PJKITA > What do you know about PJ’s Masjid Bulat?

What do you know about PJ’s Masjid Bulat?

Designed by architect John Ho and completed in 1976, the Tun Abdul Aziz mosque stands as the physical manifestation of a roaring new township looking to make its mark.

By Aizyl Azlee

 

On a Friday, you will find that even at a capacity of 2,500 people, devout Muslim men still line up until the parking lot of Masjid Tun Abdul Aziz to perform their weekly congregational Friday prayers.

The popularity of the mosque has reached much farther than its original “kariah” (the area which the mosque serves) of Seksyen 14.

According to the mosque’s management, there are plans for renovation to increase the capacity without altering the iconic circular shape that has earned the mosque its nickname “Masjid Bulat.”

Passing by the mosque today, you may already see some cosmetic upgrades taking place, but before the completion of the mosque’s renovations, let’s take a look at its history and discover what you may not know about the iconic mosque today.

A new community banding together

The township of Seksyen 14 was developed in 1958, but the speed of the town’s growth found the need for a mosque instead of a smaller surau as soon as the early 60s.

Money had already been raised among the townsfolk for the initial surau, but when the committee of the Muslim Welfare Association of Northern Petaling Jaya (Persatuan Kebajikan Penduduk-Penduduk Islam Petaling Jaya Utara) decided to build a mosque instead, they went straight to meet with then Selangor Mentri Besar Dato’ Seri Harun Idris who approved the project in 1964.

Architect John Ho from the Selangor Public Works Department was given the responsibility of designing the mosque, with requests by the committee to make it a unique structure for the young township.

Ho employed an eclectic architecture style combining Mughal and Arabian influences, and what resulted was the one-of-a-kind modernist circular structure that earned the mosque its nickname Masjid Bulat.

The mosque was officially launched on February 25, 1976, and it was given the name Tun Abdul Aziz mosque, after the former Selangor Mentri Besar Tun Abdul Aziz Abdul Majid who had passed away the year before while serving as the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Melaka.

For the first decade of operations, the “nazir” (which can be translated roughly as the inspector overseeing the mosque) would be the Yang Di-pertua (YDP) of then Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ), who would work hand in hand with the mosque’s governing committee.

In 1986, the third MPPJ YDP to serve as nazir, Johan Shamsuddin, handed the responsibility over to the mosque’s newly established kariah committee to elect its nazir through their first ever general meeting. On November 9, 1986 it was announced that the first elected nazir would be Tuan Haji Abbas Abdul Rashid, an England-trained teacher by profession.

As it stands today

Many developments have taken place over the 40 years of the mosque’s existence.

It currently has three floors, with the ground floor being a hall where classes, administrative meetings and activities take place, while the floors above it make up the main prayer halls.

On top of the standard religious services provided by mosques, Masjid Bulat also organises weekly English classes, sports activities, and even houses a clinic.

The mosque’s Executive Secretary Mohd. Sohaimi Ismail explains that one of the biggest advancements for Masjid Bulat is that it works towards being a self-sustaining mosque so that it does not have to rely heavily on donations from the kariah, and can take on bigger responsibilities for the community.

“We realised that as a mosque, our role was evolving, and that we needed to provide for more people than just the members of our kariah. We have to be more proactive, and so in 2014 we started our own foundation called the Yayasan Semesta Berdaftar (YSB),” says Mohd. Sohaimi.

He says that aside from allowing the mosque to work beyond its designated kariah, the foundation also allows the mosque to foster strategic partnerships in businesses to increase funds for the mosque’s activities.

Moving forward, Mohd. Sohaimi adds that there are plans to expand the mosque’s hall to fit another 1,000 people, raising the capacity to 3,500.

“Even though we have plans to expand, which is due to the growing population of this township, we want to make sure that the unique aspects of the mosque is preserved,” he says.

“We will not change the circular structure because Tun Abdul Aziz mosque is better known as Masjid Bulat. Even though in recent times there have been newer circular mosques, Masjid Bulat is the first.”

His hopes for the future, he explains, is for the next generation that inherits Masjid Bulat to consider the history of the mosque when moving forward, just as his generation that is administrating the mosque now wants to preserve the integrity of what was handed to them in the past.

“We have recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the mosque. And as we move forward to upgrade it but in a way that respects what was handed down to us, we hope for those who replace us in the future to consider our contributions the same way we considered the contributions of the previous generations.”

You can find out more about the activities carried out at the Tun Abdul Aziz mosque as well as more historical facts about the mosque by visiting its website: http://mtaapj.org/

 


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