Kapitan Keling Mosque is the largest and one of the oldest historic mosques in town, founded before 1800. It located at the busy junction of Chulia Street and Pitt Street.
The Kapitan Keling Mosque was first erected by the troops of the East India Company who were some of Penang’s first Muslim settlers. The Kapitan of the Indian Muslim settlers, Cauder Mydin Merican also referred to as ‘Kapitan Keling’ was credited with the founding of the mosque that was subsequently named after him.
The original Kapitan Keling mosque was a single-storey structure, but over the years, the mosque has seen plenty of renovation works. British architects who were commissioned by the Muslim and Hindu Endowments Board gave the Kapitan Keling mosque its British Moghul Revival appearance in 1916. A madrassah (a place where religious classes are held) can also be found within the mosque’s compound. The tall minaret, once used by the muezzin to deliver his call to prayers, is located on the corner of Buckingham and Pitt Street.
A unique tradition of George Town Muslims is that the Friday prayers take turns between the Kapitan Keling Mosque and the Acheen Street Mosque.
1. Avoid visiting a mosque at prayer time.
4. When entering or leaving a mosque, take great care not to walk directly in front of someone whilst they are praying, as this is considered impolite. Walk around or behind them, or wait patiently for them to finish. (Worshippers who miss the designated prayer time may come to complete their prayers later, and so may be in the mosque when you visit.).
5. When visiting a mosque, wear modest, conservative clothing which exposes a minimum of flesh. No shorts or sleeveless shirts on either men or women. Women should wear a dress or blouse and skirt (at least to the knees), preferably with elbow-length or longer sleeves, and a headscarf.