The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, housing a collection spanning the chronological and temporal range of the history of Islam. The collection housed at IAMM was built over time through donations and acquisitions, growing from some 500 original objects to over 2,400 in the first ten years of operation. Supplementing the main collection is a collection of manuscripts loaned from the Jabatan Kemujuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM), the government bureau of Islamic Affairs. The collections total over 5,000 objects. The building is situated in central Kuala Lumpur on the edge of a large complex of parks. The construction of the museum took place in 1998.
The museum building is located on a plateau of sloping terrain, and has four stories. The style of the structure reflects global modernist designs but the building also incorporates features emblematic of the architectural heritage of Islam. Its facades are clad in slabs of white marble. Standing out against this white background are four domes that mark various points in the galleries, decorated on the exterior with tile mosaic executed by craftsmen working in traditional methods used in Central Asia. Similarly, the main entrance is framed by a tile mosaic revetment containing a Qur'anic inscription in Thuluth on a background of vegetal motifs executed by artisans from Iran. This entrance is known as the "blue iwan."
Visitors entering the museum through its main entrance come to a two-story lobby that overlooks the courtyard. Flanking the lobby are special exhibition galleries and, on the second story, a shop and restaurant. The third and fourth stories (Levels 1 and 2) contain twelve thematic galleries displaying the permanent collection. At the time of writing in 2018, these themes were based on geography and material, and included Architecture, Qur'an and Manuscripts, India, China, Malay World, Jewelry, Textiles, Arms and Armor, Coins and Seals, Metalwork, Living with Wood, and Ceramics.