Erdogan donates Islamic calligraphy to Hagia Sophia

Erdogan donates Islamic calligraphy to Hagia Sophia
The calligraphic plaque features verses 159 and 160 from the Al-Imran chapter of the Quran.
2 min read
09 December, 2020
The calligraphy can be seen on the right [Getty]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has donated a piece of Islamic calligraphy to mark the re-opening of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia as a mosque this year.

The Hagia Sophia was founded as a Christian church under the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century but later became a mosque following the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul.

The UNESCO World Heritage site was converted into a museum after the founding of the Turkish republic.

But, after a long campaign by Turkish conservatives, Ankara re-converted the centuries-old tourist magnet into a mosque this summer. The decision sparked protests from rival and neighbour Greece, Russia and other Western nations.

The Islamic art donated by President Erdogan features two verses from the Al-Imran chapter of the Quran.

"So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]," the first verse reads.

"If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who is there that can aid you after Him? And upon Allah let the believers rely," the second verse continues.

The black-and-gold plaque donated by Erdogan has been placed by the mosque's pulpit.


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