Their main principal value is love
, as Catholics. They believe that there were messengers and prophets and disagree with Christians because for them there is only one God; to think of the existence of the holy spirit or a trinity is inconceivable. The Coran tells them how to live and even some political laws are influenced by it. (Needless to say, I accepted a copy of the Coran to read at home).
The man can choose to marry a non-Muslim woman but not the other way around. Within their traditions
, the man is the one who makes the decisions, the one who maintains the family and a dominant woman can become a problem. That said, the man is the one who decides what religion the children will follow. If a woman marries a person of another religion, that individual would have the power to choose another religion for the children and that’s not well seen either. It's almost an insult to the family.
He told me that prays 5 times a day
, no matter where they are, always looking towards Mecca. And i actually found a website where you can find the exact hours to pray according to the area of Istanbul
During that space, tourists are not allowed to enter mosques
, take photos or videos because it’s a time of connection with God and respect. The sound similar to the song I heard on my first day is the call to prayer and it resounds through the city because of speakers. The phrases recited by the muezzin are in Arabic such as: Allah is great, Allah is great.
I knew it was an enormous challenge
to absorb that information in the most impartial way. But after a while, I genuinely got interested in knowing more
because I wanted to learn, to understand something opposed to what I had heard all my life. I needed to challenge my tolerance knowing that these people were not malicious, they just had a conviction as strong as mine but with different principles. And that made it more intriguing.
Having an open heart
is the most complicated thing I‘ve been able to experience. But after almost two hours of conversation, I told him about my little blog, what interested me and thanked him for being open minded to my points of view without being offended by cultural differences. But the real surprise
was when he accepted the hand of my traveling companion but not mine. Very cautiously he said: - Now that I’ve explained a bit about our traditions, I hope you don’t take it personal. It’s disrespectful to touch a woman. Sometimes I ‘d had to do it but in this case, with your interest in the Muslim culture, I feel I can be honest. - And I bowed to him with a smile.
After dinner, we returned to the hostel and received a message on my Blog´s facebook page
. Fatih (the mosque volunteer) invited us to a cultural dinner to share some time. I was very surprised but I accepted with pleasure.
I got up early and in the afternoon, we headed towards the mosque half an hour before the prayer call (known as aḏān). I went to talk with young women volunteers because I wanted to hear the female point of view. For the second time I saw reflected in her words the honest conviction of what she was saying. They follow the Coran literally, they like the idea of covering themselves to protect themselves from impure thoughts, to stay intact for their husbands.
Nobody forces them to wear hijab, at least not in that region. They like to pray separately, it helps them to concentrate better. Contrary to what I thought, they have the power to choose who to marry since marriages are not arranged as it was in the past. This may vary from region to region. They can study, work, although their biggest responsibility is children. Man is their leader and as such, their main job is to provide money. They can also choose to divorce.
The hijab is used in puberty although girls like to dress like this from a younger age. The family is important as well as the traditions, its principles are based on love and obedience. I thanked them for their time and met Fatih, who placed us in a special space, next to the area where men pray. He let us be present during the prayer and watch their sacred ritual.
Sublime. An intimate and individual coexistence wrapped in the magical aura of a voice that calls Muslims to speak with their God. I dedicated myself to contemplate children, young people and adults united in the sphere of prayers.
After a while, we got up and left the mosque. Our new friend took us to meet Sehmus Kacan
, one of the best calligraphers in Istanbul with an impressive job. His office was full of paintings with calligraphic art made by his skilled hands. I think most of them were in Arabic, with Coran verses and exquisite details and ornaments. Suddenly, he offered to write my name in Arabic as a gift.