Istanbul have been hosting countless valuable sacred relics and historic monuments. All of them are distinctively important. But among them there’s one which its history stands centuries back. It’s the Arab Mosque at the Perşembe Bazaar at Karaköy-Galata, got stuck in between new buildings. Not everyone knows its story and some even may think the first Adhan was heard after the Ottoman Emperor Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered the Istanbul. However, Arab Camii is the first mosque built and the first mosque to heard adhan from. Here we write about the story of the first mosque and the first Adhan heard in Istanbul sky fort he first time which has the importance for Istanbul and the Islamic world.
WHERE WAS THE FIRST ADHAN HEARD IN ISTANBUL?
The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. praised the commander in the hadith ; ‘Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader he will be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!’’ (Al-Bukhari) Hearing this hadith, many sahabas and commanders came to Istanbul in order to conquer around the years of end of 600 and beginning of 700 before the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Han. They have surrounded Constantinople for 3 times, some stand for 7 years, some even less. After the 50 years of encompass of the Sahabas which includes Hazrat Eyub r.a., third hem in made in 717 by Mesleme bin Abdulmelik r.a. who was the famous commander of Islamic army that time. After a year of siege from the sea and the land with his Islamic Army, He conquered the Galata region. Although they couldn’t get into the caste, he lived there with his army for 7 years. In order Muslims to fulfill their religious obligations, he made an agreement with Byzantine Emperor Leon and built Arap Mosque at the place called Perşembe Pazarı today. The first adhan heard in Istanbul sky was the Istanbul’s first mosque, Arab Mosque, before 1300 years… The adhan was continued for 7 years more, then Mesleme bin Abdulmalik was called back by the Emevi Khalifa Omer bin Abdulaziz after the revolt in Damascus. After 7 years the siege was revoked. As it remained as mosque till the year of 800, Genoese turned out the mosque into church and added bell tower.
TRASFERRED INTO A MOSQUE AGAIN BY FATIH SULTAN MEHMET HAN
After the two years of conquest of the Istanbul, the church turned it out to be mosque again. The bell tower changed to be minaret. Sultan Fatih built a maqam for Mesleme bin Malik in the yard of the mosque.
MUMMIFIED CORPSES FOUND
There were many mummied corpses and head Stones found which belongs to Genoese and Latins during the renovations on 1913. Those are submitted to Istanbul Archeological Museum
DESIGN OF THE MOSQUE
The mosque got 70 windows to lighten up inside, designed as 3 layers. Wooden carved ceiling is placed at 4 walls and 22 wooden column. Gathering place is baroque style placed on 8 marble columns. Dais is brought from Sokullu Mehmet Pasha Mosque at Azapkapı. Arab Mosque’s walls are mix of dimension stone and bricks while the shrine and pulpit are made of marble.The wooden roof is covered with tile. The mosque’s shape is rectangle. Especially the minarets resembles the Emevi architectural mosques in Damascus, that’s why the name stated as ‘Arab Mosque’. The minaret which was a bell tower, can be climbed up to 102 steps. There’s a subway down under the minaret to the mosque yard.
Prepared by: Sacide Tuba Barkçin