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ladybug

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  1. Islam In Hungary

    See also: Photos of the "siklos.hu/dzsami"]Malkocs Bej Dzsámi[/url] in Siklós city. This next article appeared in the Independent.co.uk and dated to July 13, 2001, but is no longer available on that website. ----- Hungary: Of Masjids, minarets and Magyars Hungary's Ottoman heritage may sometimes lie buried beneath a Christian veneer By Sarah A Smith If asked to name a Muslim country, it's unlikely that Hungary would be the first to spring to mind. Yet for more than 170 years (1526-1699), the heart of this country, including much of Transdanubia, Budapest and a slice of the Great Plain, was under Ottoman rule and marked the most westerly point of the empire. During this period, churches became Masjids, and belfries minarets; religious schools, dervish monasteries and caravanserais were set up in large towns, and Budapest's Margit Island was turned into a harem. It's difficult to believe, in this land of baroque churches and art nouveau mansions, but Hungary was once recognisably part of what was known as "Turkey in Europe". Appropriately, the people who became a byword for hedonism left the capital, Budapest, one of its most pleasurable pastimes: the thermal baths. Hungary's hot springs were used by the Romans but the Ottomans made them an institution. The Rudas, Rac and Kiraly baths survive. The best-preserved, the Rudas, squats at the foot of Gellert Hill, on the Danube embankment, and looks distinctly uninviting. Its hall, which I peer into (women are not allowed into the Rudas, although they can use the swimming pool) is shabby, and chunks of the ceiling have fallen in. But my partner agrees to try it in the interests of research. Once he has got over his confusion at having to wear an apron rather than the expected loincloth, he adores the experience. The bath is so old (it dates from 1556), the water (36C and sulphurous) so relaxing: he has wallowed in history. After a sauna, he sits in the octagonal pool edged with pink marble, beneath a dome inset with coloured glass and supported by pillars. The dome and the water together create a magical acoustic, and the surrounding voices are reduced to an otherworldly murmur. Aside from baths, the remaining traces of the Ottoman Empire are largely religious. The most impressive of these in northern Hungary is the tomb of Gul Baba, a dervish saint whose shrine is still visited by devotees of the Bektashi sect from across the Islamic world. Situated on Rozsadomb, or Rose Hill, in the north of Buda, with views over the city, the octagonal, copper-domed mausoleum is reached via a broken, weed-tight path. The tomb is pristine: Turkey provided the money to restore the building and it now sits in an incongruously Mediterranean-style garden, complete with pillars, climbing roses, an ablutions fountain, and rather too new-looking tiling. If it all appears slightly kitsch, it is touching to find so well-preserved a monument in a country that still remembers its Ottoman past with distaste, and has the statues of crushed Turks and victorious Magyars to prove it. The real place for Ottoman remnants is in the south, however. Pécs, 200km from Budapest, has a Mediterranean climate and pretty boulevards. Its central feature, and symbol, is an Ottoman-style Masjid, now an Ottoman-mosque-style Catholic church. A brick building in the midst of painted baroque façades, a church with a crescent and a cross rising from its dome, it is unsettling inside and out. No amount of paint has been spared to retouch its vaulted corners, mihrab, or the bricks around its arched windows. To stand at the back of the church, looking past a modern Christian mural at the faded Koranic inscriptions on the walls and the Masjid lamps hanging from the ceiling, is giddying. A similarly confusing experience awaits in Szigetvár, 33km west of Pécs, where the former Masjid of Ali Pasha has been cleverly hidden inside an 18th-century church. Besides these hybrids, the Jakovali Hassan Masjid in Pécs, and the Malkocs Bej Masjid in Siklós, a rundown town near the Croatian border, seem restrained. Jakovali Hassan is Hungary's only intact Masjid and the most sensitively restored. The monastery that once adjoined it is long gone, and now it is jammed between three-story buildings, its minaret poking up hopefully behind, an oddity in a street some way from the town's attractions. Malkocs Bej is now a museum and the enthusiasm with which the elderly caretaker greets us (would we like a Hungarian translation of the Koran? No? A book on the Bosnian war, perhaps?) suggests that it is little visited. The exhibits include a Turkish tea set, carpets, pipes and slippers. Mohács, 40km east of Pécs, is the site of the fateful Ottoman victory that allowed the forces of the expansionist Emperor Suleyman the Magnificent into the country. Hungarian historians insist that their ancestors were outnumbered two to one; Western writers suggest the forces were evenly matched. In the 1970s, archaeologists discovered three mass graves in a field outside the town, and the area is now a memorial garden. A sign emphasises that this is a burial ground and the scene of a national tragedy. We are met by a bewildering array of 2m-high carved wooden totem poles, staked around the garden. Some are abstract, others representative, none are standing quite straight. Suleyman himself is present, complete with a bag of wooden heads. He is placed, rather unnervingly, beside one of the wreath-strewn graves. From here, we headed north-east across the Great Plain, to Eger, in the northern uplands. Although we had avoided castles for most of our trip, there was something insistent about Eger's. It was the scene of a glorious Magyar defence in 1552 (the 1596 capitulation is largely glossed over). The castle's strategist, Dobó István, lies within the "hall of heroes", guarded by figures of Magyar champions and adorned with ribboned wreaths. These are a feature of Hungarian monuments; flags seem to be everywhere, even a roadside shrine on the Plain has flowers in the national red, white and green. The town's other attraction is its minaret, the oldest surviving Muslim structure in Europe this far north. While most surviving Masjids lost their minarets, this lost its Masjid in 1841. Ten minutes away is the Effendi Restaurant, serving such delights as the Pasha's Secret (a pork-stuffed bread loaf) and the Sultan's Cup (an ice-cream concoction). It seems a fitting place to end a trip through a land that, while it does not hide its Ottoman past, isn't always entirely sure what to do with it.
  2. Islam In Hungary

