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Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Old Wapauwe Mosque

Publish 18-02-2009 09:40:31 by Admin
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A. Brief Information

Back to the 13th century, it is said that the local inhabitants of Kampong Wawane, the province of Maluku, were animistic devotees. For about a century later such a condition began to change following the arrival of Javanese merchants to Maluku and Papua. The Javanese merchants arrived at Maluku and Papua for economic purposes, but later on broadened to Islamic mission. They came to Maluku and Papua to introduce Islam; hence the former animistic belief began to fade.

Further development of Islam in Maluku was signed with the establishment of Wapauwe Mosque in 1414 A.D. that is located in Kampong Wawane. Referring to a historical note written on an inscription, the mosque was built by Perdana Jamillu and Alahulu, a rich merchant.

In 1614 A.D., there was an idea to move the mosque‘s location to Kampong Tehalla, six kilometres east of Kampong Wawane. The relocation was headed by Imam Rajalli, an Islamic cleric, along with his followers grouped in Kelompok Dua Belas Tukang, literally means the “12-labourers group.” 50 years later (1664 A.D.), the mosque miraculously moved to Atetu; in fact, there is no one knows who moved it. Such a phenomenon, according to the local people, is known as “turun” that can be loosely translated into “move by itself.”

The word “wapauwe” is derived from two local words; “wapa,” (under) and “uwe” (mango tree). The mosque, in the former, was built under a mango tree at a village in Maluku Province. In addition, the entire part of the mosque were made of sago woods that were glued each others without using any nail.

B. Distinctive Features

The Old Wapauwe Mosque is still kept well due to these days. Most of its parts are still in pristine since its first establishment. Now the mosque is functioned not only as the worship place the Muslim people, but also as the museum gallery. The mosque keeps well some historical properties like hundred-years bedug, ancient handwritten Koran, an Arabic calligraphy on an ancient metal, and a wooden pound, which is equal to 2,5 kg used to weight the people‘s zakat.[i]     

There is an ancient bedug, a kind of Indonesian percussion made of cow skin to sign the beginning of a prayer in Indonesia‘s Islam. When the Islamic prayers are to be practised, the bedug is beaten to call all Muslims to accomplish Islamic prayers together in the mosque. This is a means of keeping the Islamic kinship amongst the Muslims in Wapauwe Village, Maluku Province.

C. Location

The Old Wapauwe Mosque stands in elegance at Kaitetu Village, Hila Sub-district, Maluku Province, Indonesia. The mosque is located nearby Amsterdam Fortress.

D. Access

Kaitetu Village, or commonly known as Atetu Village, can be reached by car for approximately an hour from the city of Ambon. You can take any public transport from the bus station in the heart of Ambon City, leading to Hila Sub-district. After arriving at the sub-district of Hila, you might succeed the journey to the mosque by taking angkot as well as ojek transports leading to Kaitetu Village.

E. Ticket Price

Entering the Old Wapauwe Mosque is free, but you are suggested to give some money at any amount for charitable purposes. All the charity from the public is to be used for the mosque maintenance.

F. Accommodation and other Facilities

Though the mosque is still bearing a number of historical mysteries about the development of Islam in the eastern Indonesia, but there are few accommodations that can be found. If you are going to undertake a research there, you would be better to ask the local inhabitants for staying at their homes.

Tuti Nonka (wm/15/08-08)

Translated by Irfan Nugroho (ter/35/02-09)


Photo credit: (photos by Tuti Nonka)

[i] Zakat is obligatory payment made annually under Islamic law and used for charitable purposes.

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