Taipei Grand Mosque

Last updated
Taipei Grand Mosque
台北清真寺
Taipei Grand Mosque 20060112.jpg
Religion
Affiliation Sunni Islam
Location
LocationNo. 62, Sec. 2, Xing Sheng South Road, Daan, Taipei, Taiwan
Taiwan relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Taiwan
Geographic coordinates 25°1′40.56″N121°32′3.19″E / 25.0279333°N 121.5342194°E / 25.0279333; 121.5342194 Coordinates: 25°1′40.56″N121°32′3.19″E / 25.0279333°N 121.5342194°E / 25.0279333; 121.5342194
Architecture
Architect(s) Yang Cho-cheng
Type Mosque
General contractor Continental Engineering Corporation [1]
Completed1947 (original building) [2]
13 April 1960 (current building) [3]
Construction costUS$250,000
Specifications
Capacity1,000 worshipers
Dome(s)1
Dome height (outer)15 meters
Dome dia. (outer)15 meters
Minaret(s)2
Minaret height20 meters [2]
Website
www.taipeimosque.org.tw
Taipei Grand Mosque at night Night in Taipei Grand Mosque 20130710.jpg
Taipei Grand Mosque at night

The Taipei Grand Mosque (Chinese :台北清真寺; pinyin :Táiběi Qīngzhēnsì; Pe̍h-ōe-jī :Tâi-pak Chheng-chin-sī) is the largest and most famous mosque in Taiwan with a total area of 2,747 square meters. [4] Located in the Daan District of Taipei City, it is Taiwan's most important Islamic structure and was registered as a historic landmark on 29 June 1999 by the Taipei City Government. [2]

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the ethnic Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.

Pinyin Chinese romanization scheme for Mandarin

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

Pe̍h-ōe-jī romanization system of Min Nan Chinese

Pe̍h-ōe-jī is an orthography used to write variants of Southern Min Chinese, particularly Taiwanese Hokkien and Amoy Hokkien. Developed by Western missionaries working among the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia in the 19th century and refined by missionaries working in Xiamen and Tainan, it uses a modified Latin alphabet and some diacritics to represent the spoken language. After initial success in Fujian, POJ became most widespread in Taiwan and, in the mid-20th century, there were over 100,000 people literate in POJ. A large amount of printed material, religious and secular, has been produced in the script, including Taiwan's first newspaper, the Taiwan Church News.

Contents

History

First building

After the handover of Taiwan from Japan to China in 1945, the Chinese Muslim Association (CMA) in Nanking appointed Chang Zichun (常子春), Wang Jingzhai (王靜齋) and Zheng Houren (鄭厚仁) to form the preparatory committee of the CMA branch in Taiwan on 23 December 1947.

Retrocession Day day marking the anniversary of the end of Japanese rule over Taiwan on 25 October 1945

Taiwan Retrocession Day is an annual observance and unofficial holiday in the Republic of China to commemorate the end of 50 years of Japanese rule of Taiwan and Penghu, and their claimed handover to the Republic of China on 25 October 1945. However, the idea of "Taiwan retrocession" is in dispute.

Chinese Muslim Association A religious organization in Taiwan

The Chinese Muslim Association (CMA) is an organization of Chinese Muslims in the Republic of China (Taiwan). It runs the Taipei Grand Mosque. A rival group, the Chinese Muslim Youth League competes with it on Taiwan.

Nanjing Prefecture-level & Sub-provincial city in Jiangsu, Peoples Republic of China

Nanjing, alternately romanized as Nanking and Nankin, is the capital of Jiangsu province of the People's Republic of China and the second largest city in the East China region, with an administrative area of 6,600 km2 (2,500 sq mi) and a total population of 8,270,500 as of 2016. The inner area of Nanjing enclosed by the city wall is Nanjing City (南京城), with an area of 55 km2 (21 sq mi), while the Nanjing Metropolitan Region includes surrounding cities and areas, covering over 60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi), with a population of over 30 million.

