Mosques are the traditional places of worship for followers of the Islamic faith. Mosques can trace their history back to the Arabian Peninsula, but today they can be found all around the world. Around 15% of Singapore’s population is Muslim and there are several beautiful mosques around the country where adherents can pray and take part of local religious life.
Known as masjids, all mosques in Singapore are administered by Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura, shortened to MUIS. The body is also known as the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.
If you are interested in religious architecture or looking for somewhere to pray, here are some of Singapore’s finest mosques:
Sultan Mosque / Masjid Sultan
The oldest mosque in Singapore, the Masjid Sultan is located in the Malay-Muslim quarter of town on Arab Street. The mosque holds great significance for the Muslim community, and is considered to be the national mosque of Singapore. It received national monument status in 1975. A beautiful mosque, it offers a spectacular sight both by day and by night. Topped with a large golden dome, featuring several smaller domes, and set in lovely grounds, it is one of Singapore’s most impressive testaments to faith. When it was built, local people wanted to contribute to the construction. To allow all Muslims to donate, regardless of their finances, glass bottle ends are amongst the decorations. This allowed everyone to feel like they had played a part in the creation of this fabulous religious site.
Abdul Gaffoor Mosque
The Abdul Gaffoor Mosque is a small but lovely mosque in Little India. Showcasing an interesting blend of South Indian, European and Moghul architecture, the fusion of styles make it well-worth stopping by. You’ll notice traditional Arabic calligraphy within the designs, as well as gorgeous stained glass and grand pillars reminiscent of Saracenic and Roman designs. Look above the main entrance and you will see a sundial, flanked by miniature Corinthian columns. Opposite the mosque is a row of shophouses. Today, these are used for religious lessons, studying the holy book of the Qur’an, and a range of other religious and community activities. It is a national monument.
Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka
Originally built in 1820, Omar Kampong Melaka Mosque was the first mosque in Singapore. Initially serving the local Muslim community, it grew to accommodate Muslim immigrants from nearby Indonesia as well as the Middle East. A fairly simple mosque in terms of its architecture, it is perhaps most interesting because of its long history.
One of Singapore’s newest mosques, it is noticeable for its striking and attractive blue dome and modern Islamic architecture. The three-level mosque was modeled on the famous Blue Mosque in Turkey’s Istanbul.
The outer parts of the mosque are covered with distinct blue and white lapis lazuli tiles, creating a very visually appealing effect. These tiles were not, however, part of the original design. The external walls were just painted during its early days. The whole of the Jalan Sultan area underwent mass redevelopment work in the early 1990s and so the mosque was tiled to match its modern surroundings. Towards the rear you can see a small cemetery that dates back to the early 1800s.
Enjoy exploring the diverse religious buildings all around Singapore.