The origin of the Chinese Muslim culture in Malaysia dates back to the Ming Dynasty over 600 years ago, with the arrival of the renowned Admiral Zheng He, locally known as ‘Laksamana Cheng Ho’, who was a Yunnanese Muslim. Located at Taman Tasek Jaya, Ipoh, the Muhammadiah Mosque derives its name from the surau (a smaller mosque) previously built in the same location by the late Tuan Haji Abdul Latif bin Haji Mohd Kasim and his seven friends in 1978.
The idea to build a Chinese Muslim mosque in Ipoh was conceived by the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (MACMA) Ipoh. Prior to its construction, there wasn’t any other mosque like it in the state of Perak, although the Indian Muslim and Pakistani Mosques were already in existence.
What’s iconic about the Muhammadiah Mosque isn’t just its pioneering status. Its stunning architecture, incorporating Chinese motifs and structures, sets it apart from other mosques. From a distance, you can already observe the large, magnificent red pillars and paifang roof- tower decorated with green Chinese ornaments, seemingly transporting you to the Song Dynasty in China.
As you approach the entrance of the mosque, you will come across an imposing red door with Chinese calligraphies displayed on either side, while the legend ‘Masjid Muhammadiah’ in both Roman script and Chinese characters appears just above the doorway. Interestingly, the Chinese decorations you see on the roof do not depict the lotus flowers commonly used in traditional Chinese designs. Instead, the rooftop is adorned with brightly coloured decorative images of the hibiscus or bunga raya, the national flower of Malaysia.
Within the courtyard of this beautiful mosque you will find a pond with a fountain in the middle, located at the back of the mosque, lending an atmosphere of serenity and peace to the place. Due to its unique architectural concept, Muhammadiah Mosque not only functions as a place of worship for Muslims but is alsofast becoming a tourist attraction, drawing people of all races and religions from all over Malaysia and around the world. This very mosque has been selected as one of the mosques to visit under the Perak Mosque Trail, a new Islamic tourism product that enables tourists to appreciate the uniqueness of the Chinese Muslim heritage and other cultures through the architectural designs of the state’s mosques.