Murders under the Guise of Islam


Question: It is a sorry state of affairs that in a wide range of Muslim countries many evil deeds are committed under the guise of Islam. As though it is a Qur’anic command, people are beheaded or mosques and churches are bombarded. Is it possible to explain terror attacks by certain groups in various parts of the world only by foreign powers and external pressures?

How could it be possible for terrorists like suicide bombers to come from Muslim communities?

Answer: Albeit unfortunate, these are facts which drag the good name of true Islam through the mud. They serve nothing but the purpose of disgracing Islam. And they have done much worse harm to Islam than wars, than some armies that razed Muslim countries throughout history. Some ostensible Muslims, who pretend to act for Islam, perform repugnant acts like suicide attacks, setting off suicide vests among innocent people, driving vehicles filled with explosives toward innocent and indifferent crowds, or ruining temples. None of these can be associated with the Qur’an or with the Prophetic Tradition. Actions that cannot be associated with the Qur’an or the Prophetic cannot, therefore, be associated with Islam.

Courage and braveness are important; just as important as the properness of method and trustworthiness. You will be brave and unflinching, especially when you are in the position of protecting your ethos. Yet you will not go hog wild doing this.

He that would have eggs must endure the cackling of hens to protect his cause.

The Pride of Humankind, lived in the noble Mecca for thirteen years, suffering more than flesh and blood can stand; however, he never even wished evil to them. On the contrary, he prayed for them asking for God’s guidance as they did not know him well enough or his mission. In addition, all of our noble Prophet’s warfare was defensive. Take any of his battles as an example; in none of them was any bloodshed, or any outrage committed, or any hostility furthered. He made every effort to deal with things in a moderate manner. He was never harsh, nor was he ever enraged, and he never took a hard line with others, unlike what is done today.

Had he wanted, he could have signaled to his followers to go down fighting and not give up. Yet, they were long-suffering. They never employed violence, not like the barbaric acts of today.

In no other period in the history of Islam has anything like today’s ferociousness taken place. In particular periods, like the Muwahhidun, the Qarmatians, the Batinites, others were devoid of truth, and the ignorant may have been exceptions that proved the rule and done evil things. However, under no circumstances did they wear a suicide vest, take their own lives at the cost of killing others, and hence, go to Hell forever.

We should judge the current situation on its own merits. As Muslims, we acted crudely which gave cause to the enemies of Islam who do not want Muslims to gain power and the beauties of Islam to be in the public eye. We gave them the chance to pick Islam to pieces. Potentially, some Muslims can act crudely, be corrupted, which is used against all Muslims by some others. Some foreign elements could manipulate some gullible people during the Caliphate of the noble Ali and recruit them as anarchists; and alas, they slung mug at the bright face of Islam.

In a sense, Islamophobia is not simply without rhyme or reason. Moreover, there occurred a series of depravities in the Islamic world, especially after the collapse of the Ottoman State. Today, Muslims struggle for a return to their true identity, and to find their true spirit.

You cannot order people to destroy churches because your mosques have been insulted. I believe that we, Muslims, may not be as clean as a hound’s tooth. Some members of our religion burn churches to get even. Some others kill a priest, who took refuge in a church, or a rabbi.

Why would you not consider turning the other cheek to those who treat you inhumanely to reduce the heat of their anger?

As I stated before, a terrorist cannot be a true Muslim; and, a true Muslim cannot be a terrorist. When the Pride of Humankind enlisted soldiers, encouraged them and sent them off against those who made war against Muslims, he would tell them to not touch those who took refuge in temples, women, or children.

Religion means “A system of rules promulgated by God which people follow at free will.”  If you can represent it well, indicating its promises for people and for the future; since man is appreciative, he may change his decision for what you would expect. You must give him free rein with his choice. You cannot invade or occupy anywhere you want. You cannot impose your system on others. This is what religion is about.

Orphanhood of Hearts


يَا رَبَّنَا يَا رَبَّنَا طَهِّرْ قُلُوبَنَا، نَجِّنَا

“O Lord! Purify our hearts and save us.”

