The time runs – 27th June. 2017

This is from Qaytbai Castle in Alexandria
As i spent this Eid away from family with all the festivities and fun having missed, it certainly dawned on me how much do i miss the little things , the mere gossip, being close to your family members and going out just to have to drink something , drive around Islamabad and Pindi and take mama and behnain to cousins even if i hated it that time. The life runs, and we are striving to achieve great things when all the happiness is in the little ones. While i am outside my country trying my best here to adjust and enjoy as much as i can but still i am unhappy being away from home. Everyday although brings joy in someway but mostly it comes with a factor of hollowness. I am hollow mostly. Sometimes i think where the ‘me’ has gone who was present in the moment and trying to make the best of the day may it be playing football, studying, having fights, arriving late, but i was there. Trying to win for the day. I am here now but i’m not here, where that me has gone. I try to represent faith , but i also blunder it. I try to study even though now my grades are greater than my expectations but still did i try hard enough to achieve it. Did i hustle in the presence of the moment or was it an accident. Since i didnt hustle harder , was it the reason i lack to cherish it . Hence the happiness just fades away and leaving me a wreck of hollow. I dont complain about my life as my faith says what i have is a gift from God and what i dont have didnt belong to me. But where did that urge go to achieve more and more. I work a little and get things but they do not come with joy. Is it because of the sins. Is it because i hurt someone so i am deprived of the basic human elation. Or maybe i am elated and thankless. Maybe it is time to pray and i am not praying. Maybe ramzan left me a sad memory. Maybe being away from home takes a toll. Now even the chaye doesnt bring joy or does it. Is it the kettle in the room that makes it in a minute that removed the joy. Was it the joy of going to the kitchen and make chaye from Chula ( Stove ). Is something wrong. I have travelled but i guess i still have to see many things if God wills. Sometimes i think why do people get happy over carrying an attitude towards people. Is it not scary enough to see ourselves leave this earth with arrogance and ego 6 feet under. Why the ego. I have developed an ego too or am i just too lazy. I guess being lazy is a bigger sin than i imagined or being lazy is just a bi product of sins. When people go right i go left. When they go up , i go down. I better write for my own sake and words and letters and this keyboard are my friends. They help me be free of depth. They help me let out all this rage towards myself. Sometimes i pray and sometimes i cant imagine what i do. Is it because of a test from God at level 1 which i never passed. Is it too late to startover on the things i have missed but did i miss enough. I never missed much. I am thankless. Just now i was looking at pictures from Budapest. 27th birthday. At that moment i thought to myself dont tell my age as i am old enough but what about now. Wasn’t speaking the truth at that time would have liberated me from hiding my age and why would i hide my age. When did the world have me as a culprit. When did the friends who loved me , loved me for what i am not. I am insidiously nice. Anger has a funny way of dealing with me. I am nice until i am enraged. But i guess its pretty normal. I make plans to do , a list of things to do, but sadly they comes with waking up early. Its 5:37 am here in North Cyprus, Turkey in my dorm . It is 27th june 2017. These days i am having interviews for jobs . Its been 2 weeks in the process and i am a little happy. I GUESS I NEED TO BE MORE PRESENT IN THE MOMENT as TIME RUNS leaving behind a list of to dos. But i am happier now as i finish this writing and i need to continue to be IN THE MOMENT. NOW NOW NOW.

A purpose for enlightenment. God we are thankful.

The curator of dreams , the creator of aims, the friend of the patient, the one to whom we ask for forgiveness, the one whose name forever remains, the one who loves us even if we go astray, the one who loves us more than our mother. The one who created us to check who does good work here and to whom we will all go back. Allaah the merciful , the Almighty. The God of eternal light and wisdom. The one who sent the Quran and Nabi Muhammad ( pbuh ), and Jesus (pbuh ) and Moses and Abraham so that we can mend ourselves and know the purpose of our being. To follow roads that lead to light and forever bliss. Everyday when the sun rises in the east, the birds fly to the north , the birds fly to the south, some fly towards the sun while others fly away to the west. Allaah says in the Quran there are signs for people who seek guidance. Guidance is to follow a road that leads to happiness and contentment , a choice we have to make so that we can find purpose , a way that won’t make us sad as the ordeal of life is sad. We are born but we also have to die. Death itself is not sadness, it is the idea of leaving behind so much. Words left unsaid, debts unpaid, I could have , I would have , I should have. The happier part of this ordeal is on the contrary is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Quran elaborates to not take the world too seriously instead take yourself seriously. We are perfect beings in an imperfect world. Kal Malik , an amateur Sufi puts it.