Later, since many Chinese Muslims that came to Taiwan could not find any place to pray, they raised money to build the very first mosque in Taiwan. They built the mosque at No. 2, Lane 17, Lishui Street (麗水街), Daan District, Taipei City. The land was donated by Chang Tze-chun and Cheng Hou-ren. [5] Muslims from Mainland China started to pray in that mosque in August 1948. With the growing number of Chinese Muslims with the KMT government, the mosque suddenly became too small to accommodate the growing number of worshipers, therefore they had to look for a new bigger place to rebuild the mosque. [2]

Daan District, Taipei City District in Western Taipei, Republic of China

Daan District is an important educational, commercial, residential and cultural district of Taipei City, Republic of China (Taiwan). The name of the district means "great safety" or "great peace".

Mainland China geopolitical area under the jurisdiction of the Peoples Republic of China excluding Special Administrative Regions

Mainland China, also known as the Chinese mainland, is the geopolitical as well as geographical area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It includes Hainan island and strictly speaking, politically, does not include the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, even though both are partially on the geographic mainland.

No. 2, Lane 17, Lishui Street now houses an apartment building. [6]

Current building

Bai Chongxi Minister1.jpg
Bai Chongxi

In the latter part of the 1950s after the end of Chinese Civil War and the relocation of the Nationalist Government from Mainland China to Taiwan, Director-General of the CMA Bai Chongxi and ROC Minister of Foreign Affairs George Yeh proposed the construction of a bigger Islamic-style mosque which was designed by the famous architect Yang Cho-cheng who also designed the Grand Hotel, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, National Theater and Concert Hall and other several landmarks in Taiwan. [7] Under the leader Bai Chongxi, director-general Shi Zizhou (時子周) and the board chairman Chang Zixuan (常子萱), the mosque was constructed by the Continental Engineering Corporation on a 2,747 m2 land donated by the government at the Xinsheng South Street (新生南路). ROC Vice President Chen Cheng led the inauguration ceremony of the mosque on 13 April 1960. [2]

Chinese Civil War 1927–1950 civil war in China

The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led government of the Republic of China and the Communist Party of China (CPC) lasting intermittently between 1927 and 1949. Although particular attention is paid to the four years of fighting from 1945 to 1949, the war actually started in August 1927, after the KMT-CCP Alliance collapsed during the Northern Expedition. The conflict took place in two stages, the first between 1927 and 1937, and the second from 1946 to 1950; the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945 was an interlude in which the two sides were united against the forces of Japan. The Civil War resulted in a major revolution in China, with the Communists gaining control of mainland China and establishing the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, forcing the Republic of China (ROC) to retreat to Taiwan. A lasting political and military standoff between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait ensued, with the ROC in Taiwan and the PRC in mainland China both officially claiming to be the legitimate government of all China.

Bai Chongxi Chinese general

Bai Chongxi was a Chinese general in the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China (ROC) and a prominent Chinese Nationalist leader. He was of Hui ethnicity and of the Muslim faith. From the mid-1920s to 1949, Bai and his close ally Li Zongren ruled Guangxi province as regional warlords with their own troops and considerable political autonomy. His relationship with Chiang Kai-shek was at various times antagonistic and cooperative. He and Li Zongren supported the anti-Chiang warlord alliance in the Central Plains War in 1930, then supported Chiang in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. Bai was the first defense minister of the Republic of China from 1946-48. After losing to the Communists in 1949, he fled to Taiwan, where he died in 1966.

George Yeh politician and diplomat (1904-1981)

George Kung-chao Yeh, also known as Yeh Kung-chao and Ye Gongchao, was a diplomat and politician of the Republic of China. Educated in the U.S. and the U.K., he graduated from Amherst College in 1925 and later Cambridge University. He taught English literature at Beijing's Tsinghua University, where his students included Qian Zhongshu. He was the first Minister of Foreign Affairs since 1949. During his tenure, he signed the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty in 1952 and the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty in 1954. He was ambassador to the United States from 1958 to 1961. In 1961, due to the admission of Mongolia to the United Nations, Yeh was removed from the position of ambassador and recalled to Taiwan by Chiang Kai-shek. He then served as Minister without Portfolio.

