Masjid Negara is a national legacy. Built between 1963 and 1965, the idea to build a national mosque to commemorate Malaysia’s independence was brought up by the Federal Executive Council a month before the country celebrated its independence. A proposal to name the mosque after the country’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, was made in March 1958 by the Chief Ministers of all eleven states in the then Federation of Malaya, in recognition of his contribution to the country’s independence. However, Tunku had declined this honour and suggested that the mosque be named Masjid Negara instead, to symbolise the country’s unity and multi-cultural harmony, as well as a way to give thanks to Allah for the country’s peaceful independence achieved without a single drop of bloodshed .
It has a capacity of 15,000 people and is situated among 13 acres (53,000 m2) of gardens. The original structure was designed by a three-person team from the Public Works Department: UK architect Howard Ashley and Malaysians Hisham Albakri and Baharuddin Kassim. The engineer in charge of the construction of the mosque, which commenced in 1963, was Antony Morris. It was built on the site of a church, the Venning Road Brethren Gospel Hall, which had stood there since 1922 but was approved by the Malaysian government. The mosque is a bold and modern approach in reinforced concrete, symbolic of the aspirations of a then newly independent Malaysia.
Its key features are a 73 metre-high (240 feet) minaret and a 16 pointed star concrete main roof. The umbrella, synonymous with the tropics, is featured conspicuously the main roof is reminiscent of an open umbrella; the minaret caps a folded one. The folded plates of the concrete main roof are a creative solution to achieving the larger spans required in the main gathering hall. Reflecting pools and fountains spread throughout the compound.
The mosque underwent major renovations in 1987, and the once-pink concrete roof is now clad in green and blue tiles. Today, Masjid Negara continues to stand sleek and stylish against the Kuala Lumpur skyline. An underground passage leads to the National Mosque located near the railway station, along Sultan Hishamuddin Road. It is a unique modern design emboies a contemporary expression of traditional Islamic art calligraphy and ornamentation. Near the mosque is the Makam Pahlawan (Heroes’ Mausoleum), a burial ground of several Malaysian Muslim leaders. Makam Pahlawan is a 7-pointed star concrete roofed structure (Wikipedia).
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