For me Istanbul is indivisible from a deep sense of spirituality, love, respect, and honor for the path of the Prophet peace and blessings be on him. Even the Turkish dizzies (soap operas) make the good win and the bad loose: A current Turkish dizi is all about the traditions versus the essence of faith and the battle between good and evil:
Everyone is struggling in their own path, some heedless but not overtly hedonistic or sadistic at least to the onlooker’s eye.
A sense of continuity of traditions of the sunnah are deeply embedded in the people that 80 years of secularism has not been able to wipe out from the DNA of the Turks.
The men are intensely male with all the ramifications and expressions of testosterone tempered by their deep sense of honor of the family and the continuity of their deeply family bound traditions.
Dotted in this landscape are the Syrian refugees, soft blue eyed, fair skinned blonde men, women and children which confuse The long-standing Turkish traditions of family where everyone belongs somewhere. These misafers (guests) as they are called belong nowhere.
I step out of our little mosque after Jumma salah and a young woman draped in black with a baby and two young boys sits at the entrance her hands spread out to receive. Every one coming out of the mosque drops some coins in the scarf that she has spread in front of her.
The man in front of me exiting the mosque is a young skinny stalwart modern young man with fair skin , the classic up sweep of his dark hair his beard well-groomed and his expensive coat speak volumes about his family and socioeconomic background. I never expected what I see: he passes by quickly and drops a 50 TL note in her scarf. Generosity has no credentials it can come from any heart.
I am next, and the kids jump up and down “Abla……..Abla………” i.e. sister, they know me well, ………..and so ends another Jumma salah.
I try to stop my imagination of who and where is the father of these children. The eyes of the woman are wary, yet challenging with the right amount of humility for some one desperate………
The road from Syria to Turkey turns innocent young women into mothers without husbands and children without fathers and yet the west continues to bomb them out of their homes…….
Surah Insaan explains the basic humble beginnings of man and the duty to feed and protect the orphans which the Turks do with a generous heart…….