This chapter discusses the issues relating to mosque as a practice for tourist attraction in Malaysia by analyzing the history, role of architectural features and people’s place attachment to a mosque in order to achieve understanding and appreciation on its importance towards tourism industry. Malaysia as an Islamic country are also competing with the others in providing the needs on the latest demands of Halal tourism in marketing and business. In this modern contemporary days, the role of mosque as a tourist destination with regard to religious tourism is rarely dismissed since it is a place that combines the whole principle of a sacred building as well as an institution of knowledge where communities would gather. Though the role of architectural characteristics, physical ambience quality and place attachment are in need of attention for research as they are lack of them in providing the needed information on realizing the potential of a mosque in tourism marketing. Thus, it is of great importance to understand the issues and its purpose when contemplating mosque as a tourist destination.

2.2.1Definition of Islamic Tourism
Islamic tourism mostly has no known definitive meanings but has been widely interpreted as an act of tourism carried out by both Muslims and non-Muslim travelers in exploring the varieties provided in which Islam as the dominant religion. There are travelers simply travel for leisurely act or mere out of curiosity in exploring. Khair (2014) found that the act of travelling is not entirely limited to religious or spiritual motivation. It is too often cited as an Ibadah, Ziyara or Da’wah in accordance with Prophet Muhammad S.A.W days where one travels to Mecca to perform Umrah or Hajj, one of the five pillars in Islam.

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The emergence of Islamic tourism can also be related with the phenomenal incident of 11th September known to bring about the Islamophobia term throughout the world. This has caused several significant changes in tourism and the perception of people regarding Muslims and Islamic countries. Hanim, Hassan, Othman and Safar (2010) argued that due to the hostility presented and the insecure of one being, the Middle East tourists especially have changed their flow towards other Islamic countries and in Asia specifically. Malaysia took this as an opportunity to raise the tourism industry and branding one as an Islamic tourism hub with the indirect increase in the number of tourists from the cause. This prospect has led to various refinement in Halal brandings and products, facilities and friendly communities to look out for. Badarudin and Shafaei (2015) observed that many initiatives have been launched in enhancing the tourism sub-sector performance in the world’s eye.

2.2.2Definition of Community
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2018), community is defined as a group of people within an area having a similar interest or religion. The Muslim communities is regarded as those beliefs is of Islam. The majority of them in Malaysia are mainly from Peninsular Malaysia as shown in Figure 2.1.

19051206500Source: Geo Currents, (2013); Fatemeh ; Badaruddin, (2015)
Figure 2.1 Malaysia’s Muslim Population
The interaction between the local Muslim community and tourists plays a vital role in contributing to the better understanding of culture, Islamic values and the growth of economy as well. Islam has always been encouraging Muslims to learn and know each other as to expand one’s knowledge. Having a well-mannered and decent attitude among the community will also be an attractive point among the tourists that will surely ensure returning visits or for newcomers as well. Rahman (2014) found that companionship within the local people has become an attribute to a steady increase in status as an Islamic tourist destination.

2.2.3Definition of Mosque
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2018), mosque is defined as a place of worship for Muslims. It is also highly regarded as a community center where several activities other than religious took place in which it includes educational, social, politics, and as a welfare and charity center.
2.2.4Definition of Place Attachment
Place is defined as a space linked with the physical attributes, people or group of activities. According to Altman and Low (1992), place attachment is refer to as emotional and affecting bond established between people and places. It determined the emotional experience and the sentiment values an individual had with a place. Hidalgo and Hernandez (2001) also described that it is mainly about the desires to be close with certain places that emanate special feelings within them due their previous interaction.

2.3Halal Tourism trend in Promoting Mosque for Tourism
The growth of Muslim population and its demands on diversity of tourism activities as well as service quality that abide to Islamic principles has brought about a new recent trend known as Halal Tourism. Tourism industry has regard the potentials of Halal tourism in attracting and generating more income from the consumers. With a steady increase in the young generation demographic for travelers, the level of the individual’s awareness and also the infrastructure investments and development in health and safety has led this segment to become a very important role in business and tourism. This has provided the opportunity for a mosque as a tourist attraction by enhancing its facilities and equipment, environmentally more pleasant and convenient towards its users as to promote religious beliefs as well as attracting more pious travelers to the site. PAMUKCU (2016) also argued that tourism sector is defined as one of the important sectors that lead the development of countries with touristic attraction.