In this prayer, the word “save” is stated to be subject to the purity of the heart. The purer the heart, the more likely it is for its owner to be saved, to be redeemed, and to attain a blessed rank.

For God, the heart matters. He judges people by their hearts and assesses us by how our hearts are. Our looks, skin color, or nationality do not matter to Him.

Spiritual weightiness is very important at the Scales in the Hereafter. 

What we refer to as “the heart” is not the muscular organ that pumps blood. It is entirely associated with our spirituality; yet, it is related to the organ as well, which is described as “the spiritual faculty sensing God directly.” Given that the purity, whiteness, profundity and sensitivity of the heart is what matters, I believe we should check up on it, day in and day out.

The Pride of Humankind talks about “rayn” when he warns us of factors that can put the heart in harm’s way. These can stem from misusing it. Another cause might be the imagination of negative notions. 

I cannot speak for all Muslims, but most Muslims are orphans of the heart. Since the day our hearts deceased, we have been orphans. It is the main cause that lies behind the dissension among today’s Muslims. Other causes include the orphanhood of sentiment and sensibility, and of relationship with God.

“O Lord! Please do not let our hearts stain. Do not leave me to my carnal self and the devil even, for a moment, or even shorter than that. Do not leave me to anyone else. God, I cannot do without You.”

Regardless of Others, We Should Not Be Involved in Backbiting, Defamation, Conflicts or Sedition


Figuratively speaking, there are times when you cannot stand on your feet without leaning against something, such as during Prayers. Sometimes, you cannot prostrate or stand back up after prostration without getting help from your hands. You accept this as a law of creation, and believe that as you get older, you are bound to have such needs. Still, it is not always possible to fully understand things like that before you actually experience them. Muslims can use such states to their advantage by regarding them as Divine tests, which will add to their relationship with God, and by thanking God for these tests, since they are only related to worldly matters. As Bediüzzaman cites, some scholars say:

“Al-hamdu lil’lahi ala kulli hal, siwa’l-kufri wa’d-dalal” (All praise be to God for every state except for infidelity and deviation); or “Al-hamdu lil’lahi ala kulli hal, siwa ahwali’l-kufri wa’d-dalal” (All praise be to God for all states except the states of infidelity or deviation).

If God has granted you the maturity to say these, it means He has granted you the key to stand against the most despairing situations; this key is another “wave length” of the Divine manifestation of His Mercy. For every age group, this Mercy has its own meaning: for youth, for maturity, and even for childhood. Although God always grants us things to be happy with, we do not always cherish them. In fact, we are surrounded by His favors; however, since it is left to people whether or not to regard events as His favors, choosing to cherish them is important. Therefore, whoever employs their logic and reasoning in this direction, they may be granted much more than what is normally expected out of such an act of cherishing. The more sincere the intention is, the higher the grant.

Also, metaphorically speaking, there may be times when you have an even temper which you hardly ever lose. But when things seem to go wrong, and you feel like you are losing your temper, you should be aware that such times are opportunities that you can exhibit your chivalrous qualities in the eyes of God by handling such difficult situations with tenderness. For instance, when you see a person, a thinker, or an opinion that is totally opposite of you and your viewpoint, instead of losing your temper and thinking negative things about them, you should choose to think altruistically. You should say “Astaghfiru’llah Ya Rabbi” (O God, I ask for Your forgiveness), and pray to Him saying “God! Please set right my feelings and thoughts, my mood and also that person’s mood.” 

This attitude should be promoted and encouraged, especially nowadays. Otherwise, it brings about a vicious circle of negative actions inducing one another. Just like faults in the earth’s crust, tensions in a society, between groups of people, or between nations, cause earthquakes. Depending on several factors, you may just have an earthquake, or suffer a tsunami after one another; you may well see its effects in the world’s atmosphere and weather conditions; some insects or other life forms may disappear. There may be such similarities between the laws of creation and social dynamics. 

