183-year-old Nerasau Mosque pulpit still well-preserved

— The uniqueness of Masjid Kariah Nerasau’s mimbar or pulpit, that is almost 200 years old, has proved the superiority of Islam in this country which has been long preserved.

Head of Art and Design Department of the Art at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris’s Computing and Creative Industries Faculty, Dr Harleny Abd Arif said the wooden pulpit which was beautifully carved by Baba Husin from Jepara of Central Java, Indonesia has a complete inscription that makes it different from other pulpits in her previous study.

She said a complete inscription can help researchers to determine the actual age of a pulpit.

A study conducted on a number of pulpits in the country found that the pulpits at Masjid Kariah Nerasau dan Masjid Kariah Kampung Selemak had a complete inscription, she added.

Harleny said based on information from the inscriptions that were carved on the pulpits by the same individual, Masjid Kariah Neras pulpit is now 183 years old, while the one at Masjid Kariah Kampung Selemak is 177 years old.

“According to my study on several old mosques in the country, so far, only the Masjid Kariah Nerasau pulpit has the most complete inscription which comprised the time, month and year of Hijrah (Islamic calendar) (it is built), as well as name and place of birth of the sculptor as shown on the gunungan panel of the pulpit,” she told Bernama.

Harleny said the inscription which was written in Jawi was finely carved using a type of Islamic calligraphy known as the Nasakh script.

The inscription reads: “Year 1254 after the Hijrah of the Prophet (PBUH), in the month of Jamadil Akhir on Monday during the time of Dhuha, it is Tuan Haji Jalil Abdul Rahman who is in charge of Masjid An Nur. The craftsman is a Javanese named Baba Husin of Jepara Barongan”.

Founded by Abdul Jalil Abdul Rahman, Masjid Kariah Nerasau is one of the oldest mosques in Negeri Sembilan that was built through gotong-royong by the local community.

Although the mosque has been gradually upgraded and expanded in accordance with the increase in population in the area, the original appearance of its interior including the mihrab and the pulpit, is still maintained.

On the wood carving designs, Harleny said the three-metre high pulpit featured the mekar sejunjung pattern on its gunungan panel, that was carved using the tebuk tembus bersilat and tebuk timbul bersilat techniques.

She said there are also repetition of motifs on the entire surface or certain panels of the pulpit.

“There are also components of bunga mahkota pattern, as well as flower motifs that are carved on the gunungan panel. The main floral pattern used is bunga mahkota and bunga teratai,” she said.

Harleny said apart from the bunga teratai and bunga mahkota motifs, the pulpit also featured the bunga ketumbit pattern that was arranged repeatedly.

Meanwhile, Masjid Kariah Nerasau Imam Mohamad Yusof Hashim said the mosque which could accommodate 300 worshipers at any one time, was used by residents in Kampung Solok Bangkung, Kampung Ampangan Penajih, Kampung Relung, Kampung Nerasau and Kampung Chenong.

Mohamad Yusof, 64, who has been serving as an imam at the mosque for more than ten years said he really admired the wood carving art of the pulpit at the mosque which still remained strong despite being over a century old.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

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