Unique mosques in Malaysia
It’s not difficult to find mosques in Malaysia. From quiet kampung streets to city centres bustling with activity, you’ll find these sacred places of worship scattered around towns. While many of them take on humble looks in neighbourhoods closer to home, there are also unique mosques in Malaysia that are stunning architectural marvels.
Here’s a list of 10 unique and breathtaking mosques in Malaysia, including one inspired by the Taj Mahal in India to another that looks like a Russian cathedral with whimsical striped domes, that’s proof of it.
1. Masjid Sri Sendayan, Negeri Sembilan – Malaysia’s “Taj Mahal”
Image credit: @garispxl.co
Tucked away in Negeri Sembilan – within an hour’s drive from KL – is Masjid Sri Sendayan. While this mosque only opened recently in September 2019, as reported by Berita Harian, it’s become the talk of the town for its stunning all-white exterior and breathtaking interiors that have many locals comparing it to Taj Mahal in India.
The structure cost around RM100 million to build. Aside from a pair of striking minarets with details such as ornamental patterns, there’s also a pair of clock towers that flank the entrance to the mosque. Stand in just the right spot before you enter the mosque’s compound and you’ll be treated to a stunning shot of the whole scene.
Image credit: @hyard_captured
Inside, you’ll see even more impressive architecture in its main prayer hall that can accommodate over 5,000 worshippers at a time. It includes elaborate golden chandeliers hanging from tall ceilings, a decorated dome bearing Islamic scriptures and intricately carved arches that’ll make you want to crane your neck up to take it all in slowly.
The mosque also has a separate prayer hall for women that accommodates 800, and facilities such as lecture halls, a library, multipurpose halls for religious gatherings, mortuary rooms, administrative buildings, dining halls and houses for staff.
In the outer courtyard of the mosque, there are glass roofs that open up the area to views of the minarets and blue skies, with more golden chandeliers to be found along the corridors.
Image credit: @muhammad_faryd
Address: Persiaran Idaman Villa, Bandar Sri Sendayan, 71950 Siliau, Negeri Sembilan
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 9AM-5PM (Closed on Saturdays and Sundays)
2. Putra Mosque, Putrajaya – pastel-pink mosque by the lake
Putra Mosque has a single minaret stretching 381 feet, and a dome with a diameter of around 160 feet.
Image credit: @k_jun.wei
Bearing stunning architectural similarities to a pink Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque in Iran, Putra Mosque is a pastel-pink mosque in Putrajaya with pink walls, domes, and a single minaret that’s earned it the nickname of “Pink Mosque” among locals. Sitting along Putrajaya Lake, it’s also a striking feature of the town that’s been around since 1997 that’s hard to miss out on.
Image credit: @thepixellens
Walk inside to the main prayer hall and be wowed by the sheer amount of space inside, as the mosque is able to accommodate over 15,000 worshippers at once. Catch glimpses of stained glass windows with geometric motifs and intricate carvings on rose-tinted archways, as well as Islamic inscriptions along the walls below diamond-shaped stained windows.
A highlight of the hall is the main dome of this building. Geometric prints of overlapping and interlocking squares and circles both seen inside and outside the dome.
Image credit: The Smart Local Singapore
Visitors are welcomed inside the main prayer hall to view Putra Mosque’s architecture up close, but only during non-prayer hours. Red robes are provided free-of-charge if you’re not dressed appropriately.
Address: Persiaran Persekutuan, Presint 1, Putrajaya, 62502 Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya
Opening hours: 9AM-5PM, Daily
3. Masjid Lapan Kubah, Terengganu – colourful 8-dome mosque
Image credit: @sharifah_salini
If you’ve heard of Saint Basil’s Cathedral and its whimsical, striped domes that have made it an iconic image of Russia, you might be surprised to learn that Malaysia has our very own version of it – Masjid Lapan Kubah, or 8 Dome Mosque.
This mosque in Terengganu boasts 8 bulbous domes painted with varying stripes of blue and white, and green and yellow. It is a sight to behold against the peaceful green paddy fields in a quiet neighbourhood that makes up its surrounding landscapes.
Image adapted from: @drone_yachtie
Although the mosque was built in away from the city, and can only accommodate up to 500 worshippers at a time, it has attracted many visitors, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, to visit to catch views of this “Russian Mosque” in person.
The mosque was built in 2012, and replaces a previous mosque in the area that was over 100 years old and falling into disrepair. Even without the usual features of a mosque such as minarets, Masjid Lapan Kubah took over 6 years to complete and cost over RM4 million to put together all its colourful, eye-catching domes.
