‘The Straits Times’ says: Mosque’s outreach a shining example



THE one-year-old Al-Islah Mosque in Punggol, which has already built close ties with neighbouring institutions and residents, embodies ways in which places of worship can help create a more resilient society in these trying times. While the primary purpose of a religious institution is to serve followers, reaching out to the wider community shows the value it places on face-to-face relations. Al-Islah demonstrates this by partnering nearby schools to distribute food to poor families in the neighbourhood. It also opens its doors to others for free guided tours of its premises. Steps like these help to dispel misconceptions of what mainstream Islam stands for. This is especially important given the way some extremist organisations have taken the religion’s name in vain to cloak their dastardly attacks in a semblance of piety.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore notes that the mosque stands as “an important bulwark of Muslim identity and community integrity” in Singapore, where Muslims constitute a minority living in a society undergoing far-reaching changes. Community-friendly initiatives that benefit both Muslims and non-Muslims, such as blood donation drives and assistance to low-income families, help to integrate mosques into the wider life of the nation.


Masjid Al-Islah, Kampong Punjol, Singapore

Mosques are not just the focus of religious activities – although that is an essential function – but must act as centres of social development, too. It is in that spirit that they embrace their social calling in a secular state. Muslims, like followers of other religions in Singapore, are reassured that their religious obligations are respected. Simultaneously, they must acknowledge that no community of believers exists in a vacuum, but as part of a larger whole.

This is where Singapore’s model of religious harmony differs from practices in countries that dichotomise religion and public life to the extent that one becomes an affront to the other. Here, religion is accepted as a legitimate influence on social outcomes so long as no faith claims the right to influence these exclusively. Overlapping spheres of belief are anchored in a national centre. A national consensus has emerged on this policy, which treats all religious communities equally. It will be tested from time to time. Insistent foreign influences, travelling via the Internet, do and will make their way into Singapore. Having no stake in Singapore’s common religious and racial future, these groups have no qualms in dividing people. So that they do not lead impressionable minds astray, it is essential for Singapore to curb such influences with its local resources.

In their very co-existence, mosques and other places of worship show that Singaporeans are capable of not just living with religious diversity but also of thriving on it.

The Straits Times
Wednesday, 6 July 2016


Muslims performing prayer and reading al-Quran at Masjid Al-islah in Kampung Punjol, Singapore.



‘Mobile mosque’ makes praying easier in gridlocked Jakarta


Kiki Siregar

AS THE call to prayer rang out across the Indonesian capital, Sutikno faced a dilemma — the devout Muslim needed to set off through Jakarta’s notorious traffic to pick up his wife but did not want to miss out on worshipping.

However, for him and others juggling the demands of hectic, 21st century life and piety in the crowded capital of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, a solution has just pulled up.

The “mosque-mobile” started cruising through Jakarta in June as the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan drew to a close, aiming to ensure Muslims did not miss out on prayers by setting up in busy places, such as near festivals and sports events.

Sutikno, a middle-aged office worker who like many Indonesians goes by one name, came across the van parked between a sports stadium and shopping malls, and it proved a godsend.

“I was supposed to go to a mosque that is quite far away but then I saw this one,” he told AFP.

“I just parked my car and performed my prayers here. I can save time and go and pick up my wife faster.”

The green and white van has been specially adapted to become a mobile place of worship. At prayer time, the sides of the vehicle open up and a small stage is extended, from which the imam preaches.

Prayer rugs are rolled out in front of the van, with space for up to 100 people, and a handful can worship inside the vehicle. It also provides special robes for women and a tank of water for the faithful to ritually cleanse themselves before praying.

The mosque started operating in Jakarta with a team of four in the final week of Ramadhan, a month of fasting and piety, but plans to continue afterwards.

The van offers its services between 3pm and 7pm for two prayer sessions, at a time traffic is bad as millions flood out of downtown areas and head back to satellite cities. Muslims are supposed to pray five times a day.

During Ramadhan, the crew running the Jakarta “mosque-mobile” also serve snacks to people stuck in gridlock when it is time to break their fast.

The van is run by the Archipelago Mosque Foundation, an organisation that sets up and maintains mosques, with funding provided by Adira Sharia, a group that provides Islamic-compliant financing for motor vehicles.

“We were concerned that there was a lack of places of worship at crowded spots such as music concerts, festivals and football games. Sometimes people intend to pray, but because there are no facilities, they skip it,” said Hamzah Fatdri, director of the mosque foundation.

