Saturday, July 4, 2009

Holy Site of Eyup

These are photos from the holy site of Eyup. The story goes that Fatih Sultan Mehmet was traveling with his teacher after the conquest of Istanbul. His teacher, Ak Semsettin, went into a brushwood and started praying on is prayer rug. Then, he turned to the Sultan and said, "Good news, my lord, Ebu Eyyub-ul is buried here. God Almighty has put our praying rug over his tomb, let them dig this place immediately!"
And so, when the place was dug out, a stone inscribed "Haza kabr i Ebu Eyyub" (tomb of Ebu Eyyup) came out.
Since that timea mausoleum and mosque were built here. It is a sacred site that many devout come to visit.
On the day we were here, there were many young boys dressed in the white, formal outfits. Apparently, this is a day of family gathering and celebration, for tomorrow all of these young boys (most of whom looked to be about age 8) will be ritually circumcised. Truly, we don't think they knew what was in store for them the next day because there was nothing but joy and happy faces everywhere...
We also observed two bodies being brought into the courtyard via a group of men carrying the body on some sort of a slab. Muslims here bury their dead wrapped in a cloth, without a casket.
The body is usually buried withing 24 hours of the death, without any embalming procedures. The bodies arrived in the square via two very large green trucks, which served as herses. There was a group of women, with arms linked, following the men taking the body into the mosque. The women were obviously grieving, and the oldest one was dressed all in black. They were rushing to get the second body into the mosque in time for noon call to prayer. These two funerals took place amidst the many young men who were preparing for their circumcision day.

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