Once there is a quake in a society, people start blaming each other for the sake of pinning the blame on others. If they have no basis for such claims, this is slander. Slander is two levels closer to the Hell than backbiting; where our noble Prophet identifies backbiting as “More violent than adultery.” Adultery is licentiousness; it is depravity and bohemianism, for which Islamic law has imposed severe punishments and taken extraordinary precautions against. Some types of backbiting are even more violent than adultery since they make vicious statements about someone when that person is not present, even if you tell the truth. Something as simple as criticizing somebody’s clothes is considered backbiting in Islam; or making a comment about how someone trimmed their mustache is also backbiting. In this accord, making vicious statements about someone for their opinions, beliefs, attitudes, lifestyles, and so forth, are considered as violent backbiting. Finally, doing so about a group of people, or a leader who represents a group of people, is not equal to backbiting one person, but equal to backbiting several people. This means, unless such a backbiter asks for, and is granted, forgiveness by each individual in that group, the backbiter cannot enter the gate of Paradise.

Please be reminded that the comments above are not my personal opinions, but an Islamic rule. Again, such a backbiter is doomed even if he delivers Islam from annihilation. May God protect us from it. As mentioned before, backbiting and slander are like the aftershocks of such an earthquake; because, once this vicious circle starts, it is difficult for a true Muslim to not get involved. Fending off this cycle means such a person is considered a person of stature and high standing by the Guardian Angels and in the eyes of God.

It is crucial to put up with some inconveniences even though they seem unbearable. This way you do not get dragged into their violence, negativity, backbiting, and slander; hence, the blame is not shared. If you fight fire with fire, you help the conflict, the chaos, the backbiting, the slander, to escalate. This acts like a chain reaction, and may result in a more serious outcome, including murder and assassination.

Expecting a collective agreement on holding this vicious cycle back may be too optimistic. That is: not every individual or broadcasting institute may agree to not circulate rumors, to not avoid provocative news, or to not increase social tension. However, those who could agree should be talked into using a tender language and attitude, and to wear their good heart on their sleeves. This may help fix the problems and the violence for our part. If one action of yours breeds chaos, it would escalate incrementally in the actions of others. If you add to it once, others would do the same in a greater magnitude and amount. Regardless of your initial intention, things might turn against you. May God protect us from it.

Mildness and agreement are crucial. We can find examples of these behaviors in the Messiah or our noble Prophet, both of whom are interrelated, and exemplified the principle of turning the other cheek. I should add that some Muslim scholars have not validated the principal of turning the other cheek, probably due to its possible abuse during wars. However, it is definitely an important one, especially in times of conflict, like the End Times where disorder and corruption, backbiting and slander, tactlessness prevail and lead to pillages, murders and assassinations. In such a period of time, when bestiality is represented by humans, we need mildness and agreement the most. What we need is “to be without hands against those who strike you, and without speech and complaint against those who curse you.”

We have such great figures in our culture like Khoja Ahmad Yasawi, who said “You should be numb,” meaning numb against negativities like the present ones. Another one is Yunus Emre, who uttered the principle I have just rephrased above. He also says “A dervish should be uncomplaining. Being a dervish does not only mean to bear habiliments or a headdress; once you negotiate, you will not need either of them.” Moreover, we have Jalalu’d-Din ar-Rumi, who we shortly call Mawlana. He was inclusive towards everyone, and tolerated all faiths. He said “One of my feet is on the center of Islam and the other, like a leg of a compass, is in the realm of 72 nations.” 

These are easier said than done. What matters, especially for those whose role is to guide others, is not only implementing them in our lives by putting them into practice, but also demonstrating that they are realizable. Instead of only achieving such virtues at an individual level, they need to be implemented at the public level, regardless of the difficulties and challenges. This can only be done through leading a social life. 

What the speaker means with the line “One of the feet being on the center of the religion” is to avoid any contradiction with the principles of Islam; and by “the other foot like a leg of a compass” is that we must tolerate and admit all faiths. It should be considered natural for someone to show a more comprehensive inclusiveness towards people of their own faith and to embrace them more eagerly. Still, channels should be kept open with those who are neutral, or rather, in between. God honored them by granting them humanity; regardless of their faith, they are human, and deserve humane conduct. 

