Congregational prayers to be held at King Salman Mosque starting Friday

Congregational prayers will be held at King Salman Mosque in capital Male' starting next Friday.

In a press conference held to brief the media on the ministry's preparations for the upcoming month of Ramadan, Islamic Minister Dr. Ahmed Zahir said arrangements to officially open the Saudi Arabia-funded mosque are still not in place. However, the mosque will be opened to the public for congregational prayers from this Friday's afternoon Friday prayers onwards, the minister said.

The minister said a high-level delegation from Saudi Arabia will be arriving in the Maldives for the mosque's official opening. However, a date has not been set for the inauguration, he said.

According to the minister, a Hafiz from abroad will lead the Tarawih prayers at the mosque this Ramadan. He said prayers at some other mosques will also be led by foreign Hafiz.

The location of the King Salman mosque makes it prone to rust due to salt in the air, the minister noted. Therefore, arrangements for regular maintenance of the mosque have been facilitated, he added.

The minister further said two new mosques will be opened in Male' city furing the first week of Ramadan: one in Maafannu ward, and one in Hulhumale' Phase I.

The construction of King Salam Mosque began during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's presidency. It was completed by the contractor and handed over to the Maldives government in early 2020.

The mosque stands on the outskirts of Male' city overlooking the Sinamale' Bridge. Spread over a total area of 41500 square feet, the five-storey mosque can accommodate 10,000 people simultaneously. Four elevators have been installed at the mosque for easy access. The ground, first and the second floor are allocated for praying. While the mosque's grounds can accommodate 6000 worshipers, 4000 people can simultaneously use the first and second floors of the mosque. The second floor is designated for female worshippers and has a separate entrance with special washrooms for women. The third floor of the mosque has an extensive library and an auditorium. The fourth floor has a part of the auditorium and a lobby, while the fifth floor has a multi-purpose hall.

The mosque project cost over USD 24 million. The Islamic Ministry has said the government of Saudi Arabia will be granting a further USD 2 million to purchase additional furniture for the mosque. Although the funds have not been arranged thus far, the minister said it is expected to be received very soon.