The design was inspired by the vision of the late Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Abidin II. Masjid Zahir is located in central Alor Star, and is the official mosque for the state as well as the main mosque for the local Muslims.

Its main hall (prayer hall), measuring 3,844 sq ft, is surrounded by wide verandahs with four mezzanine areas, each topped by a dome. The main dome is situated in the north-east of the building. The five large domes symbolise the five Islamic principles.