A place of Beauty and Religion

Masjid Wilayah

Written by :
Elisa Ismail

In Malaysia, we are blessed with a country of multi-races and religions living in peace and harmony. As Islam is the official region of Malaysia, the country is filled with beautiful mosques. One such beauty is the Federal Territory Mosque, also known as ‘Masjid Wilayah’ in Malay.

A visit to Malaysia will not be complete if you didn’t enter the mosque and see the beauty of the architecture firsthand. Masjid Wilayah is located near the Kuala Lumpur city centre. It was constructed between 1998 and 2000, situated on a five-hectare site and can accommodate up to 17,000 worshippers at one time. It is also the 44 th mosque built within the city by the government. As I had friends who were coming to visit Malaysia, I thought a visit to Masjid Wilayah would be enthralling.

As we were going to a place of worship, we had to respect that sanctity of the mosque and abide to the dress code. We had our hijabs on and made sure we were properly covered before we entered the mosque. We also removed our shoes as a sign of respect as worshippers come here to pray. Guided tours are conducted daily for visitors who wish to come and learn more about the mosque and volunteers from the mosque will conduct the tours in multi-languages.

Masjid Wilayah is one of the largest mosques in Malaysia, able to house 17,000 worshippers at one time. Our tour guide told a brief history of the mosque. Many wouldn’t expect it to be called ‘Mosque in the Garden’ as it is surrounded by the concrete jungle of our metropolitan city. However, take a closer look and you will see why such a name was given. As you enter the compound, you will see pristine and well-manicured green gardens with flowing moat- like trenches surrounding it. A lot of thoughts went into the creative process, ensuring that nature was incorporated as part of the design. As you go further into the compound, the famous Turkey’s Blue Mosque comes to mind.

Our guide was telling us that mosques from Turkey, Morocco, Iran and other parts of the Muslim world heavily influenced the design of Masjid Wilayah. The turquoise coloured domes are one of the features that enhance the appearance of serenity and calmness. The Turkish Ottoman and Malay architectural designs heavily influenced the mosque’s architecture. It has 22 domes made from a composite material of glass fiber fabric, mixed with epoxy resin to make it durable and light to carry. Walking into the verandah, you can see some touches of Moroccan architecture. The arch of the mosque has the local touch of wood carvings from Kelantan and Terengganu.

" Many wouldn’t expect it to be called ‘Mosque in the Garden’ as it is surrounded by the concrete jungle of our metropolitan city. However, take a closer look and you will see why such a name was given. "

As we were on the tour, we were also briefed on the tenets of Islam. The five daily obligatory prayers happen at this mosque. When we were there, we saw some people at the main prayer hall sitting and reading the Quran. We could see religious classes being conducted for all different age groups. The mosque has several rooms to accommodate such classes for the school kids and also for adults. The volunteer told us that although the mosque’s primary aim is to be a place of worship, it is also a place where people from the communities come together to bond and socialize.

It is essential that the mosque becomes a centre for any community to come and spread the religion’s message of peace and harmony. A mosque is also a place where solemnization or ‘akad nikah’ ceremonies for Muslims are held.

The multipurpose rooms can then be turned into banquet halls for a feast afterward. Should any couple wished to get married in the mosque, the ceremony must be without any music and excessive celebrations. We found it fascinating that so many different activities can be done at the mosque. It truly is a place that serves as a place to bring communities together. As we continued walking, I realized that the mosque is welcoming to all, not just those with the Islamic faith. For tourists who are not sure where to begin, they can always go to the tourist information centre which is located in the mosque compound called the ‘Ibnu Batuttah’, named after the world’s most travelled Islamic scholar. Information can be found here, for those who wished to know about all the activities at the mosque. After our tour ended, we decided to walk around and explore the mosque on our own as we wanted to see how the daily prayers are performed.

" We found it fascinating that so many different activities can be done at the mosque. It truly is a place that serves as a place to bring communities together. As we continued walking, I realized that the mosque is welcoming to all, not just those with the Islamic faith. "

I realized that the mosque is so big! With the main prayer hall being the biggest area - people were slowly preparing for the afternoon’s prayers. There is a separate area for women and men, as men and women are required to be separated. Women and men have separate ablution and prayer areas. It’s required in Islam, for those who have no kinship by marriage or blood to be separated and have certain boundaries in socializing. The ablution area is where they would go to cleanse their body parts with water before performing their prayers.

Once they are done, women will adorn their prayer attire that covers their body from head to toe and only their faces can be seen. The prayer attire for women, known as the ‘telekung’ was readily available for worshippers to use and return back once finished. Before any obligatory prayers can be conducted, the call to prayer also known as ‘azan’ can be heard on the loudspeaker.

At that time, we could hear the Quran being recited as a preparation for the call of ‘azan’. Worshippers come in and perform their ablution and wait patiently in the prayer hall areas, preparing to pray. At the women’s area, you could see mothers with their children waiting eagerly for the call to prayers. Our guide told us earlier that a mosque is a place where everyone can bring their families. Mothers will bring their children to the mosque to meet other families and bonds are formed.

There are no restrictions on bringing children to the mosque as long as they do not disturb the other worshippers. When it was finally time, we heard the call to prayer – the ‘azan’. The mosque came alive with the recitation of the ‘azan’. It echoed through the mosque’s open space. Everyone was getting ready; they took their places at the respective prayer hall and waited for the Imam to be ready. Everyone was getting ready to pray. They had performed their ablution; cleansing themselves and waited patiently for the Imam to lead them for prayers. The Imam serves as the one who heads the prayers and all worshippers would follow. The Imam is the head of the congregation at the mosque. It is a surreal feeling after the prayers are performed, you could feel the peace and tranquility spread amongst the worshippers.

" When it was finally time, we heard the call to prayer – the ‘azan’. The mosque came alive with the recitation of the ‘azan’. It echoed through the mosque’s open space. "

Masjid Wilayah, with its rich and beautiful architecture, serves as a commonplace for all Muslims to come and gather not only for the obligatory prayers but also to strengthen the bond of the communities. We saw how the mosque opens its doors to anyone and everyone who wishes to come and discover more about Islam through its daily classes and activities. For Muslims, the mosque serves as a place to gather with other Muslims and strengthen their ties and bonds whilst worshipping.

For non-Muslims, they are able to appreciate the beauty of the mosque’s architecture and get a deeper insight into the Islamic teachings and the religion itself. We left the mosque with a feeling of contentment, knowing that the place opens its beautiful doors to anyone who wishes to learn more about Islam and to also know that the beauty of the religion is what brings people together. A visit to Masjid Wilayah is worth it for a deep reflection whilst admiring the beauty of the architecture. It is a place to bond, learn and worship, all under one beautiful roof.

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Hashtags :
#MasjidWilayah #Mosque #MosqueInTheGarden #Architecture #Aesthetic #MuslimMosque #MalaysiaTrulyAsia


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