Sahabat Masjid - Masjid Istighfar
Masjid Istighfar, located along Pasir Ris Drive 3, is the heartbeat of the Muslim community in Pasir Ris, as well as the Muslim community residing and working nearby. The construction of Masjid Istighfar started more than 20 years ago in 1998, and completed a year later.
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our normal lives - Masjid Istighfar too was not spared. Fortunately, the attendance for their Friday prayers is still around 80% of its capacity. Not just catering to the Muslim Community living in the vicinity, the mosque is also frequented by those staying outside of Pasir Ris, or those working nearby, especially migrant workers.
According to Haji Mohamad Roslan Abdul Rahman, 67, the Head of Operations, the mosque prioritises the interest of the congregations and looks towards ways to ease them.
Haji Roslan has been working at the mosque since 2004, making him one of the longest serving members of the mosque. He shares with us that despite his age, he will continue serving for the mosque for as long as Allah allows him to.
Other than providing for their worshippers with good services and facilities, Masjid Istighfar also values its worshippers by providing them with food, no matter what program or event is on-going - up to the point where the mosque is also known as ‘Masjid Makan’.
Besides this, Masjid Istighfar also provides important services for the community.
“At one time, we were the only mosque to provide sessions and classes for special-needs children and we called it MADANIS - Madrasah Anak Istimewa. Parents of children with special-needs will send their kids over, and the main objective is to provide the environment and a safe space to develop their Islamic knowledge. Here they are taught how to pray together, do dhikr and read the Al-Quran together. So this is the right environment to bring them up as a Muslim, no matter their condition.
It’s evident that Masjid Istighfar - like other community institutions - values its community. For Haji Roslan, there is a particular worshipper that has left a great impact on his life.
“In the past, we had this revert who was disowned by his family. He was a teacher, well to do but his family couldn’t accept it. So he came to the mosque and we allowed him to stay here. But he fell sick and for six months, we looked after him, until his final days.
The most heartbreaking incident was when he passed away and his family wanted his body - they wanted to follow the ways of their religion. Alhamdulillah he kept a record of his conversion to Islam and we had the police and MUIS involved. His family did not know that he had been living in the mosque.
The best part was when we were able to bring his body back to the mosque, we managed to clean him together and shrouded him. In the end, his children apologised to us. But his story is one that has impacted me the most.”
Another unique story that we learnt about Masjid Istighfar is the bond that it values, not just with the Muslim community that frequents the mosque, but also the external communities beyond it.
“Here we are neighbours with the old folks home for elders with dementia, called Apex Harmony Lodge. There are around 15 Muslim residents and most of them do not have any relatives. So we cheer them up by bringing our kindergarten students to visit them, and it’s like these kids are cheering up their grandparents. They play games, sing and dance, just to entertain the elderly.”
“We are also very close to our neighbours - we have a temple nearby, the Bethesda Church, the Riverlife Church, and the Community Centre. In the past, we have organised joint activities with them such as the Family Walk.”
Ustaz Maaz Salim further adds: “Our mosque does not only function as the heart of the Muslim community, but also as a bridge to different communities. From there, we saw that we have to contribute on a harmonious level and involve ourselves in the community. Hence one of our efforts is the Free Water Cooler, or Water For All, that is located at Pasir Ris Drive 3 outside the mosque’s gate. It’s a pit stop for cyclists and joggers where they can top up their water or have a sip. Insya-Allah we will build a bike station in the future for many to benefit from. That is what we are planning for the future, for the community here.
Evidently, Masjid Istighfar is a benefit to the whole community - not just for Muslims.
“In my 17 years here, this is my second home - I spend most of my time here. I live in Woodlands, but all these years I’ve been travelling here. And by the will of Allah, I’ve been accepted here. There are a lot of sweet memories, Alhamdulillah.”
To learn more about the history and stories of Masjid Istighfar, stay tune to our latest episode of Sahabat Masjid! Follow Masjid Istighfar @mediaistighfar on Instagram to get their latest updates on all classes, programmes and events!