Mosques in Yangon (Masjid-masjid di Yangon, MYANMAR)

Moslem community in Myanmar is quite sizeable that almost every town got at least one mosque to cater for Moslem community of which I reckon almost 10-20% of the entire population of Myanmar. They are rather self-sufficient community with respect to relationship to Allah (“hablumminannas“). Internally, their house of worship (masjids) are well decorated, with carpets and most with air conditioners or at least ceiling fans. Externally you may not recognize that it is a masjid as the small entrance blended well with old shophouse, but the entrance could lead to a modest prayers hall. This is true for masjids in downtown area where space is a limitation. Some masjids outside the downtown may have some exception. Masjids also serve as a community center and a place for learning Islam for young and adult alike. Quranic and fardhu ain classes are common sights in most masjids. Jemaah Tabligh is the most active dakwah group here. There are many Islamic organizations in Myanmar but most are lesser known, apart from Ulama Council (Majlis Ulama). Ulama Council is the body which issues and perhaps monitors halal certification for foodstuff manufacturers in Myanmar.

Myanmar is a deep Buddhist country, so other religions take backseat.  You could see mosques in every towns and cities but most are in dire state. So are churches. Operating expenses for mosques come mainly from public donation and wealthy moslem businessmen. Despite assurance of freedom of worship, discrimination by religion prevails.

Here are some collection of mosques in Yangon, MYANMAR that I have been during my short assignment in Yangon. I will update this post from time to time insyallah. Mosque (or masjid in Arabic or Malay) is called pelly in Myanmar.  If you say “Petchampek pelly thuwa may” to a local taxi driver, it means “let’s go to Petchampek Mosque”. Moslems are called as kalla by non-moslems in Myanmar, the word itself carries a derogatory meaning, so I was informed.

Masjid Sunni Bengali, Yangon Downtown.

1. Masjid Sunni Bengali — probably the most popular among tourists and business travellers  as it is located in the heart of the city, along Sule Pagoda Road. It is 5-min walk from Traders Hotel and about 10-15 min walk from Bogyoke Market (Scott Market). Friday prayers time is the busiest. Prayers hall is air-conditioned. Sule Pagoda is just right in front of it. Halal restaurants are aplenty around the mosque. Just ask locals. UN Representative Mr Ibrahim Gambari offered prayers here when he was in Yangon in 2008 negotiating the release of Daw Aung San Su Kyi with the Myanmar military government.

Masjid Kambek, Yankin Township, Yangon

2. Masjid Kam Bek, Yankin Township, Yangon — located off main road in Yankin township in a quiet neighborhood among big houses with high fencing. Down the same road, there is a Catholic church. This mosque is about 20 min drive from downtown. Take Kabaye Pagoda Road toward the airport and turn right after Sedona Hotel.

Masjid Chulia Dargah, Yangon

Inside Masjid Chulia Dargah, Yangon

3. Masjid Chulia Dargah, Yangon — located right in front of Bogyoke Market (Scott Market), along Aung San Road. For heavy shoppers if you run out of time, just stop by here (males only). Hotel Central, Hotel Traders and Malaysian Airlines Office is are all next to this mosque. Dargah means a tomb for a pious man where people come to pay respect. Don’t know who he was. May God bless his soul. Nice decoration inside — main prayers hall is air-conditioned.

Masjid Sunni Poja, Yangon

Inside view of Masjid Sunni Moja in Yangon

4. Masjid Sunni Moja, Yangon — located in the Yangon downtown area, near Anawhartha Road.  Founded by a group of moslems from northern India who came to Myanmar either as traders or soldiers during British occupation in 1930s.  All Sunnis in Yangon are mainly Hanafi sect followers. They all observed more or less the same prayers time (azan and solat time).

Masjid Soorthy, Yangon

5. Masjid Soorthy, Yangon Downtown — located in the Yangon downtown area, near Chinatown. Another nicely-decorated masjid, fully air-conditioned, constructed by Gujerati people from India.

6. Masjid Petchampek, Yangon — this masjid is located along Upper Pansodan Road, near Aung San Stadium and the main railway station. A big moslem community in the township of Mingalar Taung Nyunt is next to it. Dr Mahathir Mohamed, ex- Malaysian Prime Minister was said to have offered solat Jumaat here during his visit to Myanmar some times ago.  The masjid was itself a historical site in a way. It was a target site for militant bombing in late 1990, and as result half of the building was destroyed, but never repaired since then. That’s how the name was derived —petchem means half and pek means pieces.

Inarguably, the mosque is the most international as it is the markaz (center) for the Tabligh Jemaat movement in Yangon.  This is a peaceful missionary movement who travels around the world from one place to another to spread the message of Islam to the entire humanity, with priority to moslem brothers, reminding them to return to the greatness of life hereafter. This movement makes mosques as center for their activities.  So there are bustling activities inside and outside the mosque every day. There is a halal moslem restaurant nearby.

