STORY BY Ramadhani Budiman

At-Tin is rich in ornaments, with a fascinating choice of material and finishing. From the granite at the water jet, carved teak doors, railing on the stairs, to the dome’s space frame decked out in fitted glass, everything is fused together into an extravagantly designed mosque.

The majestic structure of this mosque is visually the complete opposite of Salman Mosque of Institut Technologi Bandung (ITB), although basically they have similar foundation concepts. Both represent man’s gratitude towards the Almighty, in relation to place and time. Whereas Salman Mosque, with its humble appearance, is the first university mosque to be built during the unstable economy period in Indonesia, At-Tin on the other hand, was constructed with a stronger economical background.

Like Birano’s previous mosques, the module of the main prayer hall, which has no columns, is surrounded by an open veranda. Firm geometric shapes can also be seen all over this mosque. The beauty of the materials used sincerely portrays the omnipotence of God. The skills of the handymen poring over the details are obviously shown through the intricate ornaments on the doors of the main hall, railings, the lamp shades, and the roosters. The light, penetrating through the stained glasses at the dome, is meant to emphasize God’s existence, He who brings light on earth. The sun’s movement gives different light effects in each corner of the dome. An-Nur (The Light), text taken from Koran, was written on the dome’s frame to clarify God’s divine authority.

The name At-Tin itself conveys a lot of extraordinary meanings. It is one of the finest fruits on earth, and the name of a mosque in Damsyik. It is also the name of a tree where Buddha experienced the Ultimate Englightenment (the bodhi tree). After the Great flood, Noah’s ark is believed to have landed on a place called At-Tin. Abraham also received his relevation at At-Tin. In the verse making the beginning of this piece, Az-Zaitun, which was written after At-Tin, is said to be a place where Isa The Prophet received his revelation. Thur Sina which was subsequently mentioned was where Moses received the Ten Commandments (Kalam Ilahi). Finally, Mecca was the place where Mohammad The Prophet received the Holy Koran. The sacred places mentioned come from five different religions. This signifies that even then, there was a harmony among people of different faiths. Holy Quran stated that although there are several differences among those beliefs, they will all lead men to reach their purification.

This writing was featured in 6th Edition of Indonesia Design themed “House of Worship” that was published in 2005.

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Barbara Hahijary
Barbara earned her bachelor's degree in architecture from the Interior Architecture Program of the University of Indonesia in 2013. Historical or heritage buildings, as well as utilitarian design, fascinates her as it is the interaction between people and architecture that remains her favourite topic to explore. Besides architecture, her interests include design, handcrafts, literature and social issues.

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