When the caliphate passed to the Ottoman Empire, the sacred relics, consisting of items belonging to the Prophet Muhammad (saas) and his followers were brought to Istanbul. Since 1517, the relics have been kept with the great care in the "Hırka-i Saadet" section of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.
These sacred objects are preserved in a special chamber constructed within Topkapı Palace by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. With its finely worked inlaid door, four windows and three recessed cases, this chamber is one of the finest examples of Ottoman art.
Some of the sacred relics, which have been preserved with the utmost care, are as follows:
The Blessed Mantle
The mantle given by the Prophet Muhammad (saas) to Veysel Karani is regarded as the most important of the sacred relics. Some of the Ottoman caliphs were accompanied by the Blessed Mantle on their travels.
The Blessed Mantle has recently been restored with the very greatest care.
The Holy Tooth of the Prophet Muhammad (saas)
Part of a tooth belonging to the Prophet Muhammad (saas) that was broken during the Battle of Uhud. It is kept in a cylindrical box, framed in gold and covered in rubies and emeralds.
The Holy Banner
The banner of the Prophet Muhammad (saas), made from almost entirely black woolen cloth. Due to its fragile state, it was placed on top of a green fabric. It has never been opened in any battle since the time of our Prophet (saas).
The Holy Hair from the Beard of the Prophet Muhammad (saas)
Several hairs from the beard of our Prophet (saas) are kept in the Hırka-i Saadet section. These are preserved in gold-framed glass boxes and jewel cases.
The Holy Footprints
Four footprints belonging to the Prophet Muhammad (saas) are preserved in a recessed case in the Hırka-i Saadet section.
The Holy Seal
The seal of the Prophet Muhammad (saas), which was also was used by the early caliphs.
The Holy Letters
The letters belonging to the Prophet Muhammad (saas). A Frenchman discovered them in 1850 inside the cover of a Gospel in the library of a monastery in Egypt. Once it was established that it had belonged to our Prophet (saas), it was given to Sultan Abdulmajid.
The Holy Swords
The swords of the Prophet Muhammad (saas). Only two of the swords in the Hırka-i Saadet section belonged to the Prophet Muhammad (saas). One of these belonged to the Prophet David (pbuh) and the other to the people of the Prophet Muhammad (saas).
The Keys of the Kaaba
The replaced keys of the Kaaba are also among the sacred relics. Made of iron and covered in silver and gold inlay, they were for a long time preserved in Davutpaşa during the time of the Ottoman Empire.
The Holy Qur’an of Hazrat Uthman (ra)
Pages of the Qur’an collected during the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), were sent to provinces in book form during the time of Hazrat Uthman (ra). The Qur’an that was being read when Hazrat Uthman (ra) was martyred is now among the sacred relics in Topkapı Palace.
These sacred relics have been protected and preserved with the utmost care since Ottoman times.
One example of the importance the Ottoman sultans attached to the sacred relics is the ceremony performed by the sultan for them on the 15th day of every month of Ramadan. As the day approached, the chest containing the long wide sleeved mantle of the Prophet Muhammad (saas) was carried to the Revan section, every part of which was cleansed, the walls washed with rose water and perfumed with musk.
The Qur’an has been recited in the Hırka-i Saadet chamber in veneration of the relics of the Prophet Muhammad (saas) for hundreds of years. This fine tradition was initiated by Sultan Selim the Stern. Forty scholars who had memorized the Qur’an, including Sultan Selim, recited the Qur’an beside the sacred relics, “for the victory of good and the expulsion of affliction.” This tradition was restored in October 1996.
One of the reasons for the great care shown by the Ottoman sultans is that they knew they were merely guardians of these sacred relics, and that they really belong to Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh), who will emerge from Istanbul.
Our Prophet (saas) describes in great detail in the hadiths how Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will appear together with the sacred relics. For example, one hadith tells us that:
Nuaym bin Hammad related from Abu Jaferi that; "Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will appear in the evening together with the banner, mantle, sword, signs, radiance and beauty of our Prophet (saas)."
Another hadith describes how Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will appear with the sacred relics as follows:
As for the signs, he (Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)) will have the mantle, sword and banner of the Messenger of Allah. That banner that has never been unfurled since the death of the Prophet (saas), and will never be opened until the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh).
Out of respect for our Prophet (saas), no state, including the Ottoman Empire, has ever unfurled the banner although it was carried in battles and ceremonies. The banner, and other blessed relics that have thus been preserved for 1,400 years, will be unfurled when the moral values of Islam rule the world with the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh), insha’Allah2012-05-04 11:26:44