This was a must-see for us but unfortunately we only managed one brief visit - and not at prayer time. The timing was not perfect for photography but I'm pleased we made the journey and walked around in the courtyard and grounds of what I recently discovered is the largest mosque in Pakistan. It can accommodate 10,000 worshippers in the main hall. We didn't have the time to visit the museum and library, but I don't think we've missed much given how young this mosque is. Completed in 1986 as a national mosque and paid for by Saudi Arabia, it was named after King Faisal after his assassination in 1975. It's well maintained and surrounded by elegant gardens.
The design is striking. Its simplicity captivates from a distance and the backdrop of the Margalla Hills makes me think the location was not an afterthought. This is how the Turkish architect, Vedat Ali Dalokay, describes his design philosophy: " I tried to capture the spirit, proportion and geometry of Kaaba in a purely abstract manner. Imagine the apex of each of the four minaret as a scaled explosion of four highest corners of Kaaba - thus an unseen Kaaba form is bounded by the minarets at the four corners in a proportion of height to base. Shah Faisal Mosque akin to Kaaba. Now, if you join the apex of each minaret to the base of the minaret diagonally opposite to it correspondingly, a four-sided pyramid shall be bound by these lines at the base side within that invisible cube. That lower level pyramid is treated as a solid body while four minarets with their apex complete the imaginary cube of Kaaba."