High Board of Religious Affairs made statements about the subjects brought to the agenda concerning the re-opening of Hagia Sophia Mosque for worship
After 2020/2595 Numbered decision of the Republic of Turkey Presidency of the Tenth Chamber of the Council of State, and with the 2729 Numbered Decision of the Presidency, the Hagia Sophia has gained the status of mosque again and its administration has been transferred to the Presidency of Religious Affairs; following these actions some questions brought to agenda by the public and the High Board of Religious Affairs met on the date of 13.07.2020 and evaluated this issue. Pursuant thereto:
- Hagia Sophia, which was converted into a mosque by Fatih Sultan Mehmed eternally by being turned to a foundation after the conquest of Istanbul, is one of the oldest mosques in Istanbul.
- As it is stated in the letter of endowment of the Hagia Sophia, which became the symbol of the conquest of Istanbul that was heralded by Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), it is a lawful requirement to re-open it for worship by giving the mosque status to it back.
- That the great longing for re-opening the Great Hagia Sophia Mosque for worship has been ended, created an enthusiastic excitement and joy among our nation and all the Islamic world. All Muslims are going to remember those who exerted effort for this purpose with gratitude, thanks, and duas.
- The pictures on the walls of the Hagia Sophia Mosque do not constitute an obstacle for establishing prayers there healthily. However, the mentioned pictures should be curtained or blackened during prayers by means of utilizing appropriate methods in order to make sure that the community members establish their prayer in awe.
- It is permissible in religious terms to make Hagia Sophia Mosque, which has a great value in terms of cultural background and historical heritage of humanity, available for visits outside prayer times.
- The necessary precautions should be taken for ensuring that visitors abide by the customs of the mosque and act in accordance with the greatness of this place of worship.
- The religion of Islam puts the responsibility of material and immaterial construction and revitalization of mosques on shoulders of all Muslims (Tawbah, 9/18). Material construction of places of worship refers to their building, repair, and cleaning and their immaterial revitalization refers to worship there only to Allah by knowing that they are the houses of Allah (Djinn, 72/18), to make them be full with community, and to keep their social functions alive. In this respect, it is the responsibility of all Muslims to revive the Great Hagia Sophia Mosque, which was handed down to us by our ancestors, in material and immaterial terms like other mosques.
The High Board of Religious Affairs