Istiqlal Mosque, Symbol of Indonesian Independence
In 1953, precisely after independence, Islamic leaders gathered to spark the idea of establishing a mosque. At that time, Islamic figures such as Wahid Hasyim, Agus Salim, Anwar Tjokroaminoto, and various other elements of society gathered with the main goal of establishing a mosque as a symbol of Indonesia's independence. A year later, on December 7, 1954, a foundation was formed which functioned as a committee to establish a mosque. Previously, the name istiqlal was agreed as the name of the mosque, which in Arabic means independence.
The Istiqlal Mosque Foundation then held a contest to get an ideal mosque design that could represent Indonesian independence. The contest which was held in 1955 gathered 30 participants, but only 27 participants included a picture. After being selected again, 22 eligible participants were gathered. From these 22 participants, 5 of the best were chosen. Finally the choice fell into the architect of a bloody Batak named Frederich Silaban. Interestingly, Frederich Silaban is actually a Christian.
The construction of the Istiqlal mosque took up to 17 years. The construction of this mosque was counted since 1961 during the Sukarno government and was completed in 1978 during the Soeharto era. In general, the Istiqlal Mosque stands on an area of 9.5 hectares. The area includes the mosque building, garden, parking lot, and fountain pond. The mosque building itself consists of several parts, including the main building, the preliminary building, giant terrace, tower, and the ground floor.
The main floor of the Istiqlal Mosque can accommodate up to 16,000 worshipers. Meanwhile, on the right, left, and back sides there is a 5-storey floor that can accommodate pilgrims up to 61,000 people. On the main floor of the mosque there are 12 pillars, the number represents the date of birth of the prophet Muhammad SAW which is 12 Rabi'ul Awwal. The pillars support the main dome of the mosque which is 45 meters in diameter as a reminder of the independence of Indonesia. On its side was written a chair verse and a letter from Al-Ikhlas.
The front of the main floor of the mosque is decorated with marble and calligraphy. While the left and right there are lafadz Allah and Muhammad. In another room, to be exact in the middle, there is a two-sentence calligraphy of the shahada, just below it is the mihrab and pulpit which are commonly used during Friday prayers or Eid prayers. At the back of the main floor that is included in the main building section there is a preliminary building, this building serves as a connecting floor above.
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