Main entrance of Masjid Jamek Cholia, Yangon

Multipurpose hall next to the main entrance to Masjid Jamek Cholia

Prayers hall in the Masjid Jamek Cholia, Yangon

7. Masjid Jamek Cholia, Yangon — located  on narrow Bo Sun Pat Street in the downtown area. Very close Masjid Sunni Bengali (see above). The masjid has a mutipurpose hall for rent to muslims to conduct their activities including wedding, meeting and training. Many stalls selling halal food and drink at the entrance — very lively everyday after solat Asar as jemaah enjoy evening air with a sip of lempe-ye (tea with milk) waiting for Maghrib prayers.

Minaret of a masjid near Tamwe.

Inside Masjid Jamek Tamwe in Yangon

Jameah Arabia Darul Ulum next to Masjid Jamek Tamwe in Yangon

8. Masjid Jamek Tamwe, Yangon — located in Tamwe Township, about 15 min drive from downtown area. Tamwe is home to many moslems in Yangon. They are 3 masjids — may be more — in the Tamwe township. Masjid Jamek Tamwe is located near the famous Tamwe junction. The masjid is considered big if you add a madrasah tahfeez, Quranic classes and the old moslem cemetery behind the masjid.  A renowned moslem scholar from Makkah was said to have been died and buried here.

Inside Masjid Jamek Bengali, Yangon

Minaret of masjid Jamek Bengali, Yangon

9. Masjid Jamek Bengali, Yangon — No doubt that this is one of the big masjids with a distinctive mosque design, looking from outside. It is located along the road leading all the way to the downtown area. The masjid is surrounded by moslems living in the apartments. Only 10 min drive from the downtown.

Mogul Hall is Syiah masjid in the Yangon downtown area.

Mogul Hall is Syiah masjid

10. Masjid Syiah, Yangon — located at the busy road in the downtown area.  Never been there, so do not know how they pray. It is actually a Syiah — a sect of Islam considered deviationist by maintream Islam — community center.

Myanmar Islamic Council HQ in Yangon

11. Islamic Council HQ, Yangon — located along Bo Sun Pat Street in downtown Yangon. I don’t have any info on this Islamic body — its organization structure, their objectives and the members. Just came across the office and snapped the photo.

12. Masjid Ranauk, Yangon — located in the moslem area of Myagone in the township of Mingalar Taung Nyunt.  Green marble slabs make up the facade of the mosque. Some portion of the mosque was under construction during one Asar prayer in June 2010, when I was there. Main prayer hall is fully air-conditioned.

13.  Masjid at 8th Mile (Pyay Road), Yangon — located conveniently on Pyay Road (old name= Prome Road) at Kabaye Pagoda Road, one of the busiest intersection in Yangon, between Yangon Airport and downtown. This is a small masjid hidden behind the row of old shop houses.  A famous shopping center known as Junction 8 is just across the road. This is a site for bomb blast by separatist group (as claimed by the Government) a couple years back.  Yangon Hotel is only one -min walk.  Downtown  area is about 30-minute drive away from here.

14. Masjid Kokhine, Kabaye Pagoda Road, Yangon — the smallest among all mentioned above. But I must mention this mosque as I frequented this mosque the most during my time in Yangon for a very simple reason — nearest to my office and my apartment. Located along busy Kabaye Pagoda Road, this mosque could easily missed if you are in a speedy car. We also called it Toyota mosque, as a Toyota service center is just next to it.  The trustee is Brother Ahmad, whose late grandfather Mohammed Jewa owned and waqaf (donated) this land for mosque construction. He and his 10 relatives stayed behind the mosque.  Fully air-conditioned but only turned on during Friday prayers or hot summer days, to save electricity.

<<TO BE CONTINUED>>

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21 Responses to Mosques in Yangon (Masjid-masjid di Yangon, MYANMAR)

  1. Pingback: bumisepi.com » Blog Archive » AirAsia terbang ke Yangon dari KL bermula 18 Julai 2010

  2. Saad Qadri says:

    Salaam,

    Dear AbuAdam

    kindly elaborate the mosque been managed by any sunni suffi order (i.e. Qadriya, Naqshbandiya, Chishtiya, e.t.c)
    who celebrate the Mawlood un Nabi (salalahalihawasalam)…

    thanks

  3. abuadam says:

    Dear Saad, to my best knowledge all are managed by mainstream sunnis, except for Mogul Hall. There could be some sunni suffi movements in Myanmar, but I am not across of them.

  4. nordin says:

    Askum Abu Adam,
    thanks for the info especially masjid location, for your information i would like to visit Myanmar within this week for short trip ( 2 or 3 days ), as i concern how strict the myanmar custom there? is there anybody can i refer from muslim community in one of the masjid? which hotel better for me to stay? ( better near by masjid )…should i need to obtain Visa to enter Myanmar? what kind of visa need to obtain?..thanks and i need the info ASAP…u may reply to my email…

  5. diddy says:

    i’m visiting yangon (or Myanmar for that matter) for the 1st time next week and i intend to visit at least a mosque there, insyallah

  6. Syed says:

    Very nice and informative and it really really helped me in identifying a lot of Masajid when i was in Yangon recently
    but i found some more Masajid which are not mentioned here 
    including the one attached with Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar’s Mausoleum

     

  7. abuadam says:

    Salam, Masjid you nentioned is a historic one founded by a descendant of Moghul empire in India. Bahadur Shah was despatched to Myanmar and died in Yangon. It is a mousoleum rather, and like other mausoleums in this part of the world, it is worshipped unnecessarily by some locals full of khurafat activiies which could fall into syirik. It is located in a quiet township, quite a distant from downtown Yangon. I hope my postings useful in your recent trip. How do you find halal meals?