Who are you?
The unique you?
The “you” that God breathed into?

You and me are the delegates of God. While we climb corporate ladders and the world tells us to not mix up religion with the world. I would dearly suggest that keep Quran closer to you than any book you ever read. Quran and Namaz is a combination of happiness, wisdom and purpose. We will become a source of light for countless if we illuminate ourselves with the truth. We err , everyday but the strength lies in how quickly we go back. Be passionate about Islam, It’s the only way forward to enlightenment and purpose.

Your name may not appear down here in this world’s hall of fame, in fact you may be so a no-neck no one knows your name, the oscars and the praise may never come your way, but don’t forget God has rewards He will hand out some day, this crowd on earth, they will soon forget when you’re not on the top, they will cheer like mad until you fall and then their praise will stop, not God, He never does forget, and in His hall of fame by just believing in Him forever there’s your name. I tell you friend, I wouldn’t trade my name however small, it’s written there beyond the stars in that celestial hall, for all the famous names on earth, or the glory that they share, I’d rather be an unknown here and have my name up there!” Jim Caviezel

Selam un Alaikum.

By the memorial winds of Sokullu.

The entrance door to my flat building near Sokullu mehmet pasa camii.
The entrance door to my flat building near Sokullu mehmet pasa camii.

Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Cami

Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Cami

The view of Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Cami from my flat windowI am Ibrahim Nawaz Malik and i am writing this story as i sit in our new house by the lamp at 6 am. Reading tells me that writing remains and writing conveys how much i could’ve read. It was a month ago , i took my holidays from my university in North Cyprus having completed my course work and submitted by thesis. I am a bit of an overthinking individual and oddly complicate things. I am not boring yet very reserved unless i am using you which i rarely do as i have sleepless nights and day nightmares. The name of this story generates from my infatuation with the works of a famous architect Mimar Sinan from the 16th century Istanbul. Having reached Istanbul after an hour flight , i took a 2 hour bus to the center of the city where my apartment was located. I am not proud to say that to stay at this place is by far the worst choice of all my travels over the years. Why, because it was literally impossible to find. No sign boards. No mentions of the location etc etc. Still yet, the room was tidy enough to give them a 10/10 review though. I hardly deserve to be in the shoes i am today , so why give a 9? By the Memorial winds of Sokullu ; first let me elaborate on the Sokullu. It’s a mosque from the 16th century Constantinople called Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Cami , designed by Mimar Sinan ( may the Raheem Allah have mercy on him- and on us- and on me).

As the day passed walking around the places closed to my flat , went to the Blue Mosque to pray , sat down in a couple of places to eat and drink and then came back at around 10. Tired as i was , did not need much time to dose off. The next day started with so much energy but with very less planning . I took a shower, trimmed my beard. and here i was dressed up looking at myself in the mirror only to divise a plan for the day afterwards. So i looked up at my phone and thought of my friends who might be in Istanbul. First i texted my pakistani friend but he had exams so on to others , the two Turks who happen to live there. One lived on the other side of Istanbul , and by other side i mean 3 hours of bus ride. On to my last hope, Hurray , set up a meeting and off i go exploring the city. The problem with Istanbul is no one speaks good english and it gets very hard to get to one place from the other when you go the first time , even if you use GPS apps , still its a nuisance. The advise i always have for people who would want to visit Istanbul is keep your mind and soul at ease and be relaxed and go with the flow. So the day went like meeting my friend, talked of all our Aiesec memoirs in Egypt and then bade our farewells at around 11:30 , that is when the last tram leaves. Getting back was farely easy as my friend told me the exact route back and i was there in no time. Bought a bottle of water and a big packet of chips as i walked back after getting off the tram. Did i mention the owner of the flat. Well, his name was Anar and he was living in Istanbul for the last 15 years having graduated from there and working full time in a software field. He was originally from Azerbaijan and well he now was an official citizen of Turkey. So well i had a long talk with him during my time there and he helped me with whatever i needed happily. During my stay in this apartment i could see the Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Cami from my window and imagined all these centuries pass by. Off all the stories told, of all the future plans, of all that went in those days. It was quite easy to capture the image as the streets and houses are in the same state as they were back then five hundred years. The mosque holds a graveyard right beside it from those years and at night the whole area goes back five centuries with no card and no lights for that aura. My 3 days in Istanbul have been quite different to a week i stayed before back in 2015. Back then i was total foreigner with everything being new and exciting. This time i felt like a local as ive been staying in North Cyprus for over a year and know turkish customs and a bit og Turkish. But still yet, Istanbul never ceases to amaze you. A city that can easily forget you. A city where people forget and move on. A city where the sound of Adhaan reminds her that it bears a soul in all that bricks. Where people under those modern cloaks have a broken heart and ruptured soul. If you ever go to Istanbul , Give it my regards as the flat by the view of Mimar Sinan’s mosque was my good host.

