Question : Why is it that the Ottomans could build Mesjids and architecture so much more beautifully than the other dynasties before them?
Because the Ottomans, they are more beautiful than the other dynasties before them. They are more perfect, because they love the Prophet more. They love Allah more. Because they are an Empire of Tarikat, of Sufism. And they are an Empire that honours and pays the Ahle Beyat, not to work. But the other dynasties, they are hunting down the Ahle Beyat, to kill them, or from time to time working with the Shia, and then later on using them and throwing them away.
The Ottomans, they are holding on very strongly to the traditions of the Prophet (asws), of the Ahle Beyat, and the Sahabi e-Kiram, and of the Inheritors of the Prophet. What happens then that time when you do that?
You start taking the reflection of the Paradises, and you start to make this world to have a reflection of what the Paradises are, but always the Ottomans made it clear that this is just a reflection. So they did not fall in love with the reflection. More they look at the reflection, more they long to see the reality. You understand?
The west and the other dynasties, they are only concern with the reflection and they try to make that reflection to be as real as possible so that people will only look at that. But the Ottomans, no matter how beautiful it is, it pulls you to Allah, to Mawla. Not to dunya. That’s why the Mesjid, you know why, because the blueprint of the Mesjids, they got it from Heavenly sources. Because the design of the Mesjids, they get it from the Palaces of Jannat. And that is why when you enter into those Palaces, you are in a completely different world.
That is not Art or Architecture that is arrogant, that points to itself. So much of the other kinds, Art or Architecture or knowledge or Science, it points to itself. But always when you enter into where the Ottomans are, it points you to something more real, something more beautiful, more Majestic. It is just a reflection. So you look at that and you say, “SubhanaAllah.” No matter how beautiful it is, you say, “All glory belongs to Allah.”
That’s why in the Ottoman Mesjids, unbelievers, when we are talking about the unbelievers at the time of the Ottoman, they hate the Ottomans, but going there, they enter into a Mesjid and they say Shahadat. Because the Empire, from the porter to the Sultans, they are saying, what Sheykh Effendi is saying, from the Porter meaning, low level to the highest level, everyone was following a Sheykh. Everyone had a Sheykh.
Tarikat was the backbone of the Ottoman Empire. The Sheykh, the Saints of Allah, they were supported by the Ottoman, not the other dynasties. The Sultans and the Khalifas themselves, they are saints. And some of them, like Sultan Abdul Hamid Khan Janmat Mekan, he was a Shazili Sheykh, but he was a Naksibendi Murid. And because of the Ottomans, Tarikat spread from the Balkans to Indonesia.
So of course, the Mesjid and the Architecture would be beautiful, not arrogant. Deceptively simple. Not complicated for a show. Light not heavy.
Hoja Lokman Efendi Hz, Khalifah of Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs) * OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
September 26, 2014