Not Just a House to Honour God”: Mosques in the Malay World as Cosmopolitan Spaces

This article argues that mosques are not just devotional places but also projections of the cosmopolitan temperaments of Muslims in the Malay world. This is evidenced, first, in the aesthetics and architecture of the mosques that draw upon so many religious and cultural traditions. I then show how the close proximity between mosques and other places of worship and the sharing of sacred spaces have ensured the continued vitality of cosmopolitanism among Muslims and non-Muslims in the Malay World. For many generations, mosques have functioned as sites that sustain the spirit of mutual tolerance and cooperation between Muslims and adherents of other faiths to ensure the safety and welfare of their communities.