As the first state in Malaysia to embrace Islam, Kelantan is one of the most devoutly Muslim state and is home to many mosques. Today, about 97 percent of Kelantan’s population are Muslims. Kelantan is distinctively referred to as the Veranda of Mecca or Serambi Mekah. As early as the 17th century, the state used and implemented laws that were based on Islamic belief. By the early 19th century, Islamic law was adopted.
Mosques of Kelantan
Early Kelantan is believed to be linked to the Funan Kingdom, the Khmer Empire, the Srivijaya Empire, the Majapahit Empire and the Siam Kingdom as evidenced in archaeological findings of human settlements in prehistoric times.
Islam was introduced to Kelantan and the country as a whole by traders from Arabia, the Indian sub-continent as well as China. Islam became firmly established in the 15th century.
As the first state in Malaysia to embrace Islam, Kelantan is one of the most devoutly Muslim state and is home to many mosques. Today, about 97 percent of Kelantan’s population are Muslims. The rest comprises Buddhists and Christians.
Kelantan is distinctively referred to as the Veranda of Mecca or Serambi Mekah. As early as the 17th century, the state used and implemented laws that were based on Islamic belief. By the early 19th century, Islamic law was adopted. In fact, Muslim culture influences daily life in every level until today.
The Muhammadi Mosque or Masjid Muhammadi is the state mosque of Kelantan. It is located in Kota Bharu. The mosque was originally known as Masjid Besar Kota Bharu and renamed Masjid Muhammadi in 1931.
The original mosque was built of timber in 1867. In 1922, the wooden structure was replaced with a concrete structure. After that, the mosque went through several renovation and expansion works - in 1959, 1968, 1976 and 1987. Today, the mosque has a total built-up area of 10,600 square feet and is able to accommodate 2,400 worshippers at any one time.
Since its inception till the 1960s, Masjid Muhammadi was a well-known centre for Islamic studies.
Masjid Al-Ismaili is located in Pekan and was built in the early 2010s. It is a gift from Sultan Muhammad V to his father Sultan Ismail Petra. Hence, the mosque is named after Sultan Ismail Petra.
The design of the mosque is based on the five principles of Islam as there are five minarets with five stairways, surrounded by six domes that represent the six pillars of faith in Islam. The mosque’s main prayer hall of 20,750 square feet is able to accommodate up to 1,500 worshippers at any one time.
The mosque was inaugurated in 2014.
Masjid Kampung Laut
Masjid Kampung Laut is located in Nilam Puri, Kelantan. It is believed to be one of the oldest surviving mosques in Malaysia. The mosque was first established in the 18th century but locals believe that the original mosque was built back in the 15th century.
According to local beliefs, the mosque was established by a group from the Champa Kingdom (what is believed to be today’s central and southern Vietnam). It was called Masjid Agung Demak. However, the structure was later relocated to Kampung Laut and renamed Masjid Kampung Laut.
The mosque was an important meeting point of the sultans and religious leaders during the second-half of the 19th century. In addition to it, being a religious institution, it was also used as a trading post.
The mosque, unlike most mosques with domes, it has a three-tiered roof, an attic timber flooring and a minaret. The structure is supported by twenty pillars.
Although the mosque is built of wood, it does not have a single nail on it. A technique called ‘tebuk pasak’ (a method of joinery without using nails, screws, fasteners, etc.) was used to build the mosque.
Kampung Laut is flood prone and in 1968, the mosque was relocated to Nilam Puri. The mosque went through massive renovation works in 1988 and today, this 5,254 -square foot mosque is thirteen times larger than when it was first built.
In September 2020, the mosque was shifted from Nilam Puri back to Kampung Laut in Tumpat, about 22 kilometres away from Nilam Puri.
Masjid Tok Uban
Masjid Tok Uban is located on the shore of Tok Uban Lake or Danau Tok Uban in Kampung Rong Chenok, Pasir Mas.
According to the locals, the place used to be ruled by an ancient kingdom. The place used to be a paddy field with a small stream beside it. Heavy rainfall resulted in soil erosion and a lake was formed.
Masjid Tok Uban was built more than three decades ago. It is also known as Masjid Brunei Darulsalam because it was a gift from the Sultan of Brunei. There is also an Islamic religious school close to the mosque. .
Masjid Tok Uban was officially opened by the Sultan of Kelantan in January 1992.
Masjid Sultan Ismail Petra
Masjid Sultan Ismail Petra is located at Kampung Banggol, Kubang Kerian, Kota Bharu. Kubang Kerian is also the royal town of Kelantan. The mosque is popularly known to the locals as Masjid Banggol, after the name of the place.
Construction of this mosque began in 1986 but halted due to some unforeseen circumstance. The construction of the mosque resumed in 1988 and completed in 1992. The mosque was officially opened by Sultan Ismail Petra in August 1992.
The mosque is able to accommodate up to 3,000 worshippers at any one time.
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