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A view of the mosque. — Photos by Tanveer Shehzad.
A view of the mosque. — Photos by Tanveer Shehzad.
A bold tag welcomes the followers to the mosque stating: “This mosque does not discriminate between any sects and welcomes all Muslims.”  — Photos by Tanveer Shehzad.
A bold tag welcomes the followers to the mosque stating: “This mosque does not discriminate between any sects and welcomes all Muslims.” — Photos by Tanveer Shehzad.
Zahid Iqbal, a local businessman who conceptualised the idea of a sect-free mosque in 2010, speaks in the mosque's library.  — Photos by Tanveer Shehzad.
Zahid Iqbal, a local businessman who conceptualised the idea of a sect-free mosque in 2010, speaks in the mosque's library. — Photos by Tanveer Shehzad.
The mosque has a library filled with religious books from all sects.  — Photos by Tanveer Shehzad.
The mosque has a library filled with religious books from all sects. — Photos by Tanveer Shehzad.
The mosque has a library filled with religious books from all sects.  — Photos by Tanveer Shehzad.
The mosque has a library filled with religious books from all sects. — Photos by Tanveer Shehzad.

ISLAMABAD: Darul Iman Jamia Masjid Qurtuba’s story is as dramatic as the sectarian history of Pakistan. The newly-built mosque in Islamabad’s Margalla foothills is calling upon its followers to stop discriminating along sectarian lines and to start praying together – in whichever way they like – under the same roof.

Zahid Iqbal is a local businessman who conceptualised the idea of a sect-free mosque in 2010. He bought the mosque plot in the E-11 sector. But the road to the realisation of his dream wasn't easy: At first, authorities refused to register it as a sect-free mosque. Under Capital Development Authority rules, every mosque has to declare its sect following, before being granted permission to build the mosque.

The procedure involved some complicated maneuvering: To bypass the strict rules, he registered a trust, and then sub-registered the mosque under the trust’s banner: The Al-Kitaab Foundation Trust.

Meanwhile, Iqbal has already found an Imam for the mosque – Qari Jehangir, who is currently doing his Master’s degree from the Islamic University. The coordinator of the mosque is doing his MBA from Preston University. Both are young men in their twenties. The Imam and Khateeb are both from different sects – and the mosque administration says it will have no problem if a Shia Imam leads prayers.

There’s a simple philosophy behind Iqbal’s revolutionary idea. For the mosque’s administration, branding Islam along sectarian lines has damaged religion more than any other reason. “By branding ourselves on sectarian lines we have even put non-believers to shame through violence and unruly conduct,” the businessman said. He believes that mullahs have turned religion into business ventures for petty personal gains.

Calling his prayer hall a ‘model mosque’, Iqbal added, “This is God’s house. Even non-Muslims are allowed to come and seek the light.”

In addition, the mosque, located in the northern strip of the capital in the E-11/2 sector, not only invites all sects, but also has a separate section for women, and a library filled with religious books from all sects. With the support of other businessmen and overseas Pakistanis, the 2-kanal compound has been built at a cost of Rs30 million.

The mosque is also funding at least ten students’ completion of their Bachelor’s degree, which they could otherwise not have afforded.

So far, Iqbal is thrilled by the reaction he has received from people. “There has been individual criticism but overall a collective acceptance amongst the community is settling in,” he said, adding that people from different sects are already praying there together, although the number is not yet big enough to cover the 350-people prayer hall.

Despite the heightened sectarian strife that plagues Pakistan, the Darul Iman Jamia Masjid Qurtuba has no qualms in declaring its message loud and clear. A bold tag welcomes the followers to the mosque stating: “This mosque does not discriminate between any sects and welcomes all Muslims.”

Considering the environment at this time, it appears the kind of initiative which was bound to attract the attention of the Taliban. Iqbal recalled how on one recent evening, more than ten members of the Taliban came to his mosque and argued with his thinking and “not adhering to his sect”. The businessman claimed that he debated the Taliban for hours and convinced them to stop opposing his interpretation of Islam. But he knows that they may come back.

This wasn’t the only obstacle that the mosque administrator faced. Iqbal also recalled how the plot for his mosque was forcibly taken over by the ‘Imam’ of another mosque. “After I bought the plot in 2010 for the mosque, I had tasked an architect to prepare its design. In the meantime I was complimented by friends for constructing the structure of my mosque in record time. I was shocked to see that my plot was taken over by a mullah along with his ‘body builder type’ madrassah students. I had to call the police to vacate the plot,” he said.

For now, the mosque administration is planning to spread their message to other mosques as well. As a starting point, the mosque owner is giving Friday sermons in another mosque, also in E-11, to urge people to shun sectarian differences and forge unity amongst their ranks.

While the administration of the mosque acknowledges that it receives some of its funding from the US, it adds in the same breath that that doesn't necessarily mean it endorses all its policies. “How can we term US aid bad if we ourselves are receiving funding from Pakistanis in the US? But we do condemn US support for Israel against the Palestinians,” he said candidly.

Meanwhile, for the coming Eid, the mosque is planning to hold its first multi-sect gathering for Eid prayers. A bigger gathering, the administration hopes, will be one more step towards tackling sectarianism.

Sectarian militancy, and the resulting violence, has led to hundreds of deaths in recent history. In 2012 alone, according to the Human Rights Watch, 400 members of the Shia community were killed. This included 125 in Balochistan. Most of these were members of the ethnic Hazara community. Things only got worse in 2013, when the worst attack on Hazaras in the history of Pakistan took place in the beginning of the year - responsibility for the attack which led to 92 deaths, and over 120 injured, was claimed by increasingly brazen terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Besides a barrage of suicide bombings, targeted killings have also taken place of prominent members of the Shia community across Pakistan.

The increasing sectarian strife has even led to several members of the Hazara community fleeing the country in hope of asylum elsewhere, often in Australia.

Comments (162) Closed

Saeed Jul 18, 2013 06:23pm

A great initiative and a wonderful sign of enlightenment. MIT has a house of worship called "The Chapel" for all religions, that brings beliefs together instead of dividing them. Hope we can get there.

akram Jul 18, 2013 06:24pm

a fantastic idea, a truly Pakistani mosque which serves all communities. Well done Zahid Iqbal.

