Mehr News Agency – Muslim prayers have been held in iconic Hagia Sophia for the first time in 86 years after the reconversion of the Istanbul landmark into a mosque earlier this month.
Friday’s prayers in Turkey’s Hagia Sophia Mosque marked the first acts of worship there in 86 years, according to Anadolu. Thousands of people took part in the traditional Friday prayers both inside and outside the historic mosque in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest metropolis.
Before the Friday prayers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recited from the Quran inside the reopened mosque, choosing from both the Surah Al-Fatihah and the Surah Al-Baqarah. Later, four muezzins from the mosque’s four minarets recited the adhan, or call to the prayer, and the people started the Friday prayers.
During the service, Ali Erbas, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), read out a special khutbah, or sermon, before the collective prayer, titled as “Hagia Sophia: Sign of conquest, our trust in Fati̇h [Sultan Mehmet].” Erbas said: “In this blessed time, together, we are witnessing a historical moment in this holy place.”
“Hagia Sophia Mosque regains its congregation today, the third day of the blessed Muslim month of Zulhijjah, in which the blessed Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, is approaching us. “The longing that turned into an open wound for the heirs of Fatih has now ended. Eternal praise be upon Allah the Almighty.
“Today is a day similar to one 70 years ago, when 16 muezzins from the 16 minarets of Sultan Ahmet Mosque, located just opposite Hagia Sophia, joyfully filled the air with adhan, after an 18-year hiatus.