Thursday, February 17, 2011
JUBLI PERAK SULTAN ISMAIL PETRA MOSQUE OF RANTAU PANJANG
However, not many know it seems from web searches that the concept of this mosque is 'Masjid Tiga Bangsa'. It was intended to be a mosque having the architectural elements of the three major races in Malaysia. The Kelantan MB, himself a religous figurehead of PAS was very passionate to promote the idea that Islam is for all and not just for Malays. He especially want to woo the chinese to Islam and in many speeches he quoted admiration for them, their culture, their culinaries and health consciousness. He even has a chinese Muslim made EXCO and given important responsibility of bringing in investors and an outlet to air chinese views in Kelantan. The chinese muslim admiral Cheng Ho was lauded and an exhibition of him was made in Kota Bharu Nov 2010 to show that Islam had been to China earlier than to The Malay Archipelago.
The design was entrusted to JKR Kelantan and the architect visited numerous mosques to conceptualise the idea of the mosque of the three races. We can be forgiven for not realising the other races elements in the design because of the overpowering presence of the chinese influence. However, knowing of this concept, we can recognise the malay element inside the mosque complex before entering the Dewan Solat (Prayer Hall). The entrance side panel is Malay. The wall panels of the prayer hall is also from traditional malay houses.
The Indian influence is harder to find though. Only after close scrutiny could I find the element in the 'mimbar' of the mosque. The moon crescent and five pointed stars is definitely Indian Muslim element.
I find this rather odd. The Indian Muslims have a very wide influence over the landscape of Islamic practices in Malaysia. The chinese influence is nowhere compared to the Indian Muslim presence with Masjid Jamek found in every major community here. The Indian Muslim restaurants also flourish in every nook and corner of Malaysia. So how come their presence is not given due recognition here? Is the need to attract chinese 'voters' more important to give due recognition?
After walking around the mosque and inspecting the design I found something rather inappropriate in the design of the roof overhang. One could not mistake the dragon element here. Though it is chinese, it should not be used in a mosque design. Animalistic elements is alien to Islamic design and reeks of idol worshiping which is the enemy of Islam.