Built in 1912, Zahir Mosque (Masjid Zahir) is one of the oldest mosques in Malaysia, and has also been voted as one of the world’s top 10 most beautiful mosques. Located in Alor Setar, Kedah, this fascinating architectural heritage is one of the state’s icon and a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those who adore marvellous architectural designs. It is also the venue for the state’s annual Quran reading competition
Zahir Mosque is built on the site of a cemetery for Kedah warriors who died during the Siamese invasion of Kedah in 1821. The most significant feature of the mosque is its signature black domes. The main dome of the mosque is surrounded by five small domes, representing the five pillars of Islam. The design of Zahir Mosque was inspired by Azizi Mosque in North Sumatera. Their similarities are their domes and ornamented walls.
Visitors will definitely be fascinated by the intricate details of Zahir Mosque, especially its double columns and ornamented arches. Its praying hall was designed with a perfect square of 62 feet x 62 feet. Look upwards and you’ll be able to see the inner design of the dome, decorated with carvings of verses from the Holy Quran.
The other five domes are designed on top of an 8 ft wide verandah walkway surrounding the main praying hall, which provides a serene atmosphere for everyone who strolls around the walkway.
Despite being more than 100 years old, Zahir Mosque has only gone through two major renovations, which was in 1960 and 1975.
To enter the mosque, all visitors must be modestly dressed. The shoulders and knees of both genders should be covered, and women are advised to bring along a headscarf to cover their hair when entering the mosque.