Address: 1315, Jalan Masjid, Kg, Jalan Lapan Kotak, 22000 Jerteh, Terengganu
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily
4. Masjid Cina Melaka, Melaka – Chinese-style mosque with pagodas
Image credit: @dorafrikawakawakaeyey
Masjid Cina Melaka is unlike most mosques you see in Malaysia. This striking mosque in Melaka has traditional Chinese architecture elements – from tiled, angled roofs, to walls and roofs in vibrant hues of red, green and white.
While unique, it’s not the first mosque inspired by Chinese architecture in Malaysia. There are Chinese-style mosques in Kelantan and Perak too, all developed by local Chinese Muslim Associations. While all of them boast impressive designs, this one in Melaka happens to have 2 pagodas for minarets on the left and right sides of it that completes its Chinese-style look reminiscent of traditional Chinese buildings.
This mosque, built in 2012, is a unique show of Malaysia’s diversity encapsulated in a single building. You’ll even see signs for facilities in the mosque written in Chinese and Malay to cater to worshippers of different cultures, and prayer sermons on Fridays carried out in Mandarin too.
Non-Muslims are welcomed to visit Masjid Cina Melaka during non-prayer hours. There are stalls on the mosque’s grounds that sell songkok, robes, and tudung for no more than RM10 to wear if you’re not appropriately dressed to enter this sacred space.
Image credit: @dinperang
Address: Masjid Cina Negeri Melaka, Paya Rumput Krubong, 75260 Melaka
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily
Telephone: 010-220 7082
5. Masjid Kristal, Terengganu – domes made of glass and crystals
Image credit: @rafiqzuhairr
Masjid Kristal, or Crystal Mosque, doesn’t have the word “crystal” in its name without a reason. This mosque in Terengganu has over 10 domes of different sizes made of crystals – or crystal glass – along with steel, which makes it a glittering structure by the Terengganu River that’s hard to miss.
Along with its striking domes are 4 minarets, with reflective pillars to match the mosque’s eye-catching domes. Around the mosque’s exterior walls are arches called jali, or latticed screen with geometric patterns, that add even more rich details to the mosque.
Masjid Kristal was built in 2006, and took 2 years to complete. It’s able to fit up to 1,500 worshippers at a time.
Image credit: @nurul4514
You won’t be able to enter the mosque for now, as it’s currently under renovations. The works are expected to be completed some time this year, before May 2021. But you’ll still be able to walk around the mosque’s grounds and take in views of the building from outside.
Address: Pulau Wan Man, Losong Panglima P’erang, 21000 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
Opening hours: 6AM-11PM, Daily
Telephone: 09-627 8888
6. Masjid Kampung Laut, Kelantan – 300-year-old mosque
Masjid Kampung Laut is not housed in a modern building nor constructed of glass, steel or bricks like most mosques built in recent times. This mosque sits a little closer to home, as its exterior looks just like a traditional house on stilts that we would find in a kampung.
Image credit: @mohdhattaismail
The charm of this kampung mosque is that it’s said to be the oldest mosque in Malaysia that’s still standing tall and visited by worshippers during prayer hours. It’s believed to be built in the early 18th century, but some push it further back to the 1400s. However, it’s agreed that the mosque is over 300 years old, and was built with wood and pegs instead of nails.
Image credit: Wikicommons
Its architecture is reminiscent of Indian Hindu architecture – with a simple pyramid-like, 3-tiered roof rather than the usual gabled roof with ornaments on its tips that’s typical of traditional Malay houses. The minaret tower next to the mosque looks more like a water tower made of wood, but speakers at the top sufficiently do the important job of calling Muslims to prayer.
Inside Masjid Kampung Laut
Image credit: @mohdhattaismail
This mosque’s current location is not its original one. It was relocated to a new spot in Nilam Puri after the area it was originally built at, Kampung Laut by the Kelantan river, was devastated by flood waters twice. Authorities are now planning to return the mosque to its original site to preserve its history, with the relocation said to complete in January 2022, as reported by Astro Awani.
As the space for worship inside this traditional mosque is smaller than the ones we’re used to seeing in our neighbourhoods, non-Muslims won’t be able to enter for now. But since there are plans to turn this mosque into a historic landmark, this may no longer be the case in the future.
Image credit: @muhammadikraamabdullah
Most of the building structure you see of the mosque remains as it was in its history. But several renovations were carried out to keep the mosque standing 300 years later. Its original structure in its earliest days consisted of just 4 pillars and sago leaves for a roof, according to Ketereh District Council Islamic Municipal. More than 20 pillars have since been added, and it’s now even equipped with electricity.
Address: Jalan Kuala Krai, 16010 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily
7. Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque, Shah Alam – blue mosque
Image credit: @nitzus
Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque in Shah Alam is often referred to as “Blue Mosque” by locals. While neither the mosque’s walls nor its minarets are painted entirely in blue, it does boast a deep blue-and-silver main dome, and glass roofs in its courtyards that let the blue Malaysian skies peek through.
