Jami' al-Bidiya
Badiyah, United Arab Emirates

The date of construction for the Al Bidiya Mosque near the village of Al Bidiya for which it is named, is disputed.   Some date it to 1446/850 AH or earlier, others to sometime between 1650 and 1670/1059 and 1070 AH.  In either case, it is thought to be the oldest one in the UAE still in regular use.  The mosque is located on Route E 99 near the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in the Al-Fujairah Emirate, between Khorfakan and Dibba, near  two towers up on a hill behind the mosque, which are remnants of a sixteenth-century Portuguese fort. According to contemporary newspaper articles on the mosque, it is also known as the Ottoman Mosque after the name of it's builder.  

Though sources vary on the exact measurements, it is safe to say that the mosque is only about 5 meters high.  The hill and fort built upon it rise significantly above the mosque.  Built on a square plan all sides measuring approximately 7 meters each, the area of the mosque is approximately 50 square meters, and the walls are up to 30 centimeters thick.  The roof is composed of four domes, each different in size and form, and supported by a single internal column in the center.  There are also three external buttresses.  

In his book Al Bidiya Mosque. A Visual Essay, Marco Sosa notes that the interior decor of the mosque 

consists of very subtle stone carvings, openings for ventilation and light, and special shelves to house the Holy Quran.  The prayer hall has a small mihrab...and a simple minbar...  The niches forming shelves, seats and windows sills are formed by, and carved within, the walls of the mosque1.

In 2003, Dubai Municipality performed restoration work on the mosque with the Heritage and Archaeology Department of Fujairah.  A new visitor’s center was constructed at that time, as were facilities for ablution.  The site continues to be used for prayer, and to attract tourists.  


1Sosa, Marco. Al Bidiya Mosque. A Visual Essay, 11. Dubai: Zayed University Books, 2012.


"Designs on the past." GulfNews.com. December 10, 2001. Accessed November 05, 2014. http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/designs-on-the-past-1.432084.

Harnan, Eugene. "Oldest UAE Mosque Holds onto Its Secrets." The National. August 21, 2011. Accessed November 05, 2014. http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/oldest-uae-mosque-holds-onto-its-secrets.

Sosa, Marco. Al Bidiya Mosque. A Visual Essay. Dubai: Zayed University Books, 2012.

"The Oldest Mosque in the Country" The National. December 04, 2010. Accessed November 05, 2014. http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/south-asia/the-oldest-mosque-in-the-country.

Harnan, Eugene. "Oldest UAE Mosque Holds onto Its Secrets." The National. August 21, 2011. Accessed November 05, 2014. http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/oldest-uae-mosque-holds-onto-its-secrets.

E 99, Badiyah, United Arab Emirates
Images & Videos
1650-1670/1059-1070 AH
area ca. 6.8 x 6.8 m; height ca. 5 m; walls ca. 30 cm thick
Variant Names
Al Bidiya Mosque
Masjid al-Badiya
Building Usages