Saturday, April 8, 2017

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (the Prophet's Mosque), Medina

Duration of stay: 2 nights from 26th till 27th June 2016

For many reasons, I’m officially in love with the Prophet’s Muhammad Nabawi Mosque when I first laid my eyes on it. It was the first mosque that we arrived during the umrah trip last year and I must say that it has blown my mind away. Our group rode a bus from Jeddah’s airport to reach Medina city and due to dropping off another passenger at another local airport in Jeddah, we arrived very late whereby it was already a call (azan) for Fajar prayer when Nabawi’s mosque appeared in sight. Due to that delayed schedule, we had very little food for sehri but no one was complaining since food was not the main reason for our trip. Usually, the drive from Jeddah Abdulaziz International Airport to Medina only took 4 and a half hours drive. Let's see more details about the mosque construction and its architectural perspective.

Inside ladies prayer hall where the dome was open for natural lights

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi is famously known as the Prophet's Muhammad Mosque as it was established and originally built by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, situated in the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia. It was the 3rd mosque built in the history of Islam (the first was Masjid Al-Haram and second was Masjid Quba) and is now one of the largest mosques in the world. It’s being the second holiest site in Islam, after Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca. There's no closing time as the mosque is always open, regardless of date or time. The mosque can accommodate about 600 thousand to 1 million peoples praying capacity at 1 time, the floor area of about 1.7 million square feet. The Saudi Government is planning for further expansion to increase the capacity to 1.7 million.

The first morning spent in the peaceful mosque, after performing obligatory Fajr prayer

The site was originally selected as it seated adjacent to Prophet Muhammad's house when he settled in this area after his Hijra (emigration) to Medina in 622 CE. He chose the location and shared in the heavy work of the mosque early construction. The original mosque was built on an open-air concept building served as a community center, a court, and a religious school beside a reunite place to pray together. There was a raised platform for the people who taught the Quran. Subsequent Islamic rulers greatly expanded and decorated it after the Prophet's time. In 1909, it became the first place in the Arabian Peninsula to be provided with electrical lights. The mosque is being placed under the control of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. It is located in what was traditionally the center of Medina, with many hotels and old markets nearby, being a major pilgrimage site. Many pilgrims who perform the Hajj and/or Umrah will go on to Medina to visit the mosque due to its connections to the life of Prophet Muhammad.

There's plenty of the Holy book, Al-Quran being placed inside the mosque, hence, don't bother to bring your own piece

During the expansion project at the reign of the Umayyad Caliph al-Walid I, it now incorporates the final resting place of Prophet Muhammad and the first 2 Caliphate Rashidun, Abu Bakr and Umar. One of the most notable features of the site is the Green Dome which is located in the southeast corner of the mosque. The area where the Green Dome is originally the Prophet's learned wife, Aisha occupied as her accommodation, the same place where the tomb of Prophet Muhammad is located. In 1279, a wooden cupola was built over the tomb which was later rebuilt and renovated multiple times in the late 15th century and once more in 1817. The current dome was added in 1818 by the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II, and it was first painted green in 1837, hence becoming known as the "Green Dome".

Fully air-conditioned mosque that gives comfort to the pilgrims

The main architecture feature is to maintain the original open concept. The Ottoman prayer hall faces towards the south. It has a flat paved roof topped with 27 sliding domes on square bases. Holes were pierced into the base of each dome to illuminate its interior. The roof is also being used for prayer hall during peak times season, when the domes slide out on metal tracks to shade areas of the roof, creating light wells for the prayer hall. The courtyard of the Ottoman mosque is also shaded with giant umbrellas affixed to freestanding columns. The roof is accessible by stairs and escalators, unfortunately, due to tight prayer activities in the fasting month, I left with no time at all to explore the roof area. Besides, the paved area around the mosque is also used for prayer, equipped with giant umbrella tents. For information, the Sliding Domes and retractable Umbrella-like canopies are designed by the German architect Mahmoud Bodo Rasch from SL Rasch GmbH and Buro Happold.

