The mosque is situated at the end of Shaharah-e-Islamabad, against the backdrop of the picturesque Margalla Hills. This placement defines its importance, positioning it on elevated terraced land ensures its visibility during day and night for miles around. The mosque is dedicated to the memory of the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia who graciously defrayed the cost of the project as a gift to the people of Pakistan.
The mosque at its inception was conceptualized as the national mosque of the newly formed Islamic nation and was intended to symbolize the hopes and aspiration of Pakistan. The Turkish architect, Vedat Dalokay's design was selected through an international competition.
Dalokay looked to modern as well as medieval Islamic design principals to arrive at a concept that best reflected the people's aspirations. Instead of traditional domes usually associated with mosques, the main prayer hall is an eight faceted concrete shell representative of a desert tent. An impressive engineering feat, the shell reaches a height of 131'- 3" (40m) and is supported on four giant concrete girders. The surface is faced in white marble and decorated inside with mosaics and a spectacular Turkish style chandelier. The hall can accommodate 10,000 worshippers.
The mosque is flanked by four tall minarets measuring 300' - 0" (90m). Influenced by Turkish architecture, the minarets are slender and pointed, the form an abstraction derived from a square base formed by the intersection of two planes.
The entrance is from the east and is preceded by a main courtyard with porticoes. The porticoes can accommodate 24,000 worshippers while the courtyard can provide additional space for 40,000 people. The International Islamic University was housed under the main courtyard. The University is currently in the process of relocating to a new campus that was inaugurated in 2000.
A later addition to the grounds of the Faisal Mosque is the mausoleum of General Zia-ul-Haq, (President of Pakistan, 1978 to 1988), which receives people who stop to offer fateha (prayer for the deceased).
Shaw, Isobel. 1989. Pakistan Handbook. Hong Kong: The Guidebook Company Limited, 213.
Aqil, Tariq. 1995. Islamabad The Beautiful. Islamabad: The Directorate of Public Relations, Capital Development Authority, 16.