Masjid Sultan or Sultan Mosque is the oldest mosque in Singapore. Built in the 1820s, it was named after Sultan Hussein Shah who built it. Stamford Raffles made a contribution of 3000 Spanish dollars to its first building. It was gazetted as a national monument in 14 March 1975 but still operates as a fully functioning place of worship for Muslims in Singapore.
It is popular with locals and gets very crowded especially on Fridays during the mass prayer time. It is also a popular tourist destination and provides excellent guides who will entertain you with the history of the mosque and information on Islamic religion and culture. Shoes are not permitted in the mosque and visitors should dress appropriately to enter. It is recommended that shoulders and legs must be covered to enter the mosque but overalls are provided for visitors without appropriate dressing. Video cameras are also not allowed in the mosque.
The Sultan Mosque may look big and magnificent but is nothing compared to the original Sultan Mosque. The current Sultan Mosque was rebuilt in the 1920s after it became too small and dilapidated for the Islamic community in Singapore. Architect Danis Sentry who adopted an Indo-Saracenic or Indo-Gothic style designed it.
Other than the traditional gold onion dome, minarets and balustrades are included in the architecture. Notice the ring below the big gold onion dome, which is made up of dark soya sauce bottles. The domes and prayer hall are features of Sultan Mosque. The prayer hall consists of two levels and can house up to 5000 people in the vicinity. Men pray on the first level while women pray on the second.
It has a simplistic design decorated only with Islamic calligraphy as is required by religion. The prayer hall is also fully carpeted, donated to the mosque by Saudi Arabia's royal family. It has a quiet and serene ambience.
Non-Muslims are not permitted entry into the prayer hall but tourists can view it from the various entrances. Take note of the small chandelier at the end of the prayer hall, it is antique and an original furnishing from the first Sultan mosque.