The impetus for the mosque began in 1966 when King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz supported the initiative of the Pakistani Government to build a national mosque in Islamabad during an official visit to Pakistan. In 1969, an international competition was held in which architects from 17 countries submitted 43 proposals. The winning design was that of Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay. Forty-six acres of land were assigned for the project and the execution was assigned to Pakistani engineer and workers. Construction of the mosque began in 1976 by National Construction Limited of Pakistan, led by Azim Khan and was funded by the government of Saudi Arabia, at a cost of over 130 million Saudi riyals (approximately 120 million USD today). King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz was instrumental in the funding, and both the mosque and the road leading to it were named after him after his assassination in 1975. King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz’s successor Shah Khalid laid the foundation stone for the mosque in October 1976 and signed the construction agreement in 1978. Basic information of the mosque can be found written on the foundation stone. On 18 June 1988, the first prayer was held, although the mosque was completed in 1986. The mosque grounds along with being a building for prayer, also used to house the International Islamic University some years ago but has since relocated to a new campus in 2000. Some traditional and conservative Muslims criticised the design at first for its unconventional design and lack of a traditional dome.