Konya – The City of Rumi

Rumi was a muslim, a Muhammadi , a preacher of the word of Muhammad Pbuh. 2 hours from Ankara there is his city; Konya where he lived for the most part of his life and died eventually in the year 1273 AD.

I woke up in the morning at around 7am in my hostel in the hub of the Ankara city having reached there the previous night , had my chaye which was on the house and had some biscuits and was on my way to take a train to Konya. This train goes at 300km/hr , cool right . Having had the amazing view of countryside , rainy weather and the excitement of visiting the shrine of the Mevlana . I certainly had a great time in the train. Reached there around 11am. Apparently Konya is a middle class city , and well apart from the tomb of the majestic saint , which is the hub of every errand that goes inside , the city has not much to offer itself. Anyways , I got off the train and started walking towards the centre of the city , Did i say the city is very very religious. Yes it is very much and people are very conservative , do not speak a word of ingilizce and as the turkish people are , very hospitable.

Having had the habit of using GPS and taking my time instead of asking people , Works well but sometime you are left stranded because the world is a mazing place when you travel alone. You see , Mazing. So i had to walk like 3 kilometers before i was there at the tomb. It was really nice to get a glimpse of it , I’d clarify here as a Muslim I do not go the tombs to get prayers from the dead or leave a note there at the place ( some people do mostly in cultures that are illiterate) but its just for the appreciation of the people who did great in their lives and you just feel that greater connection which is but anything you can read in the books. So now , well i was there and there were a score of people . To my surprise a lot of chinese people were there defeating my prejudice that they don’t have any religion. Not being racist but that’s just the opinion of most of the people where i come from. There were a score of people from Iran as Rumi was Persian and highly regarded in the Persian empire. And lots of locals. Here i am going to share my video of inside the tomb , have a look.

Once i was done with the tour of the mausoleum , i could not help but appreciate how much work our ancestors have done towards spreading the message of God and prophets and here we are knowing everything superficially but empty inside. Hollow as a muslim partying in a bar, hollow as a teenager celebrating halloween, hollow as a city without righteousness , hollow as a mosque without muslims, Hollow as a church without knowing Jesus was not the son of God but a prophet. Hollow as a synagogue without the Talmud. Hollowness is very common in our times. May we not take hollowness to the graves. May we take filled waters to paradise. So the reason for this deep writing was that i was there making alot of videos and taking plenty a pictures but hollow , very much. I rest my case. Here are a few more pictures you would enjoy.
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My backpacking : Istanbul 7 days in 128 $ – Things to do- How to , Part1

