At the mosque

Göztepe mosque, Sunday afternoon.

I had the opportunity to participate to a ceremony that was arranged 40 days after the funeral of a relative of a friend of mine. This prayer ceremony is called the kırkı, literally meaning the “40th”. It started right after the midday prayer on a Sunday.

The voice of the imam is heard downstairs while the women enter the mosque from a small door at the back left of the building (the sign for it is seen in the picture). I cover my head with a scarf, take my shoes off and climb the wooden stairs to the second floor, haremlik, a mezzanine with a small latticed balcony from which the women folk can get a glimpse of what is happening under the main dome, selamlik, mens space. Some elderly women sit eyes closed at the balcony floor and are rocking themselves gently indicating religious concentration in listening to the imam after he starts the prayer with a strong melismatic voice. The loudspeaker is also turned on at the mezzanine after a while. It had been forgotten and was closed when I entered the haremlik.

Soft carpet floors mellow down sounds of people walking calmly on bare socks, greeting and hugging one another, some sobbing, some arranging their shoes in plastic bags and putting them on a shelf. The hum of the traffic seeps softly from the white curtain windows with the occasional chirp of sparrows. Listen to the atmosphere before of the ceremony:

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