ISTANBUL: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah performed Friday prayers at the Hagia Sophia Mosque here.
His Majesty, who is on a state visit to the country, arrived at the mosque at 12.25pm (local time) Friday (Aug 19), accompanied by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.
Their Majesties were greeted by Turkiye’s Directorate of Religious Affairs head, Prof Dr Ali Erbas.
Sultan Abdullah was also accompanied by Turkiye Vice-President Fuad Oktay.
His Majesty then proceeded to the main prayer room to perform the solat sunat (non-obligatory prayer).
The Hagia Sophia Mosque Imam Bunyamin Topcuoglu delivered a Friday sermon titled Youth heralded with protection in the shade of the throne.
The Hagia Sophia, which means pure and noble wisdom, is a monument of civilisation in the country and was used as a church for 916 years.
During the conquest of Istanbul, it was converted into a mosque from 1453 to 1934, and then turned into a museum in 1935.
The iconic architecture, which is over 1,500 years old, was listed as a heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 1985.
On July 10, 2020, the Turkiye Court annulled a 1934 Cabinet decree to convert it into a museum, and Turkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was praised as being brave for insisting that the Hagia Sophia be revived as a mosque.
On May 6, Sultan Abdullah described the opening of the Hagia Sophia Mosque as a historic moment for Muslims in Turkiye and around the world.
His Majesty congratulated Erdogan over the opening of the mosque for the first time in 88 years during a private telephone conversation with the President. - Bernama