Terengganu | Masjid Ulul Albab - The Wooden Mosque, Besut

If one were to cross the bridge connecting the 2 sides of Jerteh, you cannot help but stare at this classical Malay looking structure. Locals identify this building as The Wooden Mosque.

 

The mosque borrows its design from Masjid Seberang Laut, located in Tumpat, Kelantan. It is the oldest surviving mosque in this country, aging more than 250 years old.

 

The defining feature of the mosque - the roof - draws from the design que of Rumah Perabung Lima, a classical Kelantanese house design which features a 5 sided pyramidal roof.

 

It was opened in 2012 by Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, whom renamed it from Masjid Kayu Seberang Jertih to Masjid Ulul Albab.

 

It took 2 years to built, with a cost of approximately RM12 million.

 

90% of this building is made out of wood - comprising of cengal, balo and nyato hardwoods. The base and beam structures comprised of reinforced concrete for practical reasons. 

The concrete structures are then clad with cengal hardwood to make it appear to be made out of timber.

 

The mosque is the first in the state of Terengganu to be built according to traditional Malay architectural concept and considered the largest wooden mosque in the whole country.

 

It combined traditional and modern building technique to ensure longetivity, good air ventilation and comfort

 

The mosque was designed and crafted by local wood craftsman named Wan Mustafa Wan Su - also known as Wanpo.

 

Known to be one of the finest craftsman to ever be produced by the country, Wanpo was bestowed upon the title Adiguru Ukiran Kayu (Grandmaster Craftsman) in 2007 by the Malaysian Government.

 

Wanpo learned the way of wood craftsmanship by his father, also a Grandmaster Craftsman - Wan Su Othman. 

 

Thus, the mosque can also be a symbol of Besut's excellent woodcarving expertise for nearly a century now.

 

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An amalgam of Terengganu songket motifs, arabic calligraphies, quranic verses, flowers and abstracts are carved on the wall, giving away various symbolism.

 

For example, the staircase has an ocean wave abstract symbolising "a path to knowledge and truth is full of hardship".

 

From a structural standpoint, the roof's intricate design allows for good air ventilation while also preventing splashes of rainwater from damaging the timber.

 

The pitched roof structure, along with the semi exposed praying area, allows for the interior to be passively lit by the natural sunlight. It creates such a pleasant ambiance for praying.

 

This place can accomodate up to 1500 people at one given time.

 

The mosque comprises of 3 main floors. The ground floor has the cooperative office as well as spaces for teaching. The first floor is of course the main prayer hall whereas the 2nd floor holds the library.

 

Unfortunately the library was inaccessible during my visit here. Scroll through for more photos.

 

The area looks to be very well maintained. I have no complaints at all really.

 

The sky appears cloudy, maybe it is going to rain soon.

 

The Wooden Mosque is a must visit for all, and one must respect the amount of work and detail given in ensuring that it captures the spirit of our traditional heritage. Hopefully a lot more buildings with the same philosophy follows.

 

Masjid Ulul Albab
Jerteh, Besut
Waze/Google Maps: Masjid Ulul Albab

Architecture Style: Malay Vernacular + Postmodern Revivalism
Built-up Area: 1048m²
Completion Date: 2011
Designer: Wan Mustafa Wan Su
Architect: Ar. Zaini Mufti (Z&SR Architectural Ventures)
Capacity: 1500 people