The Literature, Culture and Society of Singapore
The Front Gate of Masjid Al-Abrar, 2000

The Front Gate of Masjid Al-Abrar, 2000

Masjid Al-Abrar on Telok Ayer Street in Chinatown, next to a Chinese temple was one of the earliest mosques built in Singapore. The mosque was built by the Chulia community. This community of South Indian Muslims from the Coromandel Coast of Southeast India, was one of Singapore's first group of migrants, and they came mainly for trade. Masjid Jamae is another nearby historic mosque built by them which is located next to a Hindu temple. This pattern of building reflected the diverse mix of cultures of 19th century residents of Singapore.

Masjid Al-Abrar is sometimes known as Masjid Chulia or Kuchu Palli (the latter means small mosque in Tamil). The present mosque erected between 1850 to 1855 is believed to have replaced an earlier mosque - a thatched hut built in 1827. Its Indian-styled front entrance faces the main street, however the plan of the mosque slants to one side, in the direction of Mecca.

Exhibition is on at the Asian Civilisations Museum till 31 December 2002. This document is part of a joint project of the Asian Civilisations Museum and the University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore. The image and accompanying text appear here with the kind permission of the Asian Civilisations Museum.

Asian Civilisations Museum University Scholars Programme

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Last updated: February 2002