ISLAM AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN
translated from the book Islam, Tasavvuf, Hayat , Istanbul: Seha, 1996
Bismillāhir rahmānir rahīm,
Alhamdu lillāhi haqqa hamdihī was-salātu was-salāmu 'alā khayra khalqihī sayyidina muhammadin wa 'alā ālihī wa sahbihī wa man tabi'ahū bi-ihsānin ajma'īn... Ammā ba'd.
Praise be to Allah, and endless peace and blessings be with His beloved Messenger, our master, our guide, our leader Hadrat Muhammad Mustafa. May Almighty Allah be pleased with you all.
I congratulate those who have organized this conference. My prayers are for those who participate in this event. May Almighty Allah increase their rewards.
Man loves pleasure, comfort and entertainment, for there is his ego, his nafs in himself. The Germans call it zerp while the Arabs call ana. The nafs tries to maintain the physical body and it is after its benefits. That is its duty. We are glad that Almighty Allah created it for that purpose. If we did not have a nafs, we would not know when to eat or when to rest. The body needs a director for management, and the nafs is that director.
The nafs has many wants that are beneficial to the body and to the physical existence of man. These wants are called shahawat-i nafsiyye--the strong desires of the nafs. The nafs has strong desires. Towards attaining these desires, the nafs has various thoughts, calls, and requests that are called hewā-yi nafs. The nafs is described in Islam; other nations do not know about it. It is stated in the Qur'an:
(Innan nafsa la-ammāratun bis-sūi illā mā rahima rabbī) ["... surely, the nafs of man incites to evil except inasmuch as my Lord had mercy... " (Qur'an 12:53)] The nafs suggests man evil things, too.
What is the nafs made of? Is it a physical entity? Is it made of air, water, or fire? Is it a combination of some organs in the body? Is it a function of the spirit of man? No matter how or what it is, Almighty Allah has created forms for the servants to understand His orders and hard-to-grasp abstract concepts. With these forms, any ordinary Muslim can understand the most difficult concepts.
I would like to give an example: The philosopher could provide some answers to the question, "What is the nafs made of?" Islam, on the other hand, states, "Nafs is a being within the man." This is a simple description and everybody understands it.
The Messenger of Allah informed his companions about the experiences of a person. This person dies and gets buried in the grave. He will be scared in the grave: it is dark, under the ground, and he is alone without any comforts of life. All of a sudden he notices a pleasant person with a smiling face arriving. According to the Prophet, the deceased man inquires: "O blessed person! Who are you? While I was in a state of fear because of the dark and loneliness, you arrived here. You look like a nice person; I like you. Who are you?" The pleasant person responds: "I am the Surah Mulk (Qur'an 67, The Kingdom) that you used to recite. Almighty Allah put me into this shape and sent to you."
If Almighty Allah sent the rewards or the spiritual being of the Surah Mulk to the servant in a spiritual form, the servant would not notice or understand it. It would be similar to our failure to see the electromagnetic waves in the air despite its existence. Yet Almighty Allah sent the Surah in a form that is comprehensible to the servant. Since He has all the powers, He shapes the Surah in a way that it comforts the servant.
If the servant had been informed that the rewards of Surah Mulk had arrived, he would not be excited as much. A person enjoys a friend to keep company. A pleasant, lovable and good person with a smiling face is best for company. That is how Almighty Allah sends the rewards.
As we see, Islam has a way of explaining some abstract concepts that would be hard for the philosopher. Such concepts are explained in a language that is comprehensible for all. This is good because Islam addresses everybody.
We know that there is something called nafs in us. It is a being that has a bad disposition and strong desires. Once it asks for something, it does not give up until it gets it. Just like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum, it keeps screaming, "I want it! I want it!" These shahawat-i nafsiyya last for a lifetime.
When a person is in childhood, the desires of the nafs are concentrated on food and drinks. It would ask for a chocolate bar, a candy, a lollipop, a cone of ice cream. When it grows up a bit, as a result of the changes in the physiology of the body, the desires for food diminish and turns into an interest in the opposite sex. The person "falls in love" with one from the opposite sex. He acts as though he lost his mind. This is the stage of youth. In youth a person has strong feelings and tendencies.
The family of the young person help him get over the troubles; he gets married and has children. Then he becomes aware that he needs to earn money to provide for his family. Then he develops strong feeling for money. In fact, he had affection towards money from his childhood because he knew that he had to have money to get anything.
A child comes to his father and asks: "Dad, please give me some money! Ten marks, five marks..." The father inquires, "What are you going to do with it?" The child responds: "Don't ask!" He would take the money and go to the little convenience store in the neighborhood.
Once the person gets the money, he develops a desire to accumulate wealth and to live a pretentious life. He wants to be respected and applauded. He starts looking for a position, a rank.
"Sir, you have money and wealth; you have a good business, a house, a farm, a mansion, a brand-new car. What else do you want?"
"Well, my father did not let me go to the college. I had hardly any formal education. I want to be a supervisor. I want some position with some authority."
After a while, the person wants to climb up in the rank and be the leader, the president of the company or organization. A whole life is spent after these desires.
The desires of nafs are in many forms. The very first one is the shahwatul batin--the desires of the stomach: it asks for milk, candy, food and alike. When it is not given, it screams from within: "C'mon! I am starving! Give it to me!" It can make a person steal: he would break in a place, climb up a tree, or get something that does not belong to him. This is the shahwatul batin.
At the age of puberty, other kinds of desires begin: Shahwatul farj--sexual feelings and desires. Then comes hubbul māl (love for wealth) or hubbul jem'il māl (love for accumulating wealth). Then hubbul maqąm, hubbul jāh (love for rank and position) follows. The hubbur riyasah (love for leadership) comes afterwards. The nafs within us has all of these desires and tendencies.
Our religion points out: "This is your worst enemy!" Our beloved Prophet said: "You are looking for enemies outside. Yes, there are enemies out there, yet your worst enemy is within you!"
