Friday, October 20, 2006

The City of Masjids

For some time now since I've been back I've been wanting to post about Turkey. The truth I've come to realize, is that I fell in love with Turkey and its people, and love that is for the sake of Allah is Infinite. It cannot be expressed in words that are finite.

In Istanbul every block we would walk we would see a beautiful Ottoman masjid. Each one had the same Ottoman architecture, yet each one was unique in some way. One would go inside a small masjid tucked away amidst stores or in a corner off of a street, and find that it had its own keeper(s) -- people tending to the masjid as if it were their home -- ensuring everyone that entered was dressed appropriately for entering a home of Allah Ta'Ala, that there were ample misbahas available, that things were kept neat and tidy, and each worshipper or visitor was greeted with a warm smile. And in each masjid one's heart would long for Allah with such intensity that words are not sufficient to express that longing, to say the least.

Looking out from the hotel each day and night, we would see the breathtakingly magnificent view of the Sultan Ahmet and Aya Sofya on the shore of the Marmara - no photo, no words can capture the site - how strong an Islamic presence the Ottomans made here...ya Rabb...



This evening Salik and I were sitting at Tim Horton's sipping away and I couldn't help, but say to him that I felt as if we must have dropped somehow in Allah's eyes, for He took us from sitting on a rooftop viewing the Sultan Ahmet, Aya Sofya and countless other majestic masjids, sipping on herbal Turkish chai made especially for sick Salikah with nobody around, but a lovely Kurdish waiter who soon became a friend of Salik's and who refused to let us pay for chai that I was drinking to help calm my cough...to a commercialized, capitalistic franchise serving food that was mass produced without any particular customer in mind, which we sipped away sitting in a crowded Tim Horton's on a main street in Toronto. Perhaps it's true, but what's definately true is how superior the former was and how ugly and pale the latter is in comparison. Ya Rabb. Ya Rabb. Ya Rabb.

The courtyard of Sultan Ahmet (the Blue Mosque)....

Inside the Sultan Ahmet ...the main domes...


After Friday Congregational Prayer...

Salik and I would often sit for a long time just trying to take in all the detail...one thing that really struck us was the purpose with which everything was done...we started to notice that calligraphy that was hung up or on painted always had to do with where it was placed...for example at the entrance....

...and above a tap of water on a pillar inside the masjid...


I could go on forever about this masjid alone, but I'll just put up pictures of some other sites. Below are some photos of the Aya Sofya (now a museum) which was really one of the oddest places we visited. Odd in many senses -- the heart feels odd when it's inside it -- no doubt some inward reflection of the external -- all the hallmarks of an Ottoman masjid complete with mihrab, mimbar, and the standard in Turkish masjids: eight huge circles containing the names of Allah, the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), Abul Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman, 'Ali, Hasan, and Hussein (Allah be well please with them all)....but then paintings of Jesus and Virgin Mary peaking out from beneath the paint...


More to come soon...photos of masjids, historical sites, and something about Turkish hospitality...

**NOTE: All images on this blog are copyrighted and cannot be used without the express permission of Salikah Al-Tariq. All rights reserved.**

4 comments:

  1. Wow, great post and beautiful pictures. They really capture the feel of the words. Thank you.

    And Eid Mubarak to you and your family :)

    Ya Haqq!

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  2. Irving: Shukran, Alhamdulillah it was a wonderful trip. Eid Mubarak to you and your loved ones as well.

    Alex: As they say in Pakistan, Khayr Mubarak -- may Allah bless you and all those you love. Ameen.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Subhanallah beautiful mosques should also mention where are they jazakallah ummah khair
    wasalaam

    ReplyDelete