After reaching our final destination on our Southeast Turkey road trip, we immediately parked up the car and headed out to explore! Here we were in one of the most ancient cities in the world; Mardin!
This city along with others in the region make up what we know as Upper Mesopotamia and therefore it’s history goes back a long time. We came to this city to explore its famous Old City to get a feel of what this part of Turkey was all about.
Walking through the cobblestoned streets and narrow alleyways gave us the chance to simply get lost amidst the splendour of the historic buildings built from beige coloured limestone rock. Every turn was a mystery and even though we we’re tired from walking, we actually wanted it to carry on.
As we kept wondering around, I noticed the minaret of Ulu Camii; a mosque we we’re longing to visit since the beginning of our trip. But it was what was inside the Mosque that took us by surprise. The mosque itself is very grand and its minaret can be noticed from a distance. However, even then we still couldn’t find our way and a young boy with a dusty face lead us all the way to the entrance of the mosque.
As you step inside, you are welcomed by the Mosque’s large courtyard which is a stark difference to the narrow streets you’ve just left behind you.
As I stepped inside into the courtyard, I couldn’t help but constantly tilt my head back to get a view of the top of the minaret. We marvelled at the walls and the minaret for quite some time in what was an empty courtyard due to the COVID pandemic placing restrictions on travel.
We then headed inside and wondered around the Mosque and that was when we found something distinct on the left side of the Mimbar (where the Imam stands). It read,Peygamberimizin Sakal-ı Şerifi which translates into The Beard of The Prophet (PBUH).
The Imam of the Ulu Camii Mosque, Süleyman Demir said that the Sakal-ı Şerif was brought from Egypt and later given to the mosque. According to the Imam, the beard hair of the Prophet PBUH was brought from Egypt during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid and given to a family here who then dedicated it to the Mosque.
Just like the locals who regularly visit and glance at the hair which is truly blessed, we also experienced a feeling that cannot be put into words. It was simply amazing to come so close to what was once a part of the Prophet’s PBUH beloved face.
I tried wondering how it reached this part of the world. Then it made sense. The Ottomans ruled over a large part of the Muslim World since the 15th century, and it was during this time that they had access to a lot of the sacred relics in Egypt and Arabia. With Sultan Abdulhamid being the last Ottoman Sultan of the fracturing state, he may have decided to bring a piece of blessing back with him to his home country. And that is how it ended up here.
And Allah knows best.