The sound of Paradise and the Face of God come together sometimes.
Not just in heaven, but also here on Earth.
Today I am visiting with a group of people a lovely mosque called Ulu Cami in the city of Bursa in Turkey.
The mosque dates from 1399, and it has two features that make it stand out:
In the middle of the mosque, there is an indoor fountain that the worshippers use for ablutions, the ritual cleansing to prepare themselves for prayer. The sound of the running water is a powerful one for Muslims, as it evokes the echoes of Paradise.
The Qur’an promises worshippers flowing rivers in Paradise, rivers of water, honey, milk, and wine. The sound of flowing water, therefore, has always been something heavenly for Muslims, and for spiritually oriented Muslims the soothing effect of its sound is nothing short of a taste of paradise.
The mosque features 192 large and exquisite calligraphic panels. For a tradition that sees God revealed in nature as well as in scripture and inside the soul of humanity, this mosque brings all three together : the sacredness of the Divine word, the remembrance of God through the natural phenomonen (water), and the quest for God inside our own hearts.
It is as the Qur’an says: whichsoever way you turn, there is the Face of God.