Masjid Abidin (Masjid Sultan Zainal Abidin) is one of the oldest mosques in Terengganu and is strategically located in the centre of Kuala Terengganu town, within the proximity of many businesses, commercial and trading entities. Masjid Sultan Zainal Abidin was formerly known as Masjid Besar (grand Mosque) and Masjid Putih (white Mosque). Masjid Abidin was originally constructed in 1793, and was established by Sultan Zainal Abidin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Mansur Riayat Shah (Sultan Zainal Abidin II). The mosque is more than 200-years-old and has been renovated to accommodate approximately 2,500 people during a single prayer session. The mosque is named after the founder Sultan Zainal Abidin II and his son, Sultan Zainal Abidin III. During the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin II from 1794 to 1808, it was also known as Masjid Kayu (the Wooden Mosque) and thereafter during Sultan Zainal Abidin Ill’s reign, it was known as Masjid Besar (the Great Mosque). In the early 1900s, the mosque was acknowledges one of the largest buildings in Kuala Terengganu. It was also known as Masjid Putih (the White Mosque) due to the building materials used, which was a mixture of egg white with honey and beach sand. During the 1930s, the mosque was referred to as the Sultan Mosque. Thereafter, the name was changed to Masjid Abidin, as recorded in the data of the Public Works Department (PWD) of Terengganu. The development of Masjid Abidin was as a result the importance assigned to religious affairs by the different sultans. The mosque served as a gathering place for
various community services, government affairs and events, as well as a learning centre of Islam.
Construction of the mosque began in 1793 and was completed in 1808 during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Mansur Riayat Shah (Sultan Zainal Abidin II). Throughout the years, the Masjid Abidin has gone through many renovations, both major and minor, since 1808. The building material used was chengal timber. Its original form resembled the traditional Terengganu house. Some five decades later, the first major renovation took place in 1852 during the reign of Sultan Omar. The main building material (chengal timber) was replaced with red bricks. In turn, a few domes were added. Then, in 1901, it went through another major expansion during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III. The renovation included the addition of the corridor on the right side of the main prayer hall, the addition of a three-storeyed tower, which made the mosque become the largest structure in the town, then. From the 1920s to the 1940s, the renovations included the addition of chengal ceiling boards in the main prayer hall. In 1938, the original roof tiles (senggora tiles) used since 1901 were replaced with China clay tiles. The original building of Masjid Abidin had been preserved for 70 years before it had a major renovation in 1972 during the reign of Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah. This renovation covered the addition of a new prayer hall on the right side of the main prayer hall which is one time bigger than the size of the existing prayer hall. A new minaret was also constructed along the same design of the National Mosque’s minaret.
In 2006, another renovation took place during the reign of Sultan Mizan, which involved changes to the design of the domes and minarets. There was also the addition of a new ablution area and an administration office on the east side of the main mosque. A modern renovation to the mosque was carried out during the early reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III, to reflect the Islamic architectural influence that was brought to the region by the colonial rulers. The architectural influences introduced and applied by the Sultans and foreign traders during the 18th and 19th centuries were of relatively high standards in both design and construction. Additionally, the Malay and Chinese carpenters and craftsmen also added
their expertise. Thus, the architecture of Masjid Abidin in Kuala Terengganu, as what is seen today, is a fine blend of Terengganu traditional architecture, coupled with both Islamic and Colonial architecture. With its significant historical journey, the Masjid Abidin is classified as a unique mosque and has become one of the main touris