(A'dā aduwwuke nafsukallatī beyne jenbeyke) "This being between your shoulders, your nafs, ego, self, is your worst enemy." It is because you would go after your desires to commit offenses against Almighty Allah, against an individual or against the society.
Man has such a nature and disposition. He has tendencies to follow his desires. Almighty Allah has pointed out these facts in the Qur'an:
["Decked out fair to men is the love of lusts--women, children, heaped-up heaps of gold and silver, horses of mark, cattle and tillage. That is the enjoyment of the present life; but God--with Him is the fairest resort." (Qur'an 3:14)]
Let me explain the meaning:
(Zuyyina lin nās) "It was decorated and made attractive for men..." It is Allah who made it attractive. In fact it is Allah who does everything: He gives life, takes away life, elevates, takes it down, gives honor, humiliates, ... This system is His work. The abode in this world is a place of test; that is why He decorated things in this word. What are these things that are made attractive for men?
(... hubbush shahawati minen nisā) "...love for the desires towards women and going after them (wal banīn) and towards children (wal qanātīril muqantarati minaz-zahabi wal fiddah) piled-up wealth of gold and silver (wal khaylil musawwamah) flocks of animals roaming and grazing in valleys (wal an'ąm) and horses (wal hars) and farms and orchards."
Having listed them, the Qur'an states: (Dhālika matāul hayatid-dunyā) "All of this is from this life and will stay in this life." It does not have much of a value in the sight of Allah. On the contrary, we consider all of these precious and valuable; we go after them. They look attractive for us. Almighty Allah says, "These are temporary attractions and enjoyment in this life." (Walląhu 'indehū husnul ma'āb) "What man would receive from Allah in the hereafter will be much better." He shows an alternative to the items listed above for us to prefer.
In the following verse,
["Say: 'Shall I tell you of a better than that?' For those that are god-fearing, with their Lord are gardens underneath which rivers flow, therein dwelling forever, and spouses purified, and Allah's good pleasure. And Allah sees His servants." (Qur'an 3:15)]
(Qul aunabbiukum bikhayrin nin dhālikum) "O Prophet, say: 'Shall I inform you about things that are better than those listed above?' (lilledhīnat-taqaw 'inda rabbihim jennātun tajri min tahtihal anhār) For those who have taqwa, with their Lord are gardens underneath which rivers flow. (Khąlidīna fihā) They will live forever there; (wa azwajun mutahharah) there will be purified spouses for them. (Wa ridwānun minalląh) They will have the pleasure of Allah and endless blessings of Allah. Unlimited blessings of Paradise will be theirs. (Wallahu basīrun bil 'ibād) And Allah sees His servants."
In brief, the verse says, "Here is this life and here is the hereafter. The present life has no value compared to the blessings in the hereafter." I would like to read a hadith for you on this issue:
The Prophet said, (Men kānetid dunyā na'tuhū -- in another quote the last word is himmatuhū) "If a person's efforts are concentrated on this life, if all he wants belongs to this life, (harramalląhu ta'ālā alayhi jiwārī) Almighty Allah prohibits for him my neighborhood in the hereafter." This is a very serious and dreadful statement. The Prophet continues: (fa innī bu'ith-tu bikharābid dunyā) "because I was brought to this world to destroy [the tendencies towards the enjoyment of] this life; (walam yub'athu bi-imrānihā) I did not come to this life to develop this world." He did not come to this life to build 115 storey skyscrapers.
If he had wished, he would have built high-rise buildings; Almighty Allah would have revealed the technology and means for him. He could have built a 150 storey building in Mekka. Yet he did not value the blessings of this life: "I did not come to this world to develop it. For the person who loves this life, Almighty Allah prohibits to be a neighbor to me in the hereafter." This is very scary; it gives me goose bumps.
There are other ahadith on the topic--I did my homework in preparation to this talk; a speaker must prepare himself well for due respect for the audience--yet I will not present them here due to the time limit. This hadith has a very strong statement; that is why I have shared it with you.
We follow Islam, and Islam prefers hereafter to this life. These are the words of our beloved Prophet and the verses of the Qur'an. I will read you something from Fuzūlī that indicates that he was aware of that fact as the Muslims of the past were:
Rahat ister tab' mihnetdir ibadet serteser,
Terk-i rahat raghbet-i minnet qilan mumtāz olur.
Ol sebebdendir ki küfr āsān olur Islām asā,
Arsa-i ālemde mulhid chok muvahhid az olur.
Fuzūlī says, "Man's natural disposition, nafs, wants comfort, yet the worship, head-to-toe, is full of difficulties." Making wudu in the cold winter season with cold water could make a person shiver. Daily prayers, getting up early in the dawn, and attending the congregation in the mosque are difficult, indeed. Performing Hajj is not only expensive but also difficult. You have to cope with the Saudi administration, too. One sweats outdoors and gets pushed away or pressed against something by the other pilgrims. One questions himself, "Was I a person to be treated like this? I have schools and businesses back home, and everybody respects me there. Nobody cares about me here. They keep pushing me in the crowd." Well, that is Hajj. Jihad is quite different and difficult, too. All kinds of worship have difficulties and hardship.
Fuzūlī continues: "One who prefers hardship over comfort becomes a distinguished, select person. That is why the disbelief is easy while practicing Islam is hard. There are much more disbelievers than the Muslims on the face of the earth." This is a mystery; this is a phenomenon. This is an excellent description and a character that discerns Islam from the other beliefs.
I can guess some of you have the thought: "Are we stupid to leave this world to other disbelieving nations?" That thought comes from the nafs. There is Satan and there is nafs to give us ideas. We may have such thoughts. Yet, the philosophy of the Prophet is this: He does not like this world, but he likes the hereafter. He said:
(Mā lī wa liddunyā) "What is this world? What do I have to do with this world? I am like a traveler who takes a short rest in the shade of a tree." Also, the Qur'an states:
(Dhālika matāul hayātid dunyā) "All of these are the goods, the enjoyment of this life to remain in this world." The items listed in the verse are good things: Flocks of animals, ranges of cattle, large fields of crops, heaped-up money, women, children, extended family, and alike. Everybody would want such things in this life, yet the Qur'an states that these are not important. That is the main character of Islam.