A Kashmiri Jul 18, 2013 06:25pm


gangadin Jul 18, 2013 06:53pm

Great idea, just don't make a separate section for women. They should be able to pray along with men.

Patriot Jul 18, 2013 06:53pm

This is true spirit of Islam. All of us need to follow such Islam-supporting examples. GREAT ACHIEVEMENT, though yet on a small scale. Hope the idea will catch up.

Azhar Hussain Jul 18, 2013 06:54pm

What a great idea, lets all pray together and defeat the extremists. Jul 18, 2013 06:57pm

An outstanding effort. Got bless the gentleman

Masood Hussain Jul 18, 2013 06:59pm

It is a wonderful idea,needs to be supported by all means .

Arshad Jul 18, 2013 06:59pm

Salaam All, it is a fantastic idea and I am sure people will take the full advantage of this idea and this will bring peace and harmony in all the communities.

I am sure you are aware that all the Muslims in western world share the same Musjid all the time. May Allah give Zahid Iqbal more strength and shower all his blessings on him amen.

Ali Jul 18, 2013 07:08pm

Simply great. Imagine Prophet asking visitng Roman christians to pray in his Masjid and us uneducated, jahil, divided "so-called" muslims of this time and age.

pathanoo Jul 18, 2013 07:12pm

Great!!! A journey of thousand miles begins with one small step.....and that is what it is. My prayers for your efforts.

Muhammad Khalil Jul 18, 2013 07:15pm

A great initiative! Zahid Iqbal you deserve our appreciation. Sects are what creating hatred and discrimination and have led no-where so far. Our minorities are not saved and in fact have made their lives so difficult. As nation we must all be ashamed of our actions! It's not what Islam is!

What we need is to promote religious tolerance and appreciate our differences - nothing wrong! After all every sect worships the same God. We don't have any right to make judgments on behalf of God. Let's leave this to God alone. when time comes he will take care of. Let's live with peace and love and enjoy our differences and set good examples for our minorities and our children and generations to come!

Mo Jul 18, 2013 07:16pm

Masha Allah, it's a very good step to unite the Muslim.

Dr.Emile Unjom Jul 18, 2013 07:18pm


Hasan Awan Jul 19, 2013 12:13pm

Well for you information this is not the first mosque at all to be sect free. In my village near Chakwal none of the mosques carry any Insignia of Any Sect and Also in Cantonment regions and in many localities you will find sect free mosques.

Yaser Raza Jul 19, 2013 12:30pm

Well done Zahid Iqbal. It is a grate initiative from Pakistani enlightened Muslims class and would certainly help us in controlling the sectarian violence. I also agree to Mr. Hassan Awan for his input about Chakwal & Cantonment area. Let me tell all that the Idea is not at all a new one by people of Chakwal or Cantt or Mr. Zahid as it is being practised at all Holy Shrines of Sub Continent since ages and Shrines are the only place that spread true & peaceful picture of Islam but only and obviously if you ignore the addiction related activities on these places.

Hina Farooqui Jul 19, 2013 01:06pm

@akram: In Islam all mosques are for all muslims and not for any sect. Sects were created by Jews and Christians to divide Muslims. Great job done. May God help others to follows and come out of sects and become good muslims.

Rao Jul 19, 2013 01:11pm

Zahid Iqbal should be given Nishan-e-Pakistan for his efforts to end sectarianism in Islam and his efforts should be backed by all political parties of Pakistan....This is a sincere "Dua" from an Indian

farrukh kirmani Jul 19, 2013 01:13pm

A great initiative. Can't be praised less. God is the creator of whole of the universe and the life in it, so why can't all these living beings gather in one place of worship? In the West, we pray in the chapels and the vicars have happily allowed us to do so, especially the Friday (Jummah) prayer. Muslims may have differences but they all pray to one god and look to the Holy Scripture for guidance. I think this should have been done from the onset. Zahid deserves a congratulation of highest order. Well done!

Umair Jul 19, 2013 01:24pm

Something that should've been done 66 years ago when Pakistan came into being. Zahid Iqbal along with all people contributing to this noble cause deserve a Salute.

I would want to see some comments from the people who keep disliking the posts of other. If you have courage then write down you comments instead blowing up Masajid and Imam Barghs.

Lets go out and ask local Masajid to register under Sect-Free place of worship and spread the message of peace.


pramod Jul 19, 2013 01:26pm

In indian army cantonments you will find Temple, Mosque , Church and Gurudwara in the same compound wall.

ahmedj Jul 19, 2013 02:16pm

I wish this marvellous thought is extended to the Faisal Mosque and other prominent religious landmarks of the country

Karachi Wala Jul 19, 2013 02:31pm

Good effort. I hope it proves a true sect free mosque that's lasts.

Shahbaz Azmi Jul 19, 2013 02:31pm

Indeed a great deed which is the need of the hour. This musque may pave the to a sect free muslem society, at least in Pakistan.

Jawad Jul 19, 2013 02:35pm

Wonderful Idea... Hats off to you for this initiative. Its indeed a necessary act. Great work and keep it up. May Almighty be happy with you over your efforts. Ameen.

ROHIT PANDEY Jul 19, 2013 02:39pm

Tolerance at long last!

Believer Jul 19, 2013 02:48pm

I believe it is a noble gesture to have a mosque for all Muslims irrespective of sects they belong. My concern is how would they pray in congregation (jamaat) behind a single Immam when both sects, Shias & Sunnis have different 'fiqa' ?

Ali Zohair Jul 19, 2013 02:49pm

Great initiative sir

Behram Jul 19, 2013 02:50pm

God bless Zahid. This is simply a gesture of respect and peace to all Muslims and non-Muslims.

Asad Rehman Jul 19, 2013 02:52pm

Great we need to ask the CDA why they have this rule that a party should declare the sect to which a mosque needs to belong before they issue a license. This means that the government is capable of creating sectarian strife. We need to debate this in the parliament.

