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Discover The Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi

Mahmoud Gebril June 5, 2024 Published in Dubai
Discover The Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi

The Abrahamic Family House stands as a remarkable emblem of harmony, combining a mosque, a church, and a synagogue within a single complex. Situated on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, this stunning structure showcases the UAE’s dedication to diversity and acceptance, highlighting the nation’s cultural heritage and commitment to tolerance.

Historical Foundations of Tolerance

The UAE’s inclusive spirit, which forms the foundation of the Abrahamic Family House, has deep historical roots. Dating back to the early centuries of Islam, when the region was a hub for trade and cultural exchange, evidence of diverse religious communities can be found. This heritage of tolerance and coexistence is the backdrop against which the Abrahamic Family House stands today.

Architectural Brilliance

Sir David Adjaye, a distinguished Ghanaian-British architect known for his public architecture, has masterfully designed the Abrahamic Family House. His work seamlessly blends symbolism and functionality, creating spiritually uplifting and visually stunning spaces.

The Mosque: A Testament to Islamic Heritage

Eminence Ahmed El-Tayeb Mosque, Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi
Eminence Ahmed El-Tayeb Mosque, Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi – Image courtesy of Boozieboozie

The mosque, named after the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayeb, is a harmonious blend of traditional Islamic architecture and modern design elements. The mosque’s seven exterior arches symbolize the connection between the earthly and the divine, while the nine ascending interior vaults create a sense of spiritual ascension.

A delicate mashrabiya lattice screen gently filters natural light, creating a serene atmosphere for worshippers. The mosque features thoughtfully integrated ablution spaces, expansive chandeliers, and walls adorned with Quranic calligraphy, all contributing to a peaceful sanctuary for reflection and prayer.

The Church: Reflecting St. Francis of Assisi’s Legacy

St. Francis Church, Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi
St. Francis Church, Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi – Image courtesy of Boozieboozie

The St. Francis Church is dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, known for his life of humility and compassion. The church’s design embodies these values with simplicity and grace. Columns oriented towards the rising sun symbolize divinity, while 40 colorful windows depict stories from Christian scriptures, inviting contemplation.

The bronze altarpiece, inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, is the centerpiece of the sanctuary. Timber battens running through the space pay homage to historical architectural traditions, making the church a place of profound spiritual reflection.

The Synagogue: Celebrating Jewish Heritage

Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue, Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi
Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue, Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi – Image courtesy of Boozieboozie

The Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue honors the 12th-century Jewish philosopher Moses Ben Maimon. The synagogue’s design draws inspiration from Jewish traditions and historical journeys, such as the Tent of Meeting and the Euphrates River. The prayer halls feature menorah-like glass fixtures, symbolizing resilience and continuity.

The exterior design, reminiscent of palm trees used in the Festival of Shelter (Sukkot), allows for a celestial connection. A skylight referencing the chuppah emphasizes the interconnectedness of faith, love, and the celestial. The hand-woven tapestry, a modern interpretation of the traditional Assyrian winged man relief, ties Jewish heritage, past and present together.

Visitor Experience at the Abrahamic Family House

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken wrote on a tile at the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi in 2023
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken wrote on a tile at the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi in 2023. [State Department photo by Chuck Kennedy/Public Domain]

Visitors to the Abrahamic Family House are welcome to explore this unique center of religious diversity. The complex offers a range of educational events, discussions, and guided tours that highlight the shared values and unique traditions of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. With tours available in English and Arabic from Tuesday to Sunday, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and engage.

Guidelines for Visitors

Visitors are encouraged to dress respectfully, covering the area between the neck, wrists, and ankles, and to avoid clothing with offensive or political imagery. Women aged 13 and older are requested to cover their hair when entering the mosque.

Prayer and Worship Services

Each house of worship within the Abrahamic Family House has its own schedule for prayer services. The Eminence Ahmed El-Tayeb Mosque follows the prayer times set by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf). St. Francis Church holds Mass Tuesday through Saturday at 6:30 pm and Sunday at noon, with no services on Mondays. The Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue is open for worship from 7 am to 9 pm, with communal prayers on specific dates.

Hosting Celebrations and Ceremonies

The Abrahamic Family House is also available to host social celebrations and ceremonies such as marriages, funerals, bar and bat mitzvahs, and baptisms. For more information on hosting special events in this sacred space, inquiries can be directed to info@abrahamicfamilyhouse.ae.

A Beacon of Unity

The Abrahamic Family House is not just an architectural marvel; it is a powerful symbol of unity and hope. By fostering interfaith dialogue and understanding, it offers a compelling vision for the future of religious coexistence. Visitors are invited to experience this harmonious space, learn about the shared histories and values of different faiths, and participate in the ongoing mission to promote peace and understanding across religious and cultural divides.

Experience the harmonious design of the Abrahamic Family House with exclusive Dubai private tours from Osiris Tours. Gain insight into the architecture’s creation, design, and community efforts promoting unity in diversity. Contact Osiris Tours today to discover this exceptional example of interfaith unity and architectural excellence.