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Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|05/15/02 at 19:01:19|
|Dear Sirs or Madames,|
I am terrified to ask this question, as I am certain that you will find it to be quite ridiculous. Nevertheless, modesty compels me to ask... I have posed this question on other sites and it has been met with a resounding silence. Apparently, I have quite a talent for offending people in any medium, even though it is not my intention to do so... Here goes...
I am planning a visit to Turkey in the fall and I would like to ask the advice of someone - anyone! - about proper attire for a lady. I am very conservative in my manner of dress ordinarily, however, as I will be travelling alone, I began to consider wearing traditional Islamic clothing. THEN, I became troubled by the thought that I might actually offend members of the community because I am not a Muslim woman - perhaps they would feel that I am trying to mock them in some way. My only reason for travelling to Turkey in the first place is to pay my respects (it is a long and boring story, but the music and voice of Islam literally saved my life when I was recovering from cancer.) The last thing in the world I would want to do is offend anyone, especielly if my ignorance is the cause of the offence.
I sincerelly hope that this question is not completely out of line.
|05/16/02 at 04:09:49|
First, let me take this opportunity to welcome you to this humble message board. I pray to Allah (swt) that He makes your stay here beneficial for yourself and the rest of us. And may He show all of us the Path that leads to His Pleasure, and then keep us steadfast on that path.
Next, I really wanted to thank you for the courteous manner in which you have addressed the Muslims on this message board. Thank you for your concern for our feelings and your expressions of those concerns in this thread as well as the other one about the name "Usamah." I'm sure all of us greatly appreciate these things coming from you.
Please rest assured that your question is not offensive to any of us at all, insha Allah (God willing). In fact, you are more than welcome to ask virtually *any* question you wish on this message board. We do not get offended unless someone actually tries pretty hard to offend us :) So don't worry about that and just throw at us whatever you need answered without any hesitation, and we will try our best to give you some helpful answers, or at least direct you to a place where you can find better ones.
As for your question about visiting Turkey, my personal answer would be two-fold:
One, there is really no dress-code that you have to follow to visit Turkey. The reason is because Turkey is actually a very secular country, if not the *most* secular country among all of the Muslim nations in the world today. Most people in Turkey dress exactly like the way most British or the American people dress. Women wear skirts and short-sleeve tops, while men wear slacks and shirts, or t-shirts and jeans. There is still a number of people who do adhere to the teachings of Islam and dress more modestly, but they are certainly not in the majority, and they will not be offended by you not dressing in a similar manner, because quite simply they are used to this from their own people. However, if you decide on paying a visit to one of the local mosques, then I would suggest that you cover everything on your body accept your face and your hands. This is more out of respect bor the sanctity of the Mosque itself. I'm not sure if not doing so would offend the Turkish people in general or not.
Two, I was just wondering why you chose to visit Turkey, out of all the Muslim countries out there, to pay your respects? It is unfortunate that there has been a massive ideological crisis in Turkey since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI, and therefore, most people in Turkey have completely let go of their Islamic roots. Not all of them have let go of their Faith of course - in fact, the majority of them still claim to be Muslims and pray every once in a while - but there definitely is a general lack of interest in adhering to the Islamic teachings, especially those teachings that interfere with one's daily life outside the Mosque!
I guess I would like to ask you exactly what you mean by paying your respects. Is it that you just want to meet some Muslims? Or is it that you want to learn about the religion of Islam? Or is it that you want to experience Muslim culture and a Muslim society?
If it's any of the above, then I would say there are better places to go than Turkey. And I can enumerate some of these places once I understand better about what you had meant in your post.
However, if the reason for visiting Turkey is something else, and you don't mind sharing it with us, I'd really like to know what it is. Perhaps we could answer your question better if you told us.
