Hold that moment

I am one of those lucky ones who have all the windows in the house facing a mosque. It is the atypical, contemporary Singaporean mosque – built from the thousands of contributions from the half a million Muslims or so here, along with 67 others around the island-republic.Its design is modern – with clean and straight lines contouring the edges and large, flat blue slabs plastering its facade. There is nothing curvy about Darul Ghufran, very unlike the usual Moorish architecture that often draw gasps of oohs and aahs from observers. There is nothing historical about its design too, just a functional piece of work designed by an architect salaried by the Housing Development Board, and built for 4,000 Muslims residing in good ol’ Tampines. Very Singapore, if you ask me.

There was something about it today that made me almost cry, however. I rushed home early from Oak 3 just so that I will not miss the Eid takbir with my mother, which I painfully missed during Hari Raya Puasa eve. I was fussing about in the kitchen when the first melodious sound of the Takbir came cascading out of the mosque’s speaker system at maghrib, and I was stumped.

It was a strange feeling. I have heard this same Takbir before, from the same mosque every Raya eve. On some years, I was also in the congregation takbir-ing together with the jemaah. Yet, this year the takbir seems louder,and poignant. I looked hard at the mosque’s blue minaret resting against a reddish sky, and watched the clouds slowly pass above the looming tower as the Takbir resonates God’s beauty. It was so magical. It was, as they say – a moment.

In ancient Sanskrit philosophy, reality is a string of moments sewn together. I felt that I was trapped in time when the moment of awe struck me earlier, and therefore, it did not feel like reality. It felt surreal, and I am not very sure why but I sure felt lucky.

The flat design of Darul Ghufran beat the day I witnessed the majestic dome of the Mahram Al Reza in Iran, the too-huge Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the hundreds of staircases of Sagrada Familia, the famed Catholic church built by Gaudi in Spain, the rustic Jumeira Mosque in Dubai, the very pink and pretty Masjid Putra in Putrajaya, and many others I do not instantly recall in my days of travel. I am always very fixated with how man build tall structures, as if to reach out to God – when building places of worship. This time, Darul Ghufran – in its flat, unartistic, blue sort of way – hustled history and heritage and showed that all it takes is a willowy and poignant call of the Takbir, to win hearts over. Beauty, is in the sacrifice of the material and design, and indeed deserves a moment all of its own.

Eid Mubarak to all. May you have found your moment too.


  1. The call of the Takbir has various effects on the listeners… for me it always gives me a ‘lump’ in my throat.

    Off topic here — at least this year the sheeps arrived on time. 😛

    Eid Mubarak to u & Ajun.

  2. yes – tell me abt it. The sheeps being punctual made my day!

    thanks for your wishes. we celebrated Eid Adh one day apart due to the time diff.sigh (:

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