After barely making our 7:30am flight and watching the sunrise in the Turkish sky, I slept for the full duration of our two hour flight. Just before we landed we flew over mountains that were covered in snow. It was absolutely breathtaking.
Şanlıurfa’s airport is really small so we walked from the plane to the terminal. The locals advised us to take a bus from the airport to the city centre and then to take a taxi to our hotel from there as this would work out much cheaper. So this is what we did and they were right.
Şanlıurfa is known as the Prophet’s City. It was a part of the Byzantine Empire until it was conquered by Sayyidina Umar (R.A) in 639. It was then ruled by the Ummayads, the Abbasids and the Marwanids until it fell into the hands of the Byzantine Empire again. Şanlıurfa is the place where Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) and Nabi Ayoob (A.S) left their mark.
We stayed at Hilton Garden Inn, got settled in our room and napped. The flights are really tiring so we really needed to recharge.
We hit the streets in the afternoon and our first stop was Şanlıurfa’s museum. There are two museums and the pass costs 14 TL to enter both. The first museum is an archeological museum based on time periods. It starts in Paleolithic ages and ends in the East Rome ages. They had mini replicas of important sites like the Urfa Statue and the Babylonian Palace.
After you exit the first museum, you walk down and you see a beautiful fountain and caves. The caves are rumoured to have been burial sites of kings from around 1500 years ago.
As you walk to the second museum, there was an old man selling corn, nuts and sweets in a cart, another man selling candy floss, families were having picnics and couples were on dates. The mosaic museum exhibits mosaic from the Roman period. This museum can be given a miss, I didn’t find it as interesting as the first one.
We then took a bus to Halil-ür Rahman, the city center. We drank salep which is a Turkish speciality, it is made with milk and flour and topped with cinnamon. It was perfect and warmed you up.
Nimrood was the king in the time of Nabi Ibraheem (A.S.). Before Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) was born, Nimrood had a dream that was interpreted to mean that “a child who will born in this year would end your reign”. Nimrood order that all of the male children in that year should be killed. So, when Nabi Ibraheem (A.S)’s mother, Nuna, was pregnant with him, she hid in a cave when her delivery drew near. She gave birth to Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) and she came everyday to give him milk. Some say that Allah Ta’alah also ordered a gazelle to come every day to suckle him. Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) only left this cave when he was 15 years old. This cave is in Halil-ür Rahman and is called Mevlid-i Halilulrahman Cave.
The cave is lit up with green lights and has a carpet on the floor so people can pray salaah and make dua here. Every single person who entered the cave shed tears. It was a really emotional experience. Except for Masjid-ul-Haram and Masjid-ul-Nabawi, I have never ever felt such peace. Only Allah knows if this is truly the place where Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) was born as narrations differ but I promise you, the feeling once you entered the cave was different. All I could I think was “how blessed am I as the same Lord who is Nabi Muhammed’s ﷺ, the greatest person to walk the face of this earth, Lord and Nabi Ibraheem (A.S)’s Lord whose title is “Kaleelullah” which means “friend of Allah” is my Lord. Alhamdulillah, all praise is to Allah.” I really didn’t want to leave and I made my mum promise me that we could come back to read the forty durood here.
Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) believed in one Allah while the people of his time worshiped idols. Nimrood said that he was the one who gave life and death and so, Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) disputed this and said it was Allah who gave life and death. Nimrood ordered that Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) be thrown into a fire when Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) destroyed the idols they worshipped. Allah ordered the fire “oh fire, be coolness and peace for Ibraheem.” (Surah Ambiya, verse 69). As a result, the fire turned into water and the ambers turned into fish. The lake is called Balıklıgöl.
Zeliha was the daughter of Nimrood. She realised that Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) was right, accepted Islam and rejected her father’s thinking. As a result of this, Nimrod threw his daughter into the fire and watched her burn. The other narration says that she fell in love with Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) so when she heard Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) was thrown into a fire, she threw herself in one also. A lake formed where Zeliha fell and fish appeared in the lake. This lake is called Ayn-Zeliha Lake.
Before we left the city centre, we went back to the cave where Nabi Ibraheem (A.S) was born so we could read the forty durood and drink the water. The cave is currently filled with water. It is said that the water found in the cave is curative and that the waters cure numerous diseases. After reading the forty durood and drinking the water, we caught a taxi back to the hotel.
Islamic history has always been something that fascinated me and I loved learning it in Madrassah. The amount of Islamic history that Turkey holds is incredible and I can’t wait to uncover more of this history in the days to come.
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