Turkey Beautiful Mosque

It was not until the last few days at Cairo that i decided to change my plans of heading back directly home (Pakistan) to making a week visit to Istanbul. Having no idea whatsoever of where i will be staying or what i will be doing made it a bit more exciting. So well i took my flight from Cairo Airport with a 10 hours stay over at Athens , and that gave me enough time to prepare myself for this endeavor , a feet of bravery I’d say as i wasn’t accustomed to going somewhere without any idea of what to expect. So well, a 10 hour stay at Athens airport gave me enough time to look for a hostel. I was looking for a place that was near to the happening part of the city i.e sultan ahmet and taksim square. So well i found a hostel that in the end came out to be one of the awesomest places to stay on a budget travel and i would recommend that to everyone who is low on budget like me and wants to travel to Istanbul. On landing at the Ataturk Airport some stuff happened that i would like to share with you, although it’s not needed but i’d share it anyways :D. Not proud of the fact that i was wearing slippers and was looking like a junkie with a big beard and sleeping shorts on. I was asked upon questioning by the Istanbul airport security. ( s*** happens right ? ) …. So well i acted smooth and was out of that mess in no time. See , how much i don’t want to talk about it. hehe. Got out of the airport. ( to be honest i don’t like Istanbul Airport , i just don’t) obviously. Took a taxi and told him to take me to taksim street, that is where my hostel was ( Downtown Istanbul Hostel ). The fact that i had huge luggage , a trait i inherit being a Pakistani, had me having a huge bicep workout , which was quite a mess to be frank . Got to the taksim square, mobile was off, asked around to where the hostel was , finally got there after a 15 minutes walk. Rushed to put my luggage in the room and straighten my back. Which apparently ended up in a sleep of 7 hours , well yeah i’m like that fortunately and unfortunately. So my first day started at night at around 7 pm in the streets of Istanbul walking around taksim street which is quite fun actually. My hostel was at the end of the taksim street . The thing that i loved about that place was the home like atmosphere , the owner ( Ismail ) was always friendly and welcoming. I was sharing a room with 6 other people who i never got to see because whenever i came back i found everyone sleeping and when i woke up everyone was gone . Ermmm not proud of that. Anyways so next day i planned to visit the tomb of Hazrat Abu Ayub Ansari at Eyup Sultan.

My Backpacking in the “City of the Dead” : Cairo, Egypt

As i came from Suez to see off a few friends to Cairo Airport so it gave me sometime to explore on my own for a while. I bade them farewells and came back to the Dahab Hostel which is near to Tehrir square. Well this hostel is by far the most amazing place if you ever plan to visit cairo. Since i was supposed to stay for the night so i planned to visit places that i didn’t see on my earlier visit with my friends. And to see this place “City of the Dead” was always on my bucketlist. So i was out of the hostel at like 3pm and looking for taxis to take me there. The problem one faces in Cairo alot is the taxi drivers looking to rip off foreigners. Well to be honest i looked a local and in my defense i learned a few arabic words that might click for a workable disguise but it didn’t work all the time. And that was that day. Since that part of the city was far from where i was, so i got ripped off pretty as they say; hard. That’s another story which demands a paragraph justice so i’ll save it for later. So after like 40 minutes, I was there. The taxi driver left me at the start of the necropolis that stretches 5 miles . So i started walking towards this strange place where the living actually live amongst the dead, an epitome of gloom and sadness defied by laughters and happiness , sheesha and chaye, daily life chores and frequent sighs. Where i was getting those vibes that tell you that childhood was way better or where is my share of happiness after working so hard for it. I did not understand it at that time but it was way gloomy for my liking at first . While walking on the streets of grave houses for sometime ‘6 feet above’ , consumed by the sheer immense power of the place i sat down for a while to have chaye. It was a warm day but it felt cold. Thinking about, how people get used to certain places with the passage of time and how they don’t bother anymore. I started walking again and could see old tombs dating back a thousand years. Tombs that were actually houses , a grave on one side and people watching a soap opera on the other side. That seemed unreal and out of a movie . I walked more and saw people enjoying sheesha , old men discussing politics while having their mystical chayes, children playing amongst the graves using them as mazes , women performing their regular chores. Life their , was real for them and it was their home. Before going there i also looked for famous tombs and there was the venerated tomb of the venerated saint , Imam Shafi. It was a kilometer away from the center of the necropolis , being visited upon by hundreds of people everyday who pay homage to the imam and also to pray in the mosque. I went inside , and saw the great imam’s tomb full of light. I sat there for 1 hour , offered my Asr and Maghrib prayers and contemplated upon how God brought me here to see this all. There also, in the mosque was the tomb of the wife of Salahaddin Ayubi. Her name was Shams. It’s said that the present tomb of Imam Shafi was made by Saladin himself being renovated over the years , later. On my way back out of the place i could notice the emptiness of the place , as if people just disappear at night , it seemed unreal at that time. Maybe it was too much , a concept to grasp, the beautiful sadness , the dead who were there once . It was a long way back till i found a taxi . Had another tea on reaching the Tehrir Square. And thought about writing at once but no words came out, Only the feeling of joy to be alive overcame.