The cost of the construction was covered by the CMA with funding of $150,000 from the Shah of Iran and King of Jordan, $100,000 loaned by the Kuomintang government and loan from the Bank of Taiwan. The congregation had already repaid half of the bank loan by that time when the ROC government decided to exempt them from having to repay the remaining.

Kuomintang Political party in the Republic of China

The Kuomintang of China, also spelled as Guomindang and often alternatively translated as the Nationalist Party of China (NPC) or the Chinese Nationalist Party (CNP), is a major political party in the Republic of China based in Taipei that was founded in 1911. The KMT is currently an opposition political party in the Legislative Yuan.

Bank of Taiwan central bank

The Bank of Taiwan is a commercial bank headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan. It is administered and owned by the Executive Yuan of Taiwan.

The mosque has strong ties to Saudi Arabia which continues to provide financial support to the mosque. Visiting Saudi Imams come to preach at the mosque during Ramadan. In 1971 the mosque was visited by King Faisal. [8]

The mosque has been visited by other head of states, such as King Hussein of Jordan, Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia and many other prominent Muslim leaders.

In 1999, the mosque faced a risk of being demolished to due a land dispute with a cement company. It was reported that the cement company declared having the ownership of land where the mosque is located. They attempted to dismantle the mosque in order to take back the land. However, under the concerned legislators of the area and from the assistance of Taipei City government under Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, [9] [10] the mosque was finally turned into a historic building as it may preserve diverse cultural development. However, the board of directors of the mosque still had to struggle to solve the land dispute. [11]

Speaking at the mosque in December 2001 during Eid al-Fitr, Mayor Ma thanked the Indonesian workers for their contribution to Taiwan and gave them festive greeting. The mayor was spotted wearing Jinnah cap while greeting the workers and spoke a bit of Indonesian language. He cited that 20,000 among 36,000 foreign workers in Taipei were Indonesians, which had contributed much to the construction and household assistance of Taipei City. He also said that if all of those workers took the same day off, one-quarter of the city would be paralyzed. [12]

On 25 December 2015, vice presidential candidate Wang Ju-hsuan visited the mosque as part of her election campaign. [13]

Activities

Office of the Chinese Muslim Association in Taipei Grand Mosque Chinese Muslim Association office in Taipei Grand Mosque 20130403.jpg
Office of the Chinese Muslim Association in Taipei Grand Mosque
Halal sticker by Taipei Grand Mosque Foundation Taipei Grand Mosque Foundation Halal sticker 20170925.jpg
Halal sticker by Taipei Grand Mosque Foundation

Just like any other mosque, Taipei Grand Mosque is the place for Muslims in Taiwan to perform their five daily prayers, including the Friday prayer on Friday afternoon, Eid prayers, Tarawih prayers in the evening during the fasting month and even the funeral prayers for the deceased. [14]

Taipei Grand Mosque houses the headquarter of Chinese Muslim Association (CMA), the largest Islamic organization in Taiwan. Prior to its location in Taipei, the CMA was based in Nanking. They do Islamic-related activities throughout Taiwan and has good reputation among local Muslims. The mosque also has its own board of directors that are responsible for the affairs of the mosque. Besides CMA, the mosque also houses the Chinese Islamic Cultural and Educational Foundation.

The mosque has its own active volunteer organization called the Islamic Volunteer Corp., created in 1995. This organization organizes and summons the enthusiastic Muslims to do the Islamic services through the organization. Currently the organization has more than 70 volunteers. They have had several activities and helped the mosque to perform some services for the Muslims.

Fast break at Taipei Grand Mosque during the fasting month. Taipei Grand Mosque - Fast Break.JPG
Fast break at Taipei Grand Mosque during the fasting month.

