But a red-white-domed mosque? I saw it for the first time on Friday, 29 April, 2016, when Al Madinah mosque, built by "Dompet Dhuafa" (an alms organization), in Zona Madina, Parung, Bogor, was launched by the Vice Governor of West Java, Deddy Mizwar.
A historian, Prof. Ahmad Mansur Suryanegara, in his book titled, "History of Fire," mentioned that Prophet Muhammads flag was red and white, referring to the Hadith Qudsi, cited in Republika daily, on August 10, 2014.
The flags color of Demak, the first Islamic kingdom in Java, in the 15th century AD, according to the Kethoprak play, was red and white, which was called the banner of coconut sugar. The Demak fleet under the command of the Adipati Unus, flew a red and white flag when it attacked the Portuguese in Malacca in 1511.
As per the saga, commander of Gajah Mada succeeded in uniting the whole of archipelago under the Kingdom of Majapahit by hoisting the banner of coconut sugar.
Before the proclamation of Indonesian independence on August 17, 1945, Soekarno asked his wife, Fatmawati, to sew by hand two pieces of white and red cloth to be the first official flag of the Republic of Indonesia. The first flag, which was hoisted on the proclamation day, is now considered a heritage flag. The red and white colors have now faded away, becoming dull with age.
The story is mentioned in Soekarnos autobiography, as told to Cindy Adams, the US journalist and also the writer of the autobiography. In the Indonesian version, the book is titled, "Soekarno: a mouthpiece of the Indonesian people."
Soekarno, in his autobiography, said the red and white colors referred to the beginning of the creation of a human, with the red signifying womans blood which mixed with the white sperm of man. He also said the red denoted the sun, and the white symbolized the moon. Another meaning was a red as the soil of Indonesia, and white as the color of sap from plants. Red is known as a symbol of courage and white as a symbol of purity.
The old tradition of Javanese has always been to present red-white porridge to prevent evil. In the legacy of Malay culture, there was Sekapur Sirih (foreword, or literal meaning as chalk and betel), which is a combination of white chalk, and red betel. According to Soekarno, red and white flag has existed for 6,000 years.
As the founder and chairman of Dompet Dhuafa, after discussions with the board, I decided that the color of the dome of Al-Madinah mosque, that will be built by the institution, would be red and white.
There are different shades of red: dark, blood red and pink. From a seller of young coconut, I learnt that a coconut is not necessarily green; it could even be yellow. Using a knife, the seller cut a yellow coconuts tip, and it appeared as red with a white tinge. Perhaps it was the color of coconut sugar.
This color was immediately photographed, and then it became the color of the dome of the Al Madinah mosque. Perhaps, this is the first red-white dome in Indonesia, or maybe even in the world.
Center of Excellence
The objective behind Al Madinahs development is to make the mosque a center of excellence. The mosque as a place of worship is something regular. The Dompet Dhuafa wants to build a mosque that serves as a center for community development in economic, health, education and culture, in addition to its primary priestly function and spread the value of piety.
Therefore, Al Madinah, built on nearly 7 hectares of land, has a hospital, educational institutions, junior-high boarding school, teacher schools, a cultural arts center, a theater training centre, a scout camp, market/kiosks, a playground with a flying fox, as well as community radio and television studios. All the buildings and facilities are integrated within one zone with the mosque at the center. This concept of the mosque refers to the way the mosque played its role in the times of Prophet Muhammad.
The two-story mosque can accommodate 2,000 people, with a meeting room on the first floor that has a capacity of 2,000 guests.
Jampang village in the hinterlands of Zona Madina has been designed for agro-cultural (agriculture and fisheries) tourism destination.
Here, a cycling track has been provided around the village. Food prepared as per the famous local culinary skills is served, including halibut and cork heron. There is also a Jampang English Village, a language course for the local population.
The Vice Governor of West Java, Deddy Mizwar, in his speech at the soft launch of Al Madinah, welcomed the mosque-based community development, such as the one in Zona Madina. The West Java provincial administration will build a similar mosque on an area of about 30 hectares, with a lake, in Gedebage, Bandung.
Funds for the construction of Al Madinah come from Dompet Dhuafa donations. Till April 2016, approximately Rp 7 billion worth of funds have been collected. Al Madinah is still receiving finishing touches. The grand opening is expected to be held in the upcoming month of Ramadan, though the mosque has become functional since April 29.
People hope the red-white-domed mosque of Al Madinah can become a center of excellence and the model proves good. They hope that it helps the process of awakening, and enhances the welfare of the Indonesian people under the grace of Allah Almighty.