Mosque of Sultan Al Muayyad

The mosque of Sultan Al Muayyad is a mosque of mamluk style with 1 dome and 2 minarets right next to the Bab Zuwayla initially built in 1421. The mosque holds the honor of being one of the unique architectural buildings . The construction began in 1415 and the mosque was completed in 1421.  Sultan Al Muayyad before becoming a sultan was imprisoned at a jail right where the mosque is now and he suffered so badly from fleas and lice that he vowed that if he came into power he would transform this place and get rid of this prison. So when he came into power he was true to his word and commissioned the construction of the mosque.

The project of the mosque for the sultan was an ambitious one, costing the sultan 40,000 dinars between commencement and completion. According to al-Maqrizi, thirty builders and one hundred workers labored on the structure over seven years. The mosque required such a large quantity of marble that some of it was harvested from pre-existing structures. Besides marble, many other parts of the mosque were taken from other buildings, including the mosque’s columns and a beautiful bronze door and chandelier. The door and chandelier are particularly famous instances of this; both are said to have come from the mosque madrass of sultan hassan . Although the new mosque was not officially completed until 1422, an inaugural celebration was held in November 1419 to celebrate the new building.

The mosque was intended as a funerary complex and for use in Friday prayers, but its greatest purpose was that of a madrasa for Sufi students, according to al-Maqrizi’s story of its origins. The madrasa was dedicated to the study of the Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanbali schools of Sharia law. According to the mosque’s original documents, the madrasa was to house fifty Hanafis, forty Shafi’is, fifteen Malikis, and ten Hanbalis, and their respective teachers and imams. There were also two classes of twenty students each for students of tafsir and Hadith, and two others of ten each for students of the Quran recitation and legal studies, according to the Hanafi jurist al-Tahawi.

The Mosque of Sultan al-Mu’ayyad was the last great hypostyle mosque built in Cairo. Originally it had four facades and entrances. Over time, the mosque fell into disrepair, and today only the eastern facade and the prayer hall are original to the mosque. Much of what can be seen today has been restored over the past two hundred years and is not necessarily how the mosque originally looked.

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In order to build the mosque, a portion of the Fatimid wall which used to surround Cairo had to be demolished; however, an old section of the wall was recently discovered within the mosque’s structure and can be seen today by visitors. Two towers from the original wall were saved from demolition and serve as the base of the mosque’s two remaining minarets .

The main portal, or muqarnas is set in a pistaq , or rectangular frame, that rises above the mosque’s facade. This was the last grand portal built in the Mamluk period; it is framed with to the mosque is decorated with finely carved marble bands and kufic calligraphic script. The marble was carved in a geometric pattern and decorated by polychromatic stones and colored stucco in high relief. The main door is a masterpiece of bronze work taken from the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan , while the dome is a typical example of Mamluk stone masonry with a cylindrical base and carved zig-zag pattern. The original facades were particularly tall for the period, due to the extra height added by the Fatimid towers at the base of the minarets. The facades were decorated with two rows of windows, and shops beneath each wall of the mosque were added in the original plans and remain today. The shops attached to and around the mosque play an important role in the mosque’s upkeep, as a percentage of their earnings go toward maintaining the building and its staff.

Throughout history mosque has gone through various reconstructions and it must be noted that the present structure of the mosque is not how it looked in it’s early construction . It’s early renovation dates back to 15th century. Later Ibrahim Pasha ordered it’s reconstruction in the 18th century. The last renovation was made in 2001 by the cultural organization of Egypt which saw everything being renovated. The mosque has prayers and sermons going on everyday and is open to tourists and visitors.

Mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As

The mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As has the honor of the first mosque to be built in Egypt after it was conquered by Amr Ibn Al-As on the command of Umar Ibn Khattab. The location of the mosque was decided by a bird in what is now called the “old cairo”. The story goes like a bird laid an egg on the tent of Amr and he later decided that it should be the place for the location of the mosque.

