The Masjid of Umm Haram or the Hala Sultan Tekke, as
it is known, is the chief Muslim shrine in Larnaca,
on the island of Cyprus. It is also a listed Ancient
Monument of B Schedule no.8 in the Larnaca District.
The accounts regarding its existence have generally
been dated from the first Arab raids on Cyprus (A.D
647 or A.D 649). The most likely account tells of the
death of the wife of Ubada bin al-Samit,
Umm Haram, during a raid upon the island organized by
Muawiyah. She fell from her mule and died after breaking
her neck during the siege of Larnaca. She was buried
near the salt lake and her grave became a sacred shrine.
Hala Sultan (Umm Haram) was the Prophet Muhammads
wet-nurse. This Masjid named after her,
lies in a serene and picture perfect setting on the
shores of the Larnaca Salt Lake.
the second half of the second millennium B.C, the area
of the Hala Sultan Tekke was used as a cemetery by the
people who lived in a large town a few hundred metres
to the West. A part of this town was excavated by a
Swedish archaeological mission and proved to be a major
urban centre of Late Bronze Age Cyprus. More recent
archaeological investigations conducted by the Department
of Antiquities under the womens quarter of Hala
Sultan Tekke have revealed building remains dated to
the late Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods
(6th 1st c. B.C). Several finds indicate that
the site might have been used as a sanctuary but the
limited scale of the investigations precludes definite
conclusions about its use.
Ottomans built the Masjid complex itself in a series
of stages in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
A shrine was built by Sheikh Hassan in A.D 1760. Later
the Masjid was constructed and the complex assumed its
present form around A.D 1816/17. Hala Sultan Tekke is
composed of a Masjid, mausoleum, minaret, cemetery,
and living quarters for men and women.
Sultan is the Turkish form of Umm Haram.
For Muslims, the Tekke is considered as one of the most
important visiting sites after the Kaaba in Makkah,
the Prophet Muhammads tomb in Medina and Mescid-i
Aksa, the biggest Masjid in Jerusalem.
Description of the Tekke
When the Masjid, minaret and living quarters were constructed
after A.D 1760, we get more accounts and descriptions
about the shrine and the Tekke from Muslim as well as
from Christian travellers and pilgrims. According to
the stories told by the foreign travellers visiting
Cyprus, there was a tomb which was known as the old
womans tomb between A.D 1683-1767. Both
Muslims and Christians considered the tomb as a sacred
place; therefore it attracted worshippers from both
is said that the tomb was discovered by a dervish called
Sheikh Hasan. It is highly probable that Sheikh Hasan
travelled around Cyprus and spread the stories about
Umm Haram. People hearing the stories started to visit
the tomb. The myths suggest that the dolmen stones had
healing powers and people coming with certain illnesses
touched the stones and their diseases were cured, and
crippled visitors started to walk. The dervish managed
to convince some religious figures of the sites
sacred nature in A.D 1760 and with the permission he
received from the authorities he constructed a shrine
around the tomb. He decorated the tomb and the shrine
with the presents brought by the people. According to
another story, Cyprus governor Mehmet Agha erected wooden
fences around the tomb in order to protect it from the
plague in A.D 1760. His successor Acem Ali Agha replaced
the wooden fences with a bronze fence with two doors.
another account, Giovanni Mariti, who visited Cyprus
between A.D 1760-1767, wrote that the shrine was built
by the Cyprus governor Ali Agha. According to Mariti
until A.D 1760 they used the stones of the standing
church in the ruined Meneou village as the construction
materials. In another source, it is mentioned that construction
of the Masjid was initiated by the Cyprus governor Seyyid
Mehmet Emin Efendi in a classical Ottoman style, and
it was completed in November A.D 1817.
entrance to the garden of the Tekke is through a gate,
on which there is an Ottoman inscription dated 4.3.1813.
