Masjid Negara is a national legacy. Built between 1963 and 1965, the idea to build a national mosque to commemorate Malaysia’s independence was brought up by the Federal Executive Council a month before the country celebrated its independence. A proposal to name the mosque after the country’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, was made in March 1958 by the Chief Ministers of all eleven states in the-then Federation of Malaya, in recognition of his contribution to the country’s independence. However, Tunku had declined this honour and suggested that the mosque be named Masjid Negara instead, to symbolise the country’s unity and multi-cultural harmony, as well as a way to give thanks to Allah for the country’s peaceful independence – achieved without a single drop of blood being shed.
The mosque’s designing process took approximately three years, taking inspiration from the mosques in India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Spain. Its most striking features are its 73-metre-high minaret, which resembles a folded umbrella, and its 16-point concrete dome, which resembles an open umbrella. From within, in the main prayer hall, the roof’s unique design gives one the impression of standing beneath a gigantic open umbrella. In the middle of the roof are engravings of Quranic verses on aluminium, inspired by Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. The mosque had undergone major renovations in 1987, replacing the colour of the concrete dome from pink to a more striking green-and-blue.
Today, Masjid Negara continues to stand proud at the heart of Kuala Lumpur – a piece of history among the city’s sleek and modern structures. An underground passage connects the mosque to the railway station, providing easy access to and from any part of the city.