Our ancestors did not give importance to these things. For those, who pose the question, "Are we stupid to leave this world to the disbelievers?" this will be the answer. It is the smartest thing to do! Our beloved Prophet said:
(Alkayyisu men dāne nafsahū amila limā ba'dal mawt) "The smart person is the one who controls his nafs and prepares for the hereafter. (Wal Ahmāqu ['ajizu] men edbā nafsahū hewāhā fetemennā alalląhil amāniy) The foolish [destitute] person is the one who follows the desires of his nafs and hopes that Almighty Allah forgives him his sins." That is the truly destitute and stupid person.
Our ancestors lived with the approach that was suggested by the Prophet. What happened to them afterwards? Well, we shall see soon. Let's go back to the time of the Prophet and think about his companions. Among the blessed companions of the Prophet were As-hab-i Suffa who were extremely poor and had no place to go, so they would sleep in the corner of the Masjid of the Prophet.
Once Hadrat Fatima and Hadrat Ali came to the Prophet. They showed their hands to him. She sad: "Dad, look at our hands! We work very hard to draw water from the well and to grind things in the hand mill."
They had hand mills to grind grains--I am sure those of you who lived in villages are familiar with it. I used to use one in my youth and got my skin cracked. I know how it hurts. Drawing water from a well is also a difficult task. Once a person does it many times, the skin on the hand gets cracked or blistered. Having shown her hands, Hadrat Fatima requested his father, our beloved Prophet: "Could you spare a slave for us so that we do not have to work that hard?"
The Prophet responded: "I am sorry, I cannot give you a slave. I am going to sell the slaves and spend the money on As-hab-i Suffa, for they are hungry. You pray to Allah and do dhikr; that will help you." He refused to give a slave to his daughter and son-in-law, and preferred spending on As-hab-i Suffa.
Dear Brothers and Sisters! As-hab-i Suffa lived hungry. There was nobody among them whose belly extended out. Their abdomens were pushed in all the time. Their meal would be a date fruit only. Sometimes, they could not get one fruit per person, so each would suck the fruit for a while and give it to the next person. They were in such poverty.
Some of the As-hab-i Suffa got martyred in battles; some were subjected to tortures by disbelievers. Some were pressed against fire on hot sand. What happened in the end? Later on, each one became a governor in various parts of the Muslim lands. They became the rulers and governors in the society. Ibn-i Mas'ud became a governor to a city; Ibn-i Abbas, to another city. Why is it so? Life in this world is a test, a trial. Each person takes a different course in the test, and experiences different things.
They became governors, yet they never tended to the pleasures of this life. Even Hadrat Omar, after becoming a caliph, was fearful of eating too much food: They were content with one kind of dish and hesitated to eat a second kind in their meal. They refused to live in the mansion of the governor.
I will tell you an interesting story because it helps the audience gather their attention. There was this rich man in a town. He unloaded the good from a camel train and looked for a porter to have him carry it to his house. He noticed a man with a poor appearance. He called him: "Come here!"
When a person gets rich, his talk and his walk will be different from the others. A shopkeeper can tell when a rich person enters the store from the way he enters the store. A poor man would enter the store and ask for the price differently. A rich man can bargain well and may overpower the vendor, while a poor man would be hesitant to offer the vendor a lower amount. The poor man would be scared of the vendor. Money makes a person feel different.
"Come here!" said the rich man. "Pick up this sack on your back and follow me!" The poor man took the goods and followed the rich man. As they walk, people started to stare at them with amazement. They greeted the two as "As-salamu alaikum yā amīral mu'minīn!"
The rich man did not pay attention to the greetings first, but later he realized that people were greeting the poor man as "amīrul mu'minīn--the leader of the believers!" He figured out that the poor man was the governor. He turned to the poor man and said: "I am very sorry, Sir. I could not recognize you. Please put the sack down." The governor refused: "No! I shall carry it to its destination."
This actually happened. What does it indicate? These people did not pay any importance to this world! When they had the means, they avoided a pretentious life style. They maintained a low profile, they were humble and fearful of offending Almighty Allah.
Early Muslims were extremely poor for a period, but later Almighty Allah provided them with wealth and means. They became rich but they did not become spoiled. They spent on charitable causes. It is a test, too. Poverty is a test for people, so is the prosperity. It is life in this world full of tests.
Islam does not pay importance to the life in this world. It does not mean that Muslims would be deprived of the blessings of this life. Almighty Allah gives them wealth, too. They could have positions, too. They could become governors, mayors, presidents, or caliphs. Despite all these provisions, they do not change their character. They do not get spoiled.
History books describe how Hadrat Omar ibn-i Khattab entered Jerusalem. He and his slave traveled with one camel, only. Couldn't he afford another camel? Of course he could; he could gather fifty camels with one gesture. He was responding to the invitation by the people of Jerusalem: "If your president comes here, we would surrender the city." He took a camel and a servant and left Madina. He had no guards, no swords or shields, no bow or arrows. Two people crossed the desert with one camel only.
Hadrat Omar was an equitable person. His fairness was legendary. He took turns with his slave on the camel. As they approached Jerusalem, it was the slave’s turn to ride the camel. People of Jerusalem were anxiously waiting at the outskirts of the city to meet the caliph and give him the keys of the city. The slave was on the camel and Hadrat Omar was walking. They crossed a river. The caliph was bare footed, traveling on foot and his slave was riding the camel. The commander of the army that surrounded the city met Hadrat Omar and said, "O Omar! We are going to be embarrassed like that [i.e., your are walking barefooted and your slave is riding the camel]."