The mosque receives their fund to run most of their Islamic activities and daily operation cost from private donations. Those related to local affairs, they sometimes seek subsidy from local government agencies. Some organizations such as the Muslim World League and World Assembly of Muslim Youth have helped the mosque as well in assisting on their Islamic activities.

Due to the absence of any formal Islamic education institution in Taiwan, the mosque holds some Islamic courses to the local Muslims such as Arabic language, Quran and Hadith teaching and Sharia. Many of them are being held during the weekends where Taiwanese Muslims have more free time to do such activities. [11]

During the fasting month, Muslims in Taipei hold their fast break at the mosque. Foreign Muslim students and workers also join the event. Simple food such as dates and mineral water are generally served from donations collected during the whole holy month to break their fast, followed by proper dinner meal served by the mosque committees and volunteers.

The mosque opened its door to the public during its building 41st anniversary in April 2001 where it held activities such as photography and exhibitions. The Vice-Imam of the mosque Ishag Ma (馬孝棋) said that the event is not only a cultural celebration, but also as an invitation to those Taiwanese who no longer practice their Muslim faith, such as those living in Lukang Township in Changhua County. [15]

The mosque often host visit by students belonging to other faith and being explained by the Imam so that they can have a better understanding about the teaching of Islam. [16] The mosque also holds inter-religious workshops and debates between Islam and Confucianism, Catholicism and Buddhism to promote mutual understanding with other religions. [17]

People First Party Muslim legislator Liu Wen-hsiung's body was sent to Taipei Grand Mosque, where a funeral prayer was performed before he was buried, after his death on 31 July 2017. [18]

Architecture and structure

Taipei Grand Mosque prayer hall Taipei Grand Mosque - Prayer Hall.JPG
Taipei Grand Mosque prayer hall

Taipei Grand Mosque was built according to Islamic religion and Arabic architecture. It was designed by architect Yang Cho-cheng, the same architect that designed the Taipei Grand Hotel, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, National Theater and Concert Hall and many other landmark buildings in Taiwan. [19] The main structure was built using reinforced concrete. Muslims both foreign and local gather at the mosque on Fridays between 12:00-2:00 PM. Jumu'ah (Friday Prayer) is held between 12:00-1:15 PM. The Imam at the mosque is Omar Ayash (歐馬). [20]

The mosque has an enormous greenish-bronze domed roof at a 15 meters height and 15 meters of diameter, and is supported entirely without beams. It is wrapped by brass sheets. As years gone by, oxidation with air has turned the dome from spangle to verdigris. The dome has two Byzantium style onion-shaped-spires. Crescent decorations sit at the tip of the spires and at the iron railings. [5]

The mosque also has two minarets with a height of 20 meters each located at both ends of the building. The minarets are grey in color with a red-colored neck and an onion-shaped spire on top. The design uses a blend of Taiwanese and Central Asian materials. [21]

It is the largest mosque in Taiwan with a total area of 2,747 square meters and an expansive prayer hall with a height and width of 15 meters. The hall was built according to Islamic traditions where there is Islamic geometric art on the windowpanes. [22] It can accommodate up to 1,000 worshippers [23] and is adorned with handmade Persian rugs and chandeliers presented by kings of countries with allies with the ROC. Initially, the prayer hall was only located on the ground floor of the mosque. But due to the increasing number of Muslims attending prayers, a second floor was added above the main prayer hall floor to accommodate the female worshipers.

Surrounding the main prayer hall is the Roman-style colonnade and Byzantium architectural style. The mosque corridors are filled with corbel arches that extend to both ends. The width and height of the column of the arches is harmoniously proportional. The square pegs of the arches are smoothed with round edges. Outer walls of the mosque are made by bricks and cut stones. [5]

Other facilities include a reception hall, prayer hall, side arcades, administrative offices, library, reposing room, and ablution rooms. [4]

There are two Arabian date palm trees located at the mosque front yard garden.

See also

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