Holy Relics in Topkapı Palace

Holy Relics housed in three section of Topkapı Palace, revered and respected by Muslims all over the World

Istanbul, Turkey


Coordinates: 41.011528, 28.983374

Traditionally, Islam has had a rich history of the veneration of relics, especially of those attributed to Hz. prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

There exists historical evidence that some of the earliest Muslims practised the veneration of relics, and the practice continued to remain popular in many parts of the Sunni Islamic world.

The various relics of Muhammad, his followers, and other items purportedly associated with Prophet Muhammad ﷺ were brought to Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, where they remain to this day.

The relics are housed in the former private chambers of the sultan, the Privy Chambers, which are located in the Third Courtyard of the palace.

Various Chambers

The Destimal Chamber is the room in which Hz. Ibrahim’s عليه اسلام Pot, Hz. Yusuf’s عليه اسلام Turban, Hz. Musa’s عليه اسلام Staff, Hz. Dawud’s عليه اسلام Sword, scrolls belonging to Hz. Yahya عليه اسلام, and Hz. Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ footprint are on display.

The Şadırvanlı Sofa is the room where the keys to the Kaaba, the gutters of the Kaaba, the casing of the Black Stone (Hacerü’l-Esved), the Door of Repentance, and the swords of Hz. Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ companions are on display.

The Audience Chamber, also known as the House of Petitions (Arzhane) houses a piece from a tooth of Hz. Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ (Dendan-ı Saadet), hair from the beard of Hz. Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ (Sakal-ı Şerif), the Seal of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Mühr-ı Saadet), an autographed Letter of Hz. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Name-ı Saadet), and Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ swords and bow in their exclusive reliquary made by Ottoman goldsmiths.

These are known as the Sacred Trusts (mukkades emanetler). The Qur’an is recited continuously by a mufti in this chamber.

The Chamber of the Blessed Mantle houses the latticed silver canopy under which the Blessed Mantle and the Holy Banner of Muhammad are kept in their golden chests.

Relics in Topkapı Palace

The most genuine prophetic relics are believed to be those housed in Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace, in a section known as Hirkai Serif Odasi (Chamber of the Holy Mantle).

The Holy Mantle

The Holy Mantle, Hırka-i Şerif, or Burda is an item of clothing that was given as a gift by Hz. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to Hz. Ka’b ibn Zuhayr رضي الله عنه, whose children sold it to Hz. Muawiyah I رضي الله عنه, the founder of the Umayyad dynasty. After the fall of the Umayyads, the Mantle went to Baghdad under the Abbasids, to Cairo under the Mamluks, and finally moved by Selim I to Topkapi Palace in 1595.

The Poem of the Mantle was composed by Imam al-Busiri رحمة الله عليه in praise of Hz. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and the mantle.

Tavernier described it as a white coat made of goat’s hair with large sleeves, or a cream fabric with black wool lines.

Sacred Seal

The Sacred seal, or Mühr-ü Şerif in Turkish, who said it was kept in a small ebony box in a niche cut in the wall by the foot of a divan in the relic room at Topkapi.

The seal itself is encased in crystal, approximately 3″x4″, with a border of ivory. It has been used as recently as the 17th century to stamp documents.

The seal is a rectangular piece of red agate, about 1 cm in length, inscribed with الله / محمد رسول (i.e., Allah “God” in the first line, and Muḥammad rasul “Muhammad, messenger” in the second). According to Muslim historiographical tradition, Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ original seal was inherited by Hz. Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه, Hz. Umar رضي الله عنه, and Hz. Uthman رضي الله عنه, but lost by Hz. Uthman رضي الله عنه in a well in Medina. Hz. Uthman رضي الله عنه is said to have made a replica of the seal, and this seal was supposedly found in the capture of Baghdad (1534) and brought to Istanbul.

Beard of Hz. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

Known in the Ottoman language as the Sakal-ı Şerif, the beard was said to have been trimmed from Hz. Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ face by his favoured barber Hz. Salman al-Farsi رضي الله عنه in the presence of Hz. Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه, Hz. Ali رضي الله عنه and several others.

Individual hairs were later taken away, but the beard itself is kept in a glass reliquarium.

Tooth of Hz. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ lost four teeth at the Battle of Uhud, after being struck with a battle axe. Two of the teeth were supposedly lost, one was preserved at Topkapi, and another was held by Mehmed II.

Blessed Sandals

The Blessed Sandals, Nalain Shareef in Urdu, have traditionally been used to gain the blessings of Hz. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

Prophet’s ﷺ Bowl (Not in topkapi palace)

A 1400-year-old bowl used by Hz. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ which after his passing was kept by Bibi Fatimah رضي الله عنها and Hz. Ali رضي الله عنه,.

After their passing away, the bowl was kept by their children Hz. Hasan رضي الله عنه and Hz. Hussein رضي الله عنه.

The bowl was passed from generation to generation by descendants of Hz. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ until it finally reached Britain. On 21 September 2011 the bowl was delivered to Chechnya and now is kept in “Heart of Chechnya” Mosque named after Ahmad Haji Kadyrov in Grozny.