Created By: Hong Kong Baptist University
As we take the escalator at the Mid-Levels along Shelley street to Mosque Street, we can see the grade I historic building with a mint green facade surrounded by thick stone walls and tall trees. The ancient structure radiates tranquillity and serenity within the hustle and bustle of dense buildings and streets. Built in 1890, it is the oldest mosque in Hong Kong and the foundation of the local Muslim community.
Before stepping inside the mosque, remember to dress in long pants or full-length skirts with long sleeves, and please take off your shoes.
Inside the mosque, we can see the octagonal dome, stained glass windows, niche pulpit, etc, which are the same as they were in the old days. The rectangular-shaped hall of worship covers an area of about 250 square meters and can accommodate up to 400 people for worship at the same time. Every day the Muslims will perform Salat (prayer) inside the hall five times at prescribed times. And on Jumuah (Friday), they have the Friday prayer at noon. We can see the inset "niche" in the middle of the wall that not only marks the direction of the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca but also where the Imam would stand to lead the worship. On the right side of the niche is a pulpit where the Imam would stand to deliver his teachings on the five main days of worship.
Muslim settlement can be traced back to the early 19th century when Hong Kong developed into a trading port for the British, and many Muslim seamen and garrisons settled in Hong Kong. They gathered around this area, known as Lascar street, which the old Hong Kongers called “Moro Kai”, meaning "streets of the people of the Moros", and it was speculated that “Moro” originated from Macau, where Portugueses called Muslim “Mouros”.
At first, the Muslims held their Jamaat (assembly) directly on Lascar street. But as the Muslim community grew bigger, and locals were afraid of disturbing the Muslims, especially when they were holding porks and walking through the Muslims when they were having Salat (prayers), the community requested the government for land to build the first mosque in Hong Kong, which is the Jamia Mosque we see today.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Sheung Wan Walking Tour