Istiqlal mosque in Indonesia

Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta is the Capital City of the Republic of Indonesia where every foreign diplomatic missions and international organizations establish their premises and residences, including our brother representative from the State of Libya.

In Jakarta City, people will find many interesting buildings to be visited and explored. One example of those buildings is the Istiqlal Mosque. The Mosque has important meaning behind its establishment, not only relating to the look of its architecture and its philosophy but also relating to its function as center of excellent for deepening the Islamic Religion Teaching. The management of this mosque directs to give enlightening spirit and opportunities for people to be positive part of country development as well as gaining their balancing way of life for their physical and spiritual/mental needs.

The Istiqlal Mosque is built in the center of the city of Jakarta near to the public space where people can do jogging and sports or do other popular programs such as festivals or exhibition/fairs.  This building also closed with my former junior high school (SMP 4 Central Jakarta) and with my current office in Pejambon, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

The development of Istiqlal Mosque is begun by the First Indonesia President, Ir. Soekarno, on August 24, 1961 and till officially inaugurated by the second President of the Republic of Indonesia, Soeharto, on February 22, 1978. The Istiqlal Mosque is built and be managed as a symbol of greatness of Islamic society in Indonesia who lives side by side with other religions.

The name of Istiqlal itself is Independence. Independence from colonial occupation. To mark this achievement, people Indonesia show its thank to the God Almighty by establishing this State Mosque.   The Istiqlal Mosque is built next to the Old Church and other governmental administrator’s buildings (such as Post Office, National Museum, National Library, Old Tidy Market or Pasar Baru, Ministry of Religious, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Army Hospital, Ministry of Defense and State and Presidential Palaces, National Monument/MONAS, Radio Republic of Indonesia/RRI). Peoples can also reach this mosque by using Public transportation (Bus or Train).

The Istiqlal Mosque is mainly built for moslem and moslemah to do shalat, learning and spread the Rahmatan Lil Alamin Values and Conviction on One Supreme Almighty God or Tauheed Teaching that sent down by the God Almighty to His Prophets and Messengers which comprehensive received by His Prophet Muhammad Pbuh. This teaching instructs peoples to do good deeds and be useful for other peoples when living in the uninternal world.

The above teaching is becoming main mission and objectives of the management of the Mosques by facilitating, developing and inviting Moslem and moslemah to actively study and participate in sharing their best practices in all aspect of life. The mosque also opens for non moslem who wants to know about Islam.

So far, Istiqlal Mosque has been known as state national mosque which is considered as center of excellent along with other mosques in Indonesia in its level. Built in the land of 9.5 hectare, with the capacity around 200.000 plus, Istiqlal Mosques is managed by the ulamas and staffs and workers who have specific competence. For that reason people’s attachment to the Istiqlal mosque is inevitable and real. It is also supported by the inclusion of state official visit program of dignitaries from foreign countries and by visits of many national associations tour program to this mosque after they are visiting other historical mosques in Indonesia. One example tour association which make visiting Program of Masjid-Masjid Wali Songo (the Wali Songo are Nine well-known Islamic saints/ preachers in the land of Java).

As being explained by the Grand Imam Istiqlal Mosques, Prof. Dr. KH. Nasaruddin Umar, who also serves as the Chairman of Management of the Mosques, the management should be run by professional and competence personalities. Their competence must reflect their understanding of the message of Qur’an that contain aspects of Qauliah and Qauniah as a balancing thought and deeds. This understanding makes all management be active in keeping its way to make self improvement by studying, observing, promoting, exploring, conducting and supervising its performances or its interaction with other establishment and peoples in Indonesia and abroad.

As one of the Indonesian  citizen who lives in the capital and who has been almost 45 years engage with  surrounding of Istiqlal, I am quite often use  public utilities provided by mosque management such as, canteen, toilet, sport center, professional needs such as library, schools, intellectual forum, discussion and consultation, economic activities, or breakfast together during  Ramadhan etc.

I personally proud to see the new look of Mosque Istiqlal that just being renovated. The renovation is finished on January 7, 2021 and officially inaugurated by President Joko Widodo.  The new landscapes of Istiqlal mosque represents more modernize and environment friendlier with functional training and empowering center. This effort is a good attention to facilitate peoples and moslem/moslemah to do activities in the Mosque. This renovation is also believed to accommodate as good as possible to the users and visitors.

As the Indonesian diplomat who represents Indonesia di Libya since September 2019, I am very happy to note that most dignitaries with whom I met in Libya whether they are officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Libya or from management of National Oil Company/NOC of Libya and other Libyan dignitaries and peoples from Technical Institutions who have visited Indonesia say that they are very impressed with the existence of Istiqlal Mosque.  One statement issued by the Chairman of National Oil Company/NOC  of Libya, Eng. Mostapha Sanalla, during my first meeting with him on September 2019 in his office. He reflects his admiration with the posture of Istiqlal mosque and recognizes that he has a spiritual attachment with the Istiqlal mosque. He feels comfortable to do shalat  and interacts with other visitors and surroundings.

Noting the above development, the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia feels obliged to maintain the feeling of Libyan people of this mosque especially in spreading the best practices to all peoples in Libya.

In tandem with this feeling, the Management of Istiqlal Mosque has offered and opened opportunity to cooperate with related institution in Libya in enhancing capacity of Ulama and students by participating the capacity building program through online or offline.

To begin with this sincere purpose, the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Tripoli, in collaboration with the Management of Istiqlal Mosque Management, the Learning Foundation of Dead and Mute of Indonesia (Yayasan Majelis Taklim Tuli Indonesia/MTTI) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic Indonesia c.q. Central for Education and Training and Indonesian Families Members living in Libya,  make collaborative program in publishing “Electronic Masdar in Series” for Special Need Persons. This program contains the simple studies on infinitive word and its derivatives in the format of general completed by Isarah Explanation for the Special Need Persons (the Mute and the Deaf). This program is intended to facilitate the special person who has handicapped in listening and talking (deaf and mute) study more specific the meaning of Arabic Language through analyzing word and its derivative from Verses of Holy Qur’an.

It is understood that the Deaf and the Mute needs special treatment. Therefore for this purpose, the best way is to learn Al-Qur’an by engaging its experts in Isarah Language from Yayasan Majelis Taklim Tuli Indonesia ( MTTI). With the collaboration approach, In syaa Allah, the result will be more positive for all.

The initial program is begun by exploring Surah Al Fatihah. Through this way, the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia tries to give practical things for peoples to understand one specific element in Arabic language that referred from the Holy Qur’an.  The Holy Book that actually become source of knowledge and be official and basic reference for world scientist in exploring the Universe.

In that regards, the Embassy of the Republic in Indonesia opens to cooperate with all stakeholders in Libya who want to contact Istiqlal State National Mosque Management via www.istiqlal.or.id  or with the Yayasan Majelis Taklim Tuli Indonesia to seek possible cooperation for benefit of two peoples and two countries.

May Allah the Almighty God protect and lead us to the right path. Aaameen Ya Robbal ‘Aaalameen.

The views expressed in Op-Ed pieces are those of the author and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Libyan Express.
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