Malaysia

Off the Tourist Track: Visiting the Federal Territory Mosque in Kuala Lumpar

VISITING THE FEDERAL TERRITORY MOSQUE IN KUALA LUMPAR

Living in London for several years and having the rest of Europe at my doorstep meant I was constantly on the move- travelling to new cities to discover new-to-me cultures, cuisines, drinks, and of course, historical landmarks. In Europe, this often meant visiting at least one cathedral in each city.

Planning a long-term trip to SE Asia, I was excited for the experience of visiting more temples than I’d seen on prior visits to Hong Kong or Japan.

And thus far, no place has disappointed. The temples of Thailand, in particular, are something I’ll always be in awe of.

Planning my time in Malaysia, I read a few tips that suggested setting aside time for visiting the Federal Territory Mosque in Kuala Lumpar.

Never having visited a mosque, I was intrigued.

With Muslim friends, I understand the basics of the religion, but for whatever reason, had never taken time to seek out or visit mosques to learn more.

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Learning the Federal Territory Mosque was near my Airbnb, I decided to commit to visiting. If nothing else, I reasoned, I’d learn more about Islam, and that was reason enough to go.

The architecture of the Wilayah Mosque, also known as the Federal Territory Mosque, is inspired by the Blue Mosque of Istanbul in Turkey.

Besides being a beautiful building, the mosque welcomes visitors every day for free tours.

If you’re a woman, you can head to the visitor centre for a robe and burka to wear during your tour- they’re free to borrow. I arrived right before afternoon prayer and was invited to watch from the back of the mosque.

Such a special experience.

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After prayer was finished, a kind woman led me around the mosque, telling me about the history of Islam, answering questions I had, and introducing me to a few other people so I could meet more of the mosque’s community.

The people I spent a little over an hour chatting with were some of the kindest people I’ve met- keen to answer questions, and eager to tell me more about the great programs their mosque puts on to help the community.

I visited Federal Territory two days after the horrific terror attack at a mosque in New Zealand. It’s unimaginable to think about the people I met being attacked while worshipping. It’s just feels unfathomable.

The tour ended up being one of my favourite parts of my visit to KL, and my travels in SE Asia. Carving out time to do something off the typical tourist path was every bit as great as I’d hoped it would be.

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