Sultan Mahmud II monogram appears on both sides
of the inscription and reads, Hala Sultan Tekke
was built by Gods beloved great Ottoman Cyprus
governor. The garden at Tekke was designed by
a pasha (a high ranking military officer), hence it
was known as Pasha garden before 1760 A.D.
The complex of buildings adjacent to the Tekke was known
as Gül?en-Feyz (the rose garden of
plenitude). To the north (left) of the Tekke entrance
there used to be a guesthouse for men. On the right
of the entrance, there was another guesthouse of which
one block was reserved for men (Selaml?k) and the other
for women (Haremlik). In the past, people used to promise
to dedicate themselves to serve the Hala Sultan Tekke
if their wish came true.
Masjid was built with yellow stone 13 x 13 cm blocks.
It is a square shaped construction and it is covered
with a kubbe (dome-shaped top). A balcony lies in front.
Within the Masjid can be found a wooden womens
section and a wishing well. The minaret is connected
to the Masjid at its northwestern corner. It was repaired
in A.D 1959.
tomb is located behind the qibla wall (in the direction of Makkah)
of the Masjid. At the entrance of the tomb there is an inscription
in Arabic script, which dates back to A.D 1760. On the eastern
section of the tomb there are five separate tombs. In the past,
former sheikhs of the tomb were buried next to Umm Harams
tomb. Thus, two former Sheikhs of the Tekke were buried at the
eastern section of Umm Harams tomb. A two-leveled marble
sarcophagus, with the date 12 July 1929, is the most important
tomb there. The tomb belongs to the Queen of Hashemite Adile
Hüseyin Ali, the Turkish wife of the last Hashemite King
Hüseyin ibn ?erif Ali, who was the grandson of the Ottoman
vizier Mustafa Re?it Pasha. Since the former king was the descendant
of the Prophet Mohammad, after his death, he too was buried
the eastern corner of the Masjid and the Tekke, there
is a cemetery, which was closed to burials around A.D
1899. The tombs in the cemetery belong to Mustafa Efendi
(died in A.D 1821); Mustafa Agha who was believed to
be the governor of Cyprus (died A.D 1813); Muhtar Efendi
who was the tax collector of Cyprus (died on 5 October
1843); and ebu Bekir Nejib Efendi (died A.D 1855).
to the Masjid, there is an octagonal fountain, which
was built around A.D 1796-1797 by the Cypriot governor
Silahtar Kaptanba?? Mustafa A?a, who was known to be
an expert on the waters of Cyprus. This information
is recorded on the marble inscription located on the
fountain. On an inscription dating back to A.D 1895,
which was recently discovered in the Tekkes garden,
it is written that the water was brought by Abdül
to the Masjid, there is an octagonal fountain, which
was built around 1796-1797 by the Cypriot governor Silahtar
Kaptanba?? Mustafa A?a, who was known to be an expert
on the waters of Cyprus. This information is recorded
on the marble epigraph located on the fountain. On an
epigraph dating back to 1895, which was recently discovered
in the Tekkes garden, it is written that the water
was brought by Abdül Hamit. According to the United
Nations Development Programme, Islams third sacred
holy site after the Kaaba in Makkah and the Masjid of
the Prophet in Medina, is Hala Sultan Tekke, or Umm
Haram in Cyprus, which has long been the destination
of Muslim pilgrims.
Images sent by Brother Brother Mohammad
Email : email@example.com
Assalamoualaikoum brothers and sisters sunnis
It is with a great pleasure that i am writhing to you.
I have known the dargah in Cyprus through the web site aulia-e-hind and with Allah's blessings i have been able to do ziaraat to Umm Haram bint Milhan dargah
I have seen that you don't have pictures of the masjid and dargah
I have been there and took some pictures.
It is a very accessible place to muslim and non muslim
here are some pictures i have joined to my mail :
1/ inside musjid Hala Sultan Tekke
2/ the dargah
3/ outside the masjid