SINGAPORE - After a two-year reconstruction, the Darul Ghufran mosque in Tampines is now the largest in Singapore, and also features a dedicated centre for religious outreach on its premises.
The Dakwah (religious outreach) Centre is not only a place where Muslims can get guidance and advice on Islam from credible religious teachers, it is also open to those outside the faith seeking more information about the religion.
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, who attended the mosque's official opening on Saturday (April 20), said the Darul Ghufran mosque has innovated in creating such a centre.
Mr Masagos, who is also Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, said members of the public can visit the centre and consult religious teachers if they have misgivings or misunderstandings about Islam.
"I hope through this interaction, that any misunderstanding can be pre-empted and that we continue to enjoy the peace and harmony that we have with each other," he added.
The Masjid Darul Ghufran, which opened in 1990, has undergone a $25 million reconstruction and upgrade, adding three more floors - a basement carpark, a fourth storey and a roof terrace. It also houses two new annexes dedicated to office space and classrooms for Islamic education.
The mosque's prayer space can now hold 5,500 worshippers, up from 4,000 previously, making the mosque the biggest in Singapore. The Assyakirin mosque in Taman Jurong is the next largest with a capacity of 5,000.
Mr Masagos noted that the reconstruction of the Darul Ghufran mosque was funded through the Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund. "This is very special to Singapore, because we do not use funds from overseas, nor funds from the Government," he said.
"We have been very independent and that is important, because it allows us to define how we carry out our religion, through our own local asatizah, or religious scholars."
"And because of that, we have been contributing towards the harmony and togetherness that Singaporeans enjoy with each other."
The mosque was officially opened on Saturday by President Halimah Yacob, who was taken on a tour of its new features, such as the new Youth Hub, where activities and study groups are held.
For full-time national servicemen Muhamad Hidayat Muhamad Akasah, 19, the Darul Ghufran mosque has been a big part of his life for the last 15 years, starting with kindergarten to enrichment classes in his primary and secondary school years.
"With the Youth Hub, we now have a dedicated space for us to hold our activities and meetings, and it is also a place to lepak (to relax, hang out) and study," said Mr Muhamad Hidayat, who is also a youth volunteer at the mosque.