Not many people, including the residents here, know that Tawau’s Al-Kauthar Mosque is the largest in Sabah and may rank as among the biggest in the country.
What ever it is, the mosque in its own right is rather unique due to its vicinity to commercial centres and a public transport terminal.
Among the buildings in the mosque locality are the district public library and the Federal House that has the offices of various government agencies.
The mosque sits along the beachfront that has a popular recreational stretch known as the Traulsen Drive.
The sight from within the mosque itself is something to behold, as one is able to witness the merchant ships and fishing boats that sail in the Cowie Straits.
From the mosque, one has a clear sight of Pulau Sebatik, an island divided between Malaysia and Indonesia.
YANG DI PERTUAN AGONG
Construction of the RM31.5 million Al-Kauthar Mosque began on June 19, 1997.
The mosque was fully completed in October 2002 and the structure was officially opened by the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail on Aug 13, 2004.
The mosque has a dome that measures 20 metres in circumference as well as a minaret that stands 58 metres metres high.
Surrounded by lush greenery which include flowering plants, giving it a touch of radiance, the mosque can accommodate a congregation of up to 17,000 people at any particular time.
In the evenings, several eagles can be seen circling high above the mosque before making their descent onto the mosque's dome.
The raptors appear to be involved in a dogfight trying to get a grip on the domes crescent and star-shaped structures.
The Al-Kauthar Mosque also boasts of having facilities for conducting seminars apart from being equipped with an administration office, library and outlet for the sale of religious paraphernalia.
Its strategic location provides a short and easy route for Muslims from nearby business complexes and offices as well as those on leisure visits to the beach to reach it to perform their religious obligations.
Looking at the buildings standing as the largest mosque in Sabah and among the biggest in Malaysia, Al-Kauthar Mosque has the potential of being turned into a tourist draw for the district.
What is needed to make this a reality is a concerted effort by the state government and religious authorities as well as the mosque management and travel agents to promote Al-Kauthar Mosque as a tourist draw.
The State Legislative Assembly Representative for Tanjung Batu, Datuk Hamisah Samad, said the mosque is suitable to be developed into a tourist attraction for Tawau.
"As a resident of Tawau, I welcome any move to turn Al-Kauthar Mosque into one of Tawaus tourism products", Hamisah told Bernama here recently.
She said for this to materialise, several aspects like the mosques surrounding landscape should be improved for the sake of the visiting tourists.
Tawau is the gateway for air travellers to the tourism haven of Semporna, located some 30 km away.
Source : Bernama
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