Mosques instead of Malls: The Kaan Family


In Islamic communities, mosques are seen as a center offering sociological, political, and cultural service. But unfortunately, in recent years shopping malls have been taking the place of mosques. To remind and re-notify people about mosques being centers of a good life, Ahmet Kaan and his family are visiting a different mosque every weekend. In this article, we will talk about the Kaan family and their project for a faithful future generation that holds dear their traditions and values.

Ahmet Kaan, who is integrating the mosque culture into their family values was born in 1979 in the Fatih district in İstanbul. He’s originally from Trabzon. He is married and has three kids. He is the Foreign Trade and Finance Manager of their family company – Kaanlar Company. He also actively works in various NGOs.

“Our concern is about where the kids are going to grow up.”

Ahmet Kaan says the project developed all by itself when 4 years ago they were looking for an activity to do as a family and they found themselves on the way to a mall. At this moment they asked themselves “What are we doing right now?” he continued by saying: “We always had a mosque-centered culture. But now mosques start moving out of the center of our lives and malls are moving in. Kids are growing up into a mall-centered life without even realizing it. We want the future generations not to socialize in malls but in mosques instead like we used to when we were kids. Our concern is about where the kids are going to grow up.”

Ahmet Kaan and his wife Zeynep Kaan started their “Mosques instead of Malls” project in 2016. They first started to visit mosques with their sons Mehmet and Hamza, and they continue their visits with their daughter Meryem. After stating that their 100th mosque-visit was the Hırka-I Şerif Mosque, Ahmet Kaan continues: “We now have a family tradition, and we want to keep it going as far as we can. We prefer visiting mosques in Istanbul that are built in the Ottoman period before the 1920s. We haven’t finished the visits in Istanbul yet, but once we will have, we will continue to visit mosques in other cities as well.”

For a Generation That Won’t Leave Its Traditions

In modern times where career and business are placed at the center of life, there must be a way to consciously raise children and keep up healthy family relations.

It is obvious that there will be difficulties on this way but the sight of the Kaan’s will be like a light on this path:

In our culture, spending time with the family is more important than the business life in terms of investment. A generation that is raised with the notion of their tradition will not become a lost generation. These new trends that we take from other cultures like mall visits have no origins in our culture and they keep us further away from our true culture. Staying loyal to our original culture which includes visiting mosques with the family will help us protect our family bonds and traditions. We will regain our lost values.

Cahit Zaferoğlu says that the secret of keeping oneself away from the influences of this materialistic world is being a community and ummah. He continues with this statement: “The outcome of a group that believes in communism and capitalism is a tribe, but the outcome of Muslims is a community and ummah.”

To be able to keep this feature of ours in our lives, we have to start to understand the mosque culture again and also try to implement it in the center of our social lives. Ahmet Kaan emphasizes the importance of mosques in our lives and suggests rethinking the phrase “Mosque, children, and values” by saying: We will regain the values that we have lost, as long as there are children growing up in mosques where everyone is equal as soon as they enter the door and found a community with their hands risen in prayer.”

This article was originally written in Turkish. Click to read it! AVM Yerine Camii Kültürü: Kaan Ailesi

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