Hadrat Omar made a fist, hit the commander on the chest and said: "Go away! If you had made such a statement before, I would have removed you from your position. The honor and dignity is with Islam, not with the clothing and appearance."
They were such blessed people. Each one has a legendary bravery. Can you do something like that? Can I do something like that? Compare yourself with them and decide how great they were. Can you stay hungry? Don't you eat the second meal in one sitting? How many sets of dress do you have? Compare yourself with them and understand how great they were. That is Islam.
When Almighty Allah gives, He provides abundantly. He has provided our ancestors with blessings. They are from the Middle Asia mostly. (Each person may have ancestors from different places. A person may accept Islam on his own. His ancestors could be Greeks, Armenians, or other nationalities. We would not hold it against anybody. Once a person accepts Islam, his past is erased and he starts a new page. What comes afterwards is more important.) Our ancestors left Middle Asia and came here. Why did they leave those places? They left their lands for Jihad. They took their shroud in case they die while traveling. What happened later on? Almighty Allah granted them great states and countries as well as wealth. Almighty Allah gives it even if the person has no desire for wealth and position.
I would like to read a hadith on this issue so that the matter sinks in your hearts. Our beloved Prophet said:
(Men kānet niyyetehul akhirah, jama-allahu shamlahu wa ja'ala ghināhu fi qalbihī wa atethud-dunyā wa hiya raghīmah) "Whoever wants the hereafter..." Imagine a Muslim who prefers the hereafter to this life, he does not care about worldly goods or positions. What happens? "Almighty Allah places his life into an order, instills peace, richness and generosity in his heart. The sustenance for this person in this world follows him." It is the decree of Allah that the sustenance and other goods of this life will follow him as he turns his back to what is from this world.
(Wa man kānet niyyetehud dunyā) "Whoever thinks of this life at all times instead of the hereafter, (farraqallahu 'alayhi amrahū) Almighty Allah grants him a disorder (wa ja'ala faqrahū beyne 'ayneyh) and the fear of poverty hangs down in front of his eyes." The person would be afraid of becoming poor at all times, so he avoids spending on charitable causes. He may have a big business, production plants, farms, ranches, yet the fear of poverty does not go away from him.
Imagine a person who has a fear of becoming poor and his life is disorderly. He keeps running from one thing to another. His workers steal, fire breaks up in his factory, so he keeps running from one task to another. (Wa lam ya'tīhī mined-dunyā illā mā kutibe lehū) "No matter how much he works, no more than what was destined for him out of these worldly goods comes to him."
There are rich among the Muslims as well as among the disbelievers. If you had read the papers today, you must have laughed at a news article as I did. The Sultan of Brunei is the richest man in this world. He is the ruler of a small kingdom in the northeast corner of Borneo Island. The Sultan went to New York for the anniversary ceremonies of the United Nations. (It is the United Nations soldiers who devised plots with Serbians against our Muslim brothers and sisters in Bosnia. People still go there to take part in celebration as though the United Nations is something.) The Sultan went to New York, but he could not find a hotel to stay. If I am not wrong on the amount, he spent one hundred thirty thousand dollars to buy one. He has money, so he buys the whole hotel. Well here it is a rich Muslim. He must be spending on the charitable causes, too.
There are rich Saudis, too. They would not know how much money they have. Then there is Somalia where Muslims starve to death. There are rich of the United States, and rich of the Saudi Arabia. America needs Saudi's money. If the rich people of Saudis and Kuwaitis withdraw their money from the American, British and German banks, these countries will be in a terrible economic crisis.
Allah grants both to Muslims and non-Muslims whatever He destined for them. The matter is that a Muslim should not give much importance to this world and should prefer the hereafter. That is what I have been emphasizing so far.
The topic I was asked to talk on was Islam and Responsibilities of Contemporary Man. A variation of the topic would be Islam in Europe and Responsibilities of Contemporary Man.
There is a responsibility on man that originates at a time before the Earth was created. In a verse in the Qur'an it is stated:
Bismillahir rahmānir rahīm,
(Innā aradnal emānata 'ales-samāwāti wal ardi wal jibāli fa abayna an yahmilnahā wa ashfaqna minhā hamalahal insān, innehū kāna zalūmen jahūlā.)
Here is the meaning: (Innā) "We..." This is a plural form to indicate greatness and majesty. In fact it means "I, Almighty Allah,..." (Aradnal emānata) "We offered the trust ...
In Turkish we use the singular form to indicate greatness. In Arabic, the plural form is used for the same purpose. Sometimes people ask me: "Why did Allah used the word 'We'? Isn't He one?" It is used to indicate greatness and majesty.
(Innā aradnal emānata 'ales-samāwāti wal ardi wal jibāl) "We offered the trust to heavens, earth and mountains. (Fa abayna an yahmilnahā) They all abstain from accepting it." They would not dare to do something against Allah's will, but they begged to be spared from the trust. They did not want it.
Would the heavens, earth and mountains speak? Almighty Allah makes them speak. Remember, Almighty Allah sent the Sura Mulk in a form of a person to the grave of His servant. He can do anything He wills. This is a mystery for mankind.
The Prophet said:
(Uhudun jabalun nuhibbuhū wa yuhibbunā) "We love the Mountain Uhud, and it loves us, too." Subhanallah! How would a mountain love a person? Where is its heart? Where is its brain? We would question such a statement. Well, there must be some spiritual personality that we do not understand. The Prophet said, "Before I was appointed as a prophet, the rocks and trees I passed by used to greet me." We ought to learn a lesson from here. We cannot understand how a rock greets the Prophet. Our understanding is limited to the human speech. The Prophet could understand other speeches, too.
Almighty Allah offered the trust to the heavens: "Would you take the trust?"
"Please, Lord, forgive me. I would not like to take the trust."
The heavens did not accept the trust, nor did the earth. There are the mountains that look gigantic to man. There are majestic mountains such as Himalayas and Alps. Allah offered the trust to mountains; they did not want it either.
