The modernity of Malaysian mosques is indicative of just how young Malaysia is as an Islamic nation. Although Islam arrived in the country about 700 years ago, the faith was marginalized during the more than 400 years of European occupation which has just ended in 1957.
Since then, Islam has once again become central to the Malay society.
Landmarks for Putrajaya
At about 1,000 meters above the sea-level, the Iron mosque in Putrajaya, east Malaysia resembles a giant depiction of a blazing sun. But it’s entirely constructed of stainless steel.
Getting closer to it, the astonishing pattern becomes three-dimensional, revealing itself as a giant dome atop a hulking metallic structure.
The unique mosque was completed ten years ago using more than 6,000 tons of reinforced steel, it’s among the largest mosques in Southeast Asia. It accommodates more than 20,000 worshippers at a time.
Perched on the edge of Putrajaya Lake, it was built in 1999 from rose-colored granite in the Persian architectural style associated with the 16th-century Safavid Dynasty.
At more than 100 meters high, Masjid Putra’s skyscraping minaret is one of the tallest in the region and it accommodates up to 15,000 worshippers.
Capital’s Prominent Mosques
Interestingly, the oldest mosque of Malaysia in Kampung Laut is less than 300 years old. Its style was typical of the Malay mosques, which bore minimal resemblance to those of the Middle East.
Borrowing from the design of Malay and Javanese homes of the time, it has a triple-tiered roof, was built on top of stilts, and was constructed entirely from wood.
Another famous mosque is Masjid Negara in Kuala Lumpur which dates back to 1965 as the most spectacular mosque in Southeast Asia.
Masjid Wilayah can hold 17,000 worshippers and was modeled on Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. Courtesy Ronan O’Connell
Interestingly, Negara Mosque is unique for its towering 73m-high white minaret. Beneath this is the building’s most beguiling feature. With its 16 points, the mosque’s beautiful blue-and-green concrete dome resembles an open umbrella.
Moreover, the capital city’s oldest mosque is Masjid Jamek opened in 1909. It’s distinct from the National Mosque with an eye-catching neo-Moorish style.
Kuala Lumpur stands at a hilltop the colossal Masjid Wilayah which holds about 17,000 worshippers inside its Ottoman-style structure.
Masjid Putra was built in 1999 from rose-colored granite. Courtesy Ronan O’Connell
This article is from our archive, originally published on an earlier date and highlighted here for its importance.