  8. abuadam says:

    Sorrry i missed this email. Hope u had good time in Myanmar. Visa on arrival (VOA) still there?

  9. Syed says:

    yes i saw a counter for Visa On Arrival there, i inquired with them but their reply in English was incomprehensible, i didn’t understand what he was trying to tell me.

    i took visa from my country of residence Hong Kong and it was pretty easy to get one.

    Halal i found with the help of my hosts and i noticed around the Masajids that there are a few halal resto near most of them.

    Myanmar was good, in fact better then what i expected. 

    not to mention once again that your pics and details were of invaluable guidance  

  10. AZMI ABDUL AZID says:

    Assalamualaikum,

    Sy & my wife akn ke Yangon, Myanmar on 20-24 Nov’2012 (5H4M) via AirAsia…bleh saudara tlg suggest travel agent yg bleh sediakan kmi 2 org ‘Ground Package’ utk ke sana (Muslim Food)…

    Azmi, 0123674016

  11. abuadam says:

    Coba Chase Travel. Ownernya dan staff muslim belaka. Mereka boleh arrange muslim food dan ziarah masjid dan kouniti muslim di Myanmar.

  12. abuadam says:

    Thats the intent of my sharing about Myanmar. It is far better than western media painted it to be. I am glad my postings were of some help to you. Insyaallah jadi amal jariah.

  13. siti aisyah affendi umar lee says:

    Alhamdulillah..very useful information. Iam going to yangon next month. Maybe you can share the halal restaurants as well. May Allah bring happiness in your life.Thank You very much

  14. abuadam says:

    Dear siti, Halal restaurants in Yangon normally displayed 786 at the door or entrance or kalimah Allah or Muhammad. They can be found nearby masjids for sure. AMong popular ones, Yoe Yar restaurant and Mandalay restaurants In Mingalar Taung Nyunt township, serves halal food. Mai Thai restaurant along Kabaye Pagoda Rd next to Golden Hill apt serves halal Thai food e.g. tomyam kung and papaya salads. In Bahan township, there is a biryani shop at the junction. Biryani rice are popular in Yangon and heavily oiled wih ghee. Expect no dalca or dals, it is served with clear soup. Halal hotpot or steanboat as we know it area also available. As for hotel, Hotel Micasa along Kabaye Pagoda Rd is known to serve halal meals. There is no one single body or authority, unlike in Malaysia where JAKIM is the authority, that issues and monitor halal certification. Use your own discretion. Most halal outlets belong to Moslem owners, most of them are of Chinese descent from Kunming in mainland China.

  15. Mohammad Eusuf Hasan says:

    Salam. Dear Brother
    I wish to visit Yangon early next year, 2017, Insha-Allah. And have a plan to visit the Yangon Tablighi Markaz Masjid. Can you please let me know whether the Yangon Markaz is open/active now, or closed due to ethnic unrest in recent past? Any cheap hotel to stay near the Yangon Markaz?

    Eusuf

  16. abuadam says:

    Sorry bro. I left the country quite long ago. Things change. Sorry dont hv updated info. You may ask in the travel forum tripadvisor. Some good souls will surely reply.

  17. Tasya says:

    Assalamualaikum Abu Adam.
    My husband is going to work in yangon next year (insya Allah). Im considering wether im moving with him or not. It’s just im wearing Hijab. How is the situation for a muslimah with hijab in yangon? Is it safe?

  18. SMA says:

    Tasya,

    I did see lot of Muslims men with skull cap, women were not commonly seen, but i believe hijab should not be an issue.

  19. abuadam says:

    Waalaikumussalam tasya. Sorry late reply. Out of town with limited access to internet. To answer yr concern. Rakhine state is far away from Yangon. Macam JB dengan Perlis. Yangon is the largest city in Myanmar. It is a commercial hub. Multinational companies open up branches here. Expats come to work here from Europe and middle east incl ASEAN countries. International schools are many to cater for expats children. One most popular (and also most expensive, unfortunately) is International School Yangon (ISY) in Bahan township. Their main customers are professionals, executives in O&G sector and diplomats. They are many Moslems and their children are wearing tudung. If you walk in the streets of Yangon, u see local Myanmar moslem women and girls are wearing headscarves and some are hijab. The men are wearing jubah and qurtas. Sarong or longyi are worn by everybody on the street. This is their traditional dress. Even men at work climbing electical poles are wearing longyis. I would say it is OK to wear hijab. Yangoners given the diversified in cultures are more open minded. What matters is respect. While there, travel a bit, pickup their language and appreciate their foods. Wallahuaklam.

  20. abuadam says:

    Agreed with syed

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