Parivel Jul 19, 2013 03:03pm

Dear Pakistani brother, I wish you great success. Though I am not a Muslim, I see this as a positive step towards tolerance to a considerable extent. In India, many Hindus keep the images of all the religious gods in shrines. I am happy that, in Pakistan as well, someone is making efforts to promote peace and love for humanity.

Masroor Gilani Jul 19, 2013 03:09pm

Well it is not first sect-free mosque in Pakistan. There is one very old mosque near Lahore where both Shia and Sunni pray. Bahria Town also has sect-free mosques. The one under construction in Media Town, a project of Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club at Loi Bher, Rawalpindi is also a sect free mosque. When residents started building it on self-help basis, it was agreed that its doors will be open to all sects.

Azmat Ali Shah Jul 19, 2013 03:14pm

It filled my heart with a feeling of pride and comfirt until i reached the end part which says that it has been funded by the US. I hope and wish he does not mean the US government. If its the Muslims from US sending the money, i dont have a problem with that but US govt interested in a building a sect free mosque in Pakistan rings alarm bells. Having said that, I support the idea 1000% and was appaled to read that he was not given permission to register the Mosque as sect free as the law doesnt permit it.

akram Jul 19, 2013 03:15pm

@Hina Farooqui: You are plain wrong, sects were not created by others, we ourselves created them, the same way we persecute those today we don't understand. Our problem is we cannot see our own mistakes, we always need someone else to blame. If you don't accept responsibility for your own mistakes, you end up repeating them again and again and again over centuries. Better to accept responsibility and move on rather than get stuck in the same loop for eternity.

Dr. Mazhar Jul 19, 2013 03:23pm

Salute to Mr. Zahid Iqbal and all others who contributed in the building of this mosque. This is actually what our society stands for: tolerance, acceptability and peace. Only a handful of people have tarnished the image of our society.

Agha Ali Jul 19, 2013 03:39pm

@Saeed: In the early times of Islam, there were no mosques affiliated with sects, even if sects did exist. So your plan is the real solution towards the unity of the Ummah (community).


Rajab Ali Jul 19, 2013 03:49pm

Please take it as a survey. Imagine! all the 26 comments were liked by 2449 readers against 305 dislikes within just 21 hours. The result clearly indicates the extremely positive trend against sectarianism. Will this be spreaded all over the country or to be extinguished by the fanatics, remains a matter of serious concern.

Nasir Mahmood Jul 19, 2013 04:08pm

Excellent idea. Each person has a direct relationship with god no matter what sect we belong to. We should learn to respect each other and the faith each person has. We can not progress if we keep fighting among ourselves and others take advantage of our divide and weaknesses. We all have to make an effort to change our behavior and attitude towards each other. Good luck.

fazal Karim Jul 19, 2013 04:17pm

A good idea put in practice. However, we would like to know details of its working. If a prayer leader is Shia and the congregation comprises both Shias and Sunnis, do the followers observe the Shia method of offering prayer or vice versa?

Salim Jul 19, 2013 04:22pm

Great job. There is one mosque, Masjid e Huda in Jinnah Super Market opposite Pappasalis in F-7 Markaz, which is also sect free. Lets leave it to the individuals to find their way to the heavens. May god guide us all. Amen.

Mian Shahid Mehmood Jul 19, 2013 04:29pm

Establishment of sect free Muslim society is the cherished desire of every enlightened Muslim. Establishment of first sect free mosque is step towards that goal. Hats off to the management.

aamir Jul 19, 2013 04:33pm

BRAVO! You took the lead. The government needs to follow.

Aish Jul 19, 2013 04:35pm

Alhumdulillah, 3 years ago my uncle, Zahid Iqbal, and I started this Project of Darul Iman. A Masjid where everyone, whether Muslim or Non-Muslim, is welcome. Our vision was to promote the multicultural understanding between the people of different fiqhs and faiths and create a center where we can teach Islam along with the modern science education.

I remember my uncle saying, "We are founding this masjid on the same grounds as Prophet Muhammad (Sal lal lahu alayhi wasallam) founded the Masjide Nabwi in Medina: Mercy and compassion for all and no discrimination on the basis of color, cast, sect, or religion."

One of my best memories of this center was when Engineers and Chartered Accountants used to come to the library of this Masjid and sit their for hours to prepare for their exams.

May Allah accept it and give us the courage to complete this project, Ameen!

If you want to reach Zahid Iqbal with your suggestions/comments or want to visit this Majid, you can write him on

P.S. I agree that this is not Pakistan's "First" sect-free mosque. May be its the first one which made it to mainstream news paper but its definitely not the first sect free masjid as stated in this article.

Dr. Rahman Jul 19, 2013 04:41pm

Congratulations: What a bold positive step. May God bless you.

Absar Jul 19, 2013 04:53pm

It is dream come true. Makkah and Madinah are also sect free mosques. Also in many countries, mosques are without any sect label. Hence, at the time of salat/namaz, you will find people from different sects praying together with a common goal of pleasing Allah Almighty.

May Allah bless all those who is working for this in Pakistan and other places.

Saeed Akhtar Jul 19, 2013 05:02pm

Masha Allah. May Allah protect this Mosque. I hope this first step is the foundation of building the best of what Islam has to offer. I am willing to donate my time here to constructively support this idea and help any way I can. Allah Hafiz.

Hasan Jul 19, 2013 05:04pm

What does sect-free mean? Do the prayer leader and those praying behind him not offer prayers according to the way described by any particular fiqh? If so, then how do they offer prayers?

raghu Jul 19, 2013 05:08pm

I thought islam is monotheistic belief without any divisions of what so ever,anyway good concept.


Mirza Jul 19, 2013 05:10pm

This is something Worth seeing and reading ,which truly made my DAy, this we proudly can say face of Islam, be Blessed my freind, Masha Allah! May Almighty Protect you and your great noble work for Muslims !

peace Jul 19, 2013 05:17pm

Finally some one with courage and common sense. I salute the founders and supporters. We need more like this. A ray of hope.....

pakistani Jul 19, 2013 05:17pm

@pramod : same in pakistan army cantonment as well

samina Jul 19, 2013 05:31pm

Hatts Off to these courageous people...that's what ISLAM unite each other.Wonderful,Marevellous

iqbal Khan Jul 19, 2013 05:52pm

@Azmat Ali Shah: Whats wrong if US has funded the mosque for a good cause.