This way, disorder can be minimized and confined, if not resolved totally.

In addition, if you can act as a role model, even in a small way, you will serve as an example to be imitated. People all around the world will take your example, and want to employ it as a nucleus of their desired society. Once you can realize your utopia, it will be admired worldwide and you will see similar formations. This is possible for all of us as long as we act with determination, persistence, and purity of intention, by relating everything to God.

Like I said, it is easier said than done to refer to the morality of Yunus Emre, Khoja Ahmad Yasawi, Haji Bektash Veli, Jalalu’d-Din ar-Rumi, or other great figures such as Messiah or of the Pride of Humankind, peace and blessings be upon him. It is essential that such morality be implemented and internalized. It can be achieved by living a life in spite of one’s own self, by ignoring one’s own self, despite every external factor. We need self-sacrificing generosity, the devotion of ourselves to the lives of others in complete forgetfulness of all concerns of our own, the spirit of devotion, and commitment to humanity, Muslims, our nation, and our lofty ideals. God will grant peace and restoration through such people only.

People of these virtues would be charmed by anyone. 

I personally believe Abu Bakr was poisoned just like the other three caliphs; hence, they are all martyrs. Umar had such perspicacity that he could warn Sariyah, his commander in chief, to back up towards a mountain while they were about a hundred miles away, and while Umar was giving a sermon at his podium and Sariyah was in the battlefield. It does not sound reasonable for Umar to have seen Sariyah but not Abu-Lu’lu’ah, who assassinated him. It was his tender-mindedness that let him lead Prayers unguarded. 

Likewise, noble Ali, whose vision could embrace centuries ahead of him, who put forward answers to the questions of centuries ahead of his time, could not have overlooked Ibn Muljam, his assassin. I am very confident that he had seen him; yet, he did not choose to show harshness.

When his enemies appeared at his doorway, Uthman ibn Affan said he did not want to be a Muslim who kills other Muslims—just like Abdul Hamid II did—at the cost of his own life. Another example is Saladin, who is falsely blamed by his Fatimid wife for unfaithfulness. He turns his back to her and says, “If it is true, you can stab me in my back,” which makes her see she is wrong.

In sum, those who have committed to act as role models and guides should have the same spirit as all of the examples above. They should sacrifice their lives to save their nation from disorder, and they should say, like Murad I, “You can take my life and martyr me, but do not touch the integrity of my nation.”

Violence yields and rebounds upon itself; so do anger and hatred. Once perpetrated, hatred leads to counter-hatred, and this wounds an entire nation. Had violence, harshness, and violence proven any good, the 30-year-old problems in southeastern Turkey would have already been resolved. They cannot solve such problems. Some people should consecrate themselves to the lives of their community in complete sacrifice of all concerns of their own—so that not only can problems be solved, but also to prove, before history and collective conscience, the rightness of their way.

Finally, “Be killed but do not kill. Get hurt but do not twist a finger. Be disgraced but do not put anyone to shame.” This looks like the only way to heal our excessively disintegrated community. 

May God bestow sagacity and understanding on us. May God set our and their hearts right.

This text is the translation of “329. Nağme: Bari Biz Gıybet, İftira, Kavga ve Fitnelere Geçit Vermeyelim!

The Protests of Taksim Gezi Park and the Root of the Problems


Since we do not use the way of the Prophets, their inheritors, saints and sincere friends of God, we are unable to handle problems. We are committing so many wrongdoings just to eliminate one wrongdoing. We cause various kinds of wrongdoings and injustice to happen. We only add fire to the flames of grudge and hatred. We cause things to grow out of control. And today you see the examples in the streets. There are worse examples, perhaps. In the books of hadith referring to chaotic events of the future (Kitab al-Fitan wa’l-Malahim), the Prophet foretells worse events. The current turmoil can then be seen only as a sampling of those larger chaotic events; accordingly, people will kill one another but none of them will know why these killings are taking place. There will be repeated damage to people and properties, but none of them will have any reasonable, licit and lawful basis. Things will happen helter-skelter. Predictions of God’s Messenger relate such events in detail; thus, these current events seem to be micro-scale samples.

