Saturday, January 5, 2013

What if Obama wants to Build Hagia Sophia in Washington DC?

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What if Obama wants to Build Hagia Sophia in Washington DC?
Epigraph: "O ye who believe! be strict in observing justice, and be witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or against parents and kindred. Whether he be rich or poor, Allah is more regardful of them both than you are. Therefore follow not low desires so that you may be able to act equitably. And if you conceal the truth or evade it, then remember that Allah is well aware of what you do." (Al Quran 4:136)
Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey
Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD
Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in IstanbulTurkey.
From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople,[1] except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.[2]
The Church was dedicated to the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity,[3] its dedication feast taking place on 25 December, the anniversary of the Birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ.[3] Although it is sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia (as though it were named after Saint Sophia), sophia is the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom – the full name in Greek being ?a?? t?? ???a? t?? Te?? S?f?a?, "Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God".[4][5]
Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture[6] and is said to have "changed the history of architecture."[7] It remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years thereafter, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the previous two having both been destroyed by rioters. It was designed by the Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus, a physicist, and Anthemius of Tralles, a mathematician.[8]
Ottoman architecture borrowed to some degree from the architecture of of Hagia Sophia and each ruler or Sultan established his legacy by building a mosque, bigger and better than his predecessor.  The two most celebrated mosques in Istanbul are the Blue Mosque also known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque, built by Ahmed I (1590-1617) and the Suleymaniye Mosque, built by Süleyman the Magnificent (1494-1566), both a part of Istanbul's unmistakable skyline.
The design of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the culmination of two centuries of both Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church development. It incorporates some Byzantine elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The architect has ably synthesized the ideas of his master Sinan, aiming for overwhelming size, majesty and splendour.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after his success in several spheres, seems to be inclined to outsmart the Ottoman Sultans and has announced his intention to build the biggest mosque in Istanbul.  Reuters reported and I quote from the Huffington Post: 
Tayyip Erdogan has described his third term as Turkish prime minister as that of a "master", borrowing from the celebrated Ottoman architect Sinan and the last stage of his storied career after apprenticeship and graduation.
It's a lofty allusion.
Sinan's 16th-century creations came to define the Ottoman Empire at its apogee, the Suleymaniye Mosque, built for Sultan Suleiman, part of Istanbul's unmistakable skyline.
Now, entering a second decade at the helm of a country reveling in its regional might, Erdogan wants to leave his own mark on the cityscape with what will be Turkey's biggest mosque, a 'giant mosque,' he says, 'that will be visible from all across Istanbul.'
To be built on the highest hill on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, planners boast the structure will hold up to 30,000 worshippers and bear six minarets taller than those of the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque, in Medina.
I would be delighted to see another beautiful mosque in Istanbul on my next trip, but, there is a little catch!
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