The Grand Mosque, similar to the Taj Mahal in India, was built during the rule of Saddam Hussein, and was designed to be the largest mosque in the region. Its construction was halted after the fall of the regime.
Baghdad- It was not easy to enter the site of the mosque, located in Al-Mansour neighborhood (one of Baghdad’s high-end neighborhoods), because the mosque, which began work in 1999 during the rule of the regime of the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and was supposed to open in 2010, stopped working in it after the American invasion of Iraq And the fall of Baghdad in 2003, and so far several parties are contesting control of it.
The mosque was designed to match the Taj Mahal in India, and it was intended to be one of the largest mosques in the world, as its huge building can accommodate 15,000 worshippers, topped by a large dome with a height of 84 meters, surrounded by 8 domes, each with a height of 28 meters, each of which is a dome It includes 14 other smaller domes with a height of 14 meters. The place of the central dome is still open by a gigantic gap that was supposed to be covered with pottery decorated with gold.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, the Iraqi architect, Saher Al-Qaisi, spoke about the Rahman Mosque, saying, “I was assigned to prepare the design and implementation plans for the mosque project through the contract concluded between the Presidency of the Diwan and the University of Baghdad, provided that work will be started from the Al-Idrisi Center of the Ministry of Housing and Construction, and it was agreed that The project will be monitored by a committee composed of specialists affiliated with the same center.
After the completion of the first phase of the project – adds Al-Qaisi – the person responsible for the follow-up was changed from Laith Al-Nuaimi, the owner of the winning design idea, to be replaced by the architect, Afif Jawad, then he was asked to make a new design for the mosque to be presented with the second phase.
After submitting all the design plans that include details, measurements and locations, in addition to the facades and their detailed treatment, in addition to the general site, which includes private and public corridors, the lighthouse, the summer prayer hall, entrances and service buildings; Work has begun on the implementation of the second phase.
The design idea of the mosque
Regarding the design idea of the mosque, Al-Qaisi continues by saying that the idea is to design a large main mosque surrounded by 8 small mosques, and on the basis of this idea the design was put into action.
The idea of the mosque is a philosophical hypothetical, based on the establishment of a living edifice that has the ability to generate sustainable positive energies that represent the Islamic faith, embodying the idea that monotheism is the supreme system of life and human beings.
This idea was designed in an architectural style represented by an octagonal block, topped by a large dome that is a symbol of Islamic architecture, and from its core 8 relatively small mosques emerge, and this architectural formation of the Al-Rahman Mosque is an embodiment of the features of Arab Islamic and Iraqi architecture in a contemporary artistic and technical way.
Religious conflicts and parties
Since work on the Al-Rahman Mosque stopped in 2003, the building with its huge, incomplete concrete block has been the subject of a struggle between many parties, including the Shiite and Sunni endowments over their eligibility to own it.
Then comes the Virtue Party, led by the cleric Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, who has been based in the mosque for 17 years. The party was unable to complete the mosque despite its attempts because of the huge sums required to complete it.
In January 2020, the judiciary ruled that the Shiite endowment was entitled to build, and the ruling also obligated the Virtue Party to pay an amount of $200 million in compensation, but the ruling was not implemented.
Taj Mahal and Jame ‘al-Rahman
The Taj Mahal in India is considered one of the finest examples of the development of architecture, because it combines in beautiful harmony between the Indo-Islamic and Persian civilization. It was built of white marble by the Muslim Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to commemorate his wife, and the work took 22 years.
Regarding the affiliation of the Rahman Mosque to one side, the advisor in the Baghdad Provincial Council, Suhair Al-Sarraf, believes that mosques and religious places should be under the control of one party, the religious endowments, expressing regret for the conflict around the mosque between the Shiite and Sunni endowments, in addition to another party that puts its hand on The building is for religious practice.