Area for wudu' or purify before praying

Riad ul-Jannah, Rawdah, Mihrab, Minbar and Minarets are all architecture features that one must take notice to appreciate the mosque beauty. I hope when Allah has invited me to perform Hajj, I would be able to explore the details in length and share them all with you. Firstly, the heart of the mosque houses a very special but small area named Riad ul-Jannah, means Gardens of Paradise. It extends from Rawdah where Prophet's Muhammad tomb is located to his Minbar. All pilgrims attempt to visit the confines of the area, for there is a tradition that supplications and prayers uttered here are never rejected, hence congested. Entrance into the area is not always possible, especially during the Hajj season, as its space can only accommodate a few hundred people. I had my chance to visit last year when it was open at the dedicated time frame for women to visit. 

The Prophet's Holy Shrine, Rawdah

Riad ul-Jannah is considered to be a part of Jannah (Paradise) as narrated from Abu Hurayrah as he heard Prophet Muhammad said, "the area between my house and my minbar is one of the gardens of Paradise, and my minbar is on my cistern". I experienced a moment of terror and peace between these 2 areas. But I strongly believe, peace, loves and compassion will reunite all humankind. 

The area between Rawdah and the Prophet's Minbar

As per Prophet's Muhammad quoted saying, Rawdah is also in Heaven, the same Rawdah which is currently in the mosque. It is floored with Green Carpet just to differentiate from the entire Mosque which is floored with red carpet. It holds the tomb of Prophet Muhammad and his 2 companions and the first caliph, Abu Bakr and the second caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab. A fourth grave is reserved for Jesus, as it is believed that he will return and will be buried at the site. The site is covered by the Green Dome. It was constructed in 1817 C.E. during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II and painted green in 1837 C.E. as mentioned earlier on. Sorry, twice repeated these facts!

The dome that slides upon at dawn to allow natural lights

There are two mihrabs in the mosque, the first one was built by Prophet Muhammad and another by the 3rd Caliphate Rashidun Uthman. The one built by the latter was larger as it acted as the functional mihrab, whereas Prophet Muhammad's mihrab is a "commemorative" mihrab. Besides the mihrab, the mosque also has other niches which act as indicators for praying. This include mihrab al-tahajjud which was built by Prophet Muhammad for the tahajjud, mihrab Fatima.

Women's Prayer Area

Minbar is a special place in the mosque used by Imam to speak on the congregation to deliver sermons. The original minbar used by Prophet Muhammad was a "wood block of date tree". This was replaced by him with a tamarisk one, which had dimensions of 50 centimetres (0.50 m) x 125 meters. Also in year 629, a 3 stair ladder was added to it. The first two caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar, did not use the third step "due to respect for the Prophet", but the third caliph Uthman placed a fabric dome over it and the rest of the stairs were covered with ebony. The minbar was replaced by Baybars I in 1395 and later by Shaykh al-Mahmudi in 1417. This was also replaced by a marble one by Qaitbay in the late 15th century, which as of August 2013, is still used in the mosque.

The green dome from external view

The first minarets (there's four number altogether) of 26 feet high were constructed by Caliphate Umar. In 1307, a minaret titled Bab al-Salam was added by Muhammad ibn Kalavun which was renovated by Mehmed IV. After the renovation project in 1994, there were ten minarets which were 104 meters high being built. The minarets' upper, bottom and middle portion are cylindrical, octagonal and square shaped respectively. That's all I wish to share facts about the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi's mosque. 

People used to say that you will be grant with whatever wishes if you say your prayer in here. It happened to me and to a dear friend that came all the way to cure her sickness in this Holy place. We lost contact but it's always my hope that Tina, that dear friend of mine would found her happiness and peace wherever she are.

