Left Hand Artwork:
A verse (17:1) from the Quran
inscribed on the interior ceiling (dome) of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul.
It is one of the most impressive monuments of the world.
The cascading domes and six slender minarets of
the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (also known as the "Blue Mosque" because
of the blue tiles that adorn its interior), dominate the skyline of Istanbul,
Turkey. Sultan Ahmet 1 wished to build an Islamic place of worship that would
outshine Hagia Sophia - the monumental Byzantine Church, and this mosque, named
after him is the result.
The Blue Mosque was built (from 1609 – 1616) over
the site of the ancient Roman Hippodrome and the Byzantine imperial palace.
Church and Mosque now stand next to each other in Istanbul’s main square, and
it is up to visitors to decide which is more impressive.
The Blue Mosque was designed by architect Mehmet
Aga, whose unfortunate predecessor was found wanting and executed. The original
mosque complex included schools, a hospital, a market, and the tomb of the
founder. Most of these buildings were torn down in the 19th century. However,
the mosque itself has been used continuously by thousands of pious worshippers
The Quranic inscription shown here has been translated by Yusuf Ali as follows:
“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the
Merciful. Glory to ((Allah)) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night
from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless, -
in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth
and seeth (all things).”
- Surah Al-Isra (The Journey by Night), ayah 17:1
Right Hand Artwork:
(33:45-47) from the Holy Quran inscribed on the interior ceiling (dome) of the
Throne Room in the historic Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey.
Topkapi Palace (Turkish: Topkapi Sarayi)
was the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans for some 400 years (1465 to
construction began in 1459, on the orders of Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of
Byzantine Constantinople. The Topkapi Palace soon became the administrative and
cultural hub of the vast Ottoman Empire and a setting for state occasions. At
its peak, it was home to as many as 4,000 people.
Palace started to lose its importance in the 17th century, as the later Sultans
preferred to spend more time in newer palaces along the Bosphorus.
1923 the Ottoman Empire had collapsed completely. In 1924 the newly constituted
‘Republic of Turkey’, transformed Topkapi into a museum of the imperial era.
Throne Room is now known as the ‘Pavilion of the Sacred Trusts’ and is home
to revered relics, such as the Prophet’s mantle. Numerous other artifacts used
daily by the Prophet and his Companions, such as original letters of the
Prophet, articles of clothing, swords, and shoes etc. are housed in the Topkapi
Ali has translated verses 33:45-47 from surah Al-Ahzab as follows:
Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings, and
Warner, - And as one who invites to Allah's (grace) by His leave, and as a lamp
spreading light. Then give the Glad Tidings to the Believers, that they shall
have from Allah a very great Bounty.”
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