The Jakarta mosque-on-wheels has hit the streets after the foundation launched a mobile place of worship in the city of Bandung, southeast of the capital on the main island of Java.


The Bandung mosque proved a success, offering prayer sessions at 50 different locations in its first year of operation, and the foundation hopes the van in the capital — which is slightly larger than the Bandung model — can do even better.

Indonesia is already home to some 800,000 mosques, including a large number in Jakarta and other major cities.

But with many people stuck in gridlock at prayer time — particularly during Ramadhan — and ad hoc festivals and sports events typically failing to provide facilities for praying, the foundation believes the “mobile-mosque” will be a great help.

It is the latest innovation to offer relief to residents of Indonesia’s booming but overcrowded, traffic-choked cities, where hundreds of new vehicles are hitting the roads every day as the middle class rapidly expands due to strong economic growth.

Motorbike taxi-hailing apps that whisk passengers quickly through the gridlock have been a chief beneficiary, and have expanded their businesses into other areas such as food delivery and courier services.

Still, some worshippers were not immediately taken by the mosque-on-wheels.

“Maybe because this was a new experience, I felt a bit awkward and embarrassed to pray in an open, public space,” student Mahtashal Harbi said after worshipping for the first time at the Jakarta van.

Tuesday, July 6, 2016



The Bloody Tragedy of Masjid al-Haram – An Indonesian Eyewitness

Asmo Ismail

AFTER I read the article of the  tragedy with the title “Coming Mahdi, Mahdi Dead” in the magazine Muttaqin No. 12 Year XI in December 1979, where it was said that 4 of the 7 towers of Masjid al-Haram finally torn down, but unfortunately the article was  not explained when, what’s the  day, or the date when the towers were torn down.

To my knowledge until the 5th day of the tragedy of the Masjid al-Haram or until Saturday, 24 November, the towers were still standing upright. Only almost all parts of the towers there were patches of black scorch marks caused by explosions of Bazooka bullets, or chipped-chipped as a result of a bullet fired from a 12.7 tanks of the Askar.

Keep in mind, although the vandals were able to survive 15 days in the Masjid al-Haram, but practically since the 4th day, or Friday, November 23, 1979, they only survived in the underground part of the Grand Mosque, to surrender, December 4 1979. For since Thursday, November 22, 1979 at noon, the entire upper part of the mosque has been controlled by the royal army, after all the towers where they were highly strategic defense was struck out by tanks with a bazooka and 12.7.

Of course we so surprised, why the towers were remain upright even though showered with the bullets of Bazooka that can blast shook and broke the windows of buildings around the mosque. Because, in addition to construction of the tower was indeed strong and sturdy stone coated by marble, also the bullets of Bazooka  which were fired not metal, but plastics.

Because they had fled and survived in the basement of the mosque, then since Saturday, November 24, 1979, attacks with heavy weapons are no longer directed to the upper part of the mosque, but transferred to the lower part of the mosque.

Further follow my diary, during the first 6 days of the tragedy of Haram below:

Tuesday, 20 November 1979
This morning, I was with my friend, Br. Moch H.Mansyur Shawwal (late) of Dampit Malang, to perform Fajr (Subuh) prayer in the Masjid al-Haram, while the women of our party could not come to the mosque because oversleep. Even some of them there is an upset stomach.

Approximately 2 minutes before the Fajr prayer ended, on my left side a lot of people running toward the Ka’bah. After saying the greetings as a mark to close the prayer,   around the Ka’bah was sounded bitter dispute. Maybe the new people who came in with less warrior guards the Ka’bah. This dispute was ended by the dawn prayers echoed around the Ka’bah, repeatedly. It’s interspersed with the sound of automatic gunfire. By hearing the sound of gunfire was known only people who pray around the Ka’bah on running toward the mosque terraces.

Wird have not had time, in my heart saying: “… Why are you there was a shot in the Haram? … What is it?” I’m down near the Ka’bah. I saw they catched Imam who led Fajr prayers. On  the next day I heard that they killed the Imam on Tuesday it well: “Innalillahi wa inna ilaihi roji’un.” I kept walking towards the Ka’bah, by not considering the deafening sound of gunfire from all corners of the mosque. They’re still flowing toward the Ka’bah – there they obtained weapons. Around the Kaaba they chanted that I did not understand what he meant, as he held the gun. His white, stout, plainclothes (robe) red turban, belts of ammunition, weapons made in Russia: TRD, AKA, dn pistol knife or sword Arab Emirates typical. Some of them stormed into all parts of the mosque. The whole warriors in the mosque were arrested. Against shot.

