In 1897 the British built Masjid al-Jami in Kuala Lumpur. A.B. Hubbock, the city's "Acting Architect" came from India, where he worked in the Public Works Department, to supervise the construction of this mosque. Situated in the center of the city on a promontory at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers on present day Jalan Tun Perak, it sits atop the site of a pre-urban Malay cemetery. The British built Masjid al-Jami in the administrative center for their Malay civil servants, establishing the core of what would grow into Kuala Lumpur. Masjid al-Jami served as the principle mosque for Friday prayers and the center of Islamic activity in Kuala Lumpur until the completion of Masjid Negara in 1967.
The plan of the mosque follows a traditional North Indian layout, with the prayer hall opening out into a walled courtyard or "sahn." The mosque is flanked by two minarets and numerous smaller towers. Three onion domes surmounting the prayer hall and the minarets resemble Mughal architecture.
The Jami Masjid is an example of the "official" British architecture in Malaysia, which involved a combination of Moorish and Mughal elements. Red and white masonry bands, much like those found on the Great Mosque in Cordoba, Spain, comprise the exterior walls of the mosque. Further similarities to Moorish mosques can be found in the colonnaded arches set in grids and detailed with alternative bands of brick, plaster and marble.
Ed. Martin Frishman and Hasan-Uddin Khan. 1994. The Mosque: History, Architectural Development and Regional Diversity. London: Thames and Hudson, 232.
Chen Voon Fee, ed. 1998. The Encyclopedia of Malaysia, Volume 5: Architecture.. Archipelago Press, 74, 85.
Guide to Kuala Lumpur Notable Buildings. 1976. Kuala Lumpur: Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (Malaysian Institute of Architects), 38.
Vlatseas, S. 1990. A History of Malaysian Architecture. Singapore: Longman Singapore Publishers.