    According to "factbook/muslim_pop.php"]this website[/url] (factbook) there are 606,361 Muslims in Hungary today, or roughly 6% of the population. I believe most of them are Arab, some Turkish (mainly in Budapest), and there were some Hungarians of Bosniak descent who settled in Hungary after WWI who strayed from their ancestors faith and assimilated or died away, there is presence of Muslims amongst the gypsies (even Christian gypsies can be named Mustafa and Fatima, though), and the smallest population are the reverted Hungarian Muslims (among these include the former 'fascist' leader Admiral Horthy's own grandson, Sharif (formerly Steven) Horthy :biggrin:). Many people don't know that the presence of Islam in Hungary pre-dates the Ottoman occupation, and is recorded back to the 12th Century by Arab travellers and perhaps existed even earlier. This article in English called '"magyariszlam.hu/eng/islaminhun.htm"]Islam in Hungary[/url]' gives a very detailed account of this presence, from the Hungarian Islamic Community website. The article also shows some photos of Ottoman-era buildings and Hungarian Islamic Community today, etc. :smile: "magyariszlam.hu"]magyariszlam.hu[/url] A site in Hungarian: "iszlam.hu/"]iszlam.hu/[/url] "S Allah a béke házába hiv, s azt vezeti, kit Ő akar az egyenes ösvényre" (Korán 10:25) :D
  3. Learning prayers

    :D After having seen presentations and videos about salat I have been doing it the best I can, but my native language is not Arabic and I can't pronounce it correctly, and I'm doing some of the actions not always exact. I haven't got anyone to teach me, no masjid nearby, and in my situation I'm having to keep my Islam a secret from my family and the people I live with here because I fear. If I do the best I can from what I've learned will my salat be accepted, even if it is not 100% exact? I'm a revert since about 10 months ago.
  4. Sleeping Etiquette

    :D I wanted to ask about this topic as well. I have difficulty sleeping on my right side, I try and correct myself when I realize it. I have some injured teeth on the right side and it causes pain to rest my head. Is it permissable to sleep on one's left side in such a case? :D for your help in this question.
  5. Salam

    Assalamu alaikum, I'm a mu'mina in my early 20's living in Europe currently, in a mostly Catholic country. Nice to find this forum. :D
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