If we take these events lightly, we will resemble the forty fools: they took each other by the hand so that they could get down to the bottom of a cliff, but of course they all fell down together. Thirty nine of them died and only one survived with serious injuries and broken bones. When people asked him what happened, he answered that they would nearly get into trouble, treating the situation much too lightly. This is how the insensitive people disregardful of the consequences usually view this issue.

And on the other side, some people say, “Why are they engaging in violence and causing harm? Why are they breaking the glasses of innocent people’s windows? They throw Molotov cocktails into houses, dorms, schools, universities, and even into banks!” Illogical and inhuman behavior prevails. Yet, if you make sweeping overgeneralizations by saying: “This has nothing to do with the issue of standing up for some rights,” then this means turning a blind eye to the innocent demands of the innocent people among them. We neglected these people first of all. These generations are a fruit of our neglect. Secondly, they may have some acceptable demands. They can express themselves saying, “The park needs to be preserved, and trees should not be uprooted. Ecosystem should be protected, and so on.” That said, the crowd may not, however, keep the balance while trying to protect a park they enjoy. As opposed to their very aim, they can damage the environment themselves, upset the general harmony and leave nothing behind for an ecosystem. Therefore, insensitivity on one issue, or failure to understand it, may lead to excessive behavior in some people while it may lead to a different form of apathy in others. May God protect!

On the other hand, some people both at home and abroad try to take advantage of our weaknesses and abuse innocent people’s innocent demands (by provoking the masses). As some creatures are all ears for hearing sounds, such abusers are all ears for opportunities to abuse. The media throughout the world are against Turkey now; they are unfortunately acting as if the apocalypse has started. Significantly worse disasters happen in Syria, but the media does not care at all. Similar things happen in Iraq, but once again, the media is silent. They do not even care about suicide attackers in different parts of the world. Turkey, however, is in a critical position to become a balancing factor in the region. It has made certain kinds of progress.

On the one hand, there are those innocent demands. On the other hand, there is the abuse of those demands by certain circles within the country, or the use of those demands as a counter move by certain ideologies. Others from abroad take full advantage of the events for their ulterior motives. Our negligence and inability to see the well-planned strategies of abuse by others has resulted in the current conflicts.

In fact, the Messenger of God told about this picture. He said it would happen after the general public was alienated from their spiritual heritage. For this reason, we need to revise our point of view.

 “Who is to blame for this unrest? Those who overlooked the protests by labeling it as ‘this and that’? Or should we blame those who are involved in the violence? Or should we blame the system overall?” Does the problem lie with our failure to raise and develop good generations? Or to not have guided them as we should? If so, then the system needs to be revised. We need to revise our own thoughts again. If we do this – if we face ourselves honestly, and openly self-criticize – we can be saved from greater concerns. If we do not face ourselves now, we will be facing issues we cannot tackle later, may God protect us. We need to revise our moral education systems. Whose children are those youth who act so unreasonably on the streets? They pursue no righteous cause; if they did, they would gather somewhere, express their feelings in a civilized way, and then leave. Some would receive their message, and they could gather to repeat it for those who did not understand. They could become organized in a way. Given that people make their choice through elections, they could work seriously towards that avenue. They could try to convince people by telling them about their positions and complaints. They vote for what they like. If they do not like the choice, they can wait patiently for the next election and choose a different one.

It seems we have damaged ourselves. The matter lies with the grass roots. Since the ground has lost its fertility, and the atmosphere has become corrupt, we witness such illegitimate events, and certain generations who represent these events. Until the time we tackle our human failings, the problems will remain unsolved. We need to see what we did. We failed to revise the system. “How is it possible for us to raise a generation that will honestly self-supervise? How can we raise a humane generation that will not respond to destruction with more destruction but instead with construction?” This is the real question, and we failed to think about it.