The mosque seems to have set several records. Its dome is one of the largest mosque domes in the world – at 167 feet in diameter. It also once bagged the title of tallest 467-feet minaret in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records too – but it has since been outdone by Djamaa el Djazaïr’s 875-feet minaret in Algeria, as reported by Africa News. This is also said to be Malaysia’s largest mosque, with a capacity of over 24,000 people.
Image credit: @yosoykamal
Head inside to the main prayer hall of the mosque and you’ll be able to feast your eyes on more beautiful blue hues, seen on blue tiles bearing Islamic motifs covering walls and blue stained glass panels surrounding the mosque. These stained glass panels are an effective way to block off the harsh Malaysian sun in the prayer hall, but it also tints the white walls of the interiors blue during the daytime.
Image adapted from: @ti.ffa.719
The mosque’s architecture is a mix of modern and traditional Islamic designs, so you’ll see high ceilings and minimalist archways with a touch of aluminum steel on doorways and walls, and the interior of the dome bearing symbols of Islam and Islamic calligraphy of scriptures.
The mosque, which boasts pretty modern features, was built in 1982 and completed 6 years later. It was commissioned by the late Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz – 11th Agong of Malaysia and 8th Sultan of Selangor – the same time that Shah Alam became the capital of Selangor.
A helpful free guided tour of the mosque led by friendly staff is available from 8AM every hour, if you are keen to learn more about this stunning place of worship.
Address: Persiaran Masjid St., Seksyen 14, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor
Opening hours: 5AM-11PM, Daily
8. Federal Territory Mosque, KL – 22-dome mosque inspired by Istanbul’s Blue Mosque
Image credit: @yfei_chong
Federal Territory Mosque, also called Wilayah Persekutuan Mosque, in KL is inspired by Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul – which has 5 blue domes and 8 smaller ones. This mosque is similar in appearance, with a main dome, several half domes and other smaller ones that make up a total of 22 blue domes.
Image credit: @adamsadilek
Here, you’ll see a mix of Morrocan architecture, with geometric patterns of polygons seen inside the many domes, and floral motifs within blue borders. The latter help outline and highlight the striking shapes and design of the mosque from inside.
Built in 1998, this mosque only took an impressive 2 years to be completed. It’s now able to fit over 17,000 worshippers at one time during important religious events for Muslims, such as Ramadan.
Image credit: @vangoulart_
Before the MCO, the Federal Territory Mosque had free guided tours for non-Muslims. Each lasts around an hour, and those joining in will be taken to the prayer hall and around its exteriors, during which the helpful guide will pass on information about Islamic customs and facts about the mosque’s impressive architecture.
Religious devotees and non-religious tourists are able to enter. Turquoise robes and head coverings will be lent without any cost to those who aren’t dressed appropriately.
Image credit: @rodrigocanelas
Address: Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim, Kompleks Kerajaan, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 8AM-1PM & 2PM-5PM, Daily
9. Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, Putrajaya – steel mosque
Image credit: @kwonghan
Another gem sitting by the lakeside in Putrajaya is Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque. It’s also frequently nicknamed “Steel Mosque”, or Masjid Besi in Malay, simply because the unique charm of this building is its “walls” – or lack thereof – made of wire mesh, or steel lattice, that opens its entire prayer hall up to natural breezes from every direction, so there’s no need for air-conditioning
There are also no minarets at this mosque.
What holds the roof up over this open-concept mosque are sturdy steel pillars and archways. In its construction, over 6,000 tons of steel was used – which consists of around 70% of the building’s structure – while the remaining 30% is made of concrete.
Image credit: @tze_0820
Find Islamic verses sketched onto glass along the massive archways, as well as a dome made entirely of steel. Its architecture is unique as well, as it takes on German and Chinese architectural styles rather than Arabian designs common to most mosques.
Because of its airy space, over 20,000 worshippers are able to fit into the prayer halls at any one time. If you’re looking to take in the sights here, the mosque lets visitors rent out a purple robe for free to all guests who aren’t appropriately dressed.
Image credit: @ym_picture_story
Address: 25, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Presint 3, 62100 Putrajaya, Wilayah Persekutuan
Opening hours: 8AM-5PM, Daily
10. Al Hussain Mosque, Perlis – “floating” mosque with stained-glass windows
Image credit: @syukri_adi73
Al Hussain Mosque is a “floating” mosque in Perlis that sits next to Kuala Perlis Jetty on a promenade by the Straits of Melaka. Here, you’ll find stained glass windows with geometric floral motifs surrounding the mosque’s walls. The stained glass doesn’t cover the entire window, so worshippers in the prayer hall will still be able to see calming sea views of the sea from within.