Ahmad Jul 19, 2013 06:06pm

@Azmat Ali Shah: I must have overlooked where it said US. i only saw following - "With the support of other businessmen and overseas Pakistanis, the 2-kanal compound has been built at a cost of Rs30 million." Additionally I admire Mr. Iqbal for thinking "outside the box" and coming up with a solution to get around the current law regarding registration. May we all learn and apply this to our daily lives - "where there is a will there is a way" and of course - "If we take one step, Allah (SWT) walks 10 steps with us" (Pre-requisite being - we take the first step)

Farid Jul 19, 2013 06:10pm

Who will be the imam?

Kanishk Jul 19, 2013 06:10pm

This is such a beautiful news. I just read the story on and was hoping to find it on dawn. I was so happy to see it here. This story suggests that there is still hope.

Agha Ata Jul 19, 2013 06:12pm

I hope it becomes successful in Pakistan. In the West there are hundreds of no-denominational churches doing the same kind of service. In Pakistan they should also try to bring other mosques under this umbrella. Good Luck.

Abr_e_Gurezaan Jul 19, 2013 06:14pm

A welcome hint of one of the finest traditions the subcontinent has to offer - The freedom to openly profess one's faith without having to conform to boundaries set by others. Kudos to the person behind this idea.

All the best, Vinay

Khalid Jul 19, 2013 06:17pm

@Hina Farooqui: Your comments are rude and lack logic. Sects were created by Jews and Christians?. Do you mean Muslims sects were created by Jews and Christians ?. I think you forgot Hindus, Sikhs and all other religions as well. Where did you learn all this from ?. Looks like you hate everyone as long as they are not muslims. What a way to live. My sincere apologies to my Christian (and Jews) brothers and sisters in Pakistan. You know we are all not like this, in Pakistan.

Khuram Jul 19, 2013 06:18pm

Writer should have avoided such words and sentences; such as Mosque Owner and I was shocked to see that MY PLOT was taken over by a mullah. as mosque should only belong to Allah (Subhaana-Tallah).

Imran Sheikh Jul 19, 2013 06:21pm

A sensible and long over-due action. I will make it a point to go there and pray when I am next in Islamabad--and I rarely pray at a mosque because the Imams always seems to be propagating a particular version of Islam.

EQ8Rhomes Jul 19, 2013 06:32pm

Muslims in many of their newer immigrant communities have already got multi-sect mosques. I my city, there is ONE mosque for ALL Muslims. The management changes as immigration changes, but one mosque. Now Pakistan "boasts" a sect-free mosque?

Mirza Jul 19, 2013 06:37pm

Great great idea!! If Sunnis and Shias and Muslims from other sects can pray together in Mecca and Medina, Islam's 2 most holiest sites, what's stopping us from praying together in mosques? I totally support Mr Iqbal's idea and if I am in Islamabad I'll make sure I go to this mosque and offer my prayers there.

Nadeem Chaudhry Jul 19, 2013 06:55pm

Pakistani's are basically skeptics......we love the US and we hate the US. We love it when US AID flows in yet we throw a fit when the givers of aid demand something in return. Love and respext are two way streets!

ahsan Jul 19, 2013 07:12pm

I salute you Zahid Iqbal Sb. I will make sure to come and pray in your mosque whenever I am in Islamabad. I hope people appreciate your brave and bold step.

Haider Ali Shah Jul 19, 2013 07:19pm

This happens all the time here in EU .. I fail to understand why people in Pak find it so hard to accept way other than those they follow.

TKhan Jul 19, 2013 07:28pm

Masjid is made of brick & mortar; it only becomes holy when attendees follow the true spirit of their faith. If followers of all religion practice their faith the way it is prescribed, then all places of worship regardless of sect will become bastion of love, peace and tranquility.

Oh I am an idealistic!

Abbas Jul 19, 2013 07:41pm

Its an excellent idea, and we should continue to build on this. Hopefully it will assist in uniting th nation. This will help Pakistan and will help in eleminating the use of Islam as a political tool, by Mullahs and politicians.

ailya khan Jul 19, 2013 08:01pm

Yes it is great. But it is not the first. we have one at NCA lahore In the boys hostel. Any one conduct the prayers and will be followed by many people from other sects and places. And no one judges you.

Imran Jul 19, 2013 08:15pm

Why not a Mosque for all religions, its happening in USA and they call it a interfaith Church there. They have Quran, Bible, Torah side by side. These are all Books from Allah.

Let anyone pray who wishes to pray. The work is awesome.

Afzal Jul 19, 2013 08:29pm

Bravo, for preaching the true and correct interpretation of Islam. All the best!

Zack Khan Jul 19, 2013 08:35pm

@Aish: Good job. Proud of you guys.

Humaira Masihuddin Jul 19, 2013 08:35pm

wonderful idea, aik hon muslim haram ki pasbani ke liyeh........

peace Jul 19, 2013 08:47pm

@iqbal Khan: Over seas pakistanis not USA. As a pakistani abroad I will love to support such projects.

Taha Zahid Jul 19, 2013 08:54pm

I know Zahid Iqbal sb personally and have talked to him about this post. He says many of his statements have been manipulated and he rejects them. Secondly, his statement about US aid is wrongly perceived by readers.

Asad Zaidi Jul 19, 2013 09:08pm

Wonderful initiative. I hope more and more mosques like this are open to public in other cities as well. Insha'Allah the Taliban will not be any obstacle, and the idea would never die. Instead it would spread even more. I hope other mosques adopt this idea too. :)

Shehzeb Abbas Jul 19, 2013 09:11pm

Ma sha Allah!!! The need of time has been answered by this gentleman. Thank you sir for showing the courage and intellectual maturity that was much needed in this dire time. And I hope others endorse this idea in their localities. I would like to propose: bring together minorities, both Muslim and non-Muslim, so that they can also have a say of their own instead of just being cocooned up in themselves. And avoid all forms of discriminatory talks based on stereo typical aggression; build the tolerance factor to peacefully discuss, agree or disagree, with the acknowledgement of the fact that all of us are created by the same Power and we stand equal as creations of one Entity. Hope to see more of such positive steps from people who truly care for Islam and Pakistan. May Allah keep you and your idea safe!

