At 1pm every Friday, Muslim residents in Queenstown will flock to this zinc-roofed mosque located at the end of Jalan Hang Jebat. To get to the mosque, worshippers will have to trek along a jagged and decrepit concrete pavement at the former Queens’ Crescent and pass through the railway tracks.
Roosters and ducks were present to greet Mohammad Samad Bin Samir, 44, when he arrived at the modest looking mosque for the weekly prayers. For the past 15 years, Samad has been perambulating along the stretch of disused road lined with tall canopy trees to get to the mosque from his residence at Queens’ Close. Wearing a baju melayu (the traditional Malay costume) completed with a songkok, Samad looks forward to every prayer session because they have been enriching and inspiring. He commented, “The prayer sessions give me opportunities to reflect on my decision making in day-to-day life. It has certainly made me a better person!”
Named after one of the five legendary warriors in Malay folklore, Masjid Hang Jebat first started with a small praying area in 1952 for the Malay Regiment soldiers living in the vicinity. As the population of Muslim residents in Queenstown grew substantially, the mosque underwent several renovations, including one in 1996 to expand its prayer hall.
When the apartment flats located at Queens’ Crescent were demolished in the 1990s, there were rumours among residents that this mosque could not draw enough followers to its premises and it might make way for further developments. Nevertheless, former residents from the Queens’ Crescent estate continue to patronise the mosque. One of them is Syed Ali, 52, who had lived in Block 12, Queens’ Crescent, from 1976 to 1981. He recalled, “There are few mosques in Singapore that are nestled within a rustic environment. When I was young, I would buy some tidbits and snacks at the mama shop located at the 2-storey SIT flats opposite the mosque before the prayer sessions.”
While the future remains indefinite for the 59 year-old mosque, one can be certain that this nostalgic mosque along the KTM tracks have brought many wonderful memories to the devotees and residents as they laugh and giggle while recalling their childhood memories.