Istanbul has always been the bridge between Europe and Asia. The city has a magnificent history of conquerors and worshippers of different religions and origins. With nearly 3,000 mosques counting, azan can be heard from every corner of Istanbul, coming from the minarets at mosques of different shapes, designs, and times.
The Sakirin Mosque opened up for visitors and worshippers on the 7th of May 2009, a project funded by the Sakir Foundation, in the memory of Ibrahim and Semiha Sakir. The project and result of the construction is like no other. The Sakirin Mosque is designed by Zeynep Fadilioglu, the great-niece of Ibrahim and Semiha Sakir, and the first woman to design a mosque.
Growing up in Istanbul, Zeynep Fadilioglu has always been largely influenced by the rich mixture of modern and traditional atmospheres in the booming city. Prior Zeynep designed nightclubs, hotels, restaurants, and shops, and the Sakirin Mosque was her first project with a place of worship.
During the construction, she consulted art historians and theologians, as to make sure it would be a place worth of worship.
“It might be color, it might be texture, it might be form. But each and every piece I have designed in the mosque, has some kind of connection with tradition,” she said.
From the outside the design is sleek, metallic, and grey, which gives of a modern vibe of contemporary architecture.
What makes the Sakirin Mosque unique in its worth of worshipping, according to Zeyneb herself, is the humility you feel under the large dome, the secure feeling under the low-hanging chandelier, and huge windows instead of walls, with the intricate metalwork, which allow light to stream in “caressing you, much like the pages of Quran”.
The low-hanging chandelier is a unique feature, with drops hanging, symbolizing the reflection of a prayer, meaning that Allah’s light should fall on the worshipper like rain. The rings of the chandelier are decorated with the 99 names of Allah, and the name of the mosque (beside from reflecting the family name) is a literal meaning of “those who are thankful (to God)” in Arabic.
Being the first mosque to be designed by a woman, the female section is also a unique feature of the Sakirin Mosque. Women are normally praying behind men or a curtain, but here they have been placed on the first floor, with a beautiful view and well-lit surroundings thanks to the stunning raindrop chandelier.
The Sakirin Mosque stands as a stunning result of a fusion of the past and the present, the West and the East, sleek modernism and traditional ornamentation, from the uniqueness of its kind, it does have one thing in common with every other place of worship: serenity.
This article is written by Simone Donvang.