A Muslim-majority country, Malaysia has a mosque in almost every street corner to cater for its large population of Islamic followers. This has led to the construction of some amazing masterpieces, mosques that are as much religious centres as they are visages of beauty.
They are known locally as masjid – an Arabic word denoting site of prayer, which has been incorporated into the Malaysian national language Bahasa Melayu – and these ones are in and around KL, having established themselves as prominent landmarks.
It must be noted that most mosques allow visitors only during certain times of the day, and have protocols and etiquettes that must be strictly adhered to. Generally speaking, if you plan to enter these holy spots, dress appropriately (robes are sometimes provided to tourists), mind where to remove your footwear, and be highly respectful – as you would in any place of worship. The deference exercised here should extend to social media uploads or other postings made about the visit.
Should you find yourself uncertain about anything, consult with representatives of that particular mosque, or check if the mosque has any affiliated guided tours.
As they’re relatively straightforward, these aforementioned points are easy enough to stick to, and your reward for doing so are some remarkable sights and insights!
Sitting within 13 acres of garden land, the country’s main mosque (a.k.a. Masjid Negara) was built in 1965, and is considered as a tourist-friendly mosque.
Inspired by tropical Malaysia, the 16-pointed star concrete main roof look like an unfurled umbrella, while the lone minaret’s cap looks like a closed one. Adding to the beauty are numerous pools and fountains decorating the large compound.
WHERE Jalan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur
TEL 03 2693 7905
Federal Territory Mosque
Masjid Wilayah, as it is otherwise referred to, has two minarets and features architecture that takes cues from Istanbul’s Sultan Ahmed Mosque, lending it a characteristic look.
Heavy on community and education programmes, the mosque has also taken to positioning itself as a religious tourism site and even has volunteers on hand that offer handy guided tours to visitors.
Federal Territory Mosque
WHERE Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim, Kuala Lumpur
TEL 03 6201 8791 / 8767 / 8780
Built in 1909, this iconic mosque is one of the oldest in Kuala Lumpur, and is also called the ‘Friday Mosque’ by locals as it attracts many worshippers for Friday prayers.
Officially Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Samad, its location at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak River makes it a visual waypost in the city, aided by its distinctive turn-of-the-century design by Arthur Benison Hubback.
WHERE Jalan Tun Perak, Kuala Lumpur
TEL 03 2691 2829
Its full name is Masjid Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, and it’s the Selangor state mosque. Not only is it Malaysia’s largest mosque, it’s also the second largest in Southeast Asia. The striking blue and silver dome, which grants it its name, is the biggest religious dome in the world.
The mosque also has the world’s tallest group of minarets, each one measuring a lofty 142.3m tall.
WHERE Persiaran Masjid, Sekysen 14, Shah Alam, Selangor
TEL 03 5523 8006
Pink-tinted granite covers the dome of this mosque, which has a basement wall that resembles that of the King Hassan Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It also sports a towering minaret with five tiers, in reference to the five pillars in Islam.
Between the Putrajaya Lake and Putra Square in the nation’s administrative capital, the mosque practically neighbours another edifice of note, the Prime Minister’s Office.
WHERE Persiaran Persekutuan, Presint 1, Putrajaya
TEL 03 8888 5679
Not too far away south along the shore of the Putrajaya Lake is the other standout mosque in the area, Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, labelled Iron Mosque because of its largely metal construction.
Intricate latticework wraps around an exterior topped by a stainless steel dome, while a lack of minarets gives this German-Chinese artistry-inspired mosque a unique identity.
WHERE Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Presint 3, Putrajaya
TEL 03 8880 4300