SubhanAllah from all the places I have visited so far, magnificent Istanbul is still top of the list!
I hope this brief post about my recent five day trip there gives some insight and help to anyone thinking of visiting inshaAllah!
On my very first day I headed straight for Sultanahmet Mosque aka The Blue Mosque. An absolute must see, though some parts of it are being refurbished, it really makes you appreciate the time,cost and effort the government must take to look after such beautiful historical buildings.
Free to enter, anytime for muslims (during prayer times) and for everyone else at other times. Modest dress is required.
Right opposite the Blue Mosque is the Hagia Sofia aka Aya Sofia in Sultanahmet.
The entry fee is 60TL (£8.50) p/person, definitely well worth it!
The Hagia Sofia used to be a church and later became a mosque, hence the combination of the Christian murals and ornate Arabic calligraphy.
My favourite section is inside towards the front, right above where the mimbar is. You will see that a mural of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus has been left untouched from when it used to be a church and on either side there is beautiful arabic calligraphy with “Allah” on the right side and “Muhammad” pbuh on the left. I don’t know why but this really caught my heart, almost as if the mural has been left there as a sign of respect to all who love and believe in Mother Mary and baby Jesus, peace be upon them both.
As you walk on past the Hagia Sofia, you will find the tombs of the Sultans behind Hagia Sofia, a very peaceful place.
Free entry but modest dress is required.
The second day was all about the amazing Topkapi Palace. Full of fascinating courtyards, many different purpose built ornate buildings and surrounded bu glorious views of the grand Bosporous sea.
It costs 95TL (£13.50) p/person including a visit to the harem- which is well worth it!
Part of the “Harem” which housed the Sultans private chambers and bedrooms.
The palace also has a privy chamber, this is where Prophets peace be upon them and sahabas (r.a) artefacts are kept including Prophet Muhammad SAW beard hairs, sword and tooth.
It also houses the swords of all 4 caliphs as well as the companions Ammar, Jafar and Khalid bin Walids (ra) swords. On display is also Prophet Dawud AS sword, Prophet Musa AS stick Prophet Yahya AS imama and arm armour. Bibi Fatima r.a clothes and Hadhrat Hussain r.a clothes, but unfortunately no photography is allowed so below is a picture of the exterior.
On the third day of my stay I decided to visit the Prince Islands- just off the coast of Istanbul. About an hour and a half journey, I took the local ferry from Eminonu ferry station which only costs about £1.50 for return in comparison to €25 charged by tour agents! Do not be fooled! Its a comfortable ride that gets you to your destination, you can even but hot/cold drinks on board and it still wont burn a big hole in your pocket!
Above you see the quaint little island of Buyukada – the largest of the Prince Islands.
On the fourth day of my visit I discovered this hidden gem of a place called the Museum of Turkish and Islamic arts.
What a fantastic place! SubhanAllah!
There are majestic, handwoven rugs and the most gorgeous rosewood furniture inlaid with precious pieces of mother-of-pearl work displayed. I loved this place, I could’ve spent way longer then I actually did and even then I was there for quite some time!
The entry fee is 35TL (£5) p/person, definitely well worth a visit!
Huge, handwritten and beautifully ornate holy Qurans at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. It also houses some amazing sacred Islamic artefacts including many beard hairs of our beloved Prophet SAW , pieces of the cloth from the Holy Kabah, hand written Quran pages, entire Qurans and books of seerah from 7th century onwards and a lot more. A lot more peaceful then Topkapi Palace- so great place to study and appreciate the sacred artefacts in a peaceful and quiet environment.
Above you can see “The Damascus Documents” (historical handwritten pages of the Quran) at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic arts.
I visited the mosque of Hadhrat Abu Ayub Ansari r.a. He was a companion of our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW.
Free to enter, modest dress required.
Outside the tomb of Hadhrat Abu Ayub Ansari r.a. A peaceful place, astoundingly reminded me a lot if the Holy city of Madina. Even though there were many many visitors, there seemed to be a covering of calm over the entire area, a very spiritual and life reflecting place.
May Allah swt grant all our beloved deceased forgiveness and bless them with Paradise- aameen.
Up on a hill is the grand Suleymaniye Mosque. A structure showcasing magnificent and awesome architecture-definitely worth a visit. It is free to enter but as it is a place of worship modest dress is required.
Around the corner is The Grand Bazaar where all your souvenir and shopping needs can be met- but do make sure you bargain! Start with a third of price asked and only pay up to half of original price and no more! It takes some skill but you will get there inshaAllah!
All in all, Istanbul is a beautiful city full of history and mystery. There is so much to see and experience, great for the youth as well as adults. There are many hotels within walking distance of the main sights and delicious reasonably priced halal food available everywhere. P.s if you are a cat lover, you will love Istanbul on another level!
I ❤️ Istanbul.
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