls of the old buildings.
  • Foundations and all the remaining walls of large historic houses some of which belong to the Sheikh along with the other small houses.
  • You can also find a few Petroglyphs and archaeological carvings on these stones.

Al Bidya Mosque is characteristically distinguished from other old and modern mosques, by having four domes that are not equal in size. Each dome consists of multiple ones that are mounted on top of all the others, the first one is to inform the base of a large dome. The second dome is smaller in size and is joined together with the third one which is a much smaller dome and is crowned with a dome with a tiny head. Collectively, all these domes are close to each other in proximity.

All these four domes are supported by one strong central pillar, this is known to be the main pillar construction on which the entire foundation is based. Its central peak and roof bases carry four domes in a uniquely engineered system.

The mosque is square (6.8 x 6.8 m) but has an irregularity in shape, the height of its Mihrab is 180 cm with a width of about 90 cm. The Minbar consists of stairs with three doorsteps and is also square in its outlining shape. You will see that the walls are decorated with dentate carvings, with openings allowing the light and air to enter which are also illuminated by the lightning lamps.

The Al Bidya Mosque is located in a wide rectangular yard that is built from a solid stone that combines mud and hay with a wall height of 1.5 meters. The mosque is only distinguished by its roof which is different from other known mosques located on the coast with flat roofs mounted on palm alongside the trunks of the trees.

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