(Wa hamalahal insān) "Man accepted the trust. (Innehū kāna zalūmen jahūlā.) Verily, he is very unjust and ignorant."
What is this trust (emānah)? The Qur'anic commentary books have detailed explanations. If I were to state it briefly, the trust is the orders of Allah and His prohibitions that is called tekālif-i ilāhiyye (divine proposals/duties).
The mountains were asked, "Are you willing to apply the rules of Allah, do what He orders and stay away from His prohibitions?" Their response was negative. They are always obedient to the order of Allah. Angels, for instance, never disobey Allah. The heavens never disobey Allah. They refused to have a free will. Yet man accepted the responsibility because he is unfair and ignorant. He did not think what he was getting himself into.
You must have read about how Hadrat Omar used to cry. He would say, "O Omar! I wish your mother had miscarried you and you had never been alive! I wish I were a vegetable plant to stay away from the responsibilities." This brave man of legends was in tears afraid of not fulfilling the responsibilities properly. If he had been asked, he would not have accepted the trust. While Hadrat Omar was worried so much, we seem to have no fear whatsoever. May Almighty Allah grant us awareness.
I shall read a hadith on this topic:
(Qąlalląhu 'azza wa jalla li ādeme) "Almighty Allah said to Hadrat Adam: ..." The ahadith that start like this are called Hadith Qudsī. The Prophet was informed, so he conveyed the message to us. (Yā ādemu innī aradtul emānata 'ales samāwāti wal ardi felem tutiqhā fehel ente hąmiluhā) 'O Adam! I offered the trust to heavens and earth, and they did not accept it. Would you accept it with everything in it?' (Qąla wa mālī fihā yā rab?) Hadrat Adam asked, 'My Lord, what does it have for me in it?' (Qąla in hameltehā ujirte) 'If you carry the trust properly, you will have rewards; (wa in dayya'tahā) if you loose it, if you do not carry it properly, (uzzibte) you will be penalized. That is the condition.' (Faqąla qad hameltuhā bimā fīhā) Hadrat Adam said, 'I do accept the trust with what is in it.' (Falam yelbeth fil jenneti il-lā mā beyne salātil ūlā ilel asr) From his first prayer till the time of asr prayer in paradise, (hattā akhrajahush-shaytąnu minhā) he could not carry the trust; Satan fooled him and he was expelled from the Paradise."
Dear Brothers and Sisters! It wouldn't be proper to tell some ahadith and leave out some. The words and deeds of the Prophet form a culture, one could come up with a ruling only after studying it all.
Hadrat Moses was a curly-haired nervous person. When he met Hadrat Adam, he questioned him: "Are you the one who ate the forbidden fruit and caused us to be expelled from Paradise?"
Would a person talk to his great grandfather with this tone of voice? Of course not! These are symbolic speech. I had received some technical education, too, so I could understand the meaning of all of this and enjoy it, too. Hadrat Adam responded: "Are you criticizing me for something written by the pen of destiny and already dried up?" The pen of destiny wrote it and the ink has been dried. What he meant is that it was the will of Allah; naturally, everything was Allah's preordaining. Almighty Allah created man in a way to receive the trust and handle the responsibilities. Allah has provided man with the necessary intelligence, freedom and means. He also gave the man a nafs and sent Satan to the person.
Almighty Allah created Satan, too. Satan requested, "My Lord, allow me fool your servants." If Almighty Allah did not allow, could Satan fool anybody? Of course not! It is a test, too, and it has wisdom in it.
The system is complete: There is Satan; there is the nafs... The world has been decorated and adorned like a bride: there are, pleasures, comforts, money, wealth, and alike. Then, there is the intelligence that Almighty Allah gave to man. Almighty Allah supported the intelligence with prophets--may peace and blessings of Allah be with them all--from the time of Hadrat Adam to the time of our beloved prophet Muhammad Mustafa. Greetings be to all prophets and selected servants of Allah that had come to this world since the time of Hadrat Adam. May Almighty Allah have us benefit from their intercession and have us meet in Paradise.
Each one has wisdom. Almighty Allah willed the creation of the universe, and sent mankind to this world for a test. All of these will happen. For the completion of the mechanism of the system, nafs, Satan, and the pleasures of this world are needed. With the intelligence, man will understand the message brought by the messengers from Almighty Allah, and save himself from dangers.
This looks like the trial of a car racer who is trying to complete the course of a rally through hills, potholes, mud, sharp turns, dangers and other obstacles. He has to adjust for all of these and take his car to the finish line.
Man is like the racer: He has been sent to this world; there are prohibitions that he has to avoid. There is Satan; he must not be fooled by Satan. There is nafs; he should not spoil it by fulfilling all of its desires. There are the orders of Allah; He has to fulfill them all. The life is a test. That is the responsibility.
We came to this world with this responsibility. We carry the trust; we are tested at all times. Hadrat Adam in Paradise said, "All right, I accept it!" and something happened. We are in a test, here. We are in a similar situation. The world is sweet, money is attractive, and there are so many beautiful things in the world. Our late shaikh, Mehmed Zahid Kotku, used to say:
"Fāni dunya hoshtur amma, aqibat mevt olmasa--this temporary life would be truely fine if there were no death!"
This temporary world is truly nice--for instance, I like this town of Gostar very much. If I had no business in Turkey, I would have settled here. It is a pleasant, historical, and nostalgic town. The temporary world has many beauties. There are places much nicer than here; there are beaches, lakeshores, and places full of fruit trees. There are mountain resorts, lake resorts, and sea resorts. There is everything: pleasure, enjoyment, comfort and alike. There are teahouses in Emirgan, restaurants on the Bosphorus, and pleasure places in Ēamlica. Yes, there are, but "this temporary life is fine if there were no death." There is death in the end of life in this world. A person does not live forever here.
There is the judgment after death. There is interrogation in the hereafter.
