Situated on the southern bank of the Singapore River, Kampong Malacca was designated for Muslims by Sir Stamford Raffles in his 1822 Town Plan. As a result, Arabs, Jawi-Peranakans, Indonesians and Malays gravitated there. Its heritage is reflected in the colourfully diverse architectural styles that can be found in the area, some of which are still evident today.
Syed Omar bin Ali Aljunied, an Arab merchant from Palembang, was the mosque's founder. His son, Syed Abdullah bin Omar Aljunied, was responsible for the 1855 rebuilding of the mosque. The Aljunied family's contribution to Singapore was not insignificant. Among the three wealthiest Arab families in Singapore — the other two being the Alkaffs and the Alsagoffs — the Aljunieds were philanthropists, generously supporting schools, hospitals and mosques, as well as sponsoring religious events. Their contributions are recognised not only in the naming of Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka after its founder but also in the naming of Syed Alwi Road in Serangoon and Aljunied Road in Aljunied.
The original structure was a temporary timber building, which was torn down and replaced by a brick mosque in 1855. This reconstruction coincided with the laying of a new road through Kampong Malacca which brought worshippers from the surrounding area. With a bigger congregation, the timber mosque became insufficient and a larger, sturdier brick structure was built to better serve the mosque's growing needs.
In 1981-1982, after almost a hundred years of use, the 1855 mosque was in great need of reconstruction. All this time, Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka, unlike other mosques in Singapore, had no minaret. It was only in 1985 that a tall minaret with a small roof dome was added at the entrance of the mosque.
Today, the mosque is in much the same state as it was after the last reconstruction — a simple building that is well complemented by its surrounding space. With a capacity to seat 1,000 people, it is the focal point for office workers during daily and Friday prayers.
Read more about this topic: Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka
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