السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
It’s Sunday 31st May 2020. Let’s move on to ‘Hungary’ today اِنْ شَاءَ الَّلهُ.
After spending 3 days in Greece, we moved on to Hungary in the auspicious company of Ḥaḍrat Mufti Muḥammad Taqī Usmānī مدظله العالی. Once again, my colleague Mufti Yūsuf had all the arrangements in place, مَا شَآءَ الله. I joked with him to become a tour operator, as he would do an immaculate job.
We arrived in the capital Budapest. It was fascinating city, مَا شَآءَ الله, where two separate areas known as Buda and Pest, with a river running in between, are connected by beautiful bridges, سُبْحَانَ الله
It was the 29th of September 2019, immaculate weather, and near perfect conditions for a breathtaking aerial view of Budapest.
A programme was organised for Mufti Taqī Ṣāḥib to address the congregation in Budapest Mecset (Masjid). Mufti Taqī Ṣāḥib delivered the direct in Arabic, مَا شَآءَ الله, and it was eloquently translated into English. It was also the 29th of the Islamic month and we had Janāb ꜤAbdul Azīz Rāje of Ilford (London), who is one of the founder members of Wifāqul ꜤUlamā UK, with us.
Whilst Mufti Taqī Ṣāḥib مدظله العالی delivered his bayān, we went with a local resident to see if we could sight the moon that night in Budapest, but it was not visible.
After the bayān, many influential Masjid responsibles came to meet Mufti Ṣāḥib. It was a very memorable gathering مَا شَآءَ الله.
On the 30th September, our hosts took us to see the highlight of this journey, Eger Minaret.
The highest and the best preserved of 3 remaining minarets, open for all to see, and the brave to climb the famous 97 steps. This was just magnificent, مَا شَآءَ الله. In 2016, a Turkish Muslim of Eger was permitted to call the Azān from the Minaret balcony after 327 years, سُبْحَانَ الله.
One by one, our colleagues paid the entrance fee and started climbing. To our amazement, Mufti Taqī Ṣāḥib expressed his interest in climbing the 97 steps, سُبْحَانَ الله. Until then I was in Mufti Ṣāḥib’s shadow, but once Mufti Taqī Ṣāḥib مدظله العالی started to climb, I had no choice. Sweating and out of breath most of the time, I climbed the 97 steps, up the narrow and dark tower, behind Mufti Ṣāḥib مدظله العالی. I must have lost at least one stone.
The view from the top of the minaret was breathtaking, and thankfully, the downward trip was not so bad. Mufti Taqī Ṣāḥib مدظله العالی commented that, ‘If the Minarah is so tall, how large must the Masjid have been that was next to this Minarah, which sadly is not here anymore!’ Once again, a feeling of sadness came over the whole group, especially Mufti Taqī Ṣāḥib مدظله العالی.
The Ottomans (Uthmāni Khilāfah), at their peak, had reached the shores of Hungary by 1541 and ruled for over 150 years, مَا شَآءَ الله. Many other relics from the era have been preserved, اَلْحَمْدُلِلّه, such as the Turkish baths. Alas, today there are hardly any Muslims or Masjids left in Hungary. Interestingly, Hungary is known as al-Majar in Arabic (from Magyar).
After visiting the nearby Eger Castle, we returned back to Budapest and, in the evening, took a cruise on the world famous River Danube, which was spectacular. As we sailed, the recorded commentary gave a fascinating but very sad historical account. It was as if the River Danube was addressing us, and taking us through the pages of history.
We passed the Inner City Parish Church, the oldest building in Pest, which was used as a Masjid during Turkish rule, and the preserved Miḥrāb acts as a sorrowful reminder. It was almost unbearable to hear how the Muslims lost Hungary; heartbreaking.
Finally, at the Hungarian-Turkish Friendship Park in Csertő, there’s a memorial to (Ḥāfiẓ) Evliyâ Çelebi, who spent 40 years exploring the world in the 17th century, documented his journeys in a 10-volume travelogue called the Seyâhatnâme (Book of Travel).
May Almighty Allāh reward brother ꜤAbdus Subḥān and his colleagues for hosting us and making the journey memorable.
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.
I started my messages, the primary purpose of which is ‘Self Reflection‘, on Thursday 26th March 2020, مَا شَآءَ الله. You may be thinking, what has Malta, Cyprus, Greece and Hungary got to do with ‘Self Reflections’? The answer is quite simple.
When you plan your short European breaks, why not have the best of both worlds? Learn our history, ponder upon our past and present and, at the same time, enjoy the breathtaking scenery. We travelled with Mufti Taqī Ṣāḥib مدظله العالی to four countries in 2018, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia, مَا شَآءَ الله.
In 2019, we were again blessed with Muftisab’s company in another four countries, Malta, Cyprus, Greece and Hungary, مَا شَآءَ الله. Although we are in a lockdown at present, we hope and pray that we can visit another 4 countries in 2020, اِنْ شَاءَ الَّلهُ.
Almighty Allāh lengthen Mufti Taqī Usmānī Ṣāḥib’s shadow upon us so that we can benefit from him for a very long time to come, اِنْ شَاءَ الَّلهُ. May The Almighty preserve Islām and Muslims throughout the world, especially Europe, Āmeen.
جَزَاكَ اللَّهُ خَيْرًا
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وَالسَّلَامُ Hanif Dudhwala