(Wal waznu yawma idhinil haqqu...) [The weighing that day is true...] There are many verses of the Qur'an indicating this fact. Everything we do in this life is registered for the interrogation on the hereafter. All will be weighed and measured; the deeds will be compared. Rewards, offenses, and rights will be brought to the Colossal Court for trial. This is very important.
That is why we believers are in a difficult situation. All mankind should be like that, yet we know some of the facts that other people do not know. We know that this world is a pleasurable place, but it is not our permanent abode; we have to work for the hereafter. Almighty Allah gave us the trust, the responsibility; we have to obey His orders. This is not a direction everybody goes. Our direction is different from the rest. That is why we are in a difficult position.
We are a responsible Ummah in this world from head to toe. From head to toe, on every cell of our body, we carry a responsibility. The burden is on our shoulders. We have the worship duty; if we neglect it, it will be an offense. We have to offer our ritual prayers everyday. We have to pay for zakah and fast in Ramadhan. We have the worship responsibility towards Allah. That is why we have established mosques. This is not our own country--we are not citizens here, yet we try to do our worship. When it is time for Hajj, local organizations take people there.
Then we have responsibilities towards our family. If a person is married, he has duties toward his wife. A wife has rights on her husband; likewise, a husband has rights on his wife. All of these are well stated in the Qur'an and ahadith.
One may object: "I am not going to observe these rights! I am a tough person. I have a thick, bushy and long mustache. I am a Cossack husband. A man from Anatolia would not give in to the wife. I am not giving anything to my wife!"
If you choose not to give the rights of your wife, wait for your punishment in the hereafter. On the Day of Judgment it will be hard:
(Yawma yafirrul mar'u min akhīh. Wa ummihī wa abīh. Wa Sąhibetihī wa benīh. Likullimri-in minhum yawma idhin she'nun yughnīh.) ["When the Blast shall sound, upon the day when a man shall flee from his brother, his mother, his father, his consort, his sons, every man that day shall have business to suffice him." (Qur'an 80:33-37)] As the verse indicates, man will run away from his wife on the day of Judgment because he was unfair to her in this life, and she will ask for her rights. He will run away from his child and from his servant. There will be many slaves who will be elevated above their masters, and the masters will need the blessings of their slaves. That is the Day of Judgment in the hereafter. Knowing all of this, you have the choice in this life. Allah Almighty granted you freedom.
We have responsibilities towards our family and children. The child will grab his father in the hereafter and say, "My Lord! I press charges against my father! He failed to teach me Islam! He sent me to courses for ballet, for music, and for foreign languages. He sent me to private schools and colleges in the United States, yet he did not teach me the meaning of Lā ilāha il-lal-lah! He did not teach me about Islam. That is why I could not do my worship to you my Lord! It is all his fault!" That is how it will be as the verses of Qur'an indicate. There are also ahadith that a person has responsibilities towards his children.
A Muslim has a responsibility towards his neighbor even if the neighbor is a non-Muslim. You have to be gentle towards your neighbor. You have to observe the rights of your neighbors as stated by Islam so that he will admire you. There is no other way!
Man has responsibilities towards his friends, towards the society. He also has responsibilities towards his own body. The Prophet stated:
(Fa-inna lijesedika aleyke haqqan) "Your body has a right on you."
Our beloved Prophet made Salmān-i Fārisī and Abud-Dardā brothers. After He immigrated to Madina, he matched every immigrant with one person from Madina and declared them brothers. Only one immigrant person was left without a brother from Madina. He was Hadrat Ali. There was nobody left for him. Hadrat Ali turned red and felt sorry for not having a brother. Then the Prophet said: "You are my brother!" That was the greatest of all honors. The Prophet chose him as his son-in-law and his brother for Allah.
Salmān-i Fārisī was an experienced person. He had learned many things about Christianity and Zoroastrianism through practicing and observing. He had been to Asia Minor, Ankara, Bursa and other places where they lay within the borders of Turkey now. One of the priests suggested him go to Arabia because he expected that the final Prophet would appear in that region. So he had arrived in Madina to meet the Prophet.
Abud-Dardā was among the As-hāb-i Suffa; he was poor but a very blessed person. After the Prophet declared the two as brothers, they wanted to observe the rights of the brothers.
Salmān-i Fārisī went to visit his brother. By the way, the visits among the brothers are very rewarding. He knocked at the door. Ummud-Dardā --may Allah be pleased with her--appeared at the door. Ummud-Dardā was the wife of Abud-Dardā. Abud-Dardā means the father of Dardā while Ummud Dardā means the mother of Dardā. That is how people are called in Arabic. Instead of the first name, people are called with their children's name such as "the father of somebody."
Our beloved prophet was called Abul-Qąsim--Father of Qąsim. The Jews would not address the prophet as "Rasulullah--the Prophet of Allah." If they had done so, they would have been Muslims. Almighty Allah did not grant them Islam. They could not call him Muhammad, either. Instead, they would address him as "Yā Abal-Qąsim--O father of Qąsim!" It was the tradition and custom.
Ummud-Dardā appeared at the door. Her clothes were worn out; she had an extremely poor appearance. Salmān-i Fārisī felt sorry for her. Salmān-i Fārisī, too, was poor, but he felt sorry. That would give an idea how poor she was. He asked: "Why are you like this?"
She responded: "Your brother has abandoned this world. He does not care about it anymore. He does not work for the house. That is why we are like this." She was not complaining, though. She was just stating the fact. She would not mind staying hungry or without clothes. Salmān asked: "Where is he?"
"He will be here, soon," said Ummud-Dardā. Soon Abud-Dardā arrived and took Salmān-i Fārisī in. He prepared some food for him. Our late Khawaja used to say, "It would not be proper to ask a guest if he is hungry."
There is a joke about this. A guest was asked if he was thirsty or sleepy. The response was, "I slept for a while by the water spring." That means he is neither thirsty nor sleepy. What he need is some food.
Hadrat Abud-Dardā brought the food and placed on the floor. This is the proper manner. I am saying this to teach the proper manners.
