Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Turkey Trip

Last year, Shaykh Zainuddin and his wife Amina visited Turkey, commencing their trip in Istanbul. Turkey, particularly in the times of the Ottoman Empire was the home to many Sufi Orders. In fact much of the success and splendor of the Ottoman Empire was due to the influence of the Sufis, who often advised and inspired the Ottoman Sultans.

Istanbul is located at the meeting of the Bosphorus and Golden Horn waterways, which is also where Europe meets Asia. The centre of Istanbul is marked by the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque, a magnificent Ottoman landmark that is sited close to the Hagia Sophia, a Byzantine Christian Cathedral that was kept intact when converted into a mosque. There are many other exotic and beautiful buildings in Istanbul, including mosques and hamams (old steam bath house) by the renowned Ottoman architect, Sinan.

Shaikh Zainuddin and Amina visited the ‘maqam’ of Shaykh Jamaluddin al-Ghumuqi al-Husayni, the thirty fifth Naqshbandi Shaykh of the Golden Chain, buried on the outskirts of Istanbul. There are sacred sites and the ‘maqams’ of important Sufi Shaykhs all over Istanbul.

Of note are a number of the Companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, that are buried in Istanbul. This was due to these Companions being part of the army that tried to unsuccessfully take control of Istanbul, many falling near the fortified city walls. The most notable of these companions was Eyup al-Ansari, the standard bearer and friend of the Prophet, who has given his name to a most charming district of Istanbul that has grown around his resting place.

Konya, the city of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi was the next destination. Rumi is still a very popular poet these days, although he died 800 years ago, with his poetry exhibiting a soaring wisdom and beauty. He gave his name to the Mevlevi Sufi Order. A spectacular cylindrical, green dome covers Mevlana’s ‘maqam’, which is located on the site of the Centre from which he taught. You can still see the Mevlevi Kitchen, the Dervish (Sufi students) rooms and the Semahane, where the Mevlevi Whirling Ceremony was and is still performed.

Shaykh Zainuddin and Amina also went to the site where the Virgin Mary (Maryam) lived when she came to Turkey and also the Cave of the Seven Sleepers, both near Izmir and the ancient heritage site of Ephesus.

On their return to Istanbul, they visited the town of Guneykoy, formerly known as Rashadiya, which is the town that Shaykh Sharifuddin ad-Daghestani settled after he emigrated from Daghestan. Shaykh Sharifuddin was a big saint of the Order and was Shaykh Abdullah ad-Daghestani’s Shaykh and uncle. Both he and Shaykh Abu Muhammad ai-Madani, both from the Naqshbandi golden Chain are buried on a hill that overlooks Guneykoy.


P1040139Mosque in Bursa

P1010887Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

P1040057Dervish cells at the Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi Centre, Konya