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 […]


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


Assalamu alaikum, peace be with you


Dear readers, it has been many days since I returned from my journey and many more since I left Turkey. I still miss it very much. I miss the pre-dawn walks we took to either the blue mosque, or the Beyazid mosque or the Sulaimaniya (which I missed unfortunately) to get there just as the sounds of the call to the dawn prayer began to float on the hushed stillness of the ending night. I miss entering those great spaces of peace and sitting in silence until the prayer is begun and then the magnificent recitation. I miss sitting there after, each of us lost in our own thoughts, contemplations, in our ‘dhikr’ (=remembrance, of God, of where we came from and where we are going, of our prophet) until the rays of the sun fell on the carpet through the stained glass windows brightly enough to signal the day has broken. And then we would stand to offer two more units of voluntary prayer before walking back to our hotel for breakfast. The city magically transformed in that short time so that quiet deserted streets were then full of vendors, the fragrances of tea and ‘simit’, busy students hustling to school and busier folks on their way to work, the trams going past ‘jam-packed’ and the shops open to new delights to tempt one as one passes by. I miss this also, this cacophony of life, good busy simple life. All things should have their place and their is a time for prayer and a time for the daily duties of life. I love that about Islam that these things are ordered, but never let one take too much of the mind-heart space to the detriment of the other. Ah, balance is a hard skill to achieve. But the middle way is the best way, and so taught our prophet, peace and blessing be upon him. And yet while we maintain that balance it is not to stay stagnant but gently rise each day and year of our lives through our perseverance and training of the soul, so that we wipe away the grime from our hearts and can feel again our true center…that is so far elevated from the mundane! Those who have experienced this will know what I mean. Subhahanallah (glory be to God)

I could go on and on about each of the masajid (plural of masjid=mosque) we visited, but no doubt you will find better and more ample descriptions of these online in other places. So I will post some pictures for you below. Please read the captions for more information.

May God’s peace and blessing be with you all


The Sulaimaniya Camii – we arrived in time for one of the prayers, it was very quiet
Sulaimaniya camii - dome
Built for Sulaiman the Magnificent by the great Mimar Sinan (see my post on Ederne for his masterpiece). Every Ottoman Sultan was expected to have a trade, and Sulaiman was a gifted jeweller – hence the jewel-theme artwork. The walls also had many marble elements inspired by fine jewel settings.


I think this is the Yeni (=new, its 400+ yrs old!) camii. Built by one of the mother of one of the Sultans. Amazing iznik tile work.


Listening to a reciter or ‘qaari’ after the end of the salah
Detail. Subhanallah!
The Rustom Pasha camii – a little know camii tucked away on the top story above the busy shops of the spice bazar. Absolutely stunning, I have many photographs of the tile designs unfortunately I can’t post here. Each tile hand painted and each will have a small defect that allows the artist to recognize it as their work. And also according to the Muslim ethos in art, that perfection belongs to God alone.
the dome from the ‘kucik ayah sofia’ (little aya sofia)
The Sultan Ahmet camii or Blue mosque. A poorly taken picture of the early dawn light coming in.


Recitation from the blue mosque and celebration of our beloved

Dear readers, peace be upon you all!

I have been wanting to continue with my posts on our rihla to Turkey, but several things do with returning and settling into the work routine have kept me busy. By Allah’s grace may I continue in the coming days. In the meantime I found this recording of the profound recitation following the salah (please see in my post on Ankara for an explanation of why I prefer using the term ‘salah’ rather than prayer for our obligatory daily ritual worship) in the Sultan Ahmed mosque (or Blue mosque as it is more commonly called) in Istanbul. How I miss sitting there listening to the recitation. These are the last two ayaat (=signs, or translated loosely as verses) of Surah Baqarah I believe, the second chapter in the Quran. The recitation following the salah is optional, so you will see some people walking about/leaving. Usually in the masajid (plural of masjid=mosque), the congregational prayer is followed by a du’a (supplication or prayer) or by recitation of verses from the Quran and by sending peace and blessings upon our beloved, Muhammed, the seal of the prophets (may Allah exalt him and grant him peace and all his family, may He elevate them).

On that note, today is a special day, the 12th of the ‘spring month’ of Rabbi ul-Awwal, the birthdate of our beloved messenger. Our prophet taught us that we have only two festivals as Muslims, the one following the end of the fasting month and the one concluding the Hajj pilgrimage. But many Muslims have special gatherings to sing praises of the prophet and send peace upon him, to honour him and remember him on this special day. Something that should not be confined to just one day, and then the best honour of him is to follow his example, may peace and blessings be upon the last messenger, a mercy to the worlds. So the second video is to a beautiful poem praising him, many exist in the Muslim world and some are long some are short. This one is not too long so you can listen to the whole inshaAllah.

May peace be with you all,

Recitation from blue mosque, the acoustics of the masjid are amazing! Subhahanallah (=glory be to God, most exalted)

Qasida Muhammadiya, (qasida is a style or type of poem, its a technical term) a very famous ancient poem in praise of the prophet (peace be upon him) written by a great scholar of our past, Imam Busari (raheemahullah alai, Allah shower mercy upon him). The translation in the youtube is not the most graceful, for a better one, please see here