With Muslims the world over observing the holy month of Ramadan, Ewe Paik Leong checks out mosques in the historical city.
Masjid Al-Alami, Jalan Ayer Keroh Lama, Melaka International Trade Centre, Ayer Keroh
Masjid Al-Alami was completed at a cost of RM7.5 million in 2003. It stands on four hectares of land and can accommodate 2,500 worshippers. The building is square, with short towers at each corner. It features a two-tiered roof characteristic of early Sumatran-style mosques, and is crowned by a dome that ends in a finial.
The design of the main roof is replicated in the roofs of the towers. Friezes on walls feature repeating geometric designs.
Masjid Cina, Jalan Solok Hilir, Paya Rumput
This is the third Chinese-Muslim mosque to be built in the country after one each in Ipoh and Rantau Panjang. Flanked by two pagodas, the mosque incorporates a prayer hall, a multi-purpose hall, a library and offices. It held its first Friday prayers on July 4, 2014, and can hold 2,000 worshippers at any one time. Among the decorative elements used in the building are bamboo plants, Chinese calligraphy and koi ponds. The mosque is located near Hang Jebat Stadium.
Melaka Straits Mosque, Jalan Baiduri 8, Pulau Melaka
Abutting into the sea, this mosque is perched on the shore of the man-made island of Pulau Melaka. Two overlapping archways lead to the main entrance, and the space between the arches is decorated with beautiful stained glass. The 30-metre tall minaret also functions as a lighthouse. The best way to appreciate the beauty of this mosque is to take a Duck tour. The journey on the amphibious truck (called Duck) makes a loop both on land and sea around Pulau Melaka.
Al-Azim Mosque, Jalan Bukit Palah
Also known as Melaka State Mosque, Al-Azim Mosque was completed in 1990 at a cost of RM19.5 million. The complex can house 12,000 worshippers and consists of a main building, a minaret and other smaller buildings containing a lecture hall, auditorium, cafe, offices and museum.
The three-tiered roof structure of the main building is supported by three massive round pillars at each corner. Stained glass windows, Islamic calligraphy and geometric designs form the adornments in the complex. Reflective of the progressive nature of Islam, the mosque uses SMS to communicate with worshippers and Friday prayers are accompanied by PowerPoint presentations. The head imam of the mosque is Datuk Mohammad Hashim.
Tengkera Mosque, Jalan Tengkera
Harking back to 1728, the original structure of the mosque was built of hardwood timber brought in from Kalimantan. Capped by a three-tiered roof, the building sits on a piece of concrete slab about a metre high. Four timber posts support the roof, and an ornamental railing encircles the serambi (verandah) area. The pillars and front doors are embellished with floral carvings and chandeliers, and fans hang from the ceiling. Standing within the walled compound is a six-sided minaret which resembles a pagoda, and it has small ogee windows.
Masjid Kampung Hulu, Jalan Kampung Hulu
This mosque was built in 1728 by Datuk Samsuddin Arom, a Chinese-Muslim, with financial assistance from the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC). In 1892, it was renovated by Sheikh Omar Hussein Al-Attas. Among the adornments used were roof tiles and floor ceramics imported from China during the Qing Dynasty.
Above the gateway of the mosque stands a platform with an oblong-shaped drum, and two ancient cannons stand guard at its front entrance. Next to the mosque lies an ancient cemetery. Perhaps the most notable grave here is that of Habib Abdullah Abu Bakar Al-Hadar, a noted Yemeni missionary.
Masjid Kampung Keling Mosque, Jalan Tukang Mas
Completed in 1748, this mosque was inspired by Sumatran architecture, with touches of Hindu influences. In the main prayer hall, a Victorian chandelier hangs from the ceiling, and the wooden pulpit exhibits Hindu and Chinese-style carvings.
Corinthian columns support the arches in the verandah and in the front porch. There are also Victorian chandeliers in the perimeter corridors which are fenced by wrought-iron railings. The minaret is divided into six sections and resembles a pagoda.
Masjid Al-Khairiah, Kampung Teluk Mas
This mosque started as a surau built in 1820 by Datuk Panglima Daeng Salleh. It was then located on Jalan Raja Haji. In 1840, the surau shifted to its present location, and a new structure was built by Datuk Pengulu Haji Idris, the village headman. The three-tiered roof is embellished with traditional Malay carving motifs such as awan larat (fleecy clouds) and sulur bayur (tendrils).
Resembling a pagoda, the octagonal minaret tapers upward, and it sports mock balconies and ogee windows.
Masjid An-nur Peringgit, Jalan Solok Pantai Peringgit
The original wooden mosque was constructed in 1726, but it was replaced by a new structure in 1868. Square in layout plan, it features a three-tiered roof. The walls and foundation are constructed of Dutch bricks and local lateritic blocks, and the floor is made of terracotta tiles. Dutch tiles are used on the first and second tiers of the roof, and Chinese tiles on the third tier. The dome of the roof is finished with carved coral reef stone.
In 1978, the original roof tiles were placed with modern tiles and a separate building added.
Masjid Al-Abrar, Jalan Semabok, Kampung Ladang
Dating back to 1905, this mosque, though little-known, has been conferred the status of “national heritage building”. In 1987, an additional building was built, which partially hides the original structure with a three-tiered roof. The staircase and walls of the new building are covered with beautiful tiles depicting snowflake designs. The elaborate minaret is crowned by a silver dome that ends with a star and crescent, and it is lit up at night.