Yesterday was the first day of Ramadan in Turkey, and the second time I’m here during Ramadan. I’m very grateful that I’m here because there’s so much more spirituality in the air, waking up with the trumpet and having suhoor until you hear the adhaan, and having iftaar when you hear the adhaan again. Everybody is fasting, even those who are not very practising, and people around you are reciting the Quran.. the whole country is simply in another mood.
On the other hand I do feel guilty for not spending enough time on ibadah, as we go out and meet other family, although that’s also a good deed. This is my last day in Istanbul, I will be spending the next 2,5 weeks in our village in Giresun, perfect place for Ramadan.
On saturday the rest of my family arrived in Turkey, alhamdulillah it was really good to be reunited again. Along with them my Dutch/Indonesian friend came to visit Turkey. It’s the first time that I brought a non-Turkish friend with me to Turkey. As I expected everybody welcomed her and she feels accepted too, although communication is not very effective 😀
On monday we went to the European side of Istanbul, where most of the beautiful places are located (my family mostly lives on the Asian side). We visited several mosques (Fatih mosque, Suleymaniye mosque, Sultan Ahmet/Blue mosque, Yavuz Selim mosque) and the Topkapi Palace. I’ve been to these places many times, except for the Topkapi Palace, so it wasn’t anything new for me. But in the Sultan Ahmet mosque I became very emotional. I prayed dhuhr there and looked at the mosque and the people in front of me. The view was simply amazing, the enormous building and beauty everywhere. But the visitors… I would have much more preferred to see people in islamic attire, reciting Qur’an, praying and remembering Allah. Instead of people having fun and taking thousands of pictures. The primary purpose of this building was not to facilitate the worship of the Creator but to serve as a tourist attraction. This made me very sad, especially as I thought about the great people who built it and put so much effort in it. But at the end only Allah knows their intention. And it’s a great way of showing what Islam is about to people who have maybe never even met one muslim in their lives, and now they can see muslims praying in such a beautiful places with their own eyes.
The Topkapi Palace also stirred up many emotions inside me. We had less than an hour to explore the place because we had to meet my brother at a certain place, and so we had to hurry a lot. I would suggest to spend a whole day at this palace as it’s huge and almost endless. It is very strange to see objects from a different time, centuries old things right there in front of you, while now we can only read about those times and try to imagine how it must have been. There were several collections but the one that caught my attention was the collection of armour. It was SO beautiful! It’s obviously not necessary to make such beautiful things to use in war, but wow if I were to be the enemy I would be amazed by the splendour of these materials and get scared. It was a very strange thought that my forefathers used these materials to conquer and protect the places where my family now lives, the place I come from. And how strong must they have been to carry such big things and also fight using them. How strange is it that they are now gone and we display their stuff in a museum.. indeed every nation has an appointed time when they have to leave this temporary world. And alhamdulillah as much as the thought of dying causes fear inside us it is a comfort to know that we will not live here forever, there will not always be imperfection, this place is not endless. But until that time we will might have to wait for such a long time in our graves.. we should be wise and make it a good wait while we still can.
At around 7 pm we took the ferry back to the Asian side (after the SCARIEST taxi-drive ever, I seriously thought the driver would kill someone accidentally). At this point the sun was very low in the sky. And the view was… beyond any words.. I will show the pictures, but seriously everybody should see this once. Yesterday after iftar my cousin brought us to the Bosphorus again. This time it was dark outside and subhanAllah! So so so so so beautiful.. I just don’t know what to say about it. The water, mountains, lights, bridges… I fell in love with it.
After that we also went to a hill called Camlica, from where you can see both the Asian and European side of Istanbul, and the Bosphorus.. It’s almost magical haha 🙂
I will try to finally upload some pictures!