السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
It’s Saturday 30th May 2020. Let’s move on to ‘Greece’ today, اِنْ شَاءَ الَّلهُ.
Having travelled over 80 countries of the world, it is the heartfelt desire of Shaykh ul-Islām Mufti Muḥammad Taqī Usmānī Ṣāḥib مدظله العالی to specifically visit those European countries which were once under Islamic rule. Having visited Cyprus, once again we were blessed with the company of Mufti Taqī Usmānī مدظله العالی, this time in Greece.
As usual, my travel companion, Mufti Yūsuf, whom Almighty Allāh has gifted with amazing talent, made all the necessary arrangements, مَا شَآءَ الله . He finds the most economically priced flights and hotels and also identifies hosts in the country we intend to visit.
Please note that these visits are undertaken on our own expenses; even Mufti Taqī Usmānī مدظله العالی pays his own expenses, مَا شَآءَ الله. Our 3 days in Athens and Argos were very memorable, مَا شَآءَ الله.
Upon arrival on Thursday evening, we checked in to our hotel, The Stanley, on top of the popular Bread Factory, which is open 24 hours but, ahem, the less said about that the better. Athens is a beautiful, very historic city. It was the centre of knowledge, with top physicians and scientists coming from this area.
Our first stop the next morning was The Acropolis (meaning high city), although we didn’t get to climb up the steps to the Parthenon, getting as far as the Odeon of Herodes.
The Odeon is an open air Roman theater, still used for concerts, etc. One wonders at the effort which would have been required to transport the massive stone blocks and pillars, especially up to the Acropolis.
Just before JumuꜤah, we managed to squeeze in the Panathenaic Stadium, the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble. Although rebuilt, the site dates back around 300 CE, and has the fame of having hosted the Olympics multiple times.
Mufti Taqī Ṣāḥib delivered the JumuꜤah khutbah and bayān at a Masjid Dār ul-Aman in Athens on Friday 27th September 2019.
In the evening, Mufti Ṣāḥib addressed a gathering of ꜤUlamā and students, مَا شَآءَ الله. One of Mufti Ṣāḥib’s students from Dārul Uloom Karachi, Mufti ꜤAbdur Razzāq Ṣāḥib, now resides in Athens. He and his family could not believe that Mufti Ṣāḥib had arrived at their house.
A number of local media outlets turned up at Jumu’ah Ṣalāh to interview Mufti Ṣāḥib. We toured the centre of the capital, Athens.
The main central area was dominated by a very old Masjid (Tzistarakis Mosque), built by the Ottomans (Uthmāni Khilāfah) in 1759, which was the centrepiece of the capital, and now being used as a museum.
Due to historic political issues, there are no purpose built Masjids in Greece. With only around 4 licensed places of worship for Muslims in Athens, they pray in unofficial buildings.
On Saturday 28th September, our hosts wanted to take us to Argos to see a very old Masjid, which had been converted into a church. En route, we witnessed an amazing scene. A mountain had been split in two with a waterway running in between, سُبْحَانَ الله.
Known as the Corinth Canal, it was a breathtaking sight. We stopped at this wonderful sight and took a boat ride on the canal. It was fascinating.
To add to the occasion, Mufti Muḥammad Taqī Ṣāḥib narrated the story of how Almighty Allāh saved Nūh عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and His followers, using the Ark. It was truly inspirational.
We had the whole boat to ourselves, and we made the most of this amazing experience.
We then continued on to Argos and prayed our Ṣalāh in the only Musalla in the area.
Then came the saddest moment of this visit. We arrived at the Masjid, built around 1570-1600, which had been converted into a church (St Constantine Church), إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ. It was closed at the time.
We were lost for words. For a few moments, Mufti Taqī Ṣāḥib was speechless. How did this happen? How did Muslims lose control? Where are the Muslims now? We all left with broken hearts and Mufti Ṣāḥib requested my colleague to send a photo of it for the cover page of Al-Balāgh magazine, so people can reflect.
Almighty Allāh protect all the Muslims and all the Masjids of the world, Āmeen.
The Palamidi Fortress, in Nafplio, built on top of a mountain, was defeated by the Ottomans in 1715, only one year after completion.
Almighty Allāh keep all of us in His Protection, Āmeen.
A very special جزاك الله to Hāji Arshad Bhai and his colleagues for making our visit very comfortable, مَا شَآءَ الله.
You can read my colleague, Mufti Yūsuf’s, account of this trip at https://islamicportal.co.uk/visit-to-greece-and-hungary-with-mufti-taqi-usmani.
جَزَاكَ اللَّهُ خَيْرًا
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