Thursday, September 15, 2011

Masjid Negara: a national heritage

Standing proud right within the KL city centre, the Masjid Negara symbolizes the role of Islam as the official religion of the nation.

But more than that, it is also an iconic building. A landmark in itself. And now, an officially designated heritage building.

I am quite sure each and every Malaysian Muslim must have set foot here at least once in their life time. It could have been for a prayer break during one of those holiday visits to KL. Or it could be a short stop-by whilst on a trip to send their sons or daughters into one of the local universities.

Personally, I remember one trip to Masjid Negara with my brother, Azmi, when we were in our teens.

I think we were staying in Tapah at that time. Or was it Telok Intan? Anyway, Azmi had won a drawing competition and the prize-giving ceremony was to be held at the National Mosque. Apak couldn't make it to KL to accompany Azmi. So it was up to big brother to the rescue.

Not that I was familiar with KL myself! But we managed to reach KL safely by bus, and somehow succeeded in finding our way to the mosque. Right after the prize-giving ceremony, it was straight back to the bus station and home we went. For, as I told you earlier, I was not familiar with KL to go around and enjoy ourselves in the big city.

Completed in 1965, the mosque was designed by three architects at the JKR. It can accommodate a congregation of 15,000 at any one time. Featuring unique design features and a fascinating-looking roof, it was the biggest and most modern mosque at the time.

Once in a while I would pay a visit to the National Mosque. Its location is so strategic, one can just drop by when in downtown KL, or stopover en route from somewhere. It has changed a bit from during the day when I visited it with Azmi back then. But I am glad that it still retains its charm and calming ambiance.


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