BEYOND THE BIG BLUE MARBLE

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Published on May 05, 2019 with No Comments

Inspired by Islamic architecture from around the world, Kuala Lumpur’s Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan is both exquisite and unique.

Words SITI RAHMAH LEHAN
Images ISLAMIC TOURISM CENTRE

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Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan, with its proximity to Istana Negara (the Royal Palace) and location atop a hill, commands a distinguished presence. As one of the few mosques in Kuala Lumpur that organises tours of its premises, Masjid Wilayah, as it is commonly referred to, is popular with tourists visiting the city.

From afar, viewers are dazzled by the blue mosaic and marble of the central dome, which appears to change colour with daylight. The design took inspiration from the Sultan Ahmet Mosque in Istanbul and the Masjid Imam of Isfahan, with the design continuing throughout the other 22 domes. Up close, visitors can see the building adopting various patterns and colours inspired by the mosques of Turkey, India, Iran and Morocco. Some of the more remarkable features of the mosque include the surrounding moat and the cluster of gardens and pavilions that make up the courtyard.

Entering the mosque, the eyes are immediately drawn to the many arches decorated with woodcarving from Kelantan and Terengganu. The two eastern states of Malaysia are known for their wood artisans and beautiful crafts. The wooden doors too are equally adorned in a collection of carvings, mostly depicting the lotus flower. A stroll in the courtyard will take guests to spacious verandahs influenced by the Moroccan architecture.

The prayer hall, which can house 17,000 worshippers at once, is typical of all mosque architecture. The mihrab, a niche in the wall to indicate the direction of Makkah towards which all Muslims pray, is decorated with semi-precious stone inlays and crafted by the descendants of artisans who built the Taj Mahal. As mosques are historically not stand-alone buildings, Masjid Wilayah also has seminar rooms, a library, a banquet hall, a multipurpose hall, a wedding hall, accommodation for students as well as guest rooms incorporated in its building layout.

Mosque tours can be arranged by calling the Tourist Information Centre (03 6201-8791), named after the Islamic World’s most prolific traveller, Ibnu Batuttah. Visitors can go on a guided tour of the mosque led by trained docents. They will be introduced to the role of the mosque in the Muslim community and given an introduction to Islamic belief, briefed on the various essential elements of a mosque’s architecture before being led to these areas for a firsthand look. On occasion and with prior notice, guests will also have the chance to observe the muezzin (caller of prayer) perform the adhan (call of prayer). It is a knowledge-based tour which will ignite the intellect. At the time of writing, Masjid Wilayah has volunteers conducting tours in French, Japanese, Tamil, Mandarin, English and Malay.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Kuala Lumpur 2x daily. Discover things to do in Malaysia in www.muhibah.com.bn

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