Throughout the centuries and in most Islamic countries, mosques have become a catalyst to many townships, cities and its neighbourhood development. In several university campuses in most Islamic countries especially in Malaysia, a mosque is an integral part of the whole campus’ development. It caters to the needs of the university’s Muslim population which comprises students, lecturers and administrative staff. Placing the mosque at the centre of the university campus gives the mosque its due prominence, projecting the mosque as an Islamic centre for its university’s population.
The Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Mosque is an example of how a university mosque has been planned and placed in an Islamic campus design. It is in the heart of the main campus of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in Gombak, Selangor. As one of the first Islamic Universities in the country, the mosque is a part of the university ethos as a comprehensive learning centre for Islamic and worldly studies and is considered inseparable from each other.
Completed in 1997, it was officiated by Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, the Sultan of Pahang in 2000. The mosque was named in honour of His Majesty as the Constitutional Head of the University. Built over four levels, the mosque can accommodate up to 9,000 worshippers at any time. The university has also become one of the most renowned Islamic universities in the world.
Nestled around academic and administrative blocks, the mosque is strategically linked with various central facilities, library and classrooms through corridor walkways and inner courtyards. Thus, the mosque’s building and its compounds have multi-entrances including the qibla wall side that links to the mosque’s porch and an open plaza.
Clad in blue glazed tiles and brownish concrete spray finish, its elevations are overshadowed by the surrounding buildings. However, the Nabawi-inspired hemispherical blue dome and Ottoman-inspired twin-pointed slender minarets has become the distinctive landmark of this mosque. From a distance, the mosque’s position is easily recognisable by these features.