THERE IS A DIVINE LOVE LEFT BEHIND HAMZI BEGOVA
Autor: Nia S. Amira
Objavljeno: 20. Aug 2018. 01:08:51

Sanski Most (In media, SarajevoTimes)


Written by Nia S. Amira, an Indonesian author, journalist, and linguist. She writes on culture, international affairs, multiculturalism and religious studies. Her articles have appeared in over thirty media, published in Europe, Asia, and the US. This is exclusive for Bosniaks.net - Bosnjaci.net.


By Nia S. Amira
Sanski Most is a town and municipality located on the Sana River in Bosanska Krajina, between Prijedor and Kljuc. Administratively, it is part of Una-Sana Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1878 the little town of Sanski Most was described as Muslim by Croatian historian Vjekoslav Klaić. It was from 1929 to 1941, Sanski Most was part of the Vrbas Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

During the Bosnian War, the town was controlled by the Army of Republika Srpska (Bosnian Serbs) and remained under its control until October 1995 when the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina took over it shortly before the end of the war.

In 2004, Serb-inhabited Oštra Luka was split from Sanski Most and ceded to the Republika Srpska entity.

With a pre-war population of about 60,000 in the town and outlying villages, Sanski Most is already well-known to human rights investigators and aid workers. It was in this city that the Serbs first made their policy of “ethnic cleansing”, first by taking or rounding up for detention the Muslims and Croats known as political leaders and intellectuals, then forced the men for military service simply because they were at their right age. Along the way, thousands of Muslim and Croatian women were treated very inhumanely.

Sanski Most is a tiny calm city with total area of 781 km2 and for its 50.421 inhabitants according to the last Census in 2014 is home to many different types of stores, cafes and restaurants and during the summer time, every corner of the city is full of Bosnian Diaspora coming from the neighboring countries such as Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden. Bosniaks dominate the city and about 95% are Muslim.

What's interesting about Sanski Most with the Sana River that flows the entire of city? As a Muslim, I will immediately look for the largest mosque in a city. Hamzi Begova is a grand mosque that was built during the Ottoman period in 1557. The mosque with 4 minarets really looks beautiful at any time; in the morning, afternoon and evening. It is as if the light always shines on it from the heaven, as well as gives the shades on it.

The construction of this mosque marked the beginning of the urbanisation of the town and its surrounding villages. Sanski Most was called ‘Vakuf na Sani’ during the Ottoman-era. However, during the Bosnian war between 1992 and 1995, Hamzi Begova was razed to the ground by the ethnic Serbs as it served as the focal point of both Bosniak and Islamic life in the town and its surrounding villages. With the financial assistance of the diaspora, the mosque was re-opened on Sunday, 6th of August, 2000.

The shady, gated courtyard in front of the mosque is where the fountain is located at. The complex also includes an outdoor praying area near the main entrance of the mosque, a library that also includes a computer lab, a traditional restaurant that offers local cuisine, an Islamic bookshop that sells books related to Bosniaks, Bosnia and Herzegovina, famous Muslims, Islamic civilisation and the religion of Islam, national, ethnic and religious flags, prayer beads, prayer mats, blackseed oil and many other items, and an Islamic boutique that sells scarves, fragrances from the Middle East and various dresses for females. Hamza Begova also hosts various events throughout the year such as Qur’an recitation evenings, sevdah and ilahija i kasida, nasheed, concerts, book promotions, and academic conferences. Who is then the important person behind this large activity in the holy place that becomes one of the biggest mosques in Bosanska Krajina.

Husein ef. Kovačević was born in 1965 in Bužim, a town and municipality located in Una-Sana Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is situated in the most northwestern of BiH. He finished elementary and middle school in his native place, Gazi Husrev-beg's medres in Sarajevo. Then he continued his study at the Islamic Pedagogical Faculty in Bihac. Before going to the former JNA for a year, he worked in Jamat Zagrad in Velika Kladusa, where, for the last three years, there was no permanent imam. There, in a short time, he gained a good work experience. He left about 150 Mekteb children behind him.


Husein ef. Kovačević


At his early age, Husein became a young Imam just shortly after he left the school, but his happy marriage with Razia and his three children; Elmedina, Muhamed, and Muharem the youngest gives him the big courage to face all the complexities in life. He got married at his nineteenth.

One day, Husein came to Kamengrad near Sanski Most, it was one big jamat, a time to build a mosque. Problem is always there and humankind were created by Allah to fix it. Husein emphasized his work on mektebu teaching and for the reconstruction and construction of mosques. Over 250 Mekteb children attended classes at two points. Two mosques were built, and it was a jamat with tradition. Real new experiences for Kovacevic who has travelled to Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Bulgary, Switzerland representing his work as Imam.Today in Kamengrad there are two jamatas and everything works properly.

