Getting to Know the Mosques of Qatar

An exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Arts (MIA) showcases the journey and architectural evolution of mosques in Qatar over the last 100 years.

The temporary space of the Shaikh Saoud Gallery, located on the ground floor of the MIA is all set for the new exhibition, Mosques in Qatar. Within a dimly lit setting, the pure white embellishments of the exhibition stand strikingly beautiful. Fenestrations and an arched doorway guide visitors through to the tall minaret at the center of the space adding to the serene beauty of the space. Designed by Edina Nemeth who specialises in paper works, the entire space is converted into a serene handcrafted space that provides the perfect backdrop for the history of Mosques in Doha.

Under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Qatar Museums, and with the generous support of Seashore Group, in cooperation with the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, temporary exhibition – Mosques in Qatar: then and now, was opened and it is now view at MIA’s Shaikh Saoud Gallery until 12 August 2023.

The exhibition aims to celebrate the significance and the legacy of Mosques in Qatar over the last 100 years, taking the viewers on a journey from the oldest mosques to the newest in Doha.

The exhibition takes us on a photographic tour of Qatar from one of the earliest mosques at Murwab, through the boom of the 20th century, to the modern architecture and design of today where despite architectural changes, the mosque remains an important part of the community. The exhibition also celebrates and features some of the famous Qatari Imams who have guided the community, and Muezzins who have called the community to prayer.

MIA Director Dr. Julia Gonnella said, “The Museum of Islamic Art is delighted to showcase its latest temporary exhibition: Mosques in Qatar: then and now, an exhibition celebrating the cultural and visual legacy that Mosques have carved in Qatar, over the last 100 years. We invite residents and visitors to Qatar during summer to visit the exhibition to experience the variety of mosques, learn a bit about their design and how that relates to the environment, and finally to compare and contrast with the mosques of the 21st century.”

She also talks about her fascination for the small village mosques that might be small in its size but are a huge contribution to the architecture of the locale through its details.

Following Qatar Museums’ commitment to preserve, restore and expound upon the country’s ancient architectural identity, the Architectural Conservation team at Qatar Museums had helped realise a critical aspect of Qatar’s National Vision 2030 by being actively involved in the restoration and conservation of the following mosques – Al Ruwais Mosque (Ruwais) – 1915; Bin Obaid Mosque (Doha) – 1935; Zekreet Mosque (Zekreet) – 1940; Al Amri Mosque (Jumaliya) – 1940; Bahar Mosque (Abu DhulaufZuloof) – 1940; Ain Sinan  – 1940; Al Naman (Naman) – 1946; Fuwairat Mosque (Fuwairat) – 1950 and Al Busaiyyir (Al Busaiyyir) – 1960.

The exhibition unveiling follows the recent reopening of MIA after the museum underwent a facilities enhancement project that included the reimagination and reinstallation of its permanent collection galleries. One of the world’s premier institutions of Islamic art and the first world-class museum in the region, the reimagined MIA provides a more accessible, engaging, and educational experience for guests. More than 1,000 objects – many newly conserved or acquired – are displayed in the Museum’s permanent galleries for the first time, alongside the masterpieces for which MIA has long been recognized.