Category: , , , , , , , , By freshouttatime
December 2007, the month when Mevlana celaleddin Rumi was born is being observed by UNESCO as the 800th Anniversary of his birth. Theres a month long celebration going on in Konya, where Mevlana is buried and i happened to go there this monday.

off the bat you can notice that Konya has a different vibe, i might be exaggerating since its been implanted in my head that Konya is the most "religious" city in Anatolia. But the one thing that was noticeable were the amount of young kids going in to the mosque, in contrast to atleast here in Ankara.

When i mean young i'm not talkin about kats like me; 20's teens etc. I'm talkin like 4th 5th 6th graders.
One of the first places we went was to see Mevlana (Maulana)'s tomb. It was a museum now, actually Ataturk closed its functions as a temple/mosque and re-opened it as a museum. So as our group guide Ahmet was giving the 411 on the museum, what you'll find inside and etc. I sat on a bench in proximity to the group.
There were four kids, sitting as well. You know automatically I assumed them to be wise talkers, but we got to talking, they asked where i'm from, i responded, i told them that i'm actually a student in ankara, then they asked me how do i like turkey, and then they asked me if i was Muslim. When i replied in the affirmative they asked if I memorized Quran ( i couldn't tell if it was that or if i liked the Quran) but i just nodded and said "evet" then they explained to me one of their friends, he seemed to be a bit younger has been going to "madrasa" for 2 years.
Somewhere in the conversation i realized that this is Turkey, these kids are honest and really really friendly. Unlike some kids in Ulus (eh the gypsies) who are pretty coarse and just want money, most turkish youth i encounter are really straightforward, and i keep forgetting that its usually us elders that aren't honest.
Soon enough one of the guards saunter over, and they started telling him about me, and then the guard looks at me says something in Turkish, after i respond he says "Do you know english?" And i'm like "chhhhhh yeah!" So now i tell him my story, the kids start asking me some questions through him, mainly about the rest of the group who was still standing nearby about where they're from and etc.

I soon leave them and join the group to enter the masoleum/museum. You walk in, and the ambience is sufi music, i mean like a flute/reed or something. There are tombs laiden on the left and the right, and in the front of you. It struck me extremely odd that we were in a burial chamber. The deceased were followers of Mevlana sect (which was formed after Rumi died by one of his students and his son). Then if you walk straight to the end of the corridor and look to you right, there lies the Tomb of Rumi. Photography wasn't allowed anymore so i felt i should honor the rule. It was a huge tomb, and people were gathered around it, and it appeared as uttering du'as. I stood there for a good 5 minutes, observing the details of the tomb, with its ornate arabic designs, the platform it was places on, the drapery and etc. I was able to read some verses that were written over the walls and etc. But i could not help but think, all this for a deceased person? When that thought consumed my other thoughts i had to walk away.

The museum continued and had a lot of Mevlana's divans (in layman's terms books he wrote) There were also olddd Qurans. Man and i mean oold. They had apparently one of Uthman's Quran. We're talkin the man who compiled our book in the order as we know it today Uthman. When i perceived that direct connection to a man who i knew much more about than Rumi, i was almost moved to tears and just walked along. Kian the man that he is took a picture and we booked it outta there.

So after that we toured an old Seljuck madrasah, which was impressive because it had old artifacts, like doors, and symbols from older anatolian civilizations. Museums put so much on display from the past that its mindboggling to me that people used this stuff in their daily lives.

After that, we went across the street to the Aladdin Mosque, and it was an impressive wide hall. We happened to chance their during Mahgrib and we were all takin photos, Kian was right next to me and we just looked at each other and discussed for about 10 seconds of offering Mahgrib or doing it later (since we be travelling) and both instinctively just opted to do so. My train of thought went wow Adhan, Iqama and then offer prayers. Thats what it is, that what its supposed to be. I mean prayer is to be offered whenever it comes in, and the whole purpose of the call to prayer is to come to the prayer, and we were in the front line taking photos, so what an injustice it would have been if we didn't offer it?
After Mahgrib, the Imam spoke to the group through our guide, saying he was happy to see us, and that we came to see Islamic customs.

After that we had some free time, most people opted for food, but kian, nahila, teresa and I decided to follow up on a mosque we saw a little ways down the street. We trekked our way there, and SubhanAllah. This Mosque was just amazing. The ceiling was intricately detailed, the hall was so big, and it had such an aura of calmness. We ran into this Afghani brother, who is studying Shariah law and speaks Arabic, Turkish and Farsi and a little English. He was soo friendly, and it was nice to meet this brother. After me and Kian were finished ooohing and aahing and taking photos, we met up with the group and headed over to the Performance Center to see the whirling dervishes.

Ahhhh i am sooo short on time, this is the crux of the typical Konya trip but i will continue it later inshaAllah.