A Brief History of Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque and Its Beautiful Architecture

Who doesn’t know the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta. In addition to the splendor of the building and its use as a place of worship for Muslims, the development process up to its location is also conditional on the value of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.

Standing side by side, the Istiqlal Mosque and Cathedral Church are symbols of tolerance between religions in Indonesia. Even the architect who designed this house of worship was a Christian named Frederick Silaban.

However, the beauty and privilege of the Istiqlal Mosque does not stop there. There are still many interesting things in it that can be found by Muslim and non-Muslim visitors. Interested in visiting? Let’s see the various features in the article below.

Features of the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta

Worship at the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta
Worship at the Istiqlal Mosque (Photo by beritagar.id)

Become one the largest mosque in Southeast Asiathe specialty of the Istiqlal Mosque does not stop at its splendor and architecture, but its value and usefulness.

Building Philosophy

Every corner of the mosque building has a deep meaning about divinity and the value of Indonesian independence. Like the existence of seven gates which mean 7 layers of heaven as mentioned in the Qur’an.

In addition, the dome has a diameter of 45 meters which is interpreted as the year of Indonesia’s independence in 1945. While the 12 sturdy pillars in the main room are interpreted as the date of birth of the Prophet Muhammad, namely 12 Rabiul Awal. Not only that, the five levels of the floor also depict the five precepts of Pancasila and the Pillars of Islam at once.

Traditional Beduk

One of the attractions of this place of worship is the traditional drum which only exists in Indonesia and is made to mark prayer times.

The drum that is here is quite large with a size of up to 3.5 meters and a width of 3 meters supported by special wood that has a typical size of Java and Arabic calligraphy as well.

Grand Imam of the Istiqlal Mosque

The current high priest of the Istiqlal Mosque is Prof. Dr. KH. Nasaruddin Umar, MA In addition to leading worship activities, the role of the high priest is also to guide the guests of honor who come.

Apart from the high priest, Istiqlal also has seven muezzins who are also tasked with teaching the Qur’an and Islam.

History of the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta

Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta
Istiqlal Mosque (Photo by en.wikipedia.org)

The history of the Istiqlal Mosque began in 1961, unfortunately the construction did not go as smoothly as it should because of the political conditions in the country, which at that time were still chaotic. Until 17 years later in 1978, the final building was finally inaugurated by President Soeharto.

The name “Istiqlal” itself is taken from Arabic which means “Freedom”. This word was chosen as a form of gratitude, favor, and prayer for the independence that the Indonesian people have obtained.

In addition, the interesting thing about the construction process is that the designer is a Christian. Frederich Silaban is an architect from Bonandolok, North Sumatra.

He was chosen after winning a competition with the theme “Divinity” held by the mosque committee on July 5, 1955. The election of Frederich Silaban is also one of the proofs and a symbol of the strong tolerance that exists in Indonesia.

Activities of the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta

Over time, Istiqlal has not only functioned as a place of worship, but also offices for Islamic organizations in Indonesia, various social activities, and even religious tourism destinations. Here are some choices of Istiqlal Mosque activities that you can try during your visit.


For Muslims, don’t forget to try the experience of praying or worshiping in the mosque. The atmosphere is full of wisdom, a cool and clean place will certainly provide an extraordinary worship experience.

Study History

For non-Muslim tourists or foreign tourists, your arrival will be welcomed with open arms. However, of course before entering the visitors will be given brief information about Islam and mosque history before entering.

When entering the worship area, tourists are welcome to enjoy the atmosphere and beautiful architecture in it. Even so, there are some parts that cannot be entered without a guide.

Breaking the fast together

Special every in Ramadhan month, takmir the mosque always prepares free iftar for every visitor who comes. There are at least 3,500 to 5,000 rice boxes prepared daily for pilgrims.

For the people around Jakarta itself, iftar at the Istiqlal Mosque has its own special features. Starting from the atmosphere, lectures, and of course the sensation of eating with him.

But for those of you who are interested in trying the iftar experience in the month of Ramadan 2022, come early so that you can get your iftar quota and avoid traffic jams.

Also read: Nine Glodok Plots, Lively Chinese New Year 2022

The location of the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta

Based on the official administration, the location of the Istiqlal Mosque is on Jalan Taman Wijaya Kusuma Pasar Baru, Sawah Besar. To reach the location you can use private vehicles or public transportation.

For those who use bus transportation, from the Kampung Rambutan terminal you can use the Busway corridor seven and get off at the Budi Utomo stop. After that the journey can be continued on foot to Istiqlal.

In addition, because the Istiqlal Mosque and the Cathedral Church are standing close together, you can use the church’s location as a reference.

Opening hours

For those of you who are interested in visiting here, the mosque area has started to open to the public since dawn at 4 am and closes at 9 pm.

This mosque is always open every day, but usually the mosque area will be crowded during prayer hours or during Islamic holidays such as the month of Ramadan.

Available Facilities

Being one of the proud mosques of Indonesia, the facilities available in it are very complete and can be used by all visitors.

Facilities that you can enjoy include the main prayer room and 4-level balcony, prayer equipment, air conditioningtoilets, places for ablution, elevators for the elderly and persons with disabilities, polyclinics, madrasas, libraries and so on.

In addition, visitors are also free to take pictures around the courtyard of the mosque as long as they maintain modesty.

Visiting Tips

Given that this area is a place of worship, there are several visiting tips that are important to note for both Muslim and non-Muslim tourists.

Keep Polite

While you are inside, so will your attitude and speech. Try not to make loud noises because even though it’s not prayer time, the mosque is still actively used for worship.

Keep clean

Try not to bring food inside. If you do have to eat, take care of your trash and make sure no crumbs are left on the carpet or floor.

Wear Decent Clothes

Actually, the management has provided sarongs or cloth to cover the legs or head for tourists, especially foreign tourists. Keep trying to wear modest clothes from home.

Thus our explanation about the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta. Hopefully the above article will be for those of you who want to enjoy the month of Ramadan 2021 with various religious tours places of worship in Indonesia. See you in the discussion of other holiday destinations!

Also read: Palembang Grand Mosque – History, Address and Hotel