Khalid Jul 19, 2013 09:47pm

This is how it should be, the public ought to "back" all mosques to one day in the near future to be "sectarian free" and "dispose" of these "extremists" who have created these problems"

assad Jul 19, 2013 09:48pm

All of the masajids within the military cantonments are also open to "all-sects". This is the true spirit of the masjid! As long as you attest believing in Allah and Prophet Muhammad as His last prophet, the basic creed of Islam, there is no other bar. All of the rest of the differences are on interpretation and historical issues subject to our own biases.

Ali Jul 19, 2013 09:57pm

really appreciable, Jazak ALLAH.

mo Jul 19, 2013 09:59pm

Shia way of praying is very different to Sunni. whichever sect the imaam is from, if all the followers do not follow his way of praying then i don't see how it's going to work. It's a good initiative but the ear is being grabbed the long way around. holding two jamats, one for each sect under the same roof could be a good starter!!

Saeed Khan Jul 19, 2013 10:18pm

@iqbal Khan: A lot. It's a shame you can't figure it out for yourself.

samira Jul 19, 2013 10:24pm

dear all... ds is just an innovation to extend of naming masjid as sect free mosque... all masajid under shia management have always been open to all muslim.. since Prophet Mohammed p.b.u.h didnt stop anyone from coming to Allah's house so even ve dont.. u all are always welcome...

Tahira Jul 19, 2013 10:25pm

@Saeed: Better still, call it "meditation Hall" just like the room provided at major airports in the US for people to pray in according to whatever their faith. The word Masjid restricts it to muslims only.

Tahira Jul 19, 2013 10:29pm

@Aish: I have 2 questions:1. What about those against whom, the ulema have forced the Zia government to declare them non-muslims by law even though they have the same kalima and say the same prayers? 2. If non-muslims are also allowed in or invited to pray there, will you really be able to face the ulema who have declared fatwas on so many of our muslim ummah?

Reas Ekberg Jul 19, 2013 10:30pm

All mosques of Pakistan Armed Fores are sects free. The Khatteb always prepares his Juma Khutba on basis of teachings of Quran only. On Quran all sects are united.

Since Shia have their own ahadis and Sunnis have their own set of ahadis which they believe to be authentic, hadis is not given any consideration on Friday sermons.

Syed Aizaz Haider Jul 19, 2013 10:34pm

Masha Allah, May Allah bless them. A real effort to show the so called muslim ulamas how to bring unity among different muslim sects. This type of effort must be done collectively.

Robert Jul 19, 2013 11:19pm

It is amazingly painful to see how prevalent is the idea among followers of Islam that all their problems are created by those that do not follow Islam. Why such insecurity? Why it shows up even among those praising the news of sect-free mosque?

Haji Baba Jul 19, 2013 11:36pm

@Hasan: They will pray like they saw their fathers pray but they will not call any one kafir and all the kharafat that we see with sectarianism.

S Zaidi Jul 19, 2013 11:48pm

@fazal Karim:

There is no notable difference between both sects. We do share the same Allah, & Quran & Prophets a.s. similarly Namaz is pretty much the same. Its a noble idea to bring us together, I, as Shia respect all mosques equally and have prayed in Sunni mosques many a times. Mostly people are not blinded by sects differences its only a minority who fan distrust and thrive on it. We as Pakistani Muslims must cut off those who create differences among us, in Islam we are all brothers.

Rehman Jul 20, 2013 12:06am

@Absar: A great and brave achievement, although not new concept in non-muslim countries Europe and USA all muslims pray in same mosques regardless of sect so why cant all muslims pray in the same mosque in a "Muslim" country?

Khalid Jul 20, 2013 12:09am

I believe this man is a TRUE muslim. I really wish we were all like him. World would have had a totally different view of Islam and Muslims.

Javid Jul 20, 2013 12:10am

@fazal Karim: does it matter? God accepts our prayers from our hearts not by what "method" we use.

saleem Jul 20, 2013 12:16am

@Believer: does fiqa matter if your heart and mind is empty? I don't think Taliban have problem with fiqa they say prayers too but their hearts are black with hate.

Do your own fiqa or follow along with others what counts is what is in your heart and love for all.

Laeeq,NY Jul 20, 2013 12:31am

Bravo and well done. Let's hope it stays the way it is mentioned. I hope the owner will be safe in this religiously charged society. I hope that there one day there will be no sign out side of this mosque saying" Entrance of Shias and Qadianis is forbidden". I also hope that other extremist follows the same .

Aijaz Jul 20, 2013 12:35am

Marvellous. I would go and pray in this mosque Insha Allah.

Irfan Haque Jul 20, 2013 12:53am

It is not new in USA. We have a permanent Imam but it is practice here to call Imam from other Mazahab to give sermon and lead prayer.The only exception is Shia.Shia here do pray under our Imam but they can not lead prayer.Today, a convert was invited to give sermon and lead Juma prayer and will to night conduct fund raising for our Islamic School.He gave a wonderful sermon. I understand that quite a few of our own Moulana may not be as good as he was.People in Pakistan of those 4 Mazahab have to be enlightened.They marry each other but can not pray.What a fun?

Khana Kharab Jul 20, 2013 01:02am

wow wow wow, now this is what we needed desperately. whoever funds you man, you deserve to be appreciated and we should support you and come to pray in this mosque. Salute to you my brother and pray for your success and blessings of Allah mian.

Najmul Haq Jul 20, 2013 01:11am

Alhamdolillah, it is great to be free of sectarianism !

Faysal Hameed Jul 20, 2013 01:11am

This means a real change in our so called religious system of last 65 years (In Paksitan). Though there is so much to say about what have been done in the last 65 years because of the subject, but it is really a RAY of HOPE for the right direction. I wish all concerned human being who are involved for the cause which is outlined in this report, all the best and success for the project.

skeptic Jul 20, 2013 01:14am

finally some news of sanity coming out from our country,the people who are responsible for this well
"God bless you guys". it would be a pleasure to pray over here the next time when i visit Islamabad.InshAllah

aqabdulaziz Jul 20, 2013 02:28am

Interesting how they call this sect-free, but condemn Christians and Jews for worshipping prophets.