Once of enter the premises of the mosque you find it pretty big in comparison to buildings of its times . It’s because of continuous reconstructions over the ages. The original mosque was constructed in 641–642 AD but now nothing of the original structure remains because of reconstructions over time. The oldest structure that can still be seen today dates back to 900 in the southern part of the building. The present structure of the mosque is the construction that was carried out in 1800s.

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The original layout ( 641-642 AD ) was a simple rectangle, 29 meters in length by 17 meters wide. It was a low shed with columns made from split palm trunks, stones and mud bricks, covered by a roof of wood and palm leaves. The floor was made up of gravel.  It was large enough to provide prayer space for Amr’s army, but had no other adornments, and no minarets.

It was completely rebuilt in 673 by the governor Maslama ibn Mukhallad al-Ansari, who added four minarets, one at each of the mosque’s corners, and doubled its area in size. The addition of these minarets allowed the call to prayer to be heard from every corner, and taken up by other nearby mosques. Governor Abd al-Aziz ibn Marwan  added an extension to the mosque in 698 and once again doubled the mosque’s area. In 827, it had seven new aisles built, Each aisle had an arcade of columns, with the last column in each row attached to the wall.

In 827, governor Abd Allah ibn Tahir made more additions to the mosque. It was enlarged to its present size, and the southern wall of the present day mosque was built. In the 9th century, the mosque was extended by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mamun , who added a new area on the southwest side, increasing the mosque’s dimensions to 120m x 112m . Once during the Fatimid era the mosque had five minarets. There were four, with one at each corner, and one at the entrance. However, all five are now gone. The current Minarets were built by Mourad Bey in 1800. In 1169, the city of Fustat and the mosque were destroyed by a fire that was ordered by Egypt’s own vizier Shawar , who had ordered its destruction to prevent the city from being captured by the crusaders . After the Crusaders were expelled, and the area had been conquered by Nur al-Din’s  army, Saladin took power, and had the mosque rebuilt in 1179.

In the 14th century  Burhan al-Din Ibrahim paid the costs of restoring the mosque. In 1303, Amir Salar restored the mosque after an earth quake. He also added a prayer niche for the outer wall of the mosque, which is now gone.

In the 18th century one of the Mamluk leaders , Mourad Bey, destroyed the mosque because of it’s poor condition  and rebuilt it in 1796, before the arrival of Napolean.  Mourad decreased the number of rows of columns from seven to six, and changed the orientation of the aisles to make them perpendicular to the qibla wall. It was also probably at this time that the current remaining minarets were added. In 1875, the mosque was again rebuilt. In the 20th century, during the reign of Abbas II, the mosque underwent another restoration. Parts of the entrance were reconstructed in the 1980s.

Now the mosque is in a great condition with prayers and sermons taking place and is open to visitors and tourists when prayers are not taking place.

 

Al Azhar Mosque

Right within the heart of the “city of a thousand minarets” there is a mosque that leads the legacy of knowledge , wisdom and spirituality of a millennia .  When you get to read deeply about the islamic theology , get to know about modern islamic literature , the Islamic scholars. One of the institutes and the hub of knowledge and wisdom that really stands out among its contemporaries is the Al Azhar Mosque . Once you enter the premises of the place you get to experience the spirituality and the aura of the place which is really amazing . Since it was my dream to visit the Al Azhar mosque for a long time so i was just very excited about discovering everything about the place.

19 Al Azhar mosque at night

As soon as we entered , as per the custom we put off our shoes and the girls had to cover their heads in respect , a cold and soothing wind just came up as if calling to come in when i entered the place, there were people from different countries who came to visit this mosque for religious purposes or to experience wisdom of the millennia. Alot of people were reading Quran , talking about beliefs and stuff and mostly enjoying the bliss of the moment.

So as i was reading about the history of the place and asking about the history  with my blogging team i was amazed how awesome that was. After the dedication of the mosque in 972 , the mosque slowly developed into what is now the oldest and the most famous continuously run university in the world. The mosque acquired its current name, Al Azhar , sometime between the caliphate of al- Mu’izz and the end of the reign of the second Fatimid caliph in Egypt, al-Aziz Billah . Azhar is the masculine form for zahra meaning “splendid” or “most resplendent.” The history of the construction goes like Caliph al-Mu’izz li-Din Allāh when conquered egypt had Al Azhar built which carried out the shia muslim activities. Al-Azhar soon became a center of learning in the Islamic world, and official pronouncements and court sessions were issued from and convened there.  The mosque was later expanded during the times of the caliph al-Aziz (975–996). According to Al-Mufaddal , he ordered the restoration of the mosque and had the ceiling raised by one cubit. The mosque was further renovated by the next caliph until 1010.

