Home Do You Know? Why this Indonesian mosque considered unique?

Why this Indonesian mosque considered unique?

There are more than 8,00,000 mosques in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. Now the government there is set to go green with a new initiative that aims to establish 1,000 eco-mosques by 2020. Despite having so many mosques, this mosque is considered to be different from the rest. Do you know why?

The mosque in question is the Saïd Naum Mosque in Jakarta. Unlike other mosques, this mosque is named after the donor of the land it occupies, Sa’id bin Salim Na’um Basalamah. Apart from its name, the mosques is also unique from its architectural style.  

Perhaps this is the only mosque in the world designed in the Indonesian Hindu-Javanese architectural tradition. Despite its peculiar architectural styleit is well adapted to the Muslim form of worship. The mosque is square in plan, and symmetrical on both axes with deep verandas on all four sides. In this mosque, traditional Javanese idioms have been skilfully re-interpreted to produce a modern regional architecture compatible with the best indigenous work.

Its architectural type is based on a central frame of 4 pillars topped by one or several roofs. To achieve an uninterrupted column-free space for worship, and clear view of the mihrab, these columns were eliminated. The roof is well designed for heavy rain and the deep verandas protect the interior from rain and excessive glare. 

This mosque does not have the inherited element such as minaret and dome.  From the exterior there are some resemblance which this mosques has with some of the Hindu temples in Kerala. 

Further, this mosque was designed by famous Indonesian architect Adhi Moersid who passed away a few days ago. Apart from designing the Indonesian parliamentary compound, Moersid has also designed several high-profile mosques across the country. He has also designed Hasyim Asy’ari Grand Mosque on Jl. Daan Mogot, West Jakarta – dubbed Jakarta’s first city-owned grand mosque. Adhie combined three concepts in designing the grand mosque: the tropics, Betawi culture and permaculture, an architectural concept that supports the food security of the region surrounding the building. For his design of Saïd Naum Mosque,  Moersid has received a number of awards, including an honorable mention in the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1986.

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