Masjid Khalid’s Rich Heritage — Since 1918
Turning 100 this year, Masjid Khalid carries with it a rich history. First built in 1917 on wakaf land bequeathed by the late Haji Abdul Khalid bin Haji Mohamed Tyeb, a businessman and philanthropist, Masjid Khalid can hold a congregation of up to 2500 people. Being a well-known mosque, it is visited by about 800 Muslims each day for breaking fast in Ramadan and its congregation continues to grow. The mosque has since undergone several restorations and a major renovation in 1996, but its original structure and splendour is still kept intact till today.
Masjid Khalid’s magnificent history was established when a group of kandar sellers who sold Malay food on the land, convinced the late Haji Abdul Khalid to use the land to set up a mosque. With the help of this group of peddlers, the mosque was slowly developed into what we now know as Masjid Khalid.
After the war, the Muslimin Trust Fund Association (MTFA) took over the management of Masjid Khalid. The mosque then came under the administration of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) in 1968.
Masjid Khalid’s first official recorded imam was Syeikh Osman Bin Syaikh Omar AlGanus, an Arab from Palembang, Indonesia. Endearingly known as Abah Osman Ganos, he was also the head qadi of the area who officiated many Muslim marriages around Joo Chiat, Onan Road and its neighbouring districts. The mosque’s bilal, Husin Maktub, later became imam, after Abah Osman.
Masjid Khalid’s famous briyani preparation was started by Abah Osman Ganos. This tradition of preparing food at the mosque lives on today as men would gather to take on tasks such as cooking and cleaning to prepare briyani for various occassions including the annual President Star Charity Briyani Cookout. This has made the mosque famous for its good food, also an inviting gesture of warmth and kindness through sharing. Five or six times a year, Masjid Khalid would also host many non-Muslims at the mosque, in collaboration with the People’s Association (PA), to serve as a source of introduction and insight into Islam and the Islamic culture. When these visits were conducted, Dum Briyani would be specially prepared by the mosque’s chairman Haji Allaudin Bin Mohamed.
Masjid Khalid continues to prove its role in nation-building as it constantly reaches out to people from all walks of life through outreach activities and collaborations with other religious and non-profit organisations, churches, temples and schools. Its numerous partnerships in the community include collaborations with the Heart of God Church, Geylang Temple, the Buddhist Federation and many other clan associations in Geylang. The mosque has also fostered a strong bond with its residents and neighbours, many of who are non-Muslims, through inviting them to its functions. Masjid Khalid also takes it a step further to practise racial and religious harmony as the mosque committee would visit up to 70 shops and houses with gifts during Chinese New Year.
The mosque has been able to move ahead with times while also keeping the Islamic culture and tradition alive. The ‘Ask Ustaz’ online initiative and app allows individuals to ask the Ustaz pertinent questions related to Islam. The Ustaz would then go about answering each of these questions after the Friday prayers. This initiative gives both Muslims and non-Muslims an opportunity to ask and learn about Islam to clear doubts and preconceived notions. It also provides direct access to a religious teacher which is important in Islamic education as it encourages obtaining information from appropriate and accurate sources.
This initiative has become even more relevant and crucial in recent times where fake news and misleading channels can provide inappropriate and wrong information on Islam. The mosque continues to grow and extend its initiatives and efforts to many others in the community, creating a homely and friendly atmosphere in the area. Its minaret remains a welcoming sight for the people who visit or even pass by the area. Masjid Khalid truly embodies the essence of Islam and also contributes to our unique Singapore culture and heritage.