Mehmet Nuri YILMAZ

President of Religious Affairs of Turkey

     With Allah's bounty, we are at the doors of very blessed days which are known among Muslims as “three months” and we will very soon celebrate the holy night of Ragaib. Ragaib night is so called because it is eagerly longed for by Muslims hoping Allah’s mercy. At this night, Muslims all around the world are expected to obtain the divine blessings and  abundance of spiritual  gifts and forgiveness  of God, the almighty. Since it is believed that all prays are accepted by God at this night, the Muslims pray for God for the peace of themselves, their parents, relatives, states,  people and all humanity. Taking this holy night as opportunity, as Muslims we should remember our duties towards our creator, ourselves, our families and neighbours. We also should evaluate our thoughts   and deeds and correct the mistakes and wrong-doings. If we establish that we have committed crimes toward Allah, our creator, or our state and people, we should suggest repentance to God at this night.

     On the eve of the Muslims’ blessed days, the worst terror incidents in America have led us into very sad situation. A terrorist group carried out such a violent and evil attack resulting in the death of the thousands of innocent people and thus caused the new developments which will possibly  spoil the sensitive and delicate balances of the world and harm the human acquisitions achieved so far with long and hard struggles.    

     Any human being, regardless of his ethnic and religious origin, will never think of carrying out such a violent, evil attack. Whatever its purpose is, this action cannot be justified and tolerated.   The basic aims of the terrorist organisations are to lead people into fear and horror,  paralyse the society, intimidate the public and harm people making no difference between children and elderly, innocent or guilty in order to create a chaotic atmosphere with the purpose of getting some political and economic advantages. Meanwhile all divine religions were revealed by God to establish order, peace and justice. Among the common  objectives of all divine religions are the protection of religion, life, property, reason and honour of all human beings. The Glorious Qur’an calls all the Muslims for the peace with all human societies. The verse says: “O you believers! Enter into peace altogether and whole-h. And follow not the footsteps of the evil one. For he is to you an avowed enemy” (Baqarah, 208). In arranging the relations of the Muslims with the non-Muslims, Islam offers the principles, peace against peace, mercy, goodwill and fairness. Regarding this matter the Glorious Qur’an says:    If they incline to peace, incline also to it and trust in Allah. Assuredly, He is the Hearer, the Knower “(Anfal, 61). “ Allah does not forbid you to be kind and equitable to those who have neither made war on your religion nor driven you from your homes. Allah loves the equitable”. (Mumtahinah, 8).

     Jihad concept in the Qur’an  does not mean resorting to the use of force and shedding of blood as misunderstood by some people. Islam has permitted Jihad as a holy struggle not for territorial gains and for colonialism but for defence against any aggression or invasion on Muslim territories. The prophet was asked in the Qur’an to invite people to Islam with wisdom and good admonition. (Nahl, 125). Even in the case of war, Islam clearly banned killing non-Muslim women, children, old people,and those who are engaged   in religious duties. Islam also banned cutting trees, killing animals and destroying the places of worship. (Buhari, Mazalim, 3; Muslim, Birr, 58; Tirmizi, Birr, 18).

     As for terror and violence, it is defined as   the systematic and organised   acts of murdering, kidnapping, intimidating and destruction   initiated by biased people who lack any moral bases, disrespect human life, victimise innocent people, and are unable to persuade people by means of their intellectual capacities for reaching political targets. So how is it possible to compare this kind of actions with the holy struggles of those who defend themselves? The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a real model for the Muslims, had never resorted to terror and violence against brutal persons who had driven himself from his home and applied every kind of torture on him. He even had forgiven Wahshi, the killer of Hamzah, the Prophet’s uncle and the one he liked enormously. It is impossible for the ones who really take the Prophet Muhammad as guide to involve   in terrorist and violent actions which would cost the lives of the innocent people. We should regard terrorism which has nothing to do with Islam as a crime committed against all humanity.

     The Prophet also advised Muslims to be merciful not to humans but also to the entire creation, if they sincerely seek the forgiveness of Allah (Tac/V17).

     Those who share the same world must act approach to each other with mercy. If the peace cannot be established among the world states, many things on earth become worthless. The global terrorism has clearly shown how correct the Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey is in her stance advocating the improvement of the dialogue among religions. It is wrong to blame Islam because of the mistakes committed by certain people in history or at the present moment.. Likewise, it would be unjust to attack on innocent Muslim civilians, their properties    and places  of worship in America or in other Western countries with the reason of the recent terror incidents.

     Following the recent embarrassing terrorist attacks on the American targets, we observe with complete regret that some people asserted that this bloody event will be the starting point of the clash of civilisations proving the theories in this way suggested    by certain Western writers before. As it is known, during the violent and bloody wars in the Middle Ages, which in a way  can be defined as the clash of civilisations and religions, a lot of innocent people lost their lives and the children had become orphan. Humanity suffered from these   wars enourmously. Our natural and social environment was badly affected from these wars. Just as humanity realise the   harmful effects of inter-religious wars, clash of civilisations and lack of  dialogue among the adherents of different religions, suggesting this kind of theses and theories, that will certainly cause the new deaths of innocent people and children, does provide no advantage for any person of any religion and civilisation. Such a dissension would form once again the most embarrassing and terrible new page in the history of humanity. For our future, we must fight against terrorism in all platforms with a full global co-operation and common strategy. The terrorists should be subjected to the punishment they deserve.   We wholeheartedly hope that no more innocent people have been killed. We condemn what are the savage terrorist attacks against innocent civilians.

     We celebrate the night of Ragaib of Turkish citizens and kinsmen living   in Turkey and abroad and all Muslim brothers and sisters and hope that this holy night would be a means of bringing a lot of blessings to human mankind.

     My best regard

[1] This is translation of the message issued by Head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs of Turkey, Mehmet Nuri Yılmaz, concerning the yearly celebration of the Night of Ragaib and the terrorist attacks in the United States of America.