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Do’s and Don’ts when visiting a Mosque in Turkey

31st October 2013

Turkey has some of world’s most beautiful mosques; Ortaköy Mosque and the Blue Mosque, to name a few. However, when visiting a mosque, as a non-Muslim you are expected to respect certain rules. (Muslims must also follow certain rules inside a mosque)

Here is an overview of the mosque etiquette.

Closed During Prayer Time

Visitors are not allowed inside the mosque during prayer hours, but outside of prayer hours you are more than welcome.
Please note; during your visit you may notice some people praying outside the obligatory prayer time. Please remember it is forbidden to take photos, walk in front of them, stare at or stand close to them.

There are five prayer times a day: Early Morning, Midday, Afternoon, Sunset & Evening. When you hear the call for prayer from the mosque Imam, this is an invitation for Muslims to come and pray. Also, it is a notification for you that the prayers are about to start.

What the Imam is saying:- (The call for prayer is said in Arabic)

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar

[God is the greatest, God is the greatest] x2

Ashadu an la ilaha ill Allah
[I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but God] x2

Ashadu anna Muhammadan rasoolullah
[I bear witness that Muhammad is the prophet of God] x2

Hayya'alas salah [Come to prayer,] x2

Hayya'alal falah [Come to success,] x2

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar
[God is the greatest, God is the greatest] x1

La ilaha ill Allah
[There is no deity but God.] x1

Prayer times:


Early morning (Sabah) – 06.30-07.30
Midday (Öğle) – 11.50-12.50
Afternoon (İkindi) – 14.30-16.30
Sunset (Akşam) – 16.30-19.30
Evening (Yatsı) – 18.30-21.00


Early morning (Sabah) – 05.50-06.40
Midday (Öğle) – 13.00
Afternoon (İkindi) – 16.15-17.00
Sunset (Akşam) – 19.00-20.40
Evening (Yatsı) – 20.30-22.30

Take Off Your Shoes

No one is allowed to wear shoes inside the mosque and all visitors are expected to leave their shoes inside the racks located at the entrance of the mosque. 

As this is a place of worship, it is expected to remove your shoes to a) keep the mosque clean and b) by taking off your shoes you are showing respect. This is a very ancient tradition and most Muslims will not wear shoes inside the home.

Cover up

Please be respectful by dressing modestly as all visitors are expected to cover the majority of their body. For tourist these rules can be less strict, for example, a western women may not be required to cover her hair. However, it is advisable to cover the hair as well as the shoulders and knees. Covering the knees and shoulders is also expected from male visitors. Some mosques will provide a scarf or other attires free of charge.

Please be Quiet

When talking inside a mosque, please talk as quietly as possible and do not make jokes or laugh out loud.

Please note: don’t forget to mute or switch off your mobile phone.

Photos and Videos

You are allowed to take photos / videos inside or outside the mosque. However, Please remember it is forbidden to take photos / videos of people praying.

Bodily Odors

Visitors are expected to be clean and free from dirt or strong smells, like perfume, aftershave, garlic etc. These are all frowned upon because one of the core elements of Muslim belief is cleanness. And in a place of community prayer this is even more important.

Free of Charge

All mosques are free of charge  


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