Break fasting at the mosque courtyard where a second after saying my wish for Arab's rice, someone passed 1 from behind

The Giant Umbrella and the beautiful Mosque door

The mosque cleaner waiting in lines to change shifts

Reference: Wikipedia

Friday, March 24, 2017

King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah

Arrival date: 25th June 2016, Departure date: 6th July 2016

I booked the umrah trip following my cousin's advice, that is with the travel agent; Zahafiz Travel & Tours. Due to my busy schedules I missed the opportunity to attend a proper umrah course, hence I depended heavily on the Hajj guide book that my sister lent me. I took to study that guide book during a 9 hours and 10 minutes direct flight vide Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah. The flight mostly full with the pilgrims from Malaysia and Indonesia whilst others are on commercial transit. We arrived at almost maghrib prayer time, at dawn and I am truly impressed with Jeddah Airport, i.e. King Abdulaziz International Airport that was built to cater for pilgrimage. We had to wait at the cozy arrival hall as the time to break fast was nearing to our arrival time. All immigration counter is closed to allow everyone on fasting for their break and prayer. As usual, I will start my travelogue with how the airport is being built.

King Abdulaziz International Airport photo shared from "" website

King Abdulaziz International Airport is a Hajj Terminal airport located 19 km to the north of Jeddah. It was named after King Abdulaziz Al Saud, inaugurated in 1981. The airport is the busiest airport of Saudi Arabia and is 3rd largest airport in the Saudi kingdom. It is known for Hajj terminal since it is specially built for Islamic pilgrims going to Mecca annually. The airport can handle about 80,000 passengers at the same time. It occupies an area of 15 square kilometres where it accommodates not only the airport proper, but serves for a royal terminal, facilities of Prince Abdullah Air Base for the Royal Saudi Air Force and a housing facilities for the airport staff. The airport construction began in 1974, and was completed in 1980. It is opened for service after being officially inaugurated in April 1981 on 31st May 1981.

Jeddah town visible from the plane

The sun was about to set when we landed, a sign that the fast is coming to an end

Due to Jeddah's proximity to Islam's holy city of Mecca, the airport is notable for one feature in particular, i.e. “The Hajj Terminal”. It was specially built to handle pilgrims to take part in the rituals associated with the annual Hajj, which offers many facilities. It can accommodate 80,000 travelers at one time. The airport is designed by the Bangladeshi engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan from an architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). The designed is known for its tent-like roof structure, designed by Consulting Engineer Horst Berger. The structure was designed with 10 modules, each consisting of 21 "tents" of white colored Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric which is suspended from pylons. It is grouped together into 2 blocks of 5 modules each and separated by a landscaped mall between the blocks. Only customs, baggage handling and similar facilities are located in an air-conditioned building. The vast majority of the complex, called "Terminal Support Area", is a flexible open area, conceived to function like a village, complete with souk (market) and mosque. There's no walls as the area is purposely sheltered from the intense sun while allowing for natural ventilation.

The large airport filled with mostly only Saudi's Airline planes ... I was impressed with the sight! 

We boarded the airport bus to the hajj terminal

The Hajj Terminal received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1983. According to the jury, "the brilliant and imaginative design of the roofing system met the awesome challenge of covering this vast space with incomparable elegance and beauty". At almost five million square feet  or about 465,000 m², the Jeddah airport Hajj Terminal is estimated to be among the world's largest air terminals after Beijing Capital International Airport, Dubai International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. Many airlines from Muslim and non-Muslim countries have used the Hajj Terminal.

Cozy arrival hall with proper toilet that our group utilized for breaking fast and pray before immigration counter opens 
My aunt at immigration counter, waited patiently in queue line

Jeddah-KAIA airport serves as a major hub for Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines) who originally had an exclusive use of the South Terminal. However, in 2007 the privately owned Saudi carriers i.e. Flynas and Sama Airlines were also given permission to share the terminals and the facilities. Due to the closure of Sama Airlines, the terminal is currently used by Saudia and Flynas. The terminal is now also used by Malaysia Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, and Korean Air. The North Terminal at Jeddah airport is used by all other foreign airlines.

