Thursday, 20 November 2008

Individual Solace

If I could fashion a personalized praying room, or hall, it would have to be based on Kuala Kangsar’s Masjid Ubudiah.

Not in its architectural design - despite the relatively medium sized mosque being one of the most beautiful constructions in the country – but the internal set-up, especially the carpeting.
Masjid Ubudiah, Kuala Kangsar
The carpet lining the floor of Masjid Ubudiah is not of the really deep plush variety, but it gives you the most exotic scents as you sujud so much so that you wouldn’t really mind reading the verses a whole lot slower that you normally would.

This is one mosque where the execution of the minimum five prayers a day is a pleasure not only to the soul, but also the senses.

Masjid Ubudiah, I sincerely believe, is just the right size and walking from the area where you take your wudhu to the praying hall is just a short distance, unlike, say, the Shah Alam mosque.

Another fine mosque I enjoy praying within is that of Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP, for short).

It is minimalist in design lacking the grandeur of it’s other more illustrious siblings and provides the most calming of experience especially if you opt to conduct your prayers in the open air section.

Sited next to a lake, the design is such that a cool breeze would envelop your body even during a hot afternoon, which the whole area of Sri Iskandar, Tronoh and the likes – being the ex-mining area that they were – are for most of the time.

The UTP mosqueOn occasion I would just stay on for a while after prayers to just enjoy the solace.

Being a Muslim in this country is almost heaven sent, with most areas having Mosques and Suraus, and missing the five main prayers a matter of personal choice especially for those on the roads.

Before the completion of the UTP’s mosque, a favorite stop was a mosque near (if I’m not mistaken) Titi Gantung my friends and I dubbed “Masjid Pas” for the predominant white-moon-on-green-background flags within its vicinity.

It’s old and rickety and, during the construction of the Ipoh – Lumut expressway, a hassle to drive in and out of, but there’s ample parking, clean water and clearly designated (and clean, too!) toilets for the male and the female ummah.

Best yet, it has the same warm wood scents I could associate with my grandparent’s home in Alor Star where I grew up all those years ago.

These mosques and suraus are iconic constructs in Islam being the recognized “agama rasmi” of the country.

Diverging a bit, what of arches built in the pretext of campaigning for Islam Hadhari ?

A lifting of the veil by the new Malay Mail team on Nov 20 revealed the project involving the construction of 14 arches “key, high traffic sites nationwide in exchange for an exclusive 15-year concession” deal by the Prime Minister’s Department with a media company.

The project’s brief: “Cadangan penajaan gerbang kempen kesedaran nilai - nilai murni menerusi Islam Hadhari.”

Further, the MM article said the campaign period for the government will be for three months a year, the rest of it being free advertising space for the media owner.

My, my. What sort of messages would be fronting the arches the other nine months?

The Jalan Syed Putra's construction – already causing some bad vibes amongst nearby residents for water supply disruption – is supposed to be the pilot project.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but “nilai – nilai murni” shouldn’t start on such wrong footing of raising people’s ire.

And just call it as it is.

The way it is elsewhere

Billboard promoting Islam

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