Wakaf, Surau & Masjid
A Brief Explanation Of These Terms For Foreigners 

The words ‘Wakaf’, ‘Surau’ and ‘Masjid’ can often be seen in Malaysia referring to Islamic places of worship such as mosques or prayer rooms. For foreigners who are non-Muslim here is a simple explanation of the difference between these terms.


This is the easy one. Masjid is the Arabic word for mosque. Some mosques use the word masjid in their title, such as Masjid Jamek in KL, but, whether or not the word appears in the title, all mosques are masjid.


Surau is a Malay word used in Malaysia and Indonesia to describe an Islamic assembly building used by men and women for worship and religious instruction. They are similar to mosques but tend to be smaller. In the modern context, surau is used to refer to a prayer room in public buildings such as shopping malls, universities, museums and so on. 


Wakaf (or waqaf or wakf or waqf) is an Arabic word which may be translated as a voluntary endowment for pious, religious or charitable purposes. Typically this endowment might be a building or plot of land and when this building is a mosque you might see the word waqaf on the name-board outside.

For a more detailed explanation you can refer to this website.


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