A friendly friend that I met at Jeddah airport on arrival, who later became inseparable

The new King Abdulaziz International Airport has undergone a 3 stage expansion project commenced in September 2006, and is currently scheduled for completion in 2018. The project is designed to increase the airport's yearly capacity from 13 million to 80 million passengers mostly due to expansion of the Holy Mecca city itself. The expansion includes airfield hard standing and paved areas, lighting, fuel network systems and storm water drainage network. I hope to see major differences this year should I be able to visit during Hajj 1438. Please do pray that I will receive my invitation to participate in the Hajj from Tabung Haji soon. Honestly, I haven't received an answer to the appeal that I officially submitted to them on 1st December 2016. I would lie if I say that I'm not nervous .. but I depend only to Allah to give a little of His miracle to me.

Exit door leading to a large meeting/gathering points
The large tent covers the large areas filled with markets, toilets and prayer hall

Included in the expansion program is a newly constructed support services building, renovation of the existing South and North Terminals and upgrades to the existing runway and airfield systems to accommodate the Airbus A380. The 3 stages refurbishment, according to GACA, i.e the General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia, it will marked by staged capacity increase to 30 million, 60M and 80M passengers per year. Based on the current traffic increases, the existing South Terminal will need to serve about 21 million passengers per year over the next 20 years to meet passengers growing demand. The project has reached the final stages of planning and design, and King Abdullah, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has approved a budget of SR4 billion to build the futuristic new airport to international standards.

Another clusters of tent outside the waiting hall where our bus made its final turn on our departure back to KL

Large crowds waiting for their flights home on 1st day of eid, 1437 @ 2016

Soon the Prince Majed Street will connect to the Al-Laith Highway (you may view from the Google Maps) from the southward terminal, forming a fast north-south transit route. Beside a plan for a better improve road access, there are talks and plans for a high-speed rail link serving the airport similar to other modern airports in many cities of the world. Starting at Prince Majed Street, the link will run into the airport and hook up with terminals. In my opinion GACA has done a terrific job in bringing King Abdul Aziz International Airport to another level of standard to serve their passengers. I pray that 1 day Saudi Arabia would open their airport to all and allow a non-muslim to enter the Holy city for them to view the pride and the beauty of the great mosque themselves. 

My aunt with her clearly shopaholic luggage

And I found myself a best friend with only positive talks, pure heart.. I'm being bless again

Remarks: Source of airport info from Wikipedia with photos of few friends that I made during the short trip.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The story of my Repentance

Human is indeed had a really weird character. I would say I'm the  weirdest among all. Quran had in many places warned about the weird people that will come by and plant some evil talks and thoughts so that you will end up with an evil mind. Therefore, Allah has created a special "doa" or prayer should you encountered one. But the best would still made a routine of reciting these prayers so that you wouldn't fall into that weird categories. Trust me, I was there before, the expert ... hence this advice. And this is the story of my repentance....

Happiest mode for feeling the bless
Repentance or taubat is a life transformation process where its very nature requires one not just to abandon the old ways of sinful behavior. Instead repentance requires us to replace those with righteous deeds. Turning to Allah in repentance, therefore, is a truly transformational process. Allah says in the Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 160: “Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.” and in Surah An-Noor, verse 31 Allah says “…And beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful".

At former home before leaving to the airport

Repentance, therefore, paves the way for Allah’s Grace in this life and the hereafter. Within this world, Allah promises us of wealth, children, and increased blessings. In the Quran, Surah Hud, verse 3 Allah again says: “Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding Grace to every owner of grace. But if you turn away, then I fear for you the torment of a Great Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)”.

While waiting for me to check-in

Allah has granted a beautiful lights into my heart after my return from India for good in 2012. He gave me a mirror to look at my self. I looked and looked so hard with so many weird question to begin with ... "why people did that to me", "why people are so cruel with devilish talks and remarks?" so on and so forth. The answers that came after was unimaginable so soothing to my heart. Allah whispers to me "You change first" then people around you will change along with you. Set a good example, purify your heart but start by firstly forgive yourself before forgiving others. Do not search the whole horizon for peace as peace is so near, it's in you.