"Have you eaten?"
That does not concern you. You bring the food and let the guest eat it. If he is full, he will not eat much then you save the rest.
After Abud-Dardā placed the food on the floor, he stayed back. Salmān-i Fārisī asked, "Aren't you going to eat, too?" Abud -Dardā responded: "Please, go ahead and eat."
"C'mon! Let's eat together!"
He was fasting on that day; that is why he did not want to eat. He did not want to reveal that fact. Finally he stated:
" I am fasting: that is why I will not eat."
Salmān-i Fārisī insisted: "If you are not going to eat with me, I will not eat it either."
Hadrat Abud-Dardā sat with Salmān-i Fārisī and broke his fast. Later on it became maghrib time, and they prayed together. That means Hadrat Abud-Dardā lived quite far from the Prophet's mosque--not at a walking distance. They might have gone to the mosque and came back. Later on it was time to go to sleep. Hadrat Abud-Dardā made a bed on the floor for Hadrat Salmān-i Fārisī and said, "Here it is. Go to sleep."
Salmān-i Fārisī asked, "What about you?"
"I have some business to take care."
What kind of a business could a poor man take care at that time of the night? He would do dhikr and perform prayers. He would do what dervishes do. The dervishood comes from the Prophet and his companions.
Salmān-i Fārisī said, "If you do not go to bed now, I will not either. Come and lie down here."
Abud-Dardā obeyed. He did not want to upset his brother and wanted to get along well. After a short while Abud-Dardā wanted to get up quietly. However, Hadrat Salmān-i Fārisī grabbed him from his wrist and did not allow him to get up. Later on Abud-Dardā tried again. Hadrat Salmān would not let him get up. They fall deep asleep. Towards the end of the night, before dawn, Salmān-i Fārisī told Hadrat Abud-Dardā to get up: "Go make wudu' now. You have rested enough."
They both prayed tahajjud that is a very rewarding prayer. At the time of tahajjud, the gates of the heaven are opened and the prayers are accepted. It is like zero traffic on the highway. It is different from the other times.
When our beloved Prophet was ascended for Mi'raj, the archangel Jabrā'il AS accompanied him. When they came to the first heaven, the guarding angel told them to stop. This is described in the Mi'raj hadith. They stopped. The guarding angle asked:
(Men anta?) "Who are you?"
(Ana Jibrīl.) "I am Jabrā'il."
(Wa men ma'aka?) "Who is with you?"
"Muhammad SAS. He is the beloved servant of Allah, the messenger, Muhammad-i Mustafā."
"Was he permitted to pass this gate?"
"Then, you may pass."
Dear Brothers and Sisters. I take these reports very seriously. They are very important. Angel Jabrā'il has the highest rank among the angels, and he was stopped. Prophet Muhammad is the most important of the mankind, and he was stopped. There are gates of heaven.
(Innelledhīna kedh-dhebū bi āyātinā wastakbarū anhā lā tufattahu lahum abwābus samā', wa lā yadkhulunal jannata hattā yalujal jamalu fī semmil khiyat.) ["Those that cry lies to Our signs and wax proud against them--the gates of heaven shall not be opened to them, nor shall they enter Paradise until the camel passes through the eye of the needle." (Qur'an 7:40)] The gates of heaven are mentioned in this verse.
The gates of heaven will open or close; people, angels, prayers, supplications and worship may not pass through the gates. When it is the nighttime, the gates stay open. That is what the Prophet said. Almighty Allah calls on His servants:
"Isn't there anybody who wants something from Me? Ask what you want, and I will grant it!"
A person could get up at that time of the night and ask: "I want it my Lord! My son needs to get married; bless me with a good daughter-in-law."
Somebody else could say: "My business is not doing so well. I have a payment due tomorrow. My Lord, please grant me the money!"
You may ask, "Is it possible?"
Somebody in Tarsus told me this: "Khawaja, I had an IOU due the next day. It was quite a sum of money. I had no money whatsoever in the register. I truly wanted to pay that money. I turned to Allah and asked from him in tears."
He was desperate and turned to Allah: "My Lord! I promised my friend that I would pay him the money on the due date. I promised because I was hoping to sell some of the apartments that I had built. I could not sell any. I would be quite embarrassed towards him. Please Lord, do not let me get embarrassed towards him. I would like to pay him the money."
He said he had no money whatsoever in hand. The next morning he went to his office. Soon a man who works in Germany stopped by and bought two apartments with cash. He paid the money in Deutsche Marks. The contractor was so pleased that he thanked Allah in tears: "Lord! You are so great! I prayed at night, and You save me the embarrassment in the morning."
Almighty Allah grants it. You truly put your trust in Allah, you do your servitude sincerely, and then He will grant you thing that you would not imagine.
Let me tell you something else. There was the Hasan Pasha of Algeria who was the commander of the Ottoman Navy in the Mediterranean Sea after Barbaros. While Barbaros was still alive, he sent Hasan Pasha for an expedition. They took of with three-or five ships. They had a base in Algeria. They patrol the west of the line between Italy and Algeria including the east of Spain and the south of France. It was the western part of Mediterranean. The Greek Islands were already under Muslim rule.
They sailed in the sea but met no ships there. They could not find any ships to capture. They moved the ships in a natural harbor of an island for the night. They had to move out before the morning lights. Since they moved in at night, nobody noticed them. They had to move out before sunrise. Hasan Pasha did not order the ships to move out. He was inexperienced in his first expedition. He preferred staying in the harbor.
Some of the experienced men aboard the ships started worrying: "This man has no experience! Ships should not stay together in the harbor like this. The enemy in the island could see it and burn the ships. The ships must be taken out of the harbor at once!" Nevertheless, they waited for an order from Hasan Pasha. Finally they decided to go to the commander's ship. They found Hasan Pasha on his prayer rug. They said: "Sir, in the tradition of the navy, one would move away from the land before sun rises. Staying like this would be quite risky. You have not issued the order to move yet. We are worried. Is there a problem or an illness?"