The Qur’an says, “…Your responsibility is your selves (so consider how you are faring along your own way). Those who go astray can do you no harm if you yourselves are rightly guided (and so follow your right way without deviation)…” (al-Maedah 5:105). That is, your unity and unswerving course on the righteous path will mitigate even the most negative factors. We failed to look at ourselves. We did not check whether we were on the righteous path. We failed to raise generations who were conscious of right and wrong. We watched without concern, dismissing them as “just a small bunch.” And they began to run amok, attacking here and there. What they really need is to be treated with sympathy and compassion. They are trampling human values under their feet; they are trampling their own values. Even though it seems too late for today’s generation, there should be systems to develop them beneficently for tomorrow. What can we do to develop them? What can we do to remind them that God created them in the best pattern and bring them into line with humane ways? How can we prevent them from harming people and human values? How can we remind them not to harm their country so that they do not let others abuse this against their own country and make all of us face certain plans impossible to overcome?

If you display some weakness, others usually plan to take advantage of it. While you are already in such a weak state, they shatter you into pieces, as they did it with the Ottoman State. The most critical factor right now is our own weakness, our internal conflicts. Even if we cannot change the situation today, community leaders, scientists, psychologists, and educators should come together to generate relevant projects. What can we do to bring the generations who failed to pursue a humane course into line with humanity? How can we convince them of the value in serving their own country, of developing it into a great country by God’s grace? 

One should not ignore or underestimate what goes on, just as one should not take fire or war lightly. As Imruu’l-Qays, one of the poets of the pre-Islamic Arabia, rightly said, “There are two things that you can start but cannot stop, even when you really wish to: One is fire and the other is war.” We have seen both, indeed. You can take this statement both literally and figuratively. Actually, the current events that we are going through are not much different than fire. And there is the issue of war. As is well-known, because of a few adventurers, who did not really know how to govern a state, unnecessarily firing at Russian ships on the Black Sea engaged the Ottoman State in World War I. A great state was thus brought to ruin. It is an essential of our culture to talk about previous generations with respect, but I cannot manage to forgive those who caused the destruction of a state, which had served as an important factor of balance among world powers. Let them account for what they did in Divine court; but I am not saying, “Let them enter Hell.” They will be called to account before the Divine court. That state was so important. A profane play by Voltaire, disrespectful toward the Prophet, was performed in Europe. It was the time of Sultan Abdulhamid II. The Ottomans were known as the “sick man of Europe” when the sultan gave an ultimatum, saying that he would declare war on them as the caliph of the believers and make the Muslim India march on them. Even during a period of such decline, like a wounded lion roaring, he made everybody in the forest straighten. Those few adventurers, however, brought that state to ruin and this is the truth that lies behind our wretched condition today. They joined the war but were unable to stop it when they wished. It took away everything, like a flood. Fire and war, they stop only when they will! For this reason, if you are able to put out a fire while it is small, do it right there. Otherwise, by the time it covers an entire field, it is too late. For this reason, even when faced with the smallest fire, we need to call all the fire brigadiers to help by shouting, “Get your equipment and come, there’s fire!” 

If centers of learning are bombed, innocent ones are being killed, people are stopped with gas bombs, and if some turn a blind eye to all this by failing to see the underlying reasons, then the fire grows—God forbid! 

I do not think that the character of the nation has been corrupted to that degree; not even bad ones are that bad. However, others who do not wish to let you grow into a factor of balance can take advantage of this. Turkey is a ball of problems, and those who surround it can take advantage of these problems. Even one of them can make everything into a mess. There is a covert agreement among them to not let you advance even one step further. You may console yourselves with an apparent “spring” here and there, when in reality, you are faced with the ice cold winds of fall. 

We therefore need to be alert and act intelligently. We need to see the smallest problems as consequential, and we need to handle them in a smart way. If you are facing an invasion of ants, do not dismiss it. They reach into your pots of butter and honey, and pollute them with toxins; do not dismiss it. Taking problems lightly stems from light thinking, light reasoning, and light judgment. It is very important to see everything clearly, as they are. Then it becomes possible to generate well-placed projects and plans. 