With that, I set 2 targets for assurance that my repentance is accepted by Allah and He shall guide me (and all of you of course) to the straight path, the path of those upon whom Allah have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked Allah's anger or those who are astray (Quran, the first surah, Al-Fatiha verse 6-7). The first target is to perform umrah. The time for umrah that I chose was during the last 10 days of Ramadhan (fasting month), 1437 Hijrah year @ in June 2016.

Family is the one who stays in rainy and sunny days, non-stop cheering on you though on your cranky days..

Why do I chose those last 10 days? It's because I want to be in the Holy city for Laylatul Qadr, a night that I can seek prayers of forgiveness, to cleanse my sins. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an: The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. [Qur’an: 97:3-5]. The blessed Laylatul Qadr can be found in any of the last 10 nights of Ramadan, which are the most blessed nights of the year. As such, we should increase our worship and devotion during this period.

The second target is to perform hajj, being the 5th pillar of Islam, obligatory to those who can afford. Due to a tight schedule of 10 days in both Medina and Mecca, my focus was not about the 2 cities. So, I'm writing this entry and the later entries in preparation for a second visit, by Allah's will and permission, I hope to visit this year, 1438 year of Hijrah. Please make dua for me...

Friday, February 24, 2017

Hiking at Sg Besi Forest Reserve

I first knew about the hiking trail next to my condo when 1 of Nazhif’s friend shared his photo which overseeing the view of our Altitude 236, located in Persiaran Alam Damai. Little did I know, there is actually a proper hiking trail of 3.62 miles located just behind my condo that I've recently discovered from wikipemia while searching some reference for this entry. No wonder the forest reserve habitats sometimes encroaching nearby our windows since we are neighbors. And the fresh smell of the jungle whenever I open my window is just too good to be true.

Image download from

One fine day when Nazhif was still around from his year 1 break, I forced him and Nasrul to accompany me for my mission. I used to see people's passing by from the window of my Level 6 condo and wondering where they were heading to. We can see the first Reservoir from our unit as it seated on the same level. Hubby always scolded me for wearing an obscene dress in our room as he said people walking outside the road could possibly see us. My mission that day was to confirm whether or not our bedroom is visible from the other side. Unfortunately it is actually "yes", though only a little. Imagine if someone sees us through their binoculars?

I was at "Drain" point in this photo
Happy faces with a gorgeous view behind - Cheras side

It is recommended to start the hike at the junction of Persiaran Aman Damai off Jalan Aman Damai, just next to our Altitude 236. You will pass the two water tanks or reservoirs on the way up. Those 2 water reservoir are visible on satellite imagery as white circles on the first photo. The trail head starts with a tarred road, but only until you reached the second reservoir. From there on, you have to take left side where there is a proper trail leading up. Take note that is a barrier at the trail head that prevents vehicles from entering this area. The path beyond is mostly a bare red soil, some rocks, with occasional landslips that get in the way due to erosion. 

The evidence

There's nothing to worry about as the trail is quite solid and you will have no difficulties to get around or over it. There are several barren plateaus along the way that provides a good view of the Cheras area, especially in the morning or afternoon. The best time to start is at 6am-7am, after your morning prayer. But we went after Asar or afternoon prayer which gave us so short period of time to enjoy the hike and the view as it was already dark slightly after 7.15pm. Beyond the barren plateaus, you will enter a forest, starting from a huge undergrowth of ferns. The path changes from red soil to fertile black humus. Be careful at that point as there are no clearly mark trails in the forest. The downhill parts can be steep, muddy, and slippery. 

Trail chain for safety reason

The image in the first photo show 2 or maybe 3 streams that we did not encounter as we merely stopped at the Main Viewpoint. The sky was getting darker at that time and Nazhif started pestering me to go back. But to those who are really into jungle hiking it is highly recommended to use jungle boots and takes on the jungle trek. What we did that day was merely enjoying the scenery at the plateaus. After some photo evidence, we turn back and go home. There's another family around that time too.

