Our trip to Malaysia was chock-full of cultural experiences. Between our museum trips, the Kampung Baru walking tour, and other things I’ll share over the next few weeks, we did our best to immerse ourselves in Malay culture and heritage. When I think about our time in Kuala Lumpur, one of my favorite experiences has to be visiting the National Mosque of Malaysia (Masjid Negara).
Getting Inside Masjid Negara:
We visited the National Mosque on our third day in Kuala Lumpur, after exploring the National Museum of Malaysia and the Islamic Arts Museum.
The mosque is only open to non-Muslims at specific times during the day, and because we ended our time at the museums a little bit earlier in the day, we had about an hour before we were allowed inside the mosque.
About 20 minutes before our time slot was open, a long line of tourists had already formed, so we found a place in line and waited to sign in and get our robes. Once they started to let our group in, they asked for our names and country of origin, and handed out long purple robes for anyone that needed them. Because Caleb is a man, he was able to enter the complex with his normal clothes (long pants and short sleeved shirt), but as a woman, I was required to cover my entire body, including my head. We both were required to take off our shoes at the mosque entrance.
David the Tour Guide:
Once we checked in, we walked up a set of stairs that brought us to the main floor where the temple is. We walked around, marveled at the giant white minaret surrounded by water, and then headed over to the main prayer hall.
Of course, we were not allowed inside the prayer hall, but we were able to observe others praying (salah). The prayer hall is a huge room with large doors Right outside of the prayer hall, there was a table with different information pamphlets, and a volunteer named David approached us to talk to us about the mosque and Islam. Caleb had been to a mosque before, and had studied more in depth about Islam, but I had a lot of questions that David was able to answer for me.
Why should other travelers visit the mosque?
As a Christian who grew up in small-town America, I came across a lot of fear regarding the Islamic faith and the Muslim people. I knew a few families that chose to shield their children from learning about other religions, which ended up causing a lot of misunderstanding and ignorance.
However, the more that we travel and see the world, I’ve come to believe the only way to truly connect with other people is to try and understand what they believe and where they come from. Even if you disagree completely with another people group or religion, you should still feel motivated to step out of your comfort zone and show others that you care about what makes them unique and important.
We went primarily because it was something else to see in Kuala Lumpur and because we wanted to appreciate the beautiful architecture. But we both left the mosque feeling more knowledgable and understanding of the country that we were in.
Whether or not you are of the Islamic faith, we both feel that anyone can appreciate the beauty and care that is put into creating and maintaining the mosque, and is a great experience for anyone that’s interested in learning more about a different religion.
|Price||Monday – Sunday Hours||Friday Hours (only)|
|FREE!||9:00 a.m. – 12 p.m., 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.||3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.|
Women should wear long pants, long sleeves, and cover their heads. If you don’t have appropriate clothing, the mosque does have robes available to use. Just be aware that the lines can get long, and there is the possibility that you’ll have to wait (or return at a different time) to be let in if you don’t have your own coverings.