An exhibition of Islamic art and calligraphy never before revealed to the public, “Aşk-ı Nebi: Doğumunun 1443. Yılında Hz. Peygamber” (Love for the Prophet in the 1443rd year of his birth), opened at Topkapı Palace with an event on Tuesday, presenting what its organizers say is the “most important classical Islamic artwork in the world to date.”
The exhibition features Qurans, hadiths (sayings and teachings of the Prophet), pages of calligraphy, calligraphic Hilye-i Şerif (written descriptions of the Prophet) and other calligraphic artwork from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.
Guests sipping Ottoman sherbet served at the event listened as Religious Affairs Directorate President Mehmet Görmez spoke. He explained how the exhibition's display of love and compassion for the Prophet is particularly relevant during this period when Turkish society is becoming increasingly polarized. “Fourteen centuries ago, the mercy of the Prophet swept in like a breeze and united divided and fragmented hearts. Hopefully, 'Aşk-ı Nebi' will be an occasion to unite our tired hearts and help us, with the compassion of the Prophet, leave behind all the mistakes and evils of the past,” Görmez said.
He also underlined the importance for all Muslims to reflect on their relationship with Islam and ensure that it is based in sincerity. “This year, the theme of [showing] love for the Prophet [on his birthday] is sincerity. Hypocrisy, pretension, passion for power and lust for wealth have unfortunately penetrated even the language of religion. But the only honest relationship with religion is one which is sincere,” Görmez said.
In attendance at the opening were Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Abdurrahman Arıcı, İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, İstanbul Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Ahmet Emre Bilgili, İstanbul Mufti Professor Rahmi Yaran, President of Topkapı Palace and the exhibition curator Professor Haluk Dursun and Fatih District Mayor Mustafa Demir.
The exhibition will continue until July 15.