Friday, September 26, 2008
50th Anniversary SOAS Mosque
50 years ago to the day, His Highness Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien officially opened Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. During that official opening on Friday, 13th Rabiulawal 1378 Hijra, the 26th September 1958, many visitors came including the Sultans of Pahang and Selangor, the Acting Sultan of Johor, the Prime Minister of the Federated States of Malaya, the British High Commissioner and also representatives from Singapore and the Saudi Arabian Governments. More than 5,000 people turned up for the occasion.
Today we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of SOAS Mosque. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah is expected to pray at the mosque for Friday prayer. Please come.
There are many things about the mosque we do not know. Did you know the marble for the mosque came from Carrara? The floor and the walls of the prayer hall are laid with marble imported especially from Carrara, a city in Tuscany, Italy and famous for its white or blue gray marble. Carrara marble has been used since Ancient Roman time. Some of the major Roman architectures such as the Pantheon were made from its marble. Michelangelo’s David was also carved from the same marble as well as the Marble Arch in London.
In the lagoon, lay a stone barge, a replica of a 16th Century Sultan Bolkiah’s ‘mahligai’ used to stage Al-Quran reading competitions. It was built to commemorate the new millennium of the Muslim Calendar Year of 1400 and cost $¼ million. This was completed in 1967.
Today 50 years ago, the Brunei postal authorities issued special stamps. Today there will be special stamps both 50 cents stamps and $50 dollar stamps. These stamps will be a worth a lot some day. I will see you today at the Post Office and at the Mosque.