Saturday, May 27, 2006

Blue Mosque

Today, I went to the the Friday prayer at the Mosque here in Troy, Michigan. It was just a week ago I was sitting in a mosque in Istanbul and a younger guy was translating the sermon in broken English for me. Regardless of what happens before or after the actual prayer it feels good to know that every muslim in the world speaks the same exact arabic words when praying. No matter what country I am in I have a sense of belonging at the Mosque. Turkey's mosques are famous for their beautiful architecture. Although, the pleasure people get from praying is dependent on the strenght of their faith it is an added bonus to be standing in a beautiful mosque with even incredible acoustics. It is such a wonderful feeling to be in a muslim country and hear the call for prayer five times a day. No matter where I was or what I was doing, a mosque was never more than a 3 - 4 minute walk. The Blue Mosque is named after it's blue polished tiles.

This is the main entrance to the mosque

Click on the picture to enlarge it and you will see the beautiful caligraphy of the Quran on the walls

I prayed Asr (4th Prayer of the Day) in the first row at this mosque. Through those front windows you can see lots of trees and the water. It was an absolutely incredible view.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Aya Sofia

It is hard to compose a blog post about my trip to Turkey. I saw so many beautiful things that one post would limit the details of my adventures and some sights were so amazing that I might as well steer away from translating them into words. One of the most beautiful buildings I visited on my trip was Hagia Sophia (Turkish: Aya Sophia).

In 537 AD, this building was erected as a church and in 1453 it was converted into a mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror. Ataturk turned this mosque into a museum in 1935 and that is how it stands today.

As I walked in the enormous main doors it took my pupils a few seconds to dilate. As soon as I could see, I was awestruck by the beauty of the architecture. Many people refer to this as the eight wonder of the world. Inside I saw an interesting mix of Christian and Islamic art. In this picture on the ceiling there is a beautiful mosaic of Mary and Jesus and above and below the windows there is Islamic calligraphy of the names of Allah, Prophet Muhammad svt and the first four Caliphs.
At the main entrance they took my tripod so I had to ask around for people who were able to sneak theirs in. Flash is not allowed, so I am thankful to the German lady who let me borrow hers.

This is where the Imam stands when leading prayer, directed towards Ka'aba (Mecca, Saudi Arabia).

Prophet Muhammad (svt) in Arabic calligraphy

Abu Bakr (ra) was the first Muslim Caliph and the closest friend and companion to Prophet Muhammad (svt).

When the Aya Sofia was a Church this is where to Empress stood to attend the service. This balcony overlooks the whole church and is high above the main floor.

In the foreground you can see some of the domes of the Aya Sofia and the blue mosque is in the background. The Blue Mosque was built to outshine the Aya Sofia .....

Blue Mosque coming up in the next post


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Back to the US

Photo: Detroit Airport

I landed at the Detroit Airport just yesterday afternoon. My name and date of birth matched that of some big terrorist but fortunately they noticed the mismatch and cleared me from US Customs within twenty minutes or so. Also, luckily my flight left Ataturk Airport yesterday instead of today, otherwise I would have been stuck at the airport due to the fire.
It was nice to be back in the US where everyone speaks my language. It was also nice to turn on my cell phone and listen to the nice messages from my lovely friends. I have developed my pictures and I will be putting them online very soon.

stay tuned.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


I wrote this post about what I did today and it got deleted.
So in a nutshell:

I prayed maghrib at a beautiful mosque
Walked the busy streets
People watched
Witnessed the biggest post football game celebration I have ever seen
and much more.
I can't wait for some of the more "touristy" things

Peace and love

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

fax me

Telephones and Electronic-mail has made us all so impatient. We want to convey our message and get a reply almost instantly. If I send an email and don't get a reply within two days I assume there is a problem. For this reason I like to slow it all down once in a while and sit down with a nice fountain pen and write a letter. Many of my friends living around the world would be able to tell you that I love doing this. Writing seems unusual but soothing now that we are so used to typing almost everything from letters to english papers. In my box 'o letters I have envelopes stamped from so many countries and even more US states.
Getting a faximine comes in a close second place after snail-mail letters. Who doesn't like a fax waiting for them in the fax machine tray. About seven years ago my father purchased a fax machine for our house and this is a copy of one of the first faxes we recieved.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Michigan State University

C'dale and graffiti under a bridge on campus

I am sorry for making the update fairy so mad but things have been a little busy around Michigan State Univ. It is finally time to move out of East Lansing but I had been reserving my emotions till the very end. Last Friday after my last exam I took a late night (3am) bike ride through the empty roads of EL and made sure to look at all the beautiful things. I biked through the houses past Grand River and dropped off the last book I will borrow from the MSU library. I still don't feel like I am done here but I think that feeling will hit hard when that time comes.
It is also crazy to finally move out of my apartment after being here for the last four years. It looks so barren and in the next hour or so I will be totally moved out.

I have made such good memories here