Islamic Architectures From Around The World: Grand Mosque of West Sumatra - Indonesia

Updated: 6 days ago

Join us in recognizing one of the winners of the Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture.


The Grand Mosque of West Sumatra, also known in Indonesia as Masjid Raya Sumatera Barat is situated in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. It happens to be the largest Mosque in West Sumatra and the second largest in Sumatra.





Before approving the design of the Mosque, West Sumatra’s regional government had conducted a competition to identify the winning design for their future Mosque. The competition had 323 participants from all over the world. Rizal Muslimin, a local architect, was selected as the winner of the 2007 competition, and he proceeded to design the Mosque. SubhanAllah, fourteen years later, his design was once again recognized on a global stage by winning the Abdullatif Al Fozan Award or AFAMA for Mosque architecture in the 21st Century. This award showcases the work and design of Mosques from countries with a Muslim population.


Construction of the Mosque began on December 27, 2007, and was completed on February 7, 2014, due to budget restrictions. The regional government, local people, private companies, and even foreign governments helped make this Mosque a reality. The Saudi government provided 50 million dollars for the Mosque's construction in 2009; however, this coincided with the 2009 West Sumatra earthquakes. Thus, the funds were diverted to the rehabilitation of earthquake victims and the restoration of West Sumatra. The Turkish government donated rugs to the Mosque in 2014.



The majestic Mosque was designed to resist large earthquakes, having a concrete construction that can move back and forth with the ground while remaining stable and without collapsing. The Mosque's most distinguishing feature is its roof, a modern rendition of the traditional top of Minangkabau vernacular dwellings. The roof concept of the building mixes traditional architecture, local textile culture, and a well-known Islamic narrative, which is worth mentioning here since it provides the very essence of the Mosque's design.


When the Prophet PBUH was 35 years old, before being a Messenger of Allah SWT, He was asked to resolve the Qurayshi elders' disagreement about the best manner to move the Black Stone to its current location in Mecca.


Quraysh had to rebuild the Kaaba because it was not in excellent shape due to many cracks. They were initially scared to demolish it, fearing Allah's punishment. Still, Al Waleed ibn Al Mugheerah took an ax and started the demolition, but he kept saying, "Oh Allah, we only intend to do good."




They rebuilt the Kaaba using only pure money. They divided the Kaaba into parts and gave each Qurayshi tribe a portion to rebuild. Then, they disagreed about who would get the honor to put the Black Stone, Al-Hajr Al-Aswad, back. They were on the verge of a serious conflict, but Abu Umayyah, the oldest amongst them, suggested that they would listen to the first person who entered the precincts of the Kaaba and would abide by his suggestion. Allah SWT made Prophet Muhammad PBUH be the person to enter.


Quraysh called Prophet Muhammad Al Sadiq Al Ameen, truthful and trustworthy, so they were happy to see that He would be the one to decide on the issue. The Prophet PBUH removed his turban, placing the fabric on the floor. He put the Black Stone on the cloth and instructed them to carry it by grasping its four corners. The four Qurayshi clan leaders moved the stone by stretching the turban in four directions, resolving the conflict.


Cloth is one of the most renowned local cultural artifacts in Sumatra. Sumatran woven textiles, known as "Songket," are among Indonesia's best textiles. The designer of the Mosque was able to incorporate cloth into the roof's design as a way of representing the fabric that the Quraysh tribe's four clan heads used to hoist the Black Stone to its current location in Mecca. The four corners of the roof of the Mosque are shaped like a "gonjong," as found in traditional Minangkabau houses.


With an area of more than 40.000m², the Mosque has three levels and can accommodate 20,000 people. The ground floor has a prayer room, ablution area, and parking space. The other two levels house the prayer areas. The Mihrab resembles the shape of the Black Stone with the roof engraved with the names of Asma-u-Allah AlHusna in gold but on a white background.


The Grand Mosque of West Sumatra successfully integrated its purpose as an architectural structure that expresses its spirituality by adding elements of the local culture. Despite being a place for worship, the Mosque's uniqueness and splendor have attracted many tourists.


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