The souls devoted to building a new revival must be very cautious at this issue, very cautious. What is in our hands is a trust we inherited from the previous generations. If we face a betrayal or murder concerning our own personal life, we may be indifferent to that if we wish. But a betrayal concerning rights of the public—we can also call them God’s rights—cannot be ignored. God judges the responsible ones gravely. If we do not put a barrier against events that will result in a betrayal against an entire nation—may God protect—the issue grows so much that our neglect becomes a betrayal of the trust. However, we have to protect the trust against all odds, just as we protect our life and honor, until we hand it to the trustworthy generations to come. Let’s fulfill our responsibility, and put our trust in God, and then see what God will decree for us. God Almighty makes even the oppressors say, one day, “God has preferred you above us,” like his repentant brothers once said to Prophet Joseph. 

We need to recite prayers against malevolence. You can divide sections of a prayer book, such as Al-Qulub ad-Dari‘ah, between friends, and thus complete reciting its prayers and litanies collectively. You can also read the names of the Ashab al-Badr; the blessed souls of those Companions are no different than heavenly spiritual beings. It has been tried on different occasions; such prayers became an invitation for Divine Providence, and seemingly unsolvable matters are solved by God’s grace. 

There is really not much people like us can do; maybe I have been talking in vain. Until the moment we straighten ourselves… I heard a story from Osman Tarı, a former member of the parliament. There was a scholarly person known as Tahir Efendi among the members of the first parliament of Turkish Republic. As others gave enthusiastic talks, he preferred to keep silent in a corner. One day, his supporters insisted he also talk; they said that others were taking pride in their representatives’ talks, and they also expected the same. Tahir Efendi was a person who made short but concise remarks. He answered thus: “Dear congregation, know that you are the electors and I am the elected. We are destined for the house of elected ones (Parliament). The act you did is called intihab—election. “Intihab” comes from the word nuhbah, which means “cream.” Do not forget that the cream will be of the same nature with the substance used. The cream that gathers on top is the same with the substance in its base. Accordingly, yoghurt, milk, or lime will have a cream of the same kind with them.” 

Upon hearing this anecdote, I said that what Tahir Efendi had expressed was indeed a very good paraphrasing of the hadith, “You are governed however you are.” 

The issue needs to be dealt with at the grassroots level by restoring a morally wrecked generation. As Bediüzzaman puts it, our duty is to repair a fort that has been wrecked for centuries. For centuries, it was damaged from different directions. We need to grasp our responsibility, and begin cultivating the new generations. We need to let them embrace the values of their own spiritual heritage; they need to be taught such thinking and manners. Otherwise, these transgressions will continue. And continuing to respond to them in a reactionary fashion only makes us into bullies. The issue needs to be dealt with from the bottom-up. What is our problem? How can it be settled? The matter needs to be solved in compliance with the path of the Prophet. The Messenger of God, for whose sake God split the moon in two in an instant,1 strived so diligently during his entire twenty-three year period of Messengership to educate his people in patience. Had he prayed for it, God would immediately turn their hearts into angelic ones, as a miracle. But he was a teacher to guide people. What are the ways for a good upbringing, how much effort is required, how much brainstorming is needed? The Messenger of God showed it by suffering personally. This is what it takes; it is beyond human power to change it. God’s creational laws do not change. However, most people don’t know this; they are deaf and blind to it. This is the way to follow. As the famous poet Necip Fazıl puts it, “The rest are trivial matters.” What needs to be said to the miserable, crawling generations of long years is, as the poet says, “You have crept much with your face down; it is high time you stood upright!”

1. The manifest miracle of the moon split upon the gesture of the Noble Prophet is mentioned in the following verse of the Qur’anic chapter of al-Qamar (The Moon), which derives its name from the word “al-qamar” (the moon) in its first verse: “…and the moon has split” (al-Qamar 54:1). (Ed.)