Hope this has been of *some* help at least. Again, please do not hesitate to ask any follow-up questions.
|05/16/02 at 05:27:28|
I visited Turkey last year and what Abu Hamza said about the attire was all correct. You will find the people there very modern and the majority of women are not acually covered up according to Islamic teachings. I believe that you would feel comfortable in your normal dress.
The larger cities are full of tourists and travelers. As you are travelling alone I would advise you to stick to the busy areas, and like in any part of the world, a woman is more vulnerable to being taken advantage of...e.g. taxi drivers will try and charge you more than normal etc etc.
The mosques there are beautiful, although it is a shame to see more tourists in them than people actually praying. You are advised to stay outside the mosque at prayer times.
Please feel free to ask any other questions.
|05/16/02 at 10:34:25|
|Good day to all.|
I just wanted to say thank you to Nisa and to Abu Hamza for responding to my inquiry. I am very appreciative of the input. Nisa, I especially enjoyed the quotation at the end of your message. The words from your Book have always struck me as being so wonderfully poetic, words that really touch one's soul. The words from our Book do sometimes fiil me with suspicion. But that is not to the point. Thank you for sharing those words with me.
I will heed your advice about travelling. I am planning to go in Nov. so I hope that the atmosphere will be a little less "touristy," (if that is a word, and I sincerely hope that it is not!) I am studying the language very deligently, and am taking great care to learn and be aware of mosque etiquette, as I do not want them to throw me out of the country, asking that I never return.
Thank you Abu Hamza for your gracious welcome - my goodness, it made me cry. I worried all night that I was going to be asked to leave this site...
I would like to respond to your query, if I may, but I must warn you that I am as new to computers as I am to this site, and in all honesty, I find this web site "chatting " to be a bit confounding. (Six years of college and it takes me about 25 minutes to navigate my way around this site. I am still unsure about how to use it. Let me just apologize ahead of time to EVERYONE.)
The reason that I am asking about dress code in particular is because I do not want to call attention to myself or give the wrong impression to anyone about my travelling alone. This is very important to me. I suppose it needs a little explanation. (I will try to give the quick version.) I was raised in seclusion, you see. I was kept from men until I left home. But I was so ignorant about them that when I was able to go on my own, I avoided them. The situation, how do you say, "snowballed." Now I am an adult and still have no experience with men. I do not want to go into any situation, let alone into a foreign country and give the impression that I might be a "loose" woman!! I only want to be as discreet as possible. (That was thoroughly humilating and yet somehow cleansing...)
My father was a foreign service officer. Because he knew how much music meant to me, he would bring me tapes from the places he would stay in - Indonesia, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, etc. He brought me mostly vocal music and Qur'an recitations. Years later, when I had to go through cancer treatment, I abandoned the traditional chemo because it was, in my opinion, making me worse, and chose my own alternative methods. I relied on the power of the Mawlawiyah music and the recitations to heal me. (Again, the quick version.) I do not know how to explain it but I do know that I have been in remission for over 5 years now and I also know that if it had not been for the music and the recitations that I would not be here. I tell you that I do not know the words of the prayers but there is a power in the words that confounds me and sorrounds me and envelops me. This is what I was writing (saying?) to Nisa earlier.
I want to go to the place that became a part of me without my having seen it. I feel that if I could only hear the call to prayers one time.. in person... to be there in the midst of that excitement, that (dare I use this word? I hope you will not misunderstand me) ecstacy, that I would be a very satisfied person indeed. What more could there be for me?
I know now that you must be very sorry that you asked me to explain myself. Even in its abbreviated version I have managed, nevertheless, to write a novel!!
Again, I thank you for your time and for your words of advice. I hope that you will let me stay...
With kind regards,
|05/16/02 at 16:33:54|
|[quote]I worried all night that I was going to be asked to leave this site... |
Don't worry- it takes alot.... just ask mujaahid...
|05/16/02 at 19:04:24|
I thank you for your kind words - I am feeling slightly less like an intruder. However, I do not fully understand what you meant by "just ask mujaahid." It would seem that once more I must confess my ignorance. I apologize.
