This unusually modernist-styled mosque may intrigue many who pass through the sprawling campus as visitors or students. Masjid Jamek Qaryah, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) was built close to the main entrance of the university’s main campus in Serdang, Selangor, to serve both the public and the student population.
Its unusual shaped main dome is like the disc or saucer-shaped body that sits on a narrow high drum. The grandiose structure has been serving the university students and faculty members, as well as nearby residents since 1989. However, the history of the mosque dates back to 1973.
The university, formerly known as Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (the Agricultural University of Malaysia), was once part of the Serdang Agriculture Complex, founded by the British Colonial government in 1922. Due to the increasing demand by local workers and residents, a rudimentary mosque or musolla was built in 1948. Another mosque known as the Serdang Agriculture Complex Jamek Mosque was built and opened in 1964 to cater for the growing number of Muslims in the area.
However, as the number of worshippers grew and with the expansion of the university, there was an urgent need for another upgrade and expansion of the existing mosque. The project did not materialize due to lack of funds. In 1973, UPM was formally established and fully funded by the government.
A budget was secured for the mosque, and construction began in 1987. It was officiated by the former Selangor Sultan, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, in 1989. The mosque now borders a student
centre, a nursery site and a nearby residential area. The vast mosque compound also hosts a detached Islamic centre block and various facilities including office rooms, guest rooms, meeting rooms, convention hall, library, a travellers’ inn, a mortuary, ablution and toilet facilities, along with the main prayer hall and a female prayer gallery.
The oversized dome structure is an expression of modernist architecture, with an imbued vision of the future in its expansion. On the east side, a slender round minaret is erected, surmounted by the smaller scale, futuristic disc-shaped dome replicating the large main dome. The octagonal elongated layout provides a non-obstructed main prayer hall, thus giving the impression of a wide and spacious space. This is further enhanced by the absence of any enclosed walls. It is merely surrounded by the use of steel grille screens, which generously allow natural daylight and cross ventilation across the building. Located along the fringes of the main prayer hall is a deep veranda area for the overspill prayer area. While the interior remains simple, the front qibla wall is indicated by a three-sided mihrab space, where an elevated minbar pulpit is placed together .