2.4Functions of a Mosque
Mosque is easily recognizable as the center hub of a nation from a simple place for worshipping during the Prophet (PBUH) days converting to such that serve multi-functional purposes over the Muslim community. It has always been seen as an opportunity to spread Islam further. Therefore, Malaysia with a steady increase of tourists never lack in promoting and developing mosque as one of the attraction in Islamic tourism.
Mosque has always had its own principles to follow in order to perform its functions well that benefits to the users. Firstly, it is a religious place where most worshippers performed their congregational prayers as well as studying and reading the Quran and meditation. It is with the knowledge that one will be rewarded greatly to those that has frequent visits and perform activities within the mosque; that those who walk to mosques in darkness are given good tidings that they will have a perfect light on the Day of Judgement (al-Bukhari, 1981, Hadith No.561). Secondly, mosque is acting as a community center where all the politics, educational and social gathering happenings. It is truly a place where people would have gather for discussions and solutions, building up one’s identity and forming bonds with the people while maintaining a strong spirituality within. Next, mosque is available to all in which even non-Muslims are allowed to enter within the intended areas and will be attended to at least outside praying times. Spahic (2012) observed that everybody is equally entitled to the mosque and their services with regards of their motivations either because of curiosity or observing to gain knowledge about the religion.

2.5Theories Leading to Mosque as a Tourist Attraction
Mosques can be seen almost every part of the neighbourhood in Muslim countries as they served to the communities their multi-functional purposes. Its grandeur presence, architectural beauty and an icon as a landmark to the place is hardly dismissible. A mosque can be access both by Muslims and non-Muslims but with few limited exceptions to them in which prayer area can be non-permit but they are allowed to roam about freely and will be attended to outside of prayer times. There are those mosques that has merged tourism together as one of the attractions that tourists should look out for with regards of their history, heritage, culture and architectural features. Besides, there are no definite motivations of the tourists in visiting the mosque as it can be either for educating oneself with knowledge while exploring but still remain a leisure act or for religious purpose. Henderson (2008) observed that even tourists who do not physically enter a mosque to visit it are touched by their presence as mosques in Muslim countries form part of the scenery and sense of place. In addition, Henderson (2008) also suggests that a mosque itself may be considered a tourist attraction if they are unique and outstanding. This is true if the mosques are being held in a high manner by public. There are those that also function mainly for tourism and also due to the abandonment as a prayer house in the past. The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba for example which is famous for its roles as house of prayer for two religions, Islam in the beginning and Christian after their reconquest of Spain in 13th century which was turned into a cathedral yet the Islamic arts were untouched. Although no longer functioning as a prayer house its roles between those two still remain ambiguity to this days. Tourists are also intrigued by its architectural features such as the forest of pillars, the maqsura a richly decorated ribbed vault, its dome with abstract and floral motifs, and red and white arches in the main hall that gives off a strong chromatic effect.

Additionally, tourism in Muslim countries always have one common feature when planning their strategies on destinations which is mosque enhancing their architectural characteristics and historical landmark values. Suleymaniye Mosque of Istanbul provide the very meaning of simplicity beauty and a central point of the city serving many purposes on the public’s well-being. A complex building not only for worshipping but also housed three madrasah or schools, soup kitchen, caravanserai a resting place for travellers, several tombs, a bathhouse, a library and also organized various charity events to the poor.
Besides, Muslim countries has put up much efforts on tourism strategies in hope to attract more Muslims and non-Muslims tourists to their place by improving the travel agencies and services which also focuses more on the aesthetic value. Qatar for example has organized more Mosque tour especially towards the famous Blue Mosque featuring their aestheticism and history values. This enable the worshippers to be able to pray in a beautiful mosque with pleasant environment as well as adequate and modern facilities while allowing tourists to bask in its glory.

2.6Issues Regarding Mosque for Tourism
There are fairly well issues concerning when contemplating mosque as a tourist destination raised among the locals despite all the positive outcomes and development done. Firstly, mosque having move towards better improvement following the modernization that occurs yet not fully functional in catering to the community’s needs to a better quality of life. People nowadays has considered going to mosque only for daily congregational prayers, affecting mosque to be devoid of activities outside the prayer times, lacks of social activities or interaction with the communities aside religious to have a reason to be there as well as the mosque’s facilities are not well maintained with outdated or badly damaged equipment leaving its aesthetic to appear more appealing towards the visitors. Rasdi (2012) found that it has emphasized more on becoming an icon, a landmark of a nation and its aesthetic rather than functionality. Secondly, there is a voice of concerned among the elders regarding the influence of non-Muslims will bring around the mosque. Muslim has always regarded the mosque as truly a sacred place and it is seen as an opportunity for exploration by non-Muslims, thus, attracting more tourists to the mosque. Though, it is not matter to all as there are those local communities welcoming non-Muslim tourists inside the mosque as to promote and spread the Islamic values as well as one’s culture to be known more by others. Even in early days, Pennington (2008) observed that Muslims are relatively tolerant to welcome non-Muslims to enter mosque and this tradition should be continued with a proper policy. However, there is a slight decline on social interactions in Muslim community as they sometimes prefer to be within their own sphere. Stephenson and Ali (2010) found that this is directly affecting their residential, employment, education, and social, leisure and travel choices.

