What do you get when a building in Singapore is
Well, the Sultan Mosque, of course...
The architect: Denis Santry
These trivia aside, the Sultan Mosque in Kampong Glam is a great place to understand Islam in the correct light. I'm not a Muslim, so I'll leave it to the Muslim authorities to enlighten you on Islam.
But, here are a few findings I've made that might interest you (as a visitor)...
- The mosque's main building is orientated at an angle to the grid of roads in the area. Why? So that when a worshipper enters the main prayer hall and faces the mihrab (a main altar of sorts), he also faces the direction of Mecca.
- The gold-coloured dome sits on a ringed structure made up entirely of glass bottles (see picture above).
The story behind this ring of bottles is very heart-warming. While the rich donated from their gold stashes to the building of the mosque, the poorer folks raised funds by collecting and selling used glass bottles. Look up at this ring of bottles today, and you are reminded of the humble folks who gave generously out of their poverty.
Today, the mosque continues to welcome people from all economic backgrounds - as was the case in 1924-1928 when it was being built.
- The mosque is designed in the Islamic Saracenic style, combining ideas from Indian and Islamic traditions. Hence, the domes, minarets and balustrades. The architect also ensured that the building was modern and user-friendly.
- A nice time to visit Sultan Mosque? In the evenings during the fasting month of Ramadan (the month leading up to 10 Sep 2010). The area becomes lively, with many stalls selling delicacies to Muslims who come here to break fast. Family and friends get together to pray and share a meal. The mosque also takes care of the needy, distributing food to help them break fast.
- During Hari Raya Haji (Festival of Sacrifice, morning of 17 Nov 2010), lambs are also slaughtered here and distributed to the Muslim community, with special attention given to the poor and needy.
These two festivals are truly occasions to understand the spirit of sharing in the Muslim community here.
- Visiting Hours for Non-Muslims:
- Saturday to Thursday: 9.00am - 12.45pm, 2.00pm - 4.00pm
- Friday: 2.30pm - 4.00pm
- You may want to call the Sultan Mosque office at (+65) 6293 4405 to find out when you can go on a guided tour or attend a talk meant for non-Muslims.
The Sultan Mosque as seen from (left to right) North Bridge Road, Kandahar Street, and Muscat Street.
|The Sultan Mosque's Prayer Hall is a peaceful place to pray to God. (Picture: taken from just outside the entrance)|
A worshipper engrossed in prayer. Another leaves after prayers.
More about Sultan Mosque's History and Architecture
Photo Tour of Kampong Glam Shops
Sights and activities at Istana Kampong Glam (Malay Heritage Centre)