Generally, the news surrounding us every day tends to leave negative fragments on our minds. It is very rare today that a feel-good story comes off, warming our hearts and souls. However, this Imam in Turkey has given us the opportunity.
Meet Imam Mustafa Efe, of the Aziz Mahmud Hudayi mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. A man of compassion, who has brought rare visitors to the House of Allah in the cold winters of Istanbul.
The Aziz Mahmud Hudayi mosque, thanks to Imam Efe, lets you pray next to beautiful stray cats. Yes, cats, one of the most adored and favorite animals of our Prophet Muhammad PBUH. In a bid to save the cats from hunger and the cold weather, the Imam lets cats stay inside the mosque and live there. Even though there are many benefits of keeping a cat, cats inside a mosque is still a new concept.
The Imam of the mosque lets his guests, the cats, feel at home. You can pray next to cats and their kittens. People who come to pray in the mosque have a special fondness for these creatures of God, and most even taken pictures with them.
“Cats have been with us during prayers and sermons. They do not spoil the peace inside the mosque. Worshippers love them as well,” says Mustafa Efe. Furthermore, since it is the House of Allah, the cats somehow know the mosque isn’t the place for their litter. They have a steadfast approach of going to a designated place, just like humans use a washroom.
The beautiful furballs inside the mosque are perfect companions for worshippers. “This mosque has a food bank for people. A portion of this food has been distributed to these cats,” says Efe. On being asked if it was only the winters that the mosque lets cats in, Efe said that mostly the cats enter the mosque in the winter. This is due to the extreme cold in Istanbul.
More so, generally, cats are looked upon with extreme love in Istanbul. It is also the right thing to do from the point of view of humanity. Imam Efe is doing a wonderful job of giving shelter to these cats inside the House of Allah. Only if more mosques around the world followed the same approach, it would teach worshippers more about compassion and empathy.
Last but not least, the adorable cats have become the highlight of the mosque for many. Worshippers from different parts of Turkey come to take pictures with the cat and pray at the mosque.