2.7Priorities Concerned Within the Architecture
There are a few guidelines within the mosque in developing the architectural features of the mosque that of concerned in order to maximize the building to the fullest as well as its potentials for tourism industry. Firstly, the mosque should respect its bonds with the nature as in developing towards achieving sustainable design. Implementing the sustainable development could not only help achieving a coexistent peace between its surrounding but also becoming more cost effective. Secondly, a mosque should take an utmost importance in cleanliness since it’s one of the greatest aspect that showcase the values of Islam. Prophet (PBUH) took a great care in maintaining every corner of his mosque from filth as Allah prefer cleanliness over anything; for Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean (Al-Baqarra, 222). Thirdly, a mosque should be the center for social gatherings. Keeping the mosque full of attentions from the public and never devoid from activities are one of the greatest asset a mosque could achieved. It promotes the growth of a community as well as helping in advancing the development of the mosque in various aspects. Fourthly, a mosque should be as modest as possible in regards of their form since its spatial arrangement and its quality of space hold bigger roles when designing a mosque. Though, Kessler (2015) argued that a mosque with a beauty and unique appearance is seen as a bonus in attracting tourists especially one that can maintain their multi usage.

2.8Social Benefits to Muslims
There is a lot of social benefits from mosque tourism providing supportiveness towards tourists and communities alike be it positive or negative. The examples would be the development and cultural exchange between the communities while also further helps preserving the heritage and traditional values. This is also likely improve the image of the Muslims from the negative widespread of media on Islam and also to the local residents in increasing the marketing values. It is in hoped it will helps generate more income to the country through tourism. Additionally, this further leads to the enhancement of various local services, infrastructure investments, improvement on tourism security and safety as well as encouraging the participation of tourists and communities more during events. Pizam and Milman (1988) acknowledged that rapid growth of tourism might improve the legislative and local services, produce greater investment in education, and upgrade the healthcare system, social services, leisure facilities as well as the variety of social entertainment and recreational activities.

2.9Concepts of Place Attachment
There are several factors that contribute to place attachment such as environmental experiences and familiarity or one’s knowledge with the places. The characteristics of the places too can evoke people’s feelings that eventually formed a bond between them. Gieryn (2000) also observed on the importance of place attributes and characteristics in construction of place attachment. Therefore, visitors to the mosques are likely to have a religious place attachment in which religion plays a significant role to it. Hence, the need to identify the importance of scared site with regards to the visitors’ place attachment.

2.10Religious and Place Attachment
Religious places are the places that advocate the sacred acts and rituals with regards to emotional security, social activities and tranquility they provide. Therefore, religious architecture is always with the correlation of sense of spirituality and getting closer to the divine and sacred context. Barrie (1996) also argued that architecture, in addition to directly symbolizing the belief system, acts as a stage that accommodates and facilitates the embodying myth via ritual. Essentially, the architectural characteristics and aestheticism of religious places have similar effects that evoke the worshippers’ and visitors’ spirituality. In addition, the quality of spatial planning, ornamentations, furnishings and materials too could create perceived meanings to the users with the places that enables them to understand the architectural function within. Mazumdar and Mazumdar (1993) also advocated that the role of natural elements such as water features, light, smell and sound and natural landscape in evoking’s people’s spiritual and religious feelings as well as their attachment to the places. Tuan (1977) also observed on the role of beauty of the sacred places in inspiration of sacredness. As such, there is a relationship between religious places with public’s place attachment. Religion has proven to be an important part in a person’s lifestyle by instilling them the iron discipline of obligations, devoted mind, attachment and spirituality. Thus, religious architecture supports the earlier statements where their authentic characteristics and designs could evoke a sense of spirituality and attachment by providing the users with tranquility, comfortableness and more importantly convenient to them.
Mosque architecture should comprise all aspect equally in all directions by having the right intention and understanding when contemplating the spatial planning, design and its initial purpose in its modest way for tourism to ensure it has served and brought satisfaction to its visitors and local communities. Mosque as a tourist attraction should focus on educating the tourists regarding their architectural functions while engaging them with the beauty of aestheticism as well to leave an impending mark and attachment within them. This will ensure the role of architectural characteristics and features are well understood and have the same appealing effect as aesthetic does among the visitors while maintaining its status of spirituality at the same time. Thus, mosque is proved to be equally useful as well in tourism industry while undoing the damage done on the image of Islam and welcoming others more to engage physically on their historic landmark.


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