Credits: Masjid Abdul Gafoor
Did you know that tucked away amidst shophouses in the historic Little India district, stands a charming mosque full of history?
Masjid Abdul Gafoor, was previously known as Masjid Al-Abrar, and served mainly the Tamil and Baweanese migrants in the past. It was later renamed after one of its two early trustees, Sheikh Abdul Gafoor bin Sheikh Haider, in memory of his contribution to the mosque.
The current building was constructed in 1907 – which makes it one of the oldest mosque building in Singapore – and it served many generations of Muslims in the area.
In 1998, when authorities wanted to upgrade the mosque, a long-forgotten basement was rediscovered when the mosque’s original building plans were found. Previously, it had been mistaken for just a pile of earth. It is still unknown how the basement became hidden, but this newly found space allows the mosque to accommodate 600 extra congregants.
In 1979, the mosque was designated a Singapore national monument.
Architecturally, it is an eclectic mix of Islamic and Western elements.
Among its Islamic features are its cinquefoil arches and the heavy mouldings along the verandahs of the prayer hall. These features are juxtaposed with numerous ancient Greek-inspired pilasters.
Today, Masjid Abdul Gafoor serves a mixture of Tamil and English-speaking congregants. It is one of the few mosques that hold religious sermons in Tamil language.
Find out more about the uniqueness of Masjid Abdul Gafoor in this episode of Seeking Spaces!
Note: Due to the mosque currently undergoing upgrading works, Masjid Abdul Gafoor will remain closed during this Phase 2 of Singapore’s reopening.
Seeking Spaces is a series where we explore exciting less known stories of our local mosques, madrasah and wakaf buildings.
Though mosques are slowly reopening post circuit breaker, the number of mosque congregants today are very limited, to curb close contacts amongst individuals, whilst maintaining hygiene and safe management practices. Mosque-based classes and efforts to seek funds from the public have also moved online.
Our mosques need our support more than ever now.
Let’s do our part to support our mosques, especially those who’ve been hit harder than the rest. Show your support by contributing via ourmasjid.sg. May Allah reward your generosity towards building mosques for our community insyaAllah!