The Masjid Negara Malaysia is the largest mosque in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia’s National Mosque, the official headquarters of Islam for country. This mosque is located near Kuala Lumpur’s old British built railway station and in an area with other significant buildings such as the museum of Islamic Arts.
Main prayer hall of the National Mosque
The National Mosque is a relatively new building constructed out of concrete with a mix of modern and traditional Islamic architecture, and the design contrasts sharply with the style of buildings constructed under British colonial rule which were heavily influenced by Indian and European architecture. The mosque is intended to be a statement about modern Malaysia and a break from the past.
History of the National Mosque
The Masjid Negara Malaysia was completed in 1965 and replaced the more ornate Masjid Jamek Mosque as Kuala Lumpur’s principle place of worship. The Masjid Jamek Mosque is located near Merdeka Square, which at the time of it construction in 1905, was the central point from which Britain’s colonial government administered the Malay peninsula. The Masjid Jamek Mosque was designed by a British architect, the construction was supervised by British engineers, and paid for by in part by the British Government.
Fountains in the Courtyard of the National Mosque
After achieving independence in 1957, the Chief Ministers of the then Malaysian Federation decided that they wanted to build a new mosque in Kuala Lumpur as a symbolic gesture as a focal point to bring together Muslims from across the newly unified states of Malaysia, and as a symbol of the new country’s separation from the British Empire.
Architecture of the National Mosque
The National Mosque is a large building designed to accommodate 15,000 worshippers at any one time. The design itself is interesting. The building is very much in the style of Modernist Architecture, popular in Europe at the time of construction, using concrete at the main construction material. It is worth noting that the mosque has been built using the same methods as a 1960s tower block in Europe as this says a lot about what the government of the time had in mind for the future development of Malaysia: they were planning to create a modern industrialised country rather than a backward looking underdeveloped South East Asian kingdom.
Minaret of the National Mosque
The mosque has four prominent design features. The most striking of which is it 16 pointed star shaped roof, which is intended to be reminiscent of an umbrella. The second prominent feature is the 73 metre tall minaret. The third interesting feature is the cluster of columns in the galleries in front of the main prayer hall. These columns are intended to create a space similar to a plantation of coconut tree. These large galleries are airy, open and naturally cool spaces on account of the tiling and this use of columns to break up the space is perhaps the most success aspect of the overall design. If you visit today you will see people making use of the space outside the main prayer hall as a place to sit and relax and gather. The fourth feature is the fountains and pools in the courtyard of the mosque, which in keeping with the theme of rainfall, were intended to represent the pools of water which form on the ground during the monsoon period.
Galleries in the National Mosque
The mosque got a ‘make-over’ in 1987, with the city government deciding to step back slightly from the brutal modernism of the original design to make the mosque look more ornate. The most significant change was that the once pink main roof was clad in green tiles.
Entrance fees to the National Mosque
Admission Fee: Free
Visiting Hours at the National Mosque
The National Mosque is a functional place of worship which is closed to non-Muslim visitors during prayer times, at other times visitors of all faiths are enthusiastically welcomed to visit and free robes are provided to those visitors who come inappropriately dressed in shorts or with their shoulders uncovered, or in revealing clothing.
Saturday to Thursday:
09:00 to 12:00
15:00 to 16:00
17:30 to 18:30
15:00 to 16:00
17:30 to 18:30
Location of the National Mosque
The National Mosque is located at Jalan Perdana, Tasik Perdana, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and is 300 metres walking distance from the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.