There are numerous mosques in Qatar, some of which are very old, that are still used for
daily prayer by local Muslims. There are over 2,000 mosques across Qatar, managed by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, which was created in 1993.
Non‑Muslims are able to enter most mosques, except for the Shioukh Mosque next to the Amiri Diwan on the corner of Al Rayyan Road and Jassim Bin Mohammed Street. Entry to all mosques is free of cost. It is best to visit mosques outside of prayer times.
Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center (Fanar) organises tours of its own mosque near Souq Waqif, and those at Katara and Education City. Visitors must remember to dress appropriately: no shorts, sleeveless tops or other revealing garments. Women will be asked to wear an abaya and to cover their hair. In some mosques, abayas and scarves are provided.
Abu Manaratain Mosque
Even though manaratain means ‘two minarets’ in Arabic, this mosque only has one tall, slender tower. Restored in 2004, this unusual mosque in Al Wakra lacks the high walls typical of Qatari mosques. The mosque can only be visited externally.
With 1,460 sq m, accommodating 700 men and 150 women for prayer, Aspire Mosque incorporates the most appropriate form and architectural finishes, falling into harmony with the adjacent buildings.
Education City Mosque
The mosque, a large white cavernous structure with Quranic verses embossed into its large ceiling, is dotted with small lights reminiscent of twinkling stars, and has the capacity to hold some 1,800 people in its indoor prayer halls and outdoor courtyard. The main (male) prayer room on the first floor features an in-house, as yet unstocked library, and a large gilded mehrab, a semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla (the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying), in a Quran verse-lined alcove. Upstairs, a female gallery room complete with a separate seating area is sectioned off from the main prayer room by a high wall.
The mosque rests on five structural pillars and is decorated with verses. Underneath, water flows from four streams originating from a garden that lines the perimeter of the building. The gardens are based on an interpretation of paradise, with the streams representing rivers of milk, honey and water, and the pillars representing the five tenets of Islam. Meanwhile, two tall, slim minarets jutt out of one side of the structure, rising some 90 m in the air in the direction of Mecca. Islamic calligraphy forms the heart of the building, inscribed on almost every element of the structure’s surface, from roofs to ceramic tiles to glass windows. Contact: 4454 6600
Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab Mosque (The State Mosque)
Located on Khalifa Street/Onaiza Street, the renamed State Mosque is the largest in Qatar and can accommodate 10,000 worshippers inside and 30,000 outside. Traditional‑style lighting illuminates the outer courtyard, where there is granite seating. The main prayer hall has 28 large domes and a single minaret 65 metres high. Structurally inspired by the ‘Bo Al Qabib’ mosque designed by Sheikh Jasim bin Mohammed Al Thani, the founder of modern Qatar. While it is not open to the public, it is a very impressive yet understated piece of architecture and spectacular at night.
Katara Masjid (Blue Mosque)
Located in Katara Cultural Village, the Katara Masjid is one of the most beautiful mosques in the country. Designed by globally-known Turkish mosque designer, Zainab Fadil Oglu, and a team of restoration specialists from Dolma Palace in Istanbul, the interior and exterior architectural designs, together with the minaret, the dome, and the prayer niche (mihrab) are all inspired by several famous mosques found in various cities and capitals of the Islamic world.
Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center (Fanar)
The distinctive curled minaret makes Fanar one of Qatar’s most iconic buildings. Opposite Souq Waqif on Grand Hamad Street, the centre offers non‑Muslims the opportunity to learn more about Islam through various activities, including attending Friday prayers, taking a tour of the mosque, learning Arabic or downloading publications from the website. Check their Facebok page for events and schedules. Contact: 4444 7444, binzaid.gov.qa
Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mohamed Al Abdulrahman Al Thani Mosque
Also known as Al Rayyan Mosque, the Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mohamed Al Abdulrahman Al Thani Mosque has opened for public prayers. Located opposite the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, Al Rayyan Mosque is one of the largest mosques in Qatar with sky high minarets of up to 60 m and domes of 39 m, covering an area of over 9,000 sq m. As many as 2,500 worshipers are able to pray in the mosque, with a separate prayer area for women. The mosque also includes small libraries within the walls and pillars of the prayer hall consisting of a large collection of Qurans and with at least 100 books or religious reading material in various langauges on topics such as women’s issues, children’s rights, animal rights and more. The tech-savvy prayer hall can serve as a place for religious gatherings, lectures or lessons before or after prayers.
North of Doha on Al Khor Coastal Road (Route 6) is Simaisma, a 19th century fishing and pearling town, where the mosque is open from sunrise to late afternoon. Dating back to 1938, it used to house a madrassa (school) teaching the Holy Quran to children as well as being a place of prayer. Visitors are advised not to enter the mosque or to take photographs during prayer time. Snacks and refreshments can be bought near the mosque, and if you wander south along the coast when the tide is low, you can see the traditional hadra (inter‑tidal fishing traps).
The Golden Mosque
Located in Katara Cultural Village, The Golden Masjid is garnished with extremely small golden chips, and it represents Ottoman style. Katara offers, in masjids, several religious programmes and a series of religious lectures delivered by a group of prominent and esteemed religious scholars. Katara also organises advanced courses in Quran memorisation that are widely attended by a considerable number of children from different age groups. Such courses bear significance because they instil the virtuous values and the good manners of the Holy Quran.
The Grand Mosque (Shioukh Mosque)
Situated on the Corniche next to the Amiri Diwan, and alongside the clocktower, the Grand Mosque features some striking architecture, with numerous domes and a distinctive green and white colour combination. Although not open to the public, it still presents a photo opportunity.