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Al Azhar Mosque

Marble paved interior courtyard added during the Fatimid period. Two Mamluk era minarets appear in the foreground. From left to right, the double-finial minaret of Qansah al-Ghuri and the minaret of Qaytbay. Behind the dome the top of Aqbaghawiyya minaret is visible. The minaret in the far background was built by Katkhuda

Later when Saladin overthrew the Fatimids in 1171 , he was offensive towards the Shia teachings and the activities at the place stopped for a while but most historians say that actually one of the minarets was raised during the time of Saladin. Saladin did not like the teachings of the Shia Fatimids so the educational teachings stopped for a while and the books were kept out. But later Al-Azhar eventually adopted Saladin’s educational reforms modeled on the college system he instituted, and its fortunes improved under the Mamluks, who restored student stipends and salaries for the teaching staff.

Later the mosque was renovated by different rulers and the later Caliphs put inscriptions : such as.

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ – الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ – وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ

Successful indeed are the believers – who are humble in their prayers – and who avoid vain talk

 قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ – لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَبِذَلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

Say: Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are (all) for Allah, the Lord of the worlds – No associate has He; and this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who submit.

The present main entrance to the mosque is the Bab-al-Muzayinin, which opens into the white marble-paved courtyard at the opposite end of the main prayer hall. To the northeast of the bab-al-muzayinin , the courtyard is flanked by the façade of the Madrasa-al-aqbaghliyya ; the southwestern end of the courtyard leads to the Madrasa-al-Taybarsiyya . Directly across the courtyard from the entrance to the Bab-al-Muzayinin is the  (Gate of Qaytbay), built in 1495, above which stands the minaret of Qaytbay.Through this gate lies the courtyard of the prayer hall.

alazhar1

The mosque has the rank of holding one of the greatest scholars and pieces of literature and is one of the focal places when anyone thinks of learning islamic theology and literature because of its history of a millenna of knowledge and wisdom. So for me it was one of the biggest dreams to go there and it was made possible finally ( A ).  I prayed Zuhr prayer there and sat inside alone for a while to experience it and it was beautiful . If i fo back to cairo one day i would certainly go there. It was beautiful. 🙂

 

Cairo last day before Suez

Well its been a great 6-7 days here at Cairo . Went to almost every place. Today its 3am here and everyones busy doing something and im sitting on the dining table writing this . Listening to jhoom . I missed on going to Imam Shafi tomb that is something i regret maybe i can visit it later. My thoughts right now are scattered as hell. Dont know why im writing in such manner. Went to the pharoanic village today where we took those photos in the pharoah clothes . The photos came out pretty cool haha. Right now im just writing when i shouldnt be writing to be honest. Not feeling a thing to write. But okay ate that chinese food with the chinese friends. Ate squid, cow liver, ajeeb boiled vegetable and harami sauce chocolate type. It was healthy though but my stomach i guess isnt used to such exotic food. Right now im listening to Ramy Sabris song Kelma which is sooo good. haha. Ate chinese lunch with Raf , Vivian, Berret, Peter , Shirley, Fabiana Longo and one other chinese guy. It was a good day. The thing that i did not like about the pharoanic village was that the people who were working as a display of the traditions and customs. i felt like they are lesser than people who come to see it I dont know dint seem right. God knows though. So yeah this post is all mumble jumble and there isnt any productivity going on to be frank . So yeah now im sitting in the living room and Mera, Wagih, Basem , Cris cano, Javier, Carlos and daria maybe are sitting talking and mexicans are watching the game between mexico and Jamaica . I want to write more personal stuff but dont feel like since it would be kinda foolish to do that. My wit says lets be quiet. Also tomorrow were gonna go back to Suez so i think it would be real interesting to see how it goes. Anyways im sooo sleepy i better sleep cherios.  Well yeah today i felt “loon”to be really fucking stupid and “cand” to be really confused. So anyways imma go to sleep Bye.