The last 10 days of Ramadhan – which is upon us at the time this article is published online – is considered as among the most spiritual times for Muslims because the most blessed night of the year, Laylat al Qadr (Night of Decree) is to be found in any of these 10 days. It is during this time when Muslims will spend more time in the mosques at night than any other times of the year.
To encourage higher spiritual attainment among devotees, especially on the eve of those 10 days, many mosques in Malaysia incorporate splendid Islamic designs. Stepping into these mosques should fill worshippers with tranquility and the feeling of love and remembrance towards Allah the Almighty. As such, Gaya Travel Magazine has come up with a list of seven beautiful mosques that can help make the last 10 days productive and meaningful.
- Masjid Zahir, Kedah
Dating back to 1915, Masjid Zahir stands proudly in Alor Setar, the state capital of Kedah. This over 100-year old mosque comprises five domes symbolising the five pillars in Islam. Since it was first launched by Sultan Abdul Hamid, on every Friday, the mosque is overflowed with Muslims who come to perform their prayers, thus requiring it to be expanded in 1960 and 1975. Masjid Zahir, also known as Masjid Diraja (Royal Mosque), takes cues in its design from Masjid Azizi in North Sumatera, considered as one of the most beautiful mosques in Indonesia. This is the place where one could recite the Quran and study the meaning of the verses in peace throughout the fasting month.
- Sabah State Mosque
This state mosque makes up an essential part of Kota Kinabalu’s skyline with its 215 feet needle-like minaret inspired from Jameh Mosque in Isfahan in Iran to symbolise the glory of Islam. Located within the city centre, this mosque is worth a stop for its picturesque beauty with its tall turrets and golden orbs sitting atop 16 pillars. Quranic verses grace the mosque’s dome. The mosque’s interior is also as mesmerising as its exterior: the mihrab (the niche in the wall to indicate the direction where the congregation should be praying) is surrounded by blue glass mosaic and decorated with holy Quran verses embedded with gold-plated glass mosaics. The ambience is serene and evoke sense of awe towards the Creator.
- Masjid Negeri Sultan Abu Bakar, Johor
This stunning mosque situated on a hill completed in 1900 reward travellers the view of Johor Strait. The mosque’s architecture is heavily influenced by Victorian and Moorish styles, hence the rounded arches on top of its four stout pillars, repeated patterns on its walls and decorative tiles. Busloads of tourists visit this mosque every weekend to admire the design and surrounding view. The mosque is a proud Johorean landmark. Spending the last days of Ramadhan at this mosque is such an uplifting experience with its décor and panoramic view.
- Masjid Kapitan Keling, Penang
Masjid Kapitan Keling located in Georgetown is the gem of Penang. This 218-year old mosque was an important trade centre for the Strait of Malacca to get quality spices and sarong from South India. The mosque has served as the place for business and trade, including a gathering point for pilgrims heading to Mecca by ships in Penang. After renovation, the design of the mosque now is not the same as when it was first completed in 1801 but still retain its geometrical designs. Lovers of history and heritage can still see the original white-washed walls at the mosque’s courtyard.
- Masjid Al-Bukhary, Alor Setar
Even as you drive by this mosque, the first thing that strikes you is its prominent main dome painted in sky blue with purple edge that truly stands out against its white walls. Not only do the calming colours have impact on passersby, the dome is embellished with Surah Al-Hadid Verse 1 to 8, which says “Allah is with you wherever you are. He was with us when we were a speck of dust. He has been with us at all times” – a fitting quote to represent the house of God. The inside of the dome is decorated with the 99 Names of Allah, stunning sight to look up. Standing gloriously at 47 metres tall is a pillar that resembles the pillar in Prophet’s mosque in Madinah. The mimbar (pulpit) is a replica of the one found in Masjid Qiblatain in Madinah but made using Southeast Asian teak wood.
- Masjid Ubadiah, Kuala Kangsar
Masjid Ubadiah screams royalty with its blindingly golden giant dome and minarets on Chandan Hill. The story behind the mosque is about a worshipper who was grateful for the gift of health granted by Allah. The late Sultan Idris I fell sick and went to Port Dickson to seek medical treatment. His Highness made an oath to Allah (nazar) that he would build a mosque if he were to recover, which he did, hence the completion of Masjid Ubudiah in 1917. Since this mosque is located less than a kilometre away from Iskandariah Palace, which is the residence of the Sultan of Perak, the mosque is frequented by the royals to perform their obligatory prayers. On the first of Syawal (the day of celebration that comes right after Ramadhan), the mosque is filled with worshippers donning colourful baju raya (celebratory outfits, mostly traditional) to perform Eid prayer.
- Masjid Tengku Tengah Zaharah, Kuala Terengganu
This majestic white mosque was designed by a Terengganu royalty who is also a highly respected Malaysian architect, Dato’ Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad. Named after Tengku Intan Zaharah, one of the past Terengganu Sultan’s mother, the mosque is more famously known as the Floating Mosque since it is erected upon a floating platform. Travellers come here to snap the mosque’s reflection on the surrounding water flowing in from Ibai River. A blend of natural elements like a leafy garden and the blue sky, together with the breeze from South China Sea, make the place perfect to be closer with God.
Alternatively, folks from Selangor can check out these mosques as well: https://www.gayatravel.com.my/5-iconic-mosques-selangor-conjunction-eid-al-adha/