In 1969, to honour the wishes of the Saudi King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, it was decided that a grand mosque will be built in the new capital city of Islamabad. So an international competition was held in which the top architects from 17 countries submitted around 50 proposals. The winning design was that of a brilliant Turkish architect known as Vedat Dalokay. He was a former mayor of Ankara who was born in 1927 in Elazig, Turkey. His geometrical design was a fusion of three beautifully different ideas. An eight-sided Bedouin’s tent in the desert, the cubic shape of the holy Kaaba in Mecca and Ottoman-style minarets on four corners.
The mosque was eventually completed with the approximate cost of 130 to 140 Million US Dollars as per the current values. At that time it was not only the largest mosque in Pakistan but was the largest in the world from 1986 until 1993. After which its record was overtaken in size by Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. Later on due to the massive expansions of the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) of Mecca and the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina, Faisal mosque was pushed further down to the fourth place in terms of size.
In 1991, Vedat Dalokay died in an unfortunate traffic accident alongside his wife Ayesha (age 44) and son Baris (age 17). He will forever live in the hearts of the people of Pakistan in general and the people of Islamabad and Rawalpindi in particular. Thank you, sir! For your beautiful and brilliant legacy, which will stand for thousands of years to come.