They asked the pilgrims that still exist around the Kaaba follow them bertakbir. They asked the congregation to pray. They led him. They told the congregation sits. Finally, they asked the congregation listened to the speech ‘leader’ them from above sanctuary Fajr Prayers Imam earlier. Long-winded speech. They alternately. Some use the text, there is not. Of course I did not understand what they gembar rant. Because the shots could still be heard from the surrounding mosques. I want to know how the situation outside the mosque. But, … Astaghfirullah. All the doors of the mosque were closed. A remarkable thing. According to the statement, the mosque was never closed the whole time. To the extent that people are saying, Haram ‘not leaved the door.’ I can not get to the outside. I try to visit out of the window. But the window was too high. I tried to rise to the level one. Here, the situation is more tense. Quiet. Some of them patrolling with guns at the ready. I do not ignore them and continue to climb up to the top level Sa’i. From the window at the top level, I see the situation outside the mosque. Mediocre. Everything is running normally this morning. Those who patrol approached me, and asked me to go down, because it is very dangerous above. Moreover, the visit to the outside through the window. Because the Askar had surrounded the mosque.

I went down and sat down with the crowd while speculating … what happened? 07.00 breaking the flow of electricity, they do not dapatb continued his speech. 07.30 worshipers allowed Tawaf. 08.00 No person who offered a meal to me. “… Tuanmau eat? If you are willing to eat, come with me … “I told my friend:” Well, it seems we have really become prisoners. The proof we will diransum. Let us join him … ”

We follow ‘him’ up in the basement. Furthermore, we are told to follow other people running in this dark tunnel. Walking in this dark place, apparently my friend a little shock. “How do we want mmakan in this dark place?” he muttered. I replied: “Do not worry. What will we eat of the bread Arabic. Although the dark certainly looks as big …” It turns out that what is said ‘eat’ it is ‘a way out’. Us out through the basement. Outside, Askar block mosque. Chained the doors of the mosque from the outside. Helicopter circling above the mosque.

10.30 Gunshots began again. Out of nowhere. Given these gunshots, people Tawaf around the Ka’bah began to decrease. Gunshots increasingly crowded. 11:00 people who performing tawaf in the mosque has not seen again. Quiet. Shops around the mosque on the cap. Traffic around the mosque was stopped. People clustered around the mosque was also in retreat, go to their respective places. Starting at 15:30 there was a shoot-out that is very exciting and continues until 23:30 hours.

Wednesday, 21 November 1979
The shots began to aggressively again around 04.00 resulting in a fire at a storey building in front of Babul Malik. Fire engulfed the building finished. Belim fire until the afternoon can be controlled completely. 08.00 came directly operated tank reinforcements with his 12.7 shots directed to the mosque. 09.00 2 jet fighters came crossed the city several times. But they did not operate.
16:00 attacks of enhanced warriors. Askar tanks firing bullets were directed to the large size of the minarets. Great explosions shook buildings around the mosque. Seven towers, all had one. These towers still standing. Because instead of bullets fired metal, but plastic. This bullet when when not on target, will be turned off when it reaches its culmination point. Attacks on the towers lasted far into the night. Towards morning, dating troops armored tanks.

Thursday, 22 November 1979
Before Fajr, I woke up. Startled by the sound of a huge explosion streak. Attacks against the tower resumed. Massive attack lasted until 1300 hrs where warriors can break into the top of the mosque through Marwah. Furthermore, attacks are no longer focused to the top of the mosque. Because, at the top of this can already be controlled by warriors. The next cleanup is directed to the center or the underground mosque.

Friday. November 23, 1979
This morning came straight red berets troops and dressed in bulletproof. This forces directly to the theater of operations. Then there was heavy fighting in the holy mosque and strategic. Gunshots in the mosque sound like wind. Great rumble. Interspersed with the loud bang like thunder. Maghrib close battle subsided. Closing Isyak, some warriors milling cars with loudspeakers echoing an announcement. I thought ‘surely Askar announces his victory’. Once I asked the people there, it turns out the contents of the announcement is ‘curfew in Mecca.’

Saturday, 24 November 1979
This morning the streets of Mecca were still quiet because of curfew went into effect, Medium battle inside the mosque still continued throughout the night and this morning. 13:45 hours trucks dipaprkir in areas Suqullail pulled slightly away from the mosque. The tanks advanced closer to supporting the fighting in the basement of the mosque. Fierce fighting was closed by two powerful explosions that boomed and broke the windows that surround the mosque. There was a small fire in the mosque, about Babussalam. It happened around 16:00. 18.00 fire can be mastered after brought in no less than six units of fire brigade.