I am sure they expressed their opinion in a nice manner. Hasan Pasha Responded: "Dear Brothers! I am familiar with the traditions. Wait for a while. Five or six enemy ships are headed this way. We shall hide here and capture them. Then we move on."
The men could not believe what they heard. As they left, they had the thoughts: "This man is crazy. He not only contradicts the traditional practices, but also he is trying to display some miracles." They were upset and kept repeating "Fa subhānalląh!" as they returned their ships.
Soon afterwards, the order was issued: "Move out of the harbor now." As they moved out, they cut in the way of enemy ships as Hasan Pasha stated. The enemy ships were caught by the surprise and displayed white flags. They surrendered. Hasan Pasha took the ships to Algeria. I had read this story in a book titled the Memoirs of Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha.
As in the story, Almighty Allah could inform his special servants. We accept that fact. It is a miracle. He could inform His servants.
Dear Brothers and Sisters! I said that we have responsibilities and duties toward everybody. I was telling you the story of Salmān-i Fārisī. They had got up for the tahajjud prayer before dawn. They went to the Prophet's Mosque for the fajr prayer. After the prayer, Hadrat Abud-Dardā complained to the Prophet about Salmān-i Fārisī: " O Messenger of Allah! Do you know what my Brother Salmān did to me?"
"What did he do?"
"He prevented me from doing my worship. I was fasting; he made me break my fast. I used to dhikr and pray before going to bed, he did not let me."
"Salmān! Why did you do that?"
Salmān-i Fārisī responded: "O Messenger of Allah! I noticed that his wife and his home were neglected. I thought he was doing excessive in worship while neglecting his home."
The Prophet turned to Abud-Dardā: "Salmān is right O Abud-Dardā! Salmān is right and you are wrong. Verily your Lord has infinite rights on you, and you are expected to worship Him. However, your family has rights on you, too. You should not neglect your wife."
As I was going through some ahadith, I read one: "If a person has a wife and he stays away from her for forty days, he would be doing injustice to her." If a person is married, he or she needs the spouse. The husband needs the wife and the wife needs the husband. One has to observe for these needs, too.
"Your body has rights on you; you cannot abuse it!" You have to provide nourishment and sleep in a normal scale. If one of these is cut down, the body falls weak and the sickness dominates. "You ought to give the rights to their respected owners."
We carry so many responsibilities. We have responsibilities to many people. We have to give the due rights to their owners my dear Brothers and sisters.
This responsibility was placed on our shoulders with our father Hadrat Adam. Our purpose in this life is earning for the hereafter not for this world. We give up worldly gains, our wealth and property when necessary in preference for the hereafter. Our forefathers gave their lives when necessary; perhaps, we could prefer martyrdom, too. May Almighty Allah save us from difficult tests; mere criticism is not proper.
Our forefathers had been in a state of war with the Europeans for centuries. But now, things are different. We do not fight with them; you are here to work for them. You save money here and take it back home [to Turkey] to buy a house or a piece of land. You help your relatives there. A worker here [in Germany] helps out many people there. You live a comfortable life; there is no threat for your life here. There is also freedom to practice your religion: You can wear a turban and a cloak; you can get together for dhikr.
The conditions in Europe have changed, and millions of Muslims moved in for good. It is estimated that two and a half million Muslims live in Germany--Almighty Allah knows the exact number. There are Muslims in France, in Netherlands, in Belgium, and in other countries. Most of these Muslims have settled in those countries and they have no intentions to go back home. Some go back home, yet they return to Europe. It is not easy to get adjusted to the conditions of the home country. It is for sure that while you want to return to your home country just to save the future of your children, there are Muslims who have chosen to live in Europe. They have established businesses here and settled in. There are also plans for Turkey to join the European Union. We oppose to this unification and raise our voice; nevertheless, the administrators are headed towards that union almost blindly.
Having stated all of these, I would like to point to some of the additional responsibilities that you have [as Muslims living in Europe]. Since you can practice Islam while you live here, you must observe Allah's orders properly. You should not be unaware, negligent, or sinful. You have to carry out the orders of Allah no matter where you are, no matter how you live. If one fails to carry out the orders, he will be a loser in the hereafter despite his worldly gains. You have to try to earn the consent of Allah and His Paradise.
Dear Brothers and Sisters! A good person is called a salih (righteous) person. Some time ago I said "May Almighty Allah place us among the righteous servants in the hereafter" and an Arab brother who is also fluent in Turkish warned me--which I liked very much: "Sir, It is good to be salih, but it is good only for the individual. If I am a righteous person, only I benefit from it. What is better is to be a muslih (one who corrects) person."
Being a salih person is good, but being a muslih person is even better. Being a muslih person means trying to have others become salih persons.
You ought to be righteous servants here; i.e., you shall not relax or lower your guard here. You shall not be confused by or attracted to blue-eyed, blond young German women when you see them here. Sure, you could keep your gaze down, but your children and others should not be attracted, either. One should follow the straight path and not deviate from the path. It is not sufficient, though; one has to work to have others be righteous, too.
Who are the others? At the first glance, it is Turks other than you --about 90 % of the Turks and other Muslims. What I hear is about 90 percent of the Muslims living in Europe never attend the mosques. They live a life that is far from what Islam requires of them.
Some time ago, I witnessed something at the airport in Ankara. While I was waiting for a flight, I saw a [middle-aged] man with a thick and bushy mustache whose appearance was screaming that he was from a rural region in Turkey. He was there to see a German woman off. It was obvious that the woman was not Muslim. She had wrinkles on her face. He kissed her on the lips. The man, a villager from our own country, has become quite modern; he hugged the woman and kissed her [in public].
I felt sorry [for the fact that a villager who would be more observant of our traditions and religion had disregarded all]. There is no such practice in our tradition. There is even no hand shaking between a man and a woman in our tradition. Our beloved Prