Built in 1912 on the initiative of Tunku Mahmud Ibni Almarhum Sultan Tajuddin Mukarram Shah, Masjid Zahir was constructed on the gravesite of the state’s warriors who had fallen during a battle with Siamese intruders in 1821. Kedah’s State Mosque was officiated in October 1915 by Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah.
Besides being a major landmark in Kedah and one of the country’s grandest and oldest mosques, the mosque also made the top ten list of the world’s most beautiful mosques. Its Moorish architectural style was greatly influenced by a mosque in Langkat, North Sumatera that goes by the name of Masjid Azizi. Its five striking black domes – one large and five small ones – represent the five pillars of Islam.
Masjid Zahir also goes by the names ‘Masjid Zahrah’ and ‘Masjid Raja’ (Royal Mosque) as it stands within the grounds of Istana Pelamin.