Typical of any communal towns and cities in Malaysia, mosques and suraus are available for the faithful to fulfil their religious obligations. However, in Teluk Intan, a mosque built initially for Indian Muslims stand out uniquely. This is possibly due to the fact that there are Indian Muslims who follow a different sect of Islam compared to that of Shafi’i which is predominant in the Malay community.
In the 1800s, Teluk Anson played a prominent role as a trading port that hosted traders and merchants alike. From these, the Indian Muslim community had the strongest influence in the spread of Islam by way of communal preaching and proselytizing. It wasn’t until the 1860s when a formal structure of a mosque for this community was built.
Thought to be the oldest in its time, this mosque currently serves the Muslim community regardless of race and is the main mosque for Friday Prayers in Teluk Intan.
Situated strategically at the heart of Teluk Intan town, the mosque itself was built with bricks and wood, whereas the original structure was initially layered with chalk. The many pillars in the prayer hall reflect the architecture of that period. A local Architect Chen Voon Fee, provides a detailed description of the Mosque’s architectural design in the book entitled “Landmarks of Perak” produced by HRH Raja Nazrin Shah, the Sultan of Perak.
“According to the Imam Pengerusi (Chief Imam), the mosque was established in 1878. The present single-story, rectangular-planned building, however, possibly dated from the late 19th or early 20th century.
Stout, round columns with low walls between them form verandahs which merge with the front reception area. The plastered columns have simple mouldings and square-slab capitals. Four slender columns in the centre row have grooved and moulded capitals. The mihrab (prayer niche) is expressed on the outside wall by its convex form finished in dark blue tiles.
The tiled bumbung lima (five-ridge roof) of the rectangular prayer hall is extended over the front reception area, which results in a lop-sided roof. On the ridge ends are two mustaka (vase shaped finials), often used in pre-Islamic temples. The square, domed minaret was added more recently and stands rather awkwardly at the corner.”
During the period of the late Tuan Guru Daud (a well-known Islamic scholar and preacher; early 1900s) the mosque became a focal point of interest for the community. While performing his religious duties, the late Tuan Guru also provided ‘Islamic based healing sessions’ to anyone who came to him for help using water from the pond. Located in the compound of the mosque, the pond still stands today. Although still in its original position, the pond which had an initial depth of 2 meters was secured further by the mosque community (around 1970s) raising the level hence making it safer and shallower while lining it with marble.
Among notable dignitaries who have attended prayers in this mosque was the late Raja Muda Musa Ibni Al Marhum Sultan Abdul Aziz Al Mustasim Billah Shah, the late Sultan Yusuf Izzudin Shah Ibni Al Marhum Sultan Abdul Jalil Nasiruddin Muhtaram Shah (32nd Sultan and Ruler of Perak). He was also the grandfather to Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Ibni Al Marhum Sultan Azlan Muhibuddin Shah, Sultan (current 35th Sultan and Ruler of Perak Darul Ridzuan). While many such events that took place was well documented, however most if not all was damaged by flood waters.
The mosque authorities had also made a search in the national archives and managed to retrieve the original gazettement of the mosque in the early 1920s which indicated there were 3 trustees of the mosque. This mosque has stood the test of time, and stands over 160 years today while maintaining its role in the spread of Islam.
There are three major mosques in present day Teluk Intan, namely the Masjid Melayu, Masjid India Muslim and Masjid Sultan Idris Shah II. Only the Indian Muslim Mosque and the Sultan Idris Shah II Mosque are allowed to hold Friday prayers and sermons whereas Masjid Melayu for obligatory prayers and religious studies. However, it is interesting to note that the Indian Muslim Mosque offers its Friday prayer sermon in Tamil
1. HRH Raja Nazrin Shah, “Landmarks of Perak”. RNS Publications Sdn Bhd. 2006
2. Sultan Idris Shah II Mosque Blogspot
3. Conversation and materials from Anur Bin Kader, Secretary of Teluk Intan Indian Muslim Mosque
4. National Archives of Malaysia