Niaz Jul 20, 2013 03:14am

Brother Iqbal, I congratulate you on taking this bold step. In present climate of sectarian intolerance this takes guts to do this. I wish some our leading Ulama (genuine scholars) can muster the same courage to propagate the idea. May Allah make it easier for you the tough task at hand.


Riazuddin Ahmed Jul 20, 2013 03:19am

I am glad that it is now happening in Pakistan. Hats of to all those who are in this project. We Muslims in the US and Canada have been praying together (all sects) in communities where only a multi-sect Muslim population could afford to build or open a Mosque/prayer hall since the 1950s.

Since in a Rakah there are Fard parts - the first takbir, the recitation, the Rukuh, the sajdah, the sitting after the 2 Rahah and reciting the Tasahadud etc. and there are the Sunnah part where the sects differ - where to hold the arms, raise hands during the each Takbir etc. it doesn't matter who is leading the prayer, as long as the individual performs the Fard parts of the Rakah completely, his/her Salat is complete.

During the Eid prayers, the differences are in the number of extra takbirs. So the leader of the prayer announces that he will be leading the prayer according to such n such method that has so many Takbirs at such times in the two Rakahs. All the Muqtadi then irrespective of their sect would follow that number of Takbirs, which are only Sunnah part and do not negate the Salah. So there was no problem to this day.

The Mussalah I offer my prayers in the city of Calgary, Canada has a mixed congregation. Some say Ameen loudly, some raise their hands on Takbirs but we all render our prayers according to our way with no friction whatsoever.

So best of luck to the New sect free Mosque............Riaz

azhar Jul 20, 2013 03:57am

The greatest project I have ever come across----this should be carried out in all cities of the world.

NAkhtar Jul 20, 2013 04:18am

No room for sects in Islam.Islama is a sect free religion and gives protection to all human beings.

Rehan Jul 20, 2013 04:21am

It is great that they are promoting this idea of being sect-free. However at the same time, I believe most mosques in Pakistan are open to all sects, even if the mosque itself is associated with a particular sect. At least in Islamabad and Lahore I have gone to a number of different mosques belonging to various sects and no one has asked me what sect I belong to. Moreover the method of prayer is pretty much the same so there is no issue in that regards either. Most people go to the mosque nearest to them without worrying much about the sect that the mosque belongs to.

BRR Jul 20, 2013 05:27am

Much ado about nothing.

Ali Rizvi Jul 20, 2013 06:31am

@fazal Karim: Doesn't matter. I think Allah mian doesn't really have enough time to worry about what style you chose :)

Yawar Jul 20, 2013 07:23am

@Believer: Your concern is how would they pray in congregation (jamaat) behind a single Imam when both sects, Shias & Sunnis have different 'fiqh'? The answer very simple. Follow the imam leading the prayer.

sajid absar Jul 20, 2013 07:49am

It is about time . I hope there are more like this. I salute Mr. Zahid iqbal

Qaiser Hussain Jul 20, 2013 09:18am

Good work always pay in the long run and efforts of Mr. Zahid Iqbal are not only admirable but would also being an end to malicious propaganda by unwishful elements .

Sahil Jul 20, 2013 09:38am

Amazing!! how this new Businessman could not have made it any worse. I mean he is trying to blend and mix every sect and finally create a new one out of it. What a shame. New people come out with new innovative ideas for their religion and call it a "MODEL". He sure is a businessman

iqbal carrim Jul 20, 2013 09:41am

Beyond the five fundamentals or pillars of Islam, everything divides us in details. Unity of the Ummah can only be achieved by adhering to these pillars . This initiative is very laudable and needs to be fully supported. At present we are the most sub divided religious community in the world .Our image is severely shattered.

Raza Jul 20, 2013 09:46am

May ALLAH help us :) this is a good thing

Sajjad Jafri Jul 20, 2013 10:39am

Excellent effort brother Zahid, I will inshahallah visit you when ever I visit your city. I wish this is a turning point in our history. Unfortunately, religion of peace has got the appearance of Horror given by the people of the same faith and helped evil to spread roots of hate among people. In this case how can some one think of help from Allah subhanoho. Allah is for all beings of what ever faith you are and his Nizam only functions if there is justice and logic with out prejudice. Wish you every success in this noble cause of yours. Take care. Allah be with you.


Sajjad Jafri

Ali Jul 20, 2013 11:12am

Very good "Ammal" Jazaak-Allah"

Sajjad Khan Jul 20, 2013 11:48am

Don't we have too many mosques and too few schools which will benefit the community more than anything else ?

Uza Syed Jul 20, 2013 11:53am

This is a great break through and only route to building a more tolerant and cohesive society which cold ensure peace and prosperity for all people. Conratulations for this courageous step, may this project succeeds and may we all have the wisdom to emulate this great example.

Chris Mike Jul 20, 2013 12:01pm

At last some sign of sanity. Christopher Michael Isaac Emmanuel, New Delhi 20/07/13 Ramazan 1432

Ijaz Ahmad Rao Jul 20, 2013 12:05pm

Mosques which do not appeal for any donation either for Mosque / madrassa / utility bills or other expenditure are usually sectarian free.

Efaz Jul 20, 2013 12:24pm

Back to basics Keep it up guys

Anonymous Jul 20, 2013 01:06pm

@fazal Karim: there is very minute difference in the method of prayers between the two (its minus Attahyat in shia and minus Dua e Qunoot in Sunni) n as far as I knw one doesn't need to change the way he prays when behind the imam. That is wat we see in Meccah and Madina

Aliya Arshad Jul 20, 2013 01:13pm

haha.. it is not the first one. there are many already. it's just that they are not funded/supported by USA, so they are not advertised.

Remember we dont need sect-free mosques, we need hatred-free hearts.

zmurrad Jul 20, 2013 01:25pm

Congratulations. It is heartening to find out how many other people are bringing out the information about the existence of more masajids like this. Zahid Iqbal has brought out the best in people by starting this trend. Maybe people entering the masjid should declare that they adhere to 'no sect, only Islam'. The only ones who should not be welcome are the corrupt polititians who will exploit it for their personal fame. More people should be encouraged to visit it. The places that are busy with positive energy repel the negative. Allah bless those who have contributed to this idea. Ramathan Kareem.

