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Home What to See Attractions in Penang Kapitan Keling Mosque
Kapitan Keling Mosque PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator III   
Monday, 23 February 2009 14:20

 

   The Kapitan Keling Mosque which is situated on a busy street named after it, is the largest historic mosque in George Town. Bathed in cream and topped with large Mughal-style domes, crescents and stars, the Kapitan Keling Mosque features a madrasah for religious classes and a towering minaret from which the sound of the azan or call to prayer can be heard. Graceful arches sweep along its outer passageway allowing a cool breeze to waft through, while within the sanctuary, soaring Gothic arches open onto Moorish and Roman arces of celestial white, giving even more depth to the already spacious prayer hall.

   A magnificent chandelier drips from the highest ceiling, which rises to the largest onion-shaped dome, encircled by calligraphy panels and stained glass windows featuring the Star of David. Arabesques of geometric designs and floral motifs are found throughout the mosque, whose marble floors are lined with long rows of prayer rugs. From dawn to dusk you can see the faithful prostrating themselves after cleansing at the ablution pool or enjoying quiet thoughts within the serene complex.



   What began as a simple single-storey brick structure envisioned by Cauder Mydin Merican, the then headman, or Kapitan, of the Indian Muslim community in 1801, has been added to and embelished over the centuries. It is believed that the 18-acre lot, now reduced to only eight acres (as rest was used for building roads and houses), was granted to the Muslims for religious use by Sir George Leith, then Lieutenant Governor of Penang in November 1801.



   The name of mosque was taken from the Kapitan Kelings, people who were appointed leaders of the South Indian community by the British. The term 'keling' derived from the ancient Hindu kingdom on the Coromandel coast of South India. It was generally used to denote all those who came from there. As the Indians found it difficult to pronounce certain English words, the title "Captain" was somehow transformed into "Kapitan". From there, the Kapitan Kelings or Captains of the Kelings came about.

   The mosque also complies with the ancient rule of the Kiblat, which means to face in the direction of the Ka'aba. This is also the direction Muslims must face when praying.

   The Kapitan Keling Mosque is used by Muslims five times a day, seven days a week. It is full on Fridays and overflows during the the Muslim celebrations of Hari Raya Aidil Fitri and Hari Raya Haji. Just as the mosque has grown over the past two hundred, so has the number of worshippers and the strength of faith.

Visitor info:

Visiting hours : 1pm to 5pm (Sat to Thurs) & 3pm to 5pm (Friday)

Admission: Free. Guided Tours run by the Islamic Propagation Society International are available at the Islamic Information Centre located at the ground floor of the minaret.

Dress code: Visitors are required to wear robes, which are available.
Last Updated on Monday, 23 February 2009 14:29
 

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