For the record, there are four permanent forest reserve areas in Kuala Lumpur that is 2.1ha. in Bukit Lagong, 9.37ha in Bukit Nanas, 14.51ha in Sungai Puteh and the one behind my condo is Sungai Besi forest reserve of 42.29ha. These four are as officially declared by the Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia. Bukit Lagong’s area remains unchanged since it was gazetted in 1962, but the forest area in Bukit Nanas, which was gazetted in 1906 with an area of 17ha, has since been reduced in size to 9.37ha as a result of road and infrastructure projects. The Sungai Puteh permanent forest area, gazetted in 1933 with an area of 40ha, is now reduced to 14.51ha whilst the Sungai Besi permanent forest area has seen a loss of 4.71ha since it was gazetted in 1932.

KL Tower's light was lighted in blue that day. I've been lucky to witness the changing colors of KL Tower every night from my balcony. Indeed, I've been surrounded with enormous bliss.

Being a quite lazy bump person, the second trip is yet to be arranged. Nevertheless, I hope this entry may help others who takes hiking seriously as hobby and sports.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Chandeliers

I was in class today when I suddenly felt like sharing the latest updates photos of our new house. I did mentioned about the 4 chandeliers in my previous entry. It was the chandeliers that hubby bought for the house which, honestly never ever appeared in my wish list. When I bought the land to build a house in 2005 and later working on it's design for 2 years from 2010, never did it crossed my mind that the house would have chandeliers. It was too grand, not suited a mere person like me. I didn't even dream to have a chandelier but hubby must thoughts well. Maybe he got that idea while building the house and while searching for interior design ideas from our favorite website, Houzz. For your information, we bought 3 chandeliers when we went back to Kelantan recently while attending my niece wedding. We were queuing at the traffic light when hubby accidentally noticed the lights shop on the right side of the road while we were on our way to Kota Bharu town.

We bought a pair of similar chandelier for the main hall. That flowery type is to be fix at the foyer, i.e. main entrance

The first photo below was from the third level of the house, i.e, the passageway above Syahirah's bedroom leading towards the hexagon water tank house. Nasrul's bedroom is located beneath it. Nasrul is the lucky 1 as his room was the only 1 with hexagon's plastered ceiling. The passageway, or rather an excluded balcony would be the best place to observe sunset. We viewed daily sunset from our balcony in Altitude 236 and in future we will have this cosy area to hang out at every afternoon. I bet this would become hubby's favorite spot in the future. It would be better if I could add some roof gardens. Let's see whether or not I have time to do it. 

The house is built with 8 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, it's a little bit too many for a family of 6. We will occupy 5 bedrooms, mine at the ground floor whilst all children's will occupy their own floor. The other 3 bedrooms are intended for the maid, the guest and the cousins' room. Our kids has a lot of cousins from both sides of the family. They are very close and that was the reason why we added 1 more bedroom for them to have their privacy with the cousins on their floor. Above anything, we hope that everyone who comes to visit and stay would feel at ease, a feeling of staying at their own place would be a bonus.

Syahirah's room is on the 1st floor, whilst below is a guest room

The last photo of the house is my most favorite, it is a dining and the main living area for the guest. We are going to install the identical chandeliers at this area. I saw it from Houzz years ago. Hubby must have kept that photo for long time as he ensure that I would have it though it took so much time for his workers to make it happen. In fact it was the first few photos that I save into my idea books. Hubby had get his workers to spend so much time to lay the ceiling exactly how it was show in the photo.

For the record, I first came to know about hubby's intention to install chandelier at the staircase area when I happened to accompany him buying a mechanical motor hoist that will assist to bring down the lights for cleaning and maintenance. My head started to ache as I knew it would be a nightmare to search for proper and appropriate chandelier for that highest ceiling area of the house. When we accidentally found below chandelier in Harvey Norman, I thought our search is over. At that time, I was thinking to buy a simple chandelier without crystals from Ikea which price tag is about 10 times cheaper. But the light shop in Kelantan changed my plan. It was an Egyptian crystals that is used for chandeliers whilst the Harvey Norman 1 was a crystal from China. Anyhow, instead of 1, we will  gonna have 4 chandeliers altogether hung inside our new house.

