Standing proud against Kuala Lumpur’s skyline is Masjid Negara, a majestic house of worship that is one of the most esteemed religious places to visit in Malaysia.
Built in 1965 as a symbol of the country’s newly gained independence from British colonial rule, the national mosque is a cultural highlight that should be considered when you are looking for things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
Deemed as an important symbol of the Islam faith practiced by the majority of the Malaysian population, the bold and modern mosque was completed at a cost of more than RM 10 million.
With a capacity of 15,000 people, this impressive structure is one of the largest mosques in south east Asia and is definitely worthy of a visit when you holiday in Malaysia.
Designed by a team of three architects. Howard Ashley from the UK and Hisham Albakri and Baharuddin Kassim from Malaysia, its overall design was influenced by the Grand Mosque in Mecca with its 48 small domes which are scattered around the courtyard.
The striking 73-metre high minaret which is in the shape of a closed blue umbrella sounds the call to prayer which can be heard across Chinatown. The design elements also include a 16-pointed star concrete roof and the main dome which is a multi-fold ‘semi-opened blue umbrella’ which is intended to symbolise the five pillars of Islam and the 13 states of Malaysia. Its unique contemporary design coupled with traditional Islamic art ornamentation is a nod to Malaysia’s emergence as a modern nation at the time of construction.
Located in Kuala Lumpur’s Lake Gardens in the center of the city, the spot was chosen by the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Hais. Surrounded by spectacular manicured gardens near the city’s bird and orchid parks, reflecting ponds and fountains help to create a soothing ambiance – perfect for contemplation and reflection.
The roof was once made from pink concrete but after major renovations went underway in 1987, they were replaced with thousands of green and blue tiles.
The site was originally home to the Venning Road Brethren Gospel Hall church which had been there since 1922. But after Malaysia’s independence in 1957, funds were set aside by the Government to invest in architecture to celebrate their progressive culture and aspirations of a new democratic nation.
Originally there was a proposal to name the mosque Masjid Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj after Yang Teramat Mulia Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, who was instrumental in the campaign for Malaysia’s fight for independence. After his refusal, he elected that instead, it be named Masjid Negara to honour the fact that Malaysia successfully broke away from colonial rule with no bloodshed.
Close to the mosque is the Makam Pahlawan (Heroes’ Mausoleum) where several Malaysia politicians are buried. It is identified by its seven pointed star concrete roof.
It is important to adopt responsible travel principles and show respect for local cultural treasures and values when you are looking at what to do in Malaysia.
Non-Muslims are welcome to visit Masjid Negara outside prayer times however visitors are reminded to be respectful of those at the mosque. You must remove your shoes before entering the mosque and women must be dressed appropriately at all times with their shoulders, knees and head covered. Women who are not properly covered can be provided with a robe and headscarf.