Kamran Shah Jul 20, 2013 02:29pm

@Absar: Wrong! Makkah and Medina follow the hanbali sunni sect. Shias and other sects never pray behind the imams of Makkah and Medina

Waseem Jul 20, 2013 03:01pm

@Hasan: In the same way as they do in Haram and Masjid-e-Nabwi during Hajj!!!

Irfan Mirza Jul 20, 2013 03:45pm

Brilliant! I wish you all the success in your endeavors in creating harmony and tolerance among the Muslims.

Hemant Jul 20, 2013 04:07pm

@pakistani: Are you sure? Would like to see a photograph of such place from ur country!

Syeda Emy Kamal Jul 20, 2013 04:20pm

Asalaam walaikum. Before I came into striving to learn about Islam, about the purpose of life and Allah's intent for us as it's creations. I had never thought or even know Islam had sects such as Shia, Sunni, Ahmedia, Salafi, Sufi and so on. Then I read a verse in the quran verse 3:103 which tells us to not be divided amongst each other. So subhanallah, brothers and sisters whom took the initiative to bring us together. This is the best news I have heard in all my years being a live, if we are whom we claim to be mumins/muminas and we can not get along in this world on our path, then the path here after seems verily much more difficult. Another beautiful initiative you have taken, is to name it Al Kitaab, subhanallah. You are all what they say that the pen is mighter than the keep fighting with your pens, and tear off the ignorance within our Ummah, bring us together. You have my soul with your initiatives. May you all be successful in sha allah in this life and the here after. Great article, thanks for sharing.

yousuf ali Jul 20, 2013 04:30pm

a commendable act and philosophy. god bless you and persons who have similar attitude toward religion

yousuf ali Jul 20, 2013 04:54pm

@Khalid: Lack of education among muslim masses is the real cause for creating hatred among various sect. Christians, jews,hindoos and budhist hate muslim in general because muslims blame them in various ways. high time muslims starts respecting other"s culture and religion.

Harris Jul 20, 2013 05:13pm

Although I do appreciate Mr. Zahid Iqbal's effort to end sectarianism from the society but gathering people under one roof won't make much difference if our beliefs, actions, values remain divided.Nothing is more important today for Muslims than to unite under the same sect free religion but the issues have to be resolved and efforts have to be made to clearly define what is right and what is wrong.Being a Muslim our goal is to follow the instructions of one God, one prophet (pbuh) and one book, then why have separate Masjids, Imams, Namaz and separate entity?

Until and unless these questions are answered, I don't think that we can achieve sectarian equilibrium within our society.

Miqdad Jul 20, 2013 05:40pm

I hope this will set the benchmark for all future mosques to be built around the world.

Laeeq,NY Jul 20, 2013 06:09pm

@Hina Farooqui: How long we will blame Jews and Christians for our sins?

Qamar Jul 20, 2013 06:56pm

Finally! Kisi ko tu aqqal ayi!

fauzia Jul 20, 2013 09:18pm

@Farid: Why are you worried about it?

fauzia Jul 20, 2013 09:27pm

The mosques in Makkah and Madina are NOT sect free dear brothers and sisters. There is no doubt that all Muslims, regardless of their sect, are welcome to pray at both mosques, however, they are required to follow the "tareeqa" of one sect. If anyone tries to do something outside of this tareeqa, the religious police will correct you right away, sometimes using their sticks :). The library is the same story. These mosques are at best tolerable but not inclusive of all sects in any way. I am not saying that it is right or wrong, I am just pointed out that they are not"sect free" mosques.

Arshid Jul 20, 2013 09:54pm

Congratulations! A great step to bring the real shape of Islam. The answer of what is your religion is Islam not the Shia, Sunni, Bralvei, Miskeen etc. Islam means Salamti for all including the other creatures.

A great step to stop hatred amongst the different sects. Originally there is no sect. Wa la tafaqu. Who counts himself in a sect; openly disobeys Allah.

I wish all the success for the founders of this mosque and safety from the shar pasand anasir.

Meraj Jul 20, 2013 10:45pm

This is the need for all the muslim of the world. This is what our prophet was all about. unity, unity that's what we need today stop killing each other in the name of different sects of Islam . All of you who are killing each other in the name of sects are being used. Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance not only among the Islamic sects but even with all the other religions.

Aku Jul 20, 2013 11:20pm

Wonderful, may Allah bless you for this noble act.

Syed Waqas UR Rahman Jul 20, 2013 11:20pm

I thought Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah, Masjid E Nabvi in Al-Madina & Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jeruselum are the first sect free Masjid's. Please refrain from using the word "Sect" as it is an insulting word for Muslims. The first person to create sects was a jew by the name of Abdullah Bin Sabah around the time of our beloved Prophet Muhammad may peace & blessings of Allah be upon him. Al-Quran uses very strong words for peoples who create sects & says It is prohibited to make sects and divisions in Islam The Glorious Qur

Amjed Jaaved Jul 20, 2013 11:54pm

I have seen church names being attributed to Christian sects, like Seventh Day Adventist, Methodist, etc, but not mosques. There is no restriction on anyone offering prayers at any mosque.The piece of news appears to have pernicious undertones.

Amjed Jaaved Jul 21, 2013 12:01am

At international islamic university, I was taught one may be a literalist or follow a sect. One follows a sect for convenience. The jurists who we attribute sects to were god fearing people. I see no harm following a sect. All masaajid are open to all sects. Never was I questioned about my sect at the entrance to a mosque. Usually no sect mosques are sulfi mosques. They are also open to everyone.

Dr.Tehseen Jul 21, 2013 12:38am

May Allah be with those who have participated in creating this dream into reality. a vast silent majority should come out and support this and reject the fanatics of all sects who are making billions and and are the source of killing of thousands innocent Pakistanis.

