Sheikh Zayed Mosque minaret houses Islamic library

Contains European prints of the Quran


For the first time in the history of mosques, the UAE inaugurated Sunday an Islamic heritage library in the minaret of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Library, located in the third floor of the mosque’s north minaret, contains 3,000 books from different cultural and scientific disciplines and written in more than 12 languages, said Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center.

"The opening of the Center's library is aimed to promote science and knowledge. These are the key principles that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan sought to spread and root in the United Arab Emirates,” Tamim said in a statement.

Tamim explained that the library contains several priceless manuscripts and rare books as well as European prints of the Quran written between 1537 and 1857. The total number of manuscript pictures amounts to 50,679.

In addition to the manuscripts it houses, Tamim said that the library will seek to acquire as many works as possible on Islamic heritage and civilization.

“It aims to spread knowledge and develop contemporary culture and interest in Arab and Islamic heritage, while contributing to its revival and renewal.”


The library will also work on the translation and publication of a wide range of Islamic and Arabic research in order to contribute to the existing body of works on Islamic culture and civilization.

The location of the library, Tamim added, makes it the first of its kind and adds to the significance of the minaret, an integral part of mosque architecture.

This way, the minaret combines its traditional religious function, announcing the time for prayers, with a cultural role and a call for knowledge and tolerance.

Tamim pointed out that the location also symbolizes the place science and knowledge have occupied throughout the history of Islam and makes the library resemble a lighthouse that guides the world towards the path of truth and beauty.

Tamim stated that the library is open to academics, researchers, and the public and the library administration will offer answers to all inquiries, whether direct or through various means of communication

“It will meet users’ needs through the establishment of state of the art systems and equipment, compatible with the requirements of scientific research."

Revival of Islamic heritage

The library offers places for reading and learning and provides information in a variety of forms—books, manuscripts, maps, and electronic sources, said Director of Events and Cultural Activities Talal al-Mazrouei.

“Services will be offered in accordance to the needs of library users, students and researchers with extra provision for people with special needs,” he said in a statement.

The revival of Islamic heritage, Mazrouei added, will not only be through the collection available at the library, but also through a series of activities that aim advancing the community’s cultural awareness.

“This will be done through organizing conferences, seminars, lectures, exhibitions and celebration of religious, national and social holidays.”

An exchange of experiences and visits with similar libraries and cultural centers, Mazrouei said, will also contribute to library offer the best of servicers and information to it users.

Mazrouei pointed out that library material is indexed according to the Library of Congress classification system. The library also boosts an electronic catalogue that can be searched by author, title, or topic in order to make the service easier and faster for users.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)