I didn't know why. There was one video telling about the journey of Sultan Muhamad al- Fateh and his army to conquer Constantinople. When I watched it, all of a sudden, I promised to myself, "I'll pray in Aya Sophia no matter what happen." And yeah it was.
I went to Turkey after a few months. And the promise still kept fresh in my head. I knew, no one is allowed to pray there anymore since it has been used as museum during the time of Kamal Attarturk. I didn't tell my friends about this. I walked alone in the huge magnificent building, finding a safe place to pray. It's hard to find place free from people though. What most important for me that time was, as long as the guards didn't stop me and the tourists didn't feel too awkward seeing someone's praying.
Taking ablution using the mineral water in my hand, alhamdulillah Allah eased my way to perform solah tahiyatul masjid. I can't describe how calm it felt when my face touched the floor of Aya Sophia, once a sacred masjid which witnessed the victory of Islam.
Alhamdulillah too, our apartment in Istanbul was facing the Bosphorus Strait. The first day I was in the old city of Istanbul, facing the Bosphorus on my right and Golden Horn on my left, tears running through my cheek. "Oh, Lord, I'm here. I'm in the place where Islam has once rule the world." It seemed like I could feel the anxiety and share the happiness of the success. I prayed, my iman and faith would increase through the journey in Turkey. Praise to Allah, I went back to UK as a better Muslim.
May his story always reminds me to the strength and success a Muslim can achieve. Plus, how the success link to a close relationship with Allah. Hablun minal Allah (relationship with Allah) and hablun minan nas (relationship with human).
"Verily, my solah, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of all that exists."
Nur Suhaila Zulkifli