Waqas Usmani Jul 21, 2013 02:02am

This is an excellent idea... I read the comments and a lot of applause, but a serious question for Mr. Zahid Iqbal. How will this Masjid be different from others, saying that it does not belongs to a sect is another thing but practicing it is different. I'm a Sunni Muslim, and as far as I know Mr. Zahid is also a Sunni Muslim, my question is that who will lead the prayers in this Masjid. How many times the Adhan will be called out of this Masjid during the day... There are some differences between Shias and Sunnis as far as practicing the prayers. We Sunnis call for prayers 5 times a day, however Shias do that only 3 times. The way they (Shias) prays (Namaz) is different than us Sunnis. These are few things which readers would like to know so that we can decide if it is a truly sect free Masjid. We have a Masjid in our neighborhood in Lahore and we also do the same thing i.e. no sect discrimination, but honestly speaking Shias don't come to our Masjid to often for praying and when they come they pray individually. In the end once again I would like congratulate Mr. Zahid for this remarkable achievement and pray for Allah (SWT) for his success.

sajid ayub lhan Jul 21, 2013 03:11am

greate job ,what is sec ,for get that poisonous thinking . we are all muslim

Dante's Inferno Jul 21, 2013 04:00am

@Hina Farooqui: I agree that mosques are for Muslims in general. Sects do not matter :) However, Christians and Jews didn't divide us. We divided ourselves. doesn't matter. We're all Muslim. We're all human.

Habban Jul 21, 2013 04:52am

@Absar: Do us a favor. Go ask the admin of Haramain to let an individual from another sect lead one prayer. Lets see if u live to tell the tale. sect free mosques Ha! Coming to the topic... Firstly, The 73 sects were prophesized. I really would want to see someone try & get in its way so that it doesn't happen :) Secondly and most importantly 72 of these have been declared Jahaannami by the mubarak tongue of the Prophet. How can a person allow someone from any of these to lead his prayer besides those to whom Salah is only of secondary importance! Truly sad to see so many juveniles commending this idiocy... And i am in no way questioning the intention of the initiator of this. May Allah reward him by blessing him with some sense. To all my muslim brother & sisters Be muslim humanitarians instead of humanitarian muslims! Because there's a lot more to worry about then just our image to the world.

Akbar Firdosy Jul 21, 2013 05:46am

This is in line with the true spirit of Islam. May Allah (SWT) strengthen their efforts. May this project become an example for the rest of the world and this practice spread around the world as wild fire. Aameen!!!!!!

Aslam Shah Jul 21, 2013 05:52am

MashaAllah ! Such endeavours will go a long way to unite Muslim Ummah in Pakinstan, where daily sectarian killings are destroying the country and giving a bad name to Islam.

EQ8Rhomes Jul 21, 2013 10:05am

@Imran: What does the word "religions" mean to you? And, what's ""all religions"--just the Abrahamic ones?

Hussain Naqvi Jul 21, 2013 10:59am

Iqbal proved himself to be real ad true Muslim who publically founded the sectarian free mosque which is a most appreciable when some individuals having their neferous designs always wish unrest and disturbance among the sects. We pray Iqbal earns a distinguish and blessed by Amighty God in present and in the world hereafter.Meen

dr fahmy ismail Jul 21, 2013 11:10am

can i have your email or postal address pl.

Dr Gohar Sattar Jul 21, 2013 12:14pm

"Under Capital Development Authority rules, every mosque has to declare its sect following, before being granted permission to build the mosque". This rule itself fans divide and feeds sectarianism. Need to get away with these regulations.

Excellent work Zahid. Would like to offer prayers at the mosque.

shoaib mumtaz Jul 21, 2013 12:18pm

Great Initiative by this man, for unity for need to follow pluralism in Islam. Anyone who fulfill merits of Being Muslim should have permission to offer pray in any mosque with his own style. Our State should encourage this and hurdle to register Sect Free Mosque are deplorable.

Faisal Ashfaq Jul 21, 2013 12:38pm

Every Mosque in the Military is a sect free one..... N one can find people of different sects offering prayers at different mosques....

Tariq Chauhdary Jul 21, 2013 01:45pm

Given the current circumstances any such initiative feels like a rain drop in desert and I really appreciate it. Nonetheless, the mere idea of having a mosque or any religious centre without denomination sounds unnatural to me. Differences are part of human nature and having them is sign of a healthy society. Our core issue is not tolerating the differences. Let

majority Jul 21, 2013 02:38pm

Such endeavors are a very, very warm welcome: God bless you Zahid and may he bring you blessings and help from sources that will help you grow and flourish your healthy worldview. My prayers and support are with you.

Khalid Rasheed Jul 21, 2013 03:02pm

I wish the organisation behind this project ALL SUCCESS. I hope that Muslims have become aware in the 21st Century that the man made restrictions on entering the House of God cannot survive any longer, for, God Almighty Does Not bar anyone from His House.

Aisham Jul 21, 2013 03:13pm

Asslaamu Alaikum,

Thanks for your kind comments.

Again, if you want to write to Mr. Zahid Iqbal or want to visit the Masjid you can reach him at

On behalf of Mr. Zahid Iqbal, I would like to clarify that some of the information in this article has been manipulated, for example, we have NEVER received threats from any organization at all whether Taliban or any other religious/non-religious groups.

Although the article has made it very clear, we would still like to point it out that we have never received funding from any government at all. This Masjid has been built by individual contributions of the Muslims all around the globe and we are still in the process of completing this project. The fact that we are trying to complete this project for the past 3 years, speak for itself that we are still short of funds and thus not receiving money from any government.

We just want to unite the Muslims of Pakistan and live up to the true Message of Islam, mercy and compassion, that is to good to others whether Muslim and non-Muslims and demand nothing in return. We want to accomplish this goal in the light of Quran and Hadith as we firmly believe that the Quran and Sahih hadith has a lot of flexibility to not only accommodate all the school of thoughts in Islam but it also speaks and stands for the rights of non-Muslims.

May Allah SWT accept this little effort from us and keep you all in His shade of love and protection in this life and the life hereafter, Ameen!

Aisham Outreach Coordinator Darul Iman Islamic Center

Danish Tanvir Jul 21, 2013 06:02pm

Alhumdulillah! someone initiated it , the biggest need of the hour