A little gem of a mosque nestled in the quiet Telok Kurau neighborhood and one of my favorites if not my favorite mosque. Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique is indeed very special and very dear to me. The mosque was built in recognition of the great Dai’e of Islam Moulana Shah Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddique Al-Qaderi who tirelessly throughout his life traveled around the world spreading the message of Islam in the best of manners. Singapore was blessed with his visit in 1930 and even till today we live in his legacy as his good work continues to benefit the community. Moulana Shah Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddique Al-Qaderi in his time in Singapore established the All-Malaya Muslim Missionary Society, now known as Jamiyah and laid the foundations for the Inter-Religious Organization (IRO).
Built in 1954 and rebuilt in 2005, Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique now greets us with it beautiful white facade. Above its main entrance there is a beautiful piece of calligraphy that conveys the very basic message of Islam, the message of tauheed, that there is no other deity except Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger, reminding all those that enter the mosque.
Above the main entrance we see the mosque’s minaret also intricately carved and adorned with beautiful calligraphy that bears the name of the al-Khulafā’u r-Rāshidūn, The Rightly Guided Calips, Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (R.A), Sayyidina Umar al-Khattab (R.A), Sayyidina Uthman ibn Affan and Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib, all heroes of Islam and each had an intimate relationship with our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). I cannot help but feel small and lacking in so much when I looked upon the names of these great men on the minaret, of their sacrifice and their dedication to the Deen and their loyalty to the Prophet (peace be upon him). These are special men, specially chosen by the Prophet to be part of his mission to establish Islam all those centuries ago. It is quite fitting, in my opinion, that their names are on the minaret of the mosque and it is quite unique in Singapore. InsyaAllah, it will serve to remind us of the Prophet (peace be upon him), his struggles and the men whom he chose to be by his side.
The inside of the mosque reflects the purity of Islam. It’s white walls with calligraphy of the Asma Ul Husna, the 99 attributes of Allah, flanking the mihrab on both sides, beautifully plastered. The mihrab itself, a semi-circle niche into the wall is beautifully carved with miniature half domes reminding me of Moorish design elements in al-Andalus. It wasn’t really a surprise when I found out that the man responsible for the design and calligraphy throughout the mosque was from Morocco. Across the half domed ceiling of the mihrab, again we see the fundamental creed of all Muslims, the kalimah of Islam, لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله, declaring to all that there is no other deity except Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger. Perhaps there is a symbolic meaning to all this. As the mihrab in a mosque indicates the qibla, the direction of prayer, it is naturally the main focal point of a mosque. The kalimah within the mihrab to me symbolizes how the kalimah tauheed is the focal point of a Muslim just as the mihrab is the focal point of the mosque. Carved above the mihrab is a beautiful calligraphy carving of an even more beautiful and powerful verse of the Qur’an, 2:144, that reads,
“We have seen the turning of thy face to heaven (for guidance, O Muhammad). And now verily We shall make thee turn (in prayer) toward a qiblah which is dear to thee. So turn thy face toward the Inviolable Place of Worship, and ye (O Muslims), wheresoever ye may be, turn your faces (when ye pray) toward it. Lo! Those who have received the Scripture know that (this revelation) is the Truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do.”
An apt verse indeed as those in the mosque face towards the qibla.
As we look up towards the ceiling in the prayer hall, we see the dome of the mosque, simple but beautifully carved. Along the base of the dome reads another verse from the Holy Qur’an that is again hauntingly relevant, speaking to congregation below it. The verse, 62:9-10 reads,
O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah: and celebrate the Praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper.
The truth that verse speaks of is demonstrated weekly for the last decade at Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique as every Friday, Muslims gather as Allah has commanded, leaving their worldly concerns behind in submission and remembrance of their Lord and Creator and returning back to work seeking the rizq that He has set aside for them in this world.
I cannot help right now but say how apt and relevant these verses of the Qur’an are to the worshiper in the mosque and how the worshiper himself is proof of the truth of these verses. سبحان الله.
At the other corner of the mosque, carved into the base of the ceiling are 34 names of our beloved master and prophet, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) derived from both the Qur’an and Hadith compiled by Imam al-Jazuli in Dalail al-Khayrat.
Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique places the worshiper in a place of remembrance of his Lord and Creator. Before he enters, he sees the kalimah and is reminded of his creed and on the minaret he is again reminded of those who have given so much to establish the Deen. The white colour of the inside seems to symbolically places the worshiper in a place of purity. The verses reminds him of Allah’s commands flanked by His 99 beautiful attributes, the worshiper cannot help but feel humbled. When he turns, he sees the names of the our blessed master and Prophet, the beloved of Allah and mercy not to just mankind but to all of creation. Everywhere he look the worshiper is reminded of Allah. The green grass peeking through at clear glass panels at the bottom of the wall with the Asma Ul Husna provides for a beautiful contrast but also that Allah’s ayat or signs are everywhere, in His beautiful names and also in His creation all around us.
Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique is quite dear to me. I remembered as a student in St Patrick’s, after Victoria School opened right beside Masjid Kampung Siglap, I made the decision to do my Friday prayers at Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique. I would quickly have my lunch at school and then rush down to the mosque so that I could have some time to nap before prayers proper, the mosque was air-conditioned (it was before the renovation, it still air-conditioned now) and it was very comfortable.
I remembered coming early one time and then seeing the mosque officials escorting a bearded man in a turban and I remembered he then delivered the khutbah that Friday. As the bilal was reciting the selawat on Friday, the bearded man exclaimed in excitement and praise us for reciting the selawat and also his dismay as some mosques do not recite it anymore. I found out later that he was Shekih Hisham Kabbani, quite an experience that was.
Khutbah’s at Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique has always been special. Alhamdulillah I was at the mosque on Friday to take these pictures with Ismail and we had the opportunity to preform our Friday prayers at the mosque. It was a moving experience, that Imam delivered the khutbah with such sincerity and emotion that it shook me inside. Also in the khutbah, he made doa for the al-Khulafā’u r-Rāshidūn, mentioning each and every one of them specifically with all their titles. I miss that in the khutbah actually, most mosques in Singapore would just quickly mention them in a single breath. He then mentioned in the doa the names of all the 10 companions that have been promised paradise, the wives of the Prophet, the Prophet’s daughter and grandchildren. I felt myself shrinking, I felt so small and insignificant as these great heroes of Islam were mentioned. This is what I love most about Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique, the khutbah is not merely read but it is delivered from the heart of khatib to the heart of the congregation.
If there is a mosque i truly love it would be Masjid Abdul Aleem Siddique. The memories and the experiences I had there and I hope to create, I know, will stay with me forever insyaAllah.
Note: Syukran to Mr. Nassir, the former mosque manager at the time of the mosque’s reconstruction for highlighting an error in our write up. At the corner of the mosque, are not the names of the Messengers of Islam (peace be upon them) but is actually 34 names of our beloved master Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) compiled by Imam al-Jazuli in Dalail al-Khayrat. Alhamdulillah =)