Saturday, 25 November 1979
I left Mecca for Medina with towers still standing on Haram mosque entirely.

Jalan Tembakan II / 49


Hundred Muslims of Tolikara in Papua evacuated after their mosque burned down

burn masjid

AT least 153 victims of conflict that occurred in Karubaga Village, Tolikara District, Papua, were evacuated to several tents set up at the Karubaga Military Headquarter on Saturday.

The people had lost their houses and stores after being burnt by a group of people during an Idul Fitri prayer on Friday.

The Papua Regional Police chief, Inspector General Yotje Mende, said the victims needed assistance, particularly clothes, since their belongings had all been razed by the fire.

“We are still waiting for complete data from the Tolikara police relating to the gender and age of the victims. The officers are collecting the data,” Mende said here.

burn masjiAccording to a report from Tolikara Regent Usman Wanimbo, GIDI (Communion of Evangelical Churches in Indonesia) President Dorman Wandikbo and Papua Military Chief Major General Fransen Siahaan, at least 53 stores which were also used as houses had been burnt and the fire later spread to a mosque near the stores.

Dorman and Mende stated people did not burn the mosque. However, because the mosque and the stores were located closely the fire later engulfed the mosque.

Security officers from police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) and the Indonesian Army have arrived in the district.

Mende said the additional troops are needed due to a lack of Tolikara Police personnel stationed in the district who only number 100.

Saturday, 19 july 2015




See also: http://www.globalindonesianvoices.com/21655/jokowi-on-mosque-burning-in-papua-we-must-maintain-tolerance-and-unity/

Friday sermon extols benefits of performing congregational prayers

friday prayer1Ak Md Khairuddin Pg Harun

IMAMS have called on congregants to find time to perform their obligatory prayers at mosques and prayer halls to promote a strong Muslim community.

The Friday sermon said Muslims should make use of the available places of worship to perform their daily prayers in a group instead of praying individually.

“In our country, many grand mosques have been built and made comfortable for the Muslim ummah (community) to enable them to pray. So let us all flock to the mosques and perform our fardhu (obligatory) prayers together,” said imams.

“Time and again we have seen for ourselves how people would crowd the mosques in large numbers to perform their Friday prayers or Aidil Fitri prayers,” it added.

Imams hoped the same large crowds could be seen at mosques when performing the daily prayers.

The sermon said Muslims would not lose anything when setting aside some time to pray collectively at the mosque.

“Let us join hands together and pray that we remain consistent in our worship towards Allah SWT so as to become His servants who are faithful and loved.”

The sermon also touched on the benefits of performing prayers together, including manifold rewards as opposed to those who pray alone.

Another benefit is that those who prayed collectively will be forgiven by Allah SWT for their sins. “They will reap the rewards similar to those who have performed the Haj.”

Imams went on to say that those waiting in the prayer hall to offer prayers together are regarded as having already performed the prayer itself.

The sermon added that the rewards for those who perform their obligatory prayers in a group will multiply according to the increase in number of people who join the prayers.

The sermon also touched on fardhu kifayah (collective duty), which meant that if a group of Muslims in the area carries out the congregational prayers in the mosque, the rest of the community will not be obliged to perform it, and will not be deemed sinful for doing so.

“On the other hand, if there is no one in the said area or village who performed the prayer in congregation, then the entire community would have to shoulder the consequences of having committed a grave sin,” imams said.

The Brunei Times
Saturday, December 20, 2014


Bringing youths closer to the mosque and Almighty Allah

jom solat

IT WAS really heartening to see a Bruneian youth performing a prayer humbly and serenely at the Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque recently. What was even more special about this young man was that he was promoting Solat and calling on others to perform prayers as his shirt had the words “Jom Solat!” printed on the back.

It’s not every day that we can find someone, especially a youth, who is proud to be an obedient and practising slave of Allah — proud of Islam and proud to be Muslim. More importantly, it reminds others not to forget and to immediately establish prayers.

It was also encouraging to read a story a few days ago about youths being enthusiastic about taking part in an extra-curricular activity held by a mosque youth association. To the organiser’s surprise, there were 300 youths applying for the three-day programme, while they were only able to accommodate 81 participants.

“It was a bit of a surprise to us, especially being the school holidays; I actually expected people to travel overseas, but the participation was beyond our expectations. All we did was stick posters at the mosque and use social media to advertise the camp,” said one of the coordinators.