The 1st Chandelier that we purchased at Harvey Norman for the staircase area

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Malaysia Federal Territory Mosque (Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan)

Date: 26th January 2017

It was my first time driving around in Jalan Duta's Federal Government Complex. I've been called to the magistrate court for traffic offence as summoned by JPJ. The court session started at 8.00am. I arrived at Jalan Duta before 7.30am and accidentally passed by this jewel which look so stunning from a distance, the KL Mosque (Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan). KL Mosque or the Federal Territory Mosque is a major mosque in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. It is located near MATRADE complex and the Federal Government Complex off Jalan Duta, just opposite the KL High Court.

Image from the mosque's website, ""

The Mosque was constructed between 1996 to 2000, situated on a five hectare site near the Government Office Complex along Jalan Duta. It's official name "The Wilayah Persekutuan (Federal Territory) Mosque" was opened to the public on 25 October 2000 and was officiated by the 12th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Almarhum Syed Putra Jamalulail. It is the 44th mosque built by the Government within the city limits. The mosque can accommodate 17,000 jamaah (worshipers) at any one time. This are the facts that I gathered from the mosque website.

Mosque that surrounded with water features and beautiful landscape

If Shah Alam Blue Mosque is in my opinion, a 100% Malay architectural design that reflects a true Malaysian arts and pride, these are not the case for the KL Mosque. In my eyes, the mosque's design is a blend of Ottoman and and a little bit of Malay architectural styles, heavily influenced by the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. It has 22 domes made from a composite material of glass fibre fabric mixed with epoxy resin to make it durable and light. The domes obviously a copy and paste all of the Ottoman's mosque design. Those who have been touring Turkey, especially Istanbul would agree with me. For the record, the mosque has attracted tourist from all over the world, 198 countries to be exact and I maybe the late guest. As a Malaysian, I feel shy to admit this.. hehe, apologies to all Malaysian people!!! 

Construction of the mosque area was realized on 25 Shawwal 1416 Hijri, i.e. 15 March 1996 and was completed on 30 August 2000. It took 4 years to built this magnificent complex. The ceremony of handing over the property to the Territory Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) was immediately held in September 2000. JAWI is the official custodian of the huge complex. The whole complex occupied ​​about 13.4 hectares seated on the site of a former court and government offices which later was shifted to Putrajaya. The master mind behind the proposed mosque was inspired by none other than our one and only Tun Dr. Mahathir who then became the Prime Minister for the fourth time. It is a project of the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department Kuala Lumpur (Jawi) and being recognized the status of the State Mosque. Thank you Tun, we are greatly indebted for your intelligent and wise wisdom.

Federal Territory Mosque is located in a hilly area in Jalan Duta, near the intersection to the center of Kuala Lumpur. The mosque is named Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan with an iconic concept of "a mosque in the garden". It's purely designed and built using traditional Ottoman mosques in Turkey, on the external facade that resembles Istanbul Blue Mosque. However its internal architectural design and decoration is a combination of an East Malaysia Malay tradition concept. It is indeed a national landmark added to the whole Government Complex of Jalan Duta. The mosque built up area is about 47,000 meters square, complete with modern facilities.

Community centers and science complex are included to form the basis of the design concept. It has adequate facilities for JAWI to spread the Islamic teaching in this country. Masjid Federal Territory Mosque became one of the main mosques in Kuala Lumpur, seated near the complex Matrade and government official. Tun Mahathir has brought an original drawings of Ottoman mosque ideas filled with the past glorious history of this century added and/or combined with an influence of the Middle East and Malay architecture. Like I said earlier on, the mosque has the effect of architecture of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. The entrance facade (as seen in below photo) is adapted from Iranian mosque, an influence of shiah's design. I'm sorry to those who might disagree with my opinion. My years of travelling abroad has made me reach to that conclusion.

