The Literature, Culture and Society of Singapore


Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka, 1999
Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka, 1999
Friday prayers at Masjid Darul Ghufran, 2001
Friday prayers at Masjid Darul Ghufran, 2001


The origin of the word 'mosque' can be traced back to the Spanish word mezquita, and ultimately to the Arabic word masjid, which literally means 'place of prostration'. The practice of placing one's forehead to the ground for Allah, or prostration, is a part of the Muslim prayer.

The mosque is more than just a place of worship. Since the beginning of Islam, it has been a place for the community to gather, a place of learning, and also a place where food and shelter have been provided to travelers or the needy.

There are around 68 mosques in Singapore today. This number changes as old mosques are demolished or redeveloped and new mosques are built. The older mosques were erected mainly as places for worship and although the prayer hall is still the main space of new mosques today, ancillary spaces such as classrooms and an auditorium are now also built.

Exhibition is on at the Asian Civilisations Museum till 31 December 2002. This document is part of a joint project of the Asian Civilisations Museum and the University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore. The images and accompanying text appear here with the kind permission of the Asian Civilisations Museum.

Asian Civilisations Museum University Scholars Programme

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Last updated: February 2002