The Periods of Insanity and the Murders Committed for the Sake of Religion


In his latest talk, Fethullah Gülen pointed out that humanity virtually goes through periods of delirium after certain intervals, and he referred to the possible causes and underlying reasons for the cases of madness in those periods. No matter the perpetrators or the reasons, Gülen stated that every suicide attack is a multi-dimensional murder. He made particular emphasis on the following points:

  • God Almighty decrees: “And it has never been the way of your Lord to destroy the townships unjustly while their people were righteous, dedicated to continuous self-reform, and setting things right in society” (Hud 11:117). Such people are referred to with the Arabic noun “muslihun.” Such a noun-sentence in Arabic denotes having the stated quality as an established character, and that the people mentioned do such things continuously. Then the muslihun refers to the altruistic souls who are continuously concerned about the miserable condition of humanity, and plan to elevate others to peaks of humanity, who generate projects for that goal, and put them into practice. They are devoted souls who virtually have no other concerns other than that. God will not destroy a land as far as such people reside there. Reading this verse, it is possible to say, “As far as there is a group of people who take the Qur’anic teaching to heart, and wish to serve humanity, who take this as the ideal of their lives, and strive on this path, men and women alike, then God will not send heavenly or earthly calamities to that land.” Nevertheless, it is narrated that after the earthquakes in Izmir and Erzincan, Bediüzzaman expressed his opinion that either nobody served there as their faith required, or they were very few in number and inefficient.
  • Answering about the reasons for the troubles in their time, sheikh Najmaddin al-Kubra1 said: “The reason for them is our failure to keep up our line. For disunity and love of the world, God sent wrongdoers as retribution upon us. After we serve our time, God will give wrongdoers their just deserts.”
  • When Muslims deserve to be punished, God Almighty uses wrongdoers to teach them a lesson: the oppressor is the sword of God. Firstly, He uses it for retribution. And then He gives the oppressors their retribution.
  • The means for reaching a lawful and righteous end must also be lawful and righteous. For people who adopt an Islamic course of life, it is a right to have an ideal at every issue, and it is a necessity that the means of obtaining that right be lawful. As the good pleasure of and reunion with God cannot be attained without sincerity, serving Islam and directing Muslims to their true path can absolutely not be realized through devilish means. Others might act brutally; but Muslims cannot, and must not, abandon upright conduct.
  • A murder is especially dangerous if it is considered “holy,” and is committed under the assertion of religious reasons. If the perpetrator is not under the influence of psycho-active drugs, then it is not possible for the murderer to be saved in the next world. Even if suicide bombers commit their act in the name of religion and meet death by making the proclamation of faith, the attackers themselves fall headfirst into the Hell. Because, what needs to be done during peace and warfare are clearly defined by certain laws and disciplines in Islam. Just as nobody is authorized to declare war on his own, or make a decision to kill a person during peace, nobody is authorized to kill children women, or the elderly during warfare. For this reason, from whatever perspective they are viewed, it is absolutely impossible for suicide attacks or similar terrorist acts to be compatible with Islam.
  • When Usama ibn Zayd, one of the blessed Companions of the Prophet, was about to kill somebody during battle, the man proclaimed faith. Still, Usama ibn Zayd thought that the man did not say it sincerely but for fearing the sword and killed him anyway. It was unthinkable for such a great Companion to act emotionally and kill a person out of hatred. It seems that he did not know the main idea of the issue at that point. In that period, the Messenger of God taught everything freshly, and the Companions practiced the teaching right away. How could they know without the Prophet telling them?
  • When the Messenger of God learned what happened, he reprimanded Usama by asking if he cleft that man’s heart open to see whether there was faith (asking how could one be sure the man did not have faith). That brave commander, who was the son of Zayd ibn Haritha, wished he had newly accepted Islam so that he could avoid that severe reprimand by the Messenger of God.
  • This age is an era of conflict and antagonism. During such a period, people of sound mind and faith in God must balance the delirious currents of extremism with their love and logic. They should be saying, “How is it possible for us to abate this violent anger and restore a peaceful balance?” and make relevant efforts to achieve that goal.
1. Rumi’s father Bahauddin Walad was among the disciples of Najmuddin al-Kubra.