The design of the dome is a unique series consisting of a main dome, half domes, a vault and other small domes above it's main centre domes. The main prayer's dome height is 30 meters reaching up to 45 meters of the floor space at the main prayer hall. As a whole there are 22 domes altogether in this mosque. Apart from the main prayer hall built in the middle of the building, there are plenty of other areas that is also serves as a prayer interaction, i.e. in the court yard, an open concept similar to the Jama Masjid in Delhi. The main hall, multi-purpose hall and dormitory is all equipped with air-conditioning system. The mosque is also equipped with fire-extinguishing systems, service elevator to the 4th floor, and an escalator that connects to the 1st floor and 3rd floor.

Reminded me so much of the Moghul architecture when I saw the mosque courtyard

A delicate and unique carvings can be seen not only on  a plastered wall finishes but on a high or low plastered ceiling that has been carved and shaped using a special mold. Special motif, mostly on wood carvings that adorn the mosque is shaped from five kinds of fragrant flowers like flowers pierced wildebeest (flower mas), frangipani, ylang, cape, jasmine and green leaves like ferns.

Wood decor specially carved from East Coast craftsmen

And all these wood decor consists of cengal carved by skilled local craftsmen brought in from Terengganu and Kelantan. The interior of the mosque is decorated with lights that emit light sparkled from inside out. The chandeliers that hung on the inside of the dome-shaped is of a modern and exclusive design. Its beauty is revealed when all the lights were installed, especially at night. I was there in the morning, hence the beauty and the charm of this chandeliers cannot be seen at that time. Hubby has done shopping 4 chandeliers for our new house. Soon, I would be surrounded with the crystals beautiful lights. I am so indebted to Allah for granting me with not only 1 chandelier but 4.

Stone carvings were made at the main gate and the chamber. Type of stone used consists of marble "Makarana" (I honestly do not know what it was). The stone is organized from 3 centers located in Agra, Jaipur and Makarana in Rajestan, India. These stones were carved by skilled artisans in India using the concepts of in lay out of precious stones and assembled at the construction site by local workers and updated and refined by Indian workers. No wonder I have the same kind of feeling when visiting this mosque. Not only it adopt an Ottoman architecture, it also has a Moghul architecture element brought in. Indeed, a very unique mosque.

KL Courts seen from the KL Mosque

Various types of precious stones such as rock layers of lazuli, black onyx, malachite, jasper red and golden, mother of pearl and tiger eye has makes this mosque as a very special and majestic complex. "Thuluth" calligraphy also plays an important and meaningful role as a decorative calligraphy to this Territory Mosque. It is applied in certain places for people to easily appreciated and understood  the beauty and the meaning of it. Take note of this calligraphy, especially at the entrance gate.

There's no one apart of the 2 cleaners inside the main hall prayer areas when I stepped inside to snap some photos. The domes and the inner wall are mostly painted (or wall paper, I'm not sure here) with layered of a bee nest, that reminded me so much Chapter 16 of the Quran, An-Nahl or the Bee where Allah has reminded all Muslim to gathered in the mosque for learning the Quran and spreading its wisdom to all. Let me share with you 2 verses from Surah An-Nahl, 16:68&69 "And your Lord inspired to the bee, "Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you]." There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought".

Finally, I like touch a little bit on the hard landscape and external layout. The pedestrian lanes that are provided around the pool is paved with pebbles from the river. Indoor water fountain is equipped with seven refined and artificial waterfall added with natures softness and tranquility. The pool is equipped with bio-filters to keep the water clean all the time. Landscape concept for the mosque is a mosque in the palace garden as oriented in Islam's teaching. Beautiful gardens complete the mosque as a center of education, research and recreation. The mosque is surrounded by a pool of water created an atmosphere of comfort, peace and quiet. The mosque is equipped with walkways and fountains. Visitors will be impressed by the beauty of the various species of flowers and plants that are grown here. That was the purpose.

The mosque facing the Government Administrative Complex and the Court Complex

Last but not least, I hope I shall visit more mosque in Malaysia in the future and blog about it.