This design is done on purpose, as the mosque attempts to take on vibes that visitors will typically get from strolls by the beaches and resorts..
You’ll even have to cross a 50m bridge with scenic views to get to the mosque.
Image credit: @ubyismail
Another charming feature of this mosque is its exterior walls, which are covered with various rocks, corals, marble and pebbles instead of the usual coat of paint, which makes it blend into the rocky shores of beaches nearby.
Inside, you’ll see Kufi calligraphy inscribed onto the walls of the mosque, which are done by skilled Uzbekistan craftsmen flown into Malaysia to help do so.
Image credit: @farizatraz
Drop by come dusk, and the dome and minarets of Al Hussain Mosque will light up in different colours of red, blue, white, and green for prayer times.
Address: 1, Persiaran Putra Timur, 02000 Kuala Perlis, Perlis
Opening hours: 5.30AM-9.15PM, Daily
Bonus: Jamek Mosque – KL’s iconic landmark
Image credit: @zphotography.my
Masjid Jamek is considered an icon of KL, as it sits prominently along the riverbanks of Klang and Gombak, just an 8-minute walk from Petaling Street. It’s also an old structure worthy of note, as it’s over a century old.
The mosque was built in 1909, and designed by English architect, Arthur Benison Hubback. He also designed other colonial buildings you see standing tall and proud in KL today, such as the KL Railway Station and the National Textile Museum.
Image credit: @dahliaamalek
The mosque’s architectural styles take inspiration from cultures far beyond, such as Moorish, Indo-Saracenic and Mughal architecture. This can be seen in “horseshoe” arches and prominent “onion”, or bulbous-shaped, domes.
Masjid Jamek is also uniquely made of bricks – a popular building material in England but uncommon among locals of the era, who preferred wood. This is why it’s pretty easy to spot the mosque, similar to colonial buildings in the area, making it a standout from other buildings in present-day KL.
Image credit: @osipoff
Address: Jalan Tun Perak, City Centre, Kuala Lumpur 50050 Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 10AM-12.30PM & 2.30PM-4PM, Daily
Ground rules when visiting mosques in Malaysia
Mosques are visited by Muslims during prayer hours and other religious gatherings. But you’ll find non-Muslims dropping by to take in their architecture in Malaysia, or to learn more about Islamic customs. If you’re in the latter group, you’ll want to take note of some of these ground rules before paying a visit to mosques in Malaysia:
- While non-Muslims are allowed to enter mosques, you may not be allowed to enter them during Muslims’ prayer times, where religious-devotees gather here to pray during their five daily prayers. If you come across someone praying during your visit outside of these hours, be sure to be respectful of them by always keeping your voice to a minimum and keeping your distance from them.
- It’s a must to dress appropriately. For women, this means loose-fitting clothes that cover your entire arms and legs, and scarves to cover your hair. It’s okay to show your hands, feet and face. For men, you’ll have to make sure your legs are covered. While robes are provided at various mosques to help you cover up if you want to enter prayer halls, it’s always best to be respectful and show up dressed appropriately anyway.
- Be prepared to take off your shoes and only keep on your socks. As mosques are sacred religious spaces, it’s mandatory to make oneself clean before entering prayer halls, including divesting of your shoes. Guests are invited to wash their hands and feet at ablution areas at the mosque after you remove your shoes.
- Areas in mosques maybe gender-segregated between male and females. Do make sure to be aware of your environment and be mindful of any signs at mosques stating so.
- Women who are on their menstrual cycle are asked to refrain from entering prayer halls. Visiting the courtyards, or gardens in the mosque, is generally acceptable.
- Smoking is strictly prohibited inside and outside the mosque.
- Taking photos is allowed in all mosques, but do refrain from snapping photos of worshippers, as it may disrupt them during their prayer times.
- Be courteous to worshippers and surrounding areas by keeping noise levels low, and avoiding public displays of affection. Those with children are advised to keep them from running or making noise as well.
- If you’re unsure of anything while at a mosque, it’s always best to ask a helpful mosque staff for proper guidance.
Unique mosques in Malaysia with stunning architecture
Malaysia is well-known for its gem of nature spots and local food that spans different cultures. But our cities and towns also boast splendid architectural marvels with rich histories as shown in this list of unique mosques in Malaysia.
From mosques with colonial architecture to others with eye-catching ones with domes and structures made to look like celebrated mosques from abroad, these 10 mosques in Malaysia are worth a visit to catch a glimpse of what our country has to offer.
Other attractions in Malaysia:
- 53 things to do in Johor
- Jeram, Kuala Selangor guide: container hotels & scenic beaches
- 15 gorgeous waterfalls in M’sia even beginners can hike to