LAYLATUL QADR ON HALLOWED GROUNDS……. — Siraat-e-Mustaqeem

There are some experiences after which one should die because nothing more will surpass them. One such experience is the Qiyam of Laylatul Qadr at Eyup Sultan. Everyone enters the hallowed precincts of Eyup Sultan with their own individual worries and burdens and yet once you step off the ferry and cross the road to […]

via LAYLATUL QADR ON HALLOWED GROUNDS……. — Siraat-e-Mustaqeem

Assalamu alaikum, peace be with you dear readers. It has been a long time since I last blogged, and it may be some time yet before I can resume as many other things have kept me busy. However, today the 29th of Ramadan of 1440, just before this blessed months departs (we Muslims consider the month a dear guest that arrives once a year, and we try our best to host her in the most loving way while she is with us, and wait until she visits again another year… many Muslims will end the month with the heartfelt prayer, ‘O Divine, give us life to meet Ramadan again’!), I cannot but help share the post above written by someone I was honored to meet. I will not name her except to say she is a well respected specialist physician who has dedicated her life to service in many many spheres, and it seems, is now enjoying some well earned time in Turkey during Ramadan.

Laylatul Qadr means ‘layl =night, ul =of, qadr= power/Divine decree’, it is the night that comes once during Ramadan, on one of the odd nights of the last ten days – i.e., 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th night. We do not know exactly when it is, but we watch for it and we look for its signs – a beautiful indescribable peace that settles in the heart from dusk till dawn, a stillness that covers the earth, and in the dawn a sun that rises without rays. It commemorates the night the Quran was first revealed. Many reports pour in every year about which night it may have been. This year, the night of the 27th rose high on the list of signs. 🙂

The nights of Ramadan are spent in beautiful and peaceful worship, usually we break fast in the mosque, complete the dusk prayer, then eat a meal..then rest a little until the call for the night prayer is made, which happens about an hour and half after dusk. Then we pray the night prayer and after this begins voluntary prayers that last through the rest of the night. We call these ‘taraweeh’ or ‘qiyam al layl’. They are spiritually powerful, especially in the last ten days of Ramadan…the month’s training of abstinence from food and drink I think impacts the body, which becomes more receptive to spiritual or other wordly nuances, and then the profoundly moving recitation of the Quran by master reciters adds to the ‘magic’ (if you will) of it all, where many people will feel their hearts open, their burdens fall away, their tears flow, their worries and anxieties eased as they are filled with new light and healing.

So now with the above context I hope you can enjoy the experience shared above from someone blessed to have spent laylathul qadr in a most special place, the mosque of abu Ayyub in Istanbul. For any who have been there during any time of the year, I need say no more. The feeling in the place is immense, indescribable. For those who have been in Turkey and been in any of the mosques, I hope you can imagine..but really it is so much more in abu Ayyub jaami. And for those who have not been there, I pray you get to go and regardless of what faith or creed, colour or disposition, may you be able to benefit from the gifts freely given there.

Peace be with you all, and Eid Mubarak in advance! May you have a blessed festival

Istanbul and Abu Ayyub al Ansari (rad)

Assalamu alaikum (peace be with you) dear readers,

Alhamdulillah (thanks and praise be to God), finally back to posting and continuing with the rihla to Turkey posts. We visited many sites in Istanbul and spent the majority of our time in that great city. What can I say? there is so much to share that I am do not know where to begin. Let me then, begin at the beginning!

We arrived in Istanbul on the day of the great Istanbul marathon, I believe over ten thousand runners were on a route that included the Bosphorus bridge, thereby crossing Asia-Europe, which I thought was rather cool. The bottom line was that traffic though was a mess, as this meant one of the two bridges across the Bosphorus was closed to vehicles. After a short time in our hotel we then headed to the Abu Ayyub al Ansari mosque, or the Ayyup camii as the Turks call it. We did this as good etiquette upon our rihla. The turks call Abu Ayyub al Ansari (radhiallahu ta’ala anhu = may God the most High, be pleased with him) the ‘first Sultan’. Here is a website from Turkey on him. He was a companion of the prophet (peace be upon him) and a man beloved to all Muslims. He was an ‘ansari’ meaning, one of the ‘ansar’ (ansar= helpers). The ansar is the name given to the people of Yathrib, a city north of Medina, that the beloved prophet (peace be upon him) migrated to to escape immense persecution from him own tribe in Mecca and also at the request of the people of that city who pledged allegiance to him and asked him to come and govern it. On his arrival there, the city came to be called ‘Medina’ meaning ‘city’. A shortened form of ‘medinatun-nabi’ (=city of the prophet). There is much to relate of this migration, called the ‘hijrah’ which begins the Muslim calander and of the prophet (peace be upon him)’s first actions when he got there, among which was to draft a constitution.

To continue, when our beloved messenger (peace be upon him) entered Medina, he stayed at the home of Abu Ayyub al Ansari for several months until his own modest dwelling was built along side a mosque simultaneously constructed. There is a beautiful story about how the site was chosen for the mosque of the prophet (peace be upon him) which exists to this day and is the second most important mosque in the Muslim world (after the Ka’aba in Mecca). It was actually the prophet’s (peace be upon him) camel that chose the site. But this post will be very long were I to relate it. Abu Ayyub al Ansari showed the prophet (peace be upon him) an immense amount of love and respect on having him as his guest. Many stories are told about his honoring of his guest and the prophet’s immense love for him and his family. He lived a long time after the prophet’s death. In his eighties he went on a campaign to what was then constantinopole and died there. Several centuries later when Muhammed al fatih located where he was buried he built a mosque, the first he built in that city. The mosque exists to this day and the locals loving visit there to celebrate marriages, circumcision ceremonies for boys and etc. It was as if they were seeking the blessings of this great man. There was a feeling of peace and serenity in that mosque hard to rival among the other many fabulous mosques in Istanbul. Also one felt the genuine love of the local people for the place, and surrounding it many restaurants, plazas and places for people to hang-out are there, and they are always full. So we began our tour with a traditional etiquette of paying our respects to this beloved soul who did so much for Islam, and who had the honour and blessing of being among the companions of our beloved messenger (peace be upon him). I have no pictures of that place, it was not a place to take pictures in, at least not for me. I will however post below a video I found on youtube, of some brothers who gathered in the mosque, following the ritual prayer or salah, to sing in praise and love of the prophet and his companion.

And then out of respect and etiquette, I will post about other aspects of the Istanbul leg of our rihla later on inshaAllah (God willing). May the peace and blessing of God always around you, be closer and closer and ever more apparent to your hearts!