Sunday, July 22, 2012

Masjid Ash-Shaliheen, Brunei's Newest Mosque



Brunei's newest mosque, Masjid Ash-Shaliheen is now open for use by the public. His Majesty consented to attend the first Friday prayer at the mosque on 13th July 2012 and signed a plaque. The mosque is located at Jalan Kumbang Pasang and is very near to the government's ministries and departments in the Jalan Menteri Besar area. The new Prime Minister's Office Building is very near the mosque.

From what can be seen during the televised telecast of the Friday prayer at the mosque, the design of the mosque is different compared to other mosque in Brunei Darussalam. It is based on the Moorish Andalusia architecture. It is the first mosque to have a retractable roof. Siti Hajar of Borneo Bulletin wrote a very eloquent piece of the mosque, and I am attaching it here. All the photos are sourced from Borneo Bulletin and Information Department.

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Ash-Shaliheen Mosque - A Sight to Behold
by Siti Hajar, Borneo Bulletin

Bandar Seri Begawan, 14th July 2012 - Amid the many awe-inspiring Islamic infrastructures the Abode of Peace boasts, the newly constructed Ash-Shaliheen Mosque will have its own unique place in the heart of Bruneians.

With its low-ceiling and relaxed ambiance, visitors to the modestly designed building will be heavily drawn to the mosque's intricate interior detailing where, at a glance, one can ascertain the significant amount of time that has been invested to give a feeling of ease that resonates throughout the mosque.

The Ash-Shaliheen Mosque is unique when compared to the other equally magnificent mosques in the Sultanate.

Worshippers are greeted by an open courtyard decorated with a marble fountain in the heart of the mosque that lets in copious amount of sunlight. The one-of-a-kind transparent retractable roof brings nature right into the mosque, day or night.


Built around the Moroccan Moorish and Andalusian architectural concept, the main prayer hall features a wall made of hand-cut mosaic flown in from Morocco. The hand-chiselled mosaic from afar looks precise but up-close details the imperfections that actually highlight the exclusivity of an ancient form of architectural design known as Zelliege, further adding to the tasteful artistry behind each tile.

To further add to the Islamic ideals, Arabic calligraphy, also hand-chiselled and drawn with black ink, borders the beautifully stretched mosaic piece further emphasising the profoundness of Brunei Darussalam's main religion.

Stepping into the two prayer halls for both men and women, one will notice that even the colour scheme is different from the conventional Bruneian taste.

Influenced by the idea to balance the stunning mosaic whose paint comes in three primary colours as well as white and red, designers have opted to carpet the smooth Italian marble floor with the colour of burgundy, which also perfectly gels with the white-red arches, enhancing the sense of actually experiencing a significant part of Moroccan history.

The handicap-friendly mosque built with a ramp covers an area of 2,100 square metres with a parking space for approximately 130 vehicles.

The mosque is divided into different sections for the public including a multipurpose hall that can be subdivided into three separate rooms equipped with a projector for educational purposes and separate ablution rooms that segregate the two genders as well as shower rooms should the need arise.

With labels printed in Jawi and English above and on every door, there are plans, it is made to understand, to promote the edifice as a tourist destination and this particular endeavour will bode well with another building that is currently being constructed next to the Ash-Shaliheen Mosque, which will one day become a museum where a cascading water feature will connect to the mosque's forecourt fountain just beyond one of the Ash-Shaliheen's entrances.

Two young imams have been specially picked to lead the Muslim congregation during prayers and apart from shouldering the religious responsibility, they have also been tasked to inspire the younger generation whom is known to easily relate to those who are closer to their generation.

As His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam joined his subjects in the inaugural Friday prayers at the Ash-Shaliheen Mosque, yesterday's sermon that was delivered at the mosque itself highlighted that Brunei Darussalam now has another place for people to pray to be heard by Allah the Almighty.

"Brunei Darussalam is blessed under the rule of a pious king whereby the country now has another platform where from here, Insyallah, (the people's prayers) will rise to the sky every day," said the State Mufti.

The mosque has started receiving worshippers since Thursday, July 12, for Maghrib prayers and members of the public are encouraged to visit the mosque, which is located in Kg Melabau along Jalan Kumbang Pasang heading towards Berakas.

From the brass lightings that were flown in from the Arab-Berber country located in North Africa, a country known in Arabic as al-Maghrib, to the custom-made pottery made in Brunei inspired by the Arabs and the custom-made grandfather clock that commits to keeping time, the latest addition to beautify the country is certainly a sight to behold.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin --

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