Istanbul, Istanbul, Istanbul - City of the Bosphorus...
and How The Symmetry of the Süleymaniye Mosque Matched The Symmetry of My Life
Close your eyes. Imagine!
Do you feel the breeze of the Bosphorus?
Istanbul, Constantinopole... Istanbul, Constantinopole... The famous song lyrics of “The Fall of Contantinople”, a famous old Romanian movie, come along with the breeze.
You know... around this time of the month, last year, I was on my way back to Bucharest. From Istanbul. We’d landed on Atatürk Airport in March, only to take off on the return from the new Istanbul Airport. That’s the charm of you, dear City of the Bosphorus. Upon heading towards you, I know I can expect nothing of anything. You’re going to surprise me, I know. At times negatively, at times positively. Always, or oft, one petal wraps the other so that, when departing, you make sure you have handed me one more of those unexpected roses of yours. You’ve surely had many of them hidden in your topper hat. Like this beautiful bouquet, a fragrant “farewell” the Flowers Shop, I’d frequently gone to, kindly offered me as a “see you next time souvenir”.
One bit of a shock business narcissistic experience, followed by a balmy rose.
As I dive into the pirouettes of remembrance, last year around now, I wandered in the Süleymaniye neighbourhood. I got off at Haliç Station and made my way towards the mosque making her majestic appearance up on the hill - the Süleymaniye Mosque.
Do you believe in perfect timing? I do!
I had the pleasure to visit this mosque in 2003. That’s when I laid my eyes on Istanbul - for the very first time. We were a group of Romanian students landing in the heart of this amazing city, thanks to the scholarship offered by the University of Bucharest - Department of Oriental Languages, in view of the bilateral agreement between the two countries: Romania and Turkey.
Now, was the time to revisit it. Only that I hadn’t planned it. The heart guided my steps.
The Süleymaniye Mosque struck me, at first sight, for its accurate symmetry. I read it was built in the classical Ottoman style, by the order of the Sultan Soliman the Magnificent, and under the guidance of the architect Mimar Sinan.
This is what I wrote on that day, in the exterior courtyard of this singular spiritual sanctuary of a very high vibration:
”Last night I had an interesting dream. I was up on a hill, in my beautiful country of culture, Romania. All of a sudden, a priest walked by and told me something. (I don’t remember what exactly and it seems I forgot to write it down.)
As I said, the heart joyfully walked me to the hills leading to the Süleymaniye Mosque. It wasn’t something I’d planned. Hence, I didn’t have an elegant headscarf on me, but a neck scarf. Consequently, I’d improvised.
Years have passed. I haven’t visited it again till today. I went in and to my delight and surprise, I had listened to one of the most beautiful sermons I had ever attended.
I laid on the carpet in front of the wooden fence. I was surrounded by tourists. So focused was I to listen to the imam, that there is nothing else I remember but his words.
Upon entering the mosque, the imam was speaking of Jesus Christ - Hazreti İsa Efendimiz.
I am summarizing below everything that had inspired me.
“Haber en büyük ihanet ...
Maalesef bugün haber daha çok sevilmek, daha çok edinmek için kullanılmakta.
News... the biggest treason.
Unfortunately, we use the media to get love or to obtain more of it all.
News... we use it for our own interest. We use the (social) media to be loved, to manipulate, in short, TO OBTAIN.
The imam talked about Love. Humanity and the lack of it. The Famine in the World. Obesity. How to take care of our “neighbour” and how to take care of our family. How to teach our kids, with Patience and Perseverance, to have a Purpose, Manners, as well as be Educated. How to follow the “Path of Light”, of al-Nur, that of Allahuta3ala. How to listen to God and allow ourselves to be guided by “His” signs.
It was one of the most beautiful and peaceful sermons I had attended.
The sermon was held right before the time of prayer - namaz, salat. By then, the security guard had asked me to withdraw to the women’s space - the space assigned to women in a mosque. I entered it and joined the other ladies. One of the lady’s phone rang out loud. It seems she’d forgotten to turn it on silent mode. I stood up and exit the mosque.
No sooner had I reached the interior yard, than the ezan, the call to prayer, started.
Ezan (click here🌹)
No sooner had I exit out in the exterior yard, than a bride wearing the veil and her husband passed, hand in hand, into the interior garden.
Were these mere synchronicities? Or had I reached an amazing alignment on all levels - mind, body, soul and spirit?”
As for now, till we meet again, İstanbul, keep well, sağılıklı kal.
I shall be right over here, amidst the petals of stories of the Damascene Rose.
I wish you, dear İstanbul, a Blessed and Peaceful Ramadan.
İstanbul, Ramazan Ayımız Mübarek, Nurlu, Huzurlu olsun...
رمضان مبارك و كريم
Photos: Pinterest and Damascene Rose
Video: Damascene Rose