April, 2022 - Visit to Masjid Jamek

One of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur, Masjid Jamek, welcomed a group of 25 MCG members, most of whom are also Explorers, on 26 April 2022.  Situated between the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers, the mosque is, literally, at the heart of Kuala Lumpur which actually got its name from the “muddy confluence” of the two rivers. Led by Explorers Convenor, Tajuddin Idrus and guided by Fadzilla Mukhtar, the MCG members spent an extremely informative two-hour tour of the compound as well as the interior of the mosque.

It was designed by Arthur Benison Hubback who also designed the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Its design has Mughal elements like the three onion shaped domes, similar to the Jama Mosque in New Delhi, and chhatri, while also having Gothic and Moorish features like the pillared arches. The Malaysian Architect Association (PAM) has termed it as a Mughal Eclectic design. The foundation stone was officially laid on 24 March, 1908 by the Fifth Sultan of Selangor and was completed on 23 December 1909.

The River of Life (ROL) Project was implemented in 2012, with a RM4.4 billion budget, to clean and beautify the two rivers since they flow through this iconic heritage area where the Masjid Jamek is situated.  During this ROL project, the former Muslim cemetery at the mosque was relocated but remnants of some unnamed tombstones remained in the garden.  The gender was differentiated by their shapes – round for males and squarish for females.  On the steps leading from the river there were two original wooden stakes where boats used to be tied, a reminder of a time when people and goods navigated the rivers. 

The interior of the mosque was, traditionally, fully carpeted, with a mihrab in the direction of Mecca and a pulpit where sermons are delivered.  The original tiles were revealed at an area where the carpet could be lifted. An explanation was given on the Quran, the Holy book of the Muslims and other details including ablutions and the five times call to prayer.  The Director of the Masjid Tour Guide Programme, Normah Sulaiman answered questions from members. Free tours of the mosque are provided by her Programme. The MCG members expressed their appreciation to Normah and Fadzilla as well as the Masjid Tour Programme for giving a memorable tour of Masjid Jamek.

Dato’ Patricia  Chia Yoon Moi