Masjid Istiqlal, Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta Indonesia
Istiqlal Mosque, or Masjid Istiqlal, (Independence Mosque) in Jakarta, Indonesia is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia in term of capacity to accommodate people. However in term of building structure and land coverage, Istiqlal is the largest in Southeast Asia. This national mosque of Indonesia was build to commemorate Indonesian independence, as nation’s gratitude for God’s blessings; the independence of Indonesia. Therefore the national mosque of Indonesia was named “Istiqlal”, an Arabic word for “Independence”.
The rectangular main prayer hall building is covered by a 45 meter diameter central spherical dome. The dome is supported by twelve round columns and the prayer hall is surrounded by rectangular piers carrying four levels of balcony. Staircases at the corners of the building give access to all floors. The main hall is reached through an entrance covered by a dome 10 meters in diameter. The interior design is minimalist, simple and clean cut, with minimal adornment of aluminium geometric ornaments. The 12 columns are covered with aluminium plates. On the main wall on qibla there is a mihrab and minbar in the center. On the main wall, there is a large metalwork of Arabic calligraphy spelling the name of Allah on the right side and Muhammad on the left side, and also the calligraphy of Surah Thaha 14th verse in the center.
The interior of Istiqlal mosque; the grand domed prayer hall supported by 12 columns
The latter structure is directly connected to the arcades which run around the large courtyard. The mosque also provides facilities for social and cultural activities, including lectures, exhibitions, seminars, conferences, bazaars and programmes for women, young people and children.
Some Muslims in Indonesia said Istiqlal’s dome and minaret structure was too Arabic in style. They regarded the architecture as being out of harmony with the Islamic culture and architecture in Indonesia. In response, former president Suharto began an initiative to construct more mosques of the Javanese triple-roofed design