“I wish Casablanca to be endowed with a large, fine building of which it can be proud until the end of time…” The year was 1980 when Morocco’s King Hassan II shared this wish during his birthday celebration. The young ruler was only 19 years old when he expressed this sentiment; motivated by the death of his father, King Mohammed V, to erect a landmark in his honor.
King Hassan II called upon the top creative minds and designers within Morocco’s artisan community to submit ideas for the building’s design. He ultimately selected the plans of French architect Michel Pinseau, a former resident of Morocco. At the height of its construction, hundreds of men worked on the building day and night, and it’s said that in total around 10,000 artisans and craftsmen were involved over its seven years of construction.
Perched on a promontory overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the mosque is celebrated for its beauty, size, and technological innovation – it has a laser that shines from atop its minaret. Inspired by a verse in the Qur’an that states “the throne of Allah was built on water”, Pinseau was very intentional in positioning the landmark so close to the sea. As such, and with the inclusion of glass floors in its interior, worshippers can peer through to the waves below and while praying above the ocean.
On August 30, 1993, the eve of the anniversary of Prophet Muhammad’s birth, the mosque was inaugurated and open to the public. With its completion, King Hassan II got his wish. Credited as the largest in Morocco (and one of the largest in the world), the mosque welcomes thousands of visitors each year who are eager to witness its grandeur. Truly a fitting homage to a father who was so revered by his son.