Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Masjid Sultan in Singapore

Masjid Sultan
1 N Bridge Rd, Singapore
Tel: +65-6293 4405

The original Masjid Sultan (Sultan's Mosque) was a single-storey building with a double-tiered roof, as other mosques in Tanah Melayu have been built. It was built by Sultan Hussain Shah of Johor. Built around 1824-1826, it was located near Sultan Hussain Shah's palace. The re-construction work to include an annexed double-storey building to house a large prayer hall and its characteristic large onion-shaped dome was completed in 1928. While the rich donated money, the poor collected bottles for the dome's construction. These donated bottles were arranged to form a visible dark ring beneath the dome. Watch the video.

Masjid Sultan, at Muscat Street and North Bridge Road
within the Kampong Glam district of Rochor Planning Area, Singapore.

Masjid Sultan is located in the heart of the Muslim district in Kampung Glam area. This mosque was entrusted to the Malays, Javanese, Bugis, Arabs, Tamils and Northern Indian Muslims who lived around the Kampong Glam area in the past. Owned and managed by Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) now, it became a preserved historical building in 1975 by the Preservation of Monuments Board Act, Singapore. It is now open to tourists.

Sultan Hussein did not pursue any active claim to his sovereignty rights over Johor, even after Temenggong Abdul Rahman died in 1825, and his successor, Temenggong Ibrahim was still a youth at the time of Temenggong Abdul Rahman's passing.

Sultan Hussein and Istana Kampong Gelam -> moved to Malacca -> died & buried in Masjid Tranquera

Sultan Hussein spent much of his time at his Singapore residence in Istana Kampong Glam until 1834, when he moved to Malacca. Reports cited that he was a dispirited man, apparently with the lack of power and authority that he should be accorded as the Sultan. Sultan Hussein later died in September 1835, and was buried in Masjid Tranquera at the wishes of his Sultanah and Abdul Kadir, a Tamil-Muslim Imam.

Istana Kampong Gelam

In Singapore today, only Sultan Hussain's palace and the palace gates remain of that glorious past (communicated to the author, Feb 2011). The palace now houses the Singapore Malay Heritage Society. His palace was relocated to Johor Baru and the Johor Sultanate continued (under the Temenggong Dynasty) at the new place while the British took over Singapore.

Stamford Raffles, Governor of Bencoolen in 1818

In 1818, Sir Stamford Raffles was appointed as the governor of Bencoolen on western Sumatra. He was to look for a better trading post for the British.

Raffles arrived in Singapore in 1819

Raffles' expedition arrived in Singapore on 29 January 1819. He discovered a small Malay settlement at the mouth of Singapore River headed by a Temenggung (governor) of Johor. Though the island was nominally ruled by the sultanate, the political situation there was extremely murky. The incumbent Sultan, Tengku Abdul Rahman, was under the influence of the Dutch and the Bugis and would therefore never agree to a British base in Singapore.

Raffles dealt with Hussein Shah

Upon learning of the political tensions in Johor, Raffles made a deal with Hussein Shah. Their agreement stated that the British would acknowledge Hussein Shah as the legitimate ruler of Johor, and thus Tengku Hussein and the Temenggung would receive a yearly stipend from the British. In return, Tengku Hussein would allow Raffles to establish a trading post in Singapore. This treaty was ratified on 6 February 1819.

Raffles selected Sultan Hussain Shah of Johor as the Ruler of Singapore. In 1819, Singapore was ceded to the British and in return, the Sultan and his Temenggong were each paid a stipend.

Anglo-Dutch Treaty 1824

With the Temenggung's help, Raffles managed to smuggle Hussein Shah, then living in exile on one of the Riau Islands, back into Singapore. The Dutch were extremely displeased with Raffles' action. Tensions between the Dutch and British over Singapore persisted until 1824, until they signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty. Under the terms of that treaty, the Dutch officially withdrew their opposition to the British presence in Singapore. The treaty has the effect of carving the Johor Empire into two spheres of influence; modern Johor under the British and the new Sultanate of Riau under the Dutch. The treaty was concluded in London, between the British and the Dutch, effectively break up of the Johor-Riau Empire into two. - Wikipedia