Indeed, it’s not easy to get people, especially youths, to have their hearts and minds attached to the House of Allah. We are pleased to see our youths always try their best to stay close to the mosque, which Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) made not only as a place for prayers but also a place for socialization, a place for da’wah, a place for celebration, a place for meetings and deliberation, a place for medical care, and a place for education.

InsyaAllah, by the grace of Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala, by having their hearts and minds attached to the mosque, our youth will also love performing prayers in congregation, doing i’tikaf, reading and learning the Quran, etc.

The youths, aged between 16 and 21, took part in hands-on activities designed and conducted to ensure that all participants truly understood aspects of the Quran and Islam such as their iman (faith) along with mass prayers, qiyamullail (tahajjud or night prayers), Quran recitals and motivational talks by invited guest speakers.

True to its name “Ash-Shaliheen Camp”, the activity was aimed at helping the youths become “righteous people”. The association said it wants to conduct the camp on an annual basis in the hope of helping achieve the objective of shaping the future generation to become righteous leaders and active in promoting and working to achieve the vision of a “Negara Zikir”.

Themed “Ini Pilihanku” (“This is my choice”), the objective of the camp was to instill an ardent love and pleasure in doing religious activities and fulfilling religious responsibilities and a higher sense of obedience towards Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.

All of this hopefully will help transform them into a better Muslim generation who will never abandon their solat. Solat is the most important pillar of Islam. It was in fact the first religious duty prescribed on every single prophet from Adam to Muhammad, second only to testifying to the Oneness of Allah. Allah says: “Solat, indeed, is a duty enjoined upon the faithful at the appointed times.” (An-Nisa’: 103). The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sllam) further narrates in a hadith Qudsi: “Allah said: ‘The covenant between Us and them is Solat; so whoever establishes it, establishes religion; whoever undermines it, undermines religion’.”

Prayer is an act of worship. As with all acts of worship, it is an act of obedience, an act of reverence, an act of surrender and an act of submission. In fact, the dignity of a believer is in their absolute submission to their Creator and no one else.

God does not need our worship; it is we who need Him. Prayer is – or should be – of benefit to us.

Prayer helps people avoid profanity and sins and helps uproot evil from their souls. Prayers must be performed with complete khushu’ (concentration) and recited with sincerity to Almighty Allah. However, if someone does not have khushu’ during their prayers, their prayers will not be invalidated, although their reward will be reduced. Hence, Muslims should try their best to avoid any distractions as much as they can during their prayers and focus their concentration.

Performing the prayer is a command of Allah. Prayer is not an option; it is obligatory. It is not once or a few times a week but must be performed five times a day. All the Prophets of Almighty Allah merely told their people to pray; Islam, however, made it a very essential part of religion.

In prayer, Muslims stand together without any distinction between race, colour, financial status or political position. Those who perform prayers in congregation regularly do learn the concepts of equality, solidarity and brotherhood. Prayer in congregation is performed behind an imam whom everyone has to follow. This teaches them discipline, order and organisation. Moreover, if the imam makes any mistake, any person can correct him. Indeed, this is a clear sign of democracy.

Let us pray regularly and in the best way so that the benefits and beauty of prayer may reflect in our lives. May Allah shower us all with His mercy and help us to remain steadfast in His religion. Aamiin

The Brunei Times/Editorial
Friday, December 12, 2014

Bruneian youths attending a masjid camp programme. Photo: BT

Bruneian youths attending a masjid camp programme. Photo: BT


5 Great Mosques in Indonesia

2 Bags and a Pack

Indonesia hosts some of the most unique, most spectacular and most beautiful mosques in the world. From the biggest mosque in Southeast Asia, to remnants of a glorious past, from a silent witness to nature’s fury, to a testament of religious tolerance, this week we list five must-visit mosques in Indonesia.

Istiqlal MosqueIstiqlal_Mosque

Central Jakarta

Smack in the heart of Jakarta, surrounded by government offices, the marble-clad mosque, constructed in 1951 and designed by a Christian architect Frederich Silaban, featured cutting edge technology and design for its day. With vast prayer halls and courtyards, the mosque can host up to 120,000 people, making it Southeast Asia’s biggest.

Baiturrahman Great MosqueSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Banda Aceh, Aceh

This grand structure started out as a small single-domed mosque built during the time of Aceh Sultanate, which reigned in the 19th century. In 1935, it was renovated and became a triple-domed mosque. The mosque, which stood…

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