This bilingual (English and Malay) monograph is produced in conjunction with the Exhibition to celebrate the 50th Year of the National Mosque (1965-2015), held at the Islamic Arts Museum, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 5th September to 13th October, 2015.
50 years of the National Mosque
Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia‘s first Prime Minister, conceived the idea of building the National Mosque when the Tunku became the first Prime Minister of Malaysia in I957. As one of his first tasks to serve the nation, Tunku was desirous to promote the cause of Islam, the official religion of the country, as inscribed in the country‘s new constitution, by building a mosque.
On Friday, August 27th, I965, 50 years ago, His Majesty the DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong Almarhum Tuanku Syed Putra lbni Almarhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail performed the official opening of the National Mosque with the people of Malaysia and invited VIPs, and thereafter performed the first Friday prayer at the National Mosque. Ever since, the National Mosque has been an iconic symbol. The architecture is distinctly contemporary with the incorporation of Islamic geometric patterns, shape and forms. In August 2015, after approximately 2,600 Friday prayers, the National Mosque celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Following the attainment of Independence from the British in I957, Islam was made the official religion of Malaya. The government took steps to build and realise the building of the National Mosque as a symbol of the nation’s struggle to become an independent nation. This move by the Government received the fullest support, help and co-operation from all quarters ranging from the State Governments to the people throughout the country. As a result, the National Mosque was at that time acknowledged as the largest and most modern in Southeast Asia.
Today the National Mosque continues to be an impressive structure, incorporating many features of traditional Islamic style architecture with modern architectural elements. It is also centrally situated in the nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. It is not only a symbol of the greatness of Islam, but continues to be a meeting place for all Muslims to discuss and seek ways to better the teaching of the religion in this region. Most importantly, it was built to project the idea of unity amongst all Malaysians. To Tunku Abdul Rahman, the building of the National Mosque was to reflect his stand to unite the people from the different races in Malaya, and later Malaysia. It was built not only from ‘donations’ from Muslims alone, but also from non-Muslims imbued with the spirit of loyalty to their country.
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