Monday, November 21, 2016

Greetings from Paris Van Java


Assalamualaikum warahmatullah
Just a quick greeting, hoping your Monday is ok. My Monday is A-ok cos I have been busy holidaying and seeking knowledge in beautiful Indonesia. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Of course, most of you know Bandung whose nickname is Paris Van Java is a city well known for its factory outlets, great food, volcanoes and cool weather. It's the capital of West Java province, Indonesia. Bandung is about 150 km southeast of Jakarta. It's been two decades since I last visited Indonesia! It was for a conference in Purwakarta, which is midway between Jakarta and Bandung. 

OK, I don't intend to bore you with another typical Bandung-trip story. Don't have plenty of spare time to write a lengthy posting. Just wanted to share some photos of mine taken at two special places in Bandung and in Cimahi (outskirt of Bandung).

Masjid Raya Bandung (below pic) is Bandung's central mosque. The mosque is indeed inviting and visitor-friendly not just for adults but also school children. Thanks to the huge compound in front of the mosque's entrance where kids could play joyfully and adults bask in Bandung's lovely climate. 

What you see is just one third of the field.
This mosque is arguably the one and only mosque in Asia that has got the biggest playground. 
I have had all kinds of pleasant moments in this chilly city, but one chance meeting (or rather a fated encounter) at Masjid Raya Bandung shall remain the best highlight of my trip. I think that's the beauty of brotherhood in Islam. It's wonderful to have an old pious-looking woman, not only greet you but unexpectedly hug you, kiss you and make a lengthy duá for you, voluntarily. She's old and looked a little frail, yet energetic enough to travel from Cimahi to Masjid Raya Bandung, to pray and attend a class, twice a week. She's a senior tholabul ilmi (seeker of knowledge). She exuded a brilliant aura, almost angelical in her speech and demeanor. MashaAllah tabarakallah. Pray we will meet again someday. Ameen. When that happens, let's call it a miracle because I doubt I got her address correctly, due to her heavy Indonesian accent. We shall see.

Another unique discovery was a minimalist yet extraordinary mosque near Cimahi: Masjid Al-Irshad Satya at Kota Baru Parahyangan. 

We are all used to seeing/visiting elaborate mosques in all corners of the world. But I must say Masjid Al-Irshad is in a different league as far as mosque architecture is concerned. Imagine the imam leading prayers facing a fish pond that overlooks to the farthest horizon beyond a specially crafted Allah-globe, reminding a worshiper of the aim of his/her worship. 

The unconventional open air mihrab at Masjid Al-Irshad Satya,
Kota Baru Parahyangan, Indonesia.
I vote Masjid Al-Irshad as the most Zen-like mosque
in the whole wide world!
The perimeter walls of the simple square mosque are specially constructed depicting the kalimah La ilaha illallah. And the ceiling lights that you see in below photo are actually 99 Names of Allah. Each light has got a carving of each of the 99 Asmaul Husna. I wish I had taken a better shot of the lights. Anyhow, it's evident that this mosque is one of a kind.

Notice how the building is "wrapped" with La ila ha illAllah.
99 Asmaul Husna ceiling lights adorn Masjid Al-Irshad, Indonesia.
Notice that glorious flood of natural lights
coming through the "open-air mihrab".
It takes a graceful soul to design such an elegant mosque.
Kudos to the architect and all the craftsmen involved in its construction. 
OK folks until the next posting, wish you all a stress-free and productive Monday. I cherish spending Monday far...far... away from my office. LOL.

Alhamdulillahi hamdan yuwafi ni'amahu 
wa yukafi u mazidah.

Next stops: Surabaya and Jakarta InshaAllah

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