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Sejak 01 Muharam 1428
( 20 Januari 2007 )
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Malay history

Mosque of Sultan Abdurrahman Pontianak

1. The History

The mosque of Sultan Abdurrahman was built in 1771 C.E by Syarif Abdurrahman. The mosque construction was after the establishment of new area named Pontianak. Its history began when a Javanese Arabian missionary, al-Habib Husein, departured for Matan Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, from Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia in 1733 C.E. The king of Matan Kingdom in the time, Sultan Kamaluddin, then appointed him as a Mufti (a Muslim scholar who is commissioned to interpret the shari‘a) of the kingdom. The mufti later on married the daughter of the sultan, Nyai Tua, and they had a son named Syarif Abdurrahman.

Over following years, a dispute occurred between the sultan and al-Habib Husein. Eventually, al-Habib preferred to leave the Kingdom, directed to Mempawah Kingdom and stayed there until the end of his life.

After his death, al-Habib‘s role was played by his son, Syarif Abdurrahman. But in 1771 Syarif decided to leave the Mempawah kingdom to spread Islam in other regions. Accompanied by 14 sailboats, Syarif went along the edge of Kapuas River directing the upstream. It was in October 23, 1771 when Syarif and his accompanists crossed intersecting estuary of the Kapuas River and Landak River. Syarif commanded his accompanists to step up land of the area, they cut trees down to built new settlement named later as Pontianak. A new kingdom, namely Pontianak, then established in the area. Alongside a palace, a mosque also built for the sultan. The mosque‘s roof was woven with palm fronds and its building was made of timber.

Syarif Abdurrahman passed away in the year of 1808 C.E. His young brother, Syarif Kasim, replaced his position temporarily in waiting for a crown prince, Syarif Usman, to grow into an adult. After having matured, the crown prince was crowned as the sultan of the Pontianak Kingdom (1822 – 1855 C.E). Sultan Syarif Usman continued to complete the mosque construction, and eventually the mosque was named Masjid Abdurrahman (Abdurrahman Mosque) as honor and commemoration for his father.

A large yard in front of the mosque resembles alun-alun (town square) in Java. Kraton Kadriyah (Kadriyah Palace) built tens meters at south side of the mosque. Triangular structure (the mosque, palace and alun-alun) is clearly influenced by the Javanese culture.

The mosque, since its establishment, was functioned as a prayer place and a centre for disseminating Islam in the region. Several prominent ulamas such as Muhammad al-Kadri, Habib Abdullah Zawawi, Syech Zawawi, Syech Madani, H. Ismail Jabbar and H. Ismail Kelantan, had ever delivered the Islamic teaching in this mosque.

2. The Location

The mosque was built on the riverbank of Kapuas Kecil. The location was preferred because, as it is estimated, the people came to the mosque by water transportations.

3. The Measure

This part is still in the process of data collecting

4. The Architecture

The square plan of the Sultan Abdurrahman mosque was covered with four tiered roof that is woven with palm fronds. There is a wooden wall that separates between the lowest roof from the upper three tiers. Windows are placed at each side of the wall to allow light entering the central building to be bright in afternoon.

In addition, there is a rectangle porch on the second roof with a guard house at each corner. Therefore there are four guard houses in total. According to local inhabitants, many years ago the guard houses were used as places to announce azan (the Muslim summons to prayer). Another opinion said that the four guard houses symbolized the four recognized Islamic caliphs: Abu Bakar, Umar, Usman and Ali.

The rectangle porch circles a rectangle building stands under the third tier. This tier has also a small building like guard house functioned as a minaret. The minaret‘s roof has four eaves with standing beam formed like “S” (letter), so that the minaret‘s form resembles a bell.

Regarding to elements inside the mosque, a pulpit is shaped as forecastle that its upper end is formed smaller than other parts. The pulpit is modeled to be similar with that of Tanahgrogot mosque in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Additionally, six big columns in the central building support the entire mosque structure. The amount of the columns symbolizes the six principles of Islamic faith.

All the mosque elements, including wall and floor, are made of timber. The architectural style such as kolong (space underneath of stage building) is influenced by local houses and buildings.

5. The Planning

The mosque was built by Syarif Abdurrahman and his followers. But there is no data that mentions clearly who the designer was.

6. The Renovation

This part is still in the process of data collecting. (RI/ter/1/7-07)

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