Before the war, the village of Bužim was officially part of the Bosanska Krupa municipality. In 1996 Bužim became a municipality itself. The town was defended by the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the War (1992-1995). One of the most elite and well known brigades of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was 505th Brigade comes from Bužim and this was a special story for Husein. With one group of men from Bosanska Krupa Husein headed towards Ključ, Petrovac, and from there to Bihac. It was a convoy and on that road, in the village of Peja, the group took Husein out of the convoy. By the will of Allah, everything was well over. From Bihac Husein went to Buzim, and he joined the Territorial Defense, later into the 505 Brigade. By his experiences in Bosnian war, the worst human war in the modern history, Husein realized that he was no longer with the group; 500 were passed away as shaheed and among them was his brother, Hasan.

About 500 years ago, the Ottoman had arrived in Balkan, Mehmed II is commonly known as Muhammad al-Fatih the Conqueror (Sultan Mehmet Fatih), was an Ottoman Sultan who ruled first for a short time from August 1444 to September 1446, then later from February 1451 to May 1481. At the age of 21, he conquered Constantinople (now is Istanbul) and brought an end to the Byzantine Empire. Mehmed continued his conquests in Anatolia with its reunification and in Southeast Europe as far west as Bosnia. After some battles during the 15th century, Bosnia fell in 1463 and became tributary kingdom of the westernmost province to the Ottoman and Mehmed is considered a hero in his homeland and parts of the wider Muslim world.



The 18th of May, 2018, becomes the celebration of the 103rd anniversary of the crucial battle for the survival of the Turkish people in Sanski Most. Battle of Canakkale was celebrated at the site of the monument to Turkish Shekhids in Donji Kamengrad near Sanski Most, one of the most important places in the history of Turkey. Sultan Mehmed Fatih as the ruler of Ottoman in that period considered as the respectful man who had come to hike to Bosnia to spread Islam by the means of all the lands he had conquered and Sanski Most, was traditionally as the city that had close relations with the Turkish. The Battle of Canakkale, is the Day of the Shekhids and a large number of thousands of Bosniaks di Sanski Most who had participated in this battle had laid their lives.
The past history is still alive in the memory of every citizen in Sanski Most, for mutual relations with the Turkish in particular and with the Muslim community in the world for the future historical tourism projects of the remaining monument of Sultan Mehmed Fatih. Three oldest mosques built by the Ottoman of the 1,149 mosques throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina were built in Sanski; Dzamija Sultana Mehmed built in 1463, Hamza-begova dzamija built in 1557 that was destroyed during the war in 1992 and reopened in 2000 after the restoration, and the third one is Trnova Mosque that was built in 1895 by Austro-Hungarian that was destroyed in 1991 and reopened in 2009.
The beauty of flashy lamps captured by my digicam showing the four minarets of Hamzi Begova and the silent view from Sana River, an amazing nature panoramic in the warm summer day in early August. I see the smiling people walking down the town, dressing up in colorful summer clothes and many built-up cars give their roar noise. The local who sell forest honey in glass jars seem relax with their stuffs. “They are diaspora.” We are not infected by their luxurious cars or clothes as long as they pay our stuffs.

Bosnian hospitality is a truly feeling coming from heart, they will go out of their way to just help you finding something, Tesma a 99 years old woman originally from Lebanon asked me to have dinner together with Midheta, a Bosnian diaspora from Australia. Imam Husein Kovacevic has been doing lots of work to work together with some reliable connection from all over the world for the developement of Islam in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in the region of Sanski Most.
Husein Kovacevic, the man who loves reading, playing ping pong, and basket ball smiles in his humble way and saying in his soft voice that he would be happy to come to Indonesia to meet good friends and will have more experiences in the biggest muslim country of the world. He has a big dream to build Islam bigger in Sanski Most by the assistance of other muslim from other muslim countries by mutual understanding.

I heard a beautiful call to prayer from Jasmin's voice, he is one of trusted men in Hamzi Begova mosque. The men rushed into the mosque's courtyard. The women dressed in robes with closed veils and simple hijabs immediately took ablution water and climbed to the second floor of the mosque. There is no voice, all is solemn.

The people of Sanski Most and Bosnia will always await your coming as their guests, to enjoy beautiful scenery, down the flowing clean river whilst listening to the traditional music and practise their local languange, the language of the people from Southern Slavia.