Masjid Al-Abrar in Chinatown


Masjid Al-Abrar in Chinatown is one of the ancient mosques in Singapore which is located along Telok Ayer Street of the island's central business district,Chinatown. Interestingly, the mosque is known by three names: Masjid Al-Abrar, Kuchu Palli and Masjid Chulia. Al-Abrar and the last one is the official name. It was in 1850- 1855 when a brick building was constructed in Masjid Al-Abrar. Prior to that construction, worshipers used to carry out their prayers and other religious activities under thatched huts. The mosque was a one- storey prayer hall in Indian-Islamic style which seemed to be too simple in comparison with its other counterparts in Singapore.

Even the frontage which is bordered by four minaret towers were also not decorative. One would have only noticed a small onion dome on the top of each tower. Masjid Al-Abrar in Chinatown remained in this form for more than a century with some minor repairs between 1950 and 1980.

It was only in 29th November 1974 when Masjid Al-Abrar in Chinatown got the recognition of a national monument.

Let us take a look at the architectural changes that took place after getting the recognition as a national monument in Masjid Al-Abrar in Chinatown:
Now the parapet runs across the whole length of the frontage instead of getting restricted only to the central bay.
The plain courtyard that used to lie between the entrance gate and the prayer hall is now a gallery extension.

The single-storeyed prayer hall is now being extended to two- storeys.
A gallery on the upper floor with a huge jack roof is a new attraction.
The designers have given a new look to Masjid Al-Abrar in Chinatown without affecting the religious sentiments and heritage of the mosque.

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