Thanky you again for your time,
(The foot note at the bottom...these words are like music. If I learned to say them, would they sound as lovely coming from my mouth??)
|05/16/02 at 20:03:39|
|Dear Kathy (part 2,)|
I believe I understand the "just ask Mujaahid" from your message. This is a truly passionate person! Still, if I may be so bold, a passionate anger can be infinitely more productive than apathy - at least its energy can be directed in some way.
With humble regards,
|05/16/02 at 21:24:34|
;)Yes about Mujaahid- this comment was made "tongue in cheek."
:oHe has said alot of things that have brought him to the mountain ledge. I think the only reason the Moderators haven't thrown him off is because of what you alluded to- his passion.
>:(Often he tells it just a little too tough and we would like him to be a little more diplomatic! :)
;-) :-)There is a sentance in our Book, the Qu'ran that says "Verily in the rememberance of Allah (God), there is tranquility." So my answer to you is Yes, they will be just as lovely coming from you- and may bring you peace!
:-[This forum is a good place to ask your questions. We have had many asking and never feel that they are disrespecting us. One who is in quest of knowledge is better than one who is afraid to ask!
8)If you are really concerned about a question- you can always post it anonymously!
|05/16/02 at 21:26:59|
|05/16/02 at 22:49:01|
|Dear Madame Kathy,|
thank you for your reply. You have given me things to consider. I appreciate your uncommon openness towards me. I feel certain that I will sleep better tonight than I did last night!
Hopefully, you and your comrades will not easily tire of my inquiries...
|05/17/02 at 03:38:18|
|Assalamu Alaikum Everyone,|
I am a young Turkish woman and would like to say that I?ve been very touched by your
story. First of all, I am really sorry to hear that you suffered from cancer and had to go
through some nasty medical treatments. But I am also very glad (and nicely surprised) to
know that ?mevlevi music? has helped you get better and get rid of the nasty chemo. How
wonderful!! Alhamdulillah (Thanks to God/ Allah)!! Insha Allah (God willing), you?ve got
ridden of this illness for ever and will remain healthy for the rest of your life (at
least, no major illness).
Abu Hamza and Nisa already gave very helpful advice concerning your future visit to
Turkey and so I don?t think I?ve much to add here. I agree with most of what brother Abu Hamza
said concerning Turkey. Yes, Turkey is quite a secular country at the moment and the
Islamic dress code is not followed by many. Some do not follow it out of their free will and
some, like me, are not allowed to follow it (I mean only the head cover here) in public
institutions. But let me also note that the Islamic dress code is followed more rigorously
in some cities than others. Konya, from where ?mevlevi music? originated (the city of
Mevlana), is one such city which is quite religious. But even there you would feel very
comfortable in a Western style of dress. I?ve been to this city (where my dad comes from)
many times in the past and saw many tourists in their shorts. But I think it would be safer
and more respectful to go for loose and long styles. The Turkish people are usually very
hospitable to the foreigners regardless of their nation, race, creed, etc. so I don?t
think you will have a serious problem with the locals. But Nisa is right, just try to be
more careful with the taxi drivers and the shop owners who sometimes try to make extra
profits. And if you have any more questions please don?t hesitate to ask...Wishing you a safe
journey and a very pleasant trip. Please tell us your impressions after you come back...
Regards and Salaam
To the moderator: I am a new member (Zahra306) but cannot login for some reason. Need
your kind help, thanks.
[Admin Note: Email us and we'll try to look into it InshaAllah]
|05/17/02 at 07:52:36|
I was sorry to hear about your illness, but you are so right about listening to beautiful recitations....whenever I am feeling low (or even when I'm very happy) I like to listen to a Quranic recitation....especially where they have translation into English because this makes it so much more meaningful.
I also went to Turkey in November and the weather was very nice this time of the year and there weren't too many tourists. I visited Istanbul, Bursa and Konya. Zahra was right about Konya, it isn't as 'touristy' as Istanbul is and this is where the 'mevli music' originated from.
If you want to listen to live Qur'anic recitations, you will find this happenig in the Tokapi Musuem in Istanbul. Also, if you sit outside a mosque after the last prayer of the day (Isha prayer @ 8pm'ish in November), such as the Blue Mosque, the imaam (person leading prayer) will recite a few verses from the Qur'an at the end of the prayer. There is such a beautiful atmosphere with people sitting on the carpets quietly takig everything in.
You will surely enjoy it!
|05/17/02 at 09:19:09|
How happy I am that you took the time to write to me!! I appreciate your advice and information on dress codes as well as on what things to be wary of.
How very coincidental that you write of your father being from Konya, as this is one one my major stopping points. The mevlevi music has been such an important part of my life that I thought I would visit the cities for which it is best known: Konya, Afyon, and Istanbul (have I missed one? Let me know!!) It was my understanding that Konya and Afyon were particularly pious towns and so I was especially concerned about how I might appear to the people who reside there. (I will say this! I do not drink and therefore I have been seeking out places to stay which do NOT HAVE BARS!
I was quite surprised to find that even in places like Konya the hotels and such have bars! This is the sad price that local people must pay for TOURISM. You invite someone into your country as a GUEST, and they proceed to turn it into THEIR country.)
Actually, I am not going until Oct-Nov., which is good because it is giving me a good while to learn Turkish. On the other hand, I am so afraid of making a mistake or saying something incorrectly that I may chicken out altogether if I do not feel comfortable with my progress!!!
Thank you again Zahra for sharing your thoughts with me.
|05/17/02 at 10:31:52|
How nice it is to hear from you again!
The recitations are extraordinary mood lifters. I have tried to find about about the translations.. I wrote several record companies who publish these cd's, asking how I might go about tracking down translations..Just so that I could have something to look at at the same time I was listening...(Although this is not how I normally would prefer to listen to the pieces, one must admit that having the words in front of you is the quickest way to learn the language of the pieces.) I am talking about translations from script into the original language and also a brief english translation with it. The Yemenite singer Ofra Haza went to this format when her music was transferred to cd's. (All those years of listening with pen in hand, copying the words down phonetically finally came to an end!!! ) I found a fellow in Germany who is the agent of Al-Sheikh Nail Kesova, one of those who was instrumental in the creation of the Music of Islam series. I have posed my question concerning translation to him..I hope something will come of it.
Thank you for the information you gave me about your trip to Turkey! You good folks are being so very helpful to me!! Your itenerary sounds just like mine! I had planned to stay a day in Bursa, while working my way back to Istanbul from Konya and Afyon. I am trying to find places to stay which are very near mosques. I probably will not get another chance to go so I am trying to see as many as I can!
Your last paragraph put such a delightful image into my mind and into my ears. I have often wondered, especially since the "illness," why it is that music and voice of a particular kind affect me so acutely. It puzzles me greatly, and yet I cannot bring myself to apologize for the control it has over me. I am thinking about questioning one of your forum members about it. Do you think it is G-d? (Hope that question is not an offence to you.)
Thank you again Nisa for your kind words,
|05/18/02 at 18:44:19|
It is said that the Qur'an has a miraculous nature, not just in its rhym and rhythm, but it's context too. In the days of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) many people converted to Islam simply upon hearing the words of the Qur'an...the words of God.
Don't be afraid to ask any questions...we do not get offended very easily here!!
|05/18/02 at 22:21:29|
Thank you for your response! What you have said is very interesting. I begin to think that maybe I am not entirely crazy to believe that G-d speaks through this vocal medium. Perhaps if He knows that a person is affected strongly by a certain medium then He will use that to make His presence known. And yet, it seems almost blasphemous...If I do not know the meaning of the words being spoken and am moved nevertheless, is it still a good thing??
I appreciate your input!!
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