Al Azhar Mosque


Our History


Serving Humanity

Al-Azhar Mosque is located in the heart of South Shields, serving the growing Muslim population for over 50 years. Our mosque is recognised as one of the first,
purpose-built mosque in the UK, providing dedicated prayer facilities and Islamic services.
Al-Azhar Mosque aims to create a safe and welcoming environment for all worshippers. We offer support and guidance when needed and hold events and activities
to help engage and bring the local community together.


An interesting story surrounds the early idea for building a Mosque in South Shields which was actually initialised by an influx of Turkish Seamen who docked into
Tyneside in the early 20th century. These seamen did not stay and make South Shields their home as the Yemeni seafaring community did but one Eid they were
looking for somewhere to pray. They decided to look at some houses to see if they could find one for the Eid prayer but there was not a house was big enough to
accommodate them all. They therefore had to use many houses and split themselves up to perform the prayer which motivated them to start fundraising to build
one Mosque for the whole Muslim community.

Early fundraising:

Initially, they lay scarves down on the floor of these ‘Zaoias’ (buildings used as Mosques) for people to put money on. They managed through this method to collect
about £500 which they then used to buy land from the council. By this time the Yemeni community were actively involved and took forward the work started by the
Turks. A prominent figure in the community known as Obeya looked after the money and found land on the corner of Commercial Road. Building started and
foundations were put in place but this was interrupted by the council who decided they had need for the land and would instead offer them land next to Holy Trinity
Church. This is the site of the Al Azhar Mosque as we see it today

Fundraising from the Arab World:

A Saudi architect helped to develop the plans for the Mosque and building commenced. With half of the Mosque built by funds raised locally, the money ran out. The
Yemeni community then wrote letters to charities and governments around the Middle East and Africa asking for help. They went to the Yemen Embassy and were
given £500. Other countries that donated include Somalia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE (Dubai gave £30,000) and Kuwait. The Yemenis were helped by some Kuwaiti
students living in South Shields including Jassim Al Monsouri who went to Kuwait to help get money for the Mosque. Mohamed Ahmed Al-Sayyadi (Hussein) as
chairman of the Islamic Trust went personally to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Yemen to help raise money. Donations largely came as pledges first with cheques being
sent over to the UK later. The Yemeni community of the UK also donated including communities in Sheffield and Liverpool. Money was given bit by bit and pictures
were sent to financial backers to show the progress of the building in order to obtain more funding.

Local figures:

Those involved primarily in the building of the Mosque included Mohamed Ahmed Al-Sayyadi (Hussein), Abdul Ghani Mohamed, Abdo Mohamed Al Khulaidi and Mr
Shah. The Mosque was named and the inscription put in stone on the side of the building in 1973. It can still be seen today.