Weather :

Time Required : 1 - 2 hours

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

Timings : Saturday - Thursday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM,
Friday: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 2:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Masjid Al-Abrar, Singapore Overview

Sitting in a busy corner of Telok Ayer Street in the Chinatown district of Singapore, the Al-Abrar Mosque, more commonly referred to as the Masjid Al-Abrar, is a quaint little mosque built by early Tamilian immigrants. As dawn approaches, the air encompassing the locality is filled with the echoes of the morning prayers originating from inside the Al-Abrar Mosque. In spite of being small, the mosque receives many faithful worshippers who come here on a daily basis to offer their prayers to Allah. It is particularly packed with devotees on Fridays, with people flocking in during the midday prayers.

The pristine mosque used to be a thatched hut when it was first established in 1827, before being replaced with a structure made of bricks between 1850 and 1855. The magnificent Al-Abrar Mosque is also known by its Tamilian name, Kuchu Palli, meaning 'hut mosque'. The simple structure, built upon Indo-Islamic architectural style, is not as large as its counterparts. It is conveniently aligned with the street grid of the locality and takes up the width of the fronts of only three shophouses. Chinatown used to be the locality of the Chulias, a community of people among the first immigrants of Singapore. This is why the Masjid Al-Abrar also earned the name Masjid Chulia. This name is shared by another mosque - Masjid Jamae, located at South Ridge Road, so make sure not to get confused between the two. On 19th November 1974, this humble abode at the heart of Chinatown was honoured as a National Monument.

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Architecture of Masjid Al-Abrar

Standing on 448.7 square metres of land, the Al-Abrar Mosque incorporates a five-foot pavement at its front. True to Indo-Islamic architecture, two tall, octagonal minarets, topped of with the iconic crescent moon and star, a common symbol of Islamic culture, frame the entrance. Between these towering minarets stand two circular minarets, smaller in size, each topped by a small onion dome and a spear. Similar square minarets have been erected at the two extremes, with domes and spears on their tops.

The architectural style also features some neoclassical elements in its interiors like the ornate Doric columns which are lined in its prayer hall. A parapet, embellished with balustrades and friezes, runs across the entire length of the front of the building. A spacious courtyard that used to lie between the prayer hall and the main entrance in the former days has been covered, and a portion of it has been transformed into a gallery. Another storey is added to the one-storied building, along with a jack roof. Renovations of this quaint mosque have resulted in the expansion of the prayer hall and incorporation of French windows. There is a calligraphic inscription above the mihrab of the mosque, which features an extract from the Holy Quran.

Even though the mosque has undergone several major transformations, the architects had taken ideas from the original design to make sure that the new building did not appear too different from the former structure.

History and Heritage

The Tamilian Muslims, known as Chulias, were among the first immigrants to arrive in Singapore. They originally resided near the Coromandel Coast in South India and were mostly professional money lenders or traders. They were the ones to establish a small, thatched hut in 1827 as a place of worship. Two years later, the mosque assembly was granted a lease - valid for 999 years - to set up a mosque on the land it stands today. The trustee for the Tamilian Muslim community, Hadjee Puckery Mohamed Khatib bin Shaik Mydin held the lease and soon after, necessary steps were taken for the reconstruction of the mosque. It was during 1850 - 1855 that it was replaced with a brick building. For several years, the mosque remained as it used to be after being reconstructed.

During 1986 - 1989, the formerly one-storeyed mosque underwent vital renovations costing about SGD 1 million in order to accommodate the exceeding number of worshippers. The building was expanded to include around 800 devotees at a time. After a decade or so, a small shophouse lying next to it was also transformed into a small Madrasa for women. At present, the beautiful mosque is under the care and administration of the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura, or the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.

Best Time to Visit

Being an Islamic place of worship, the best time to visit this mosque is during Eid-ul-Fitr. One can also visit this religious abode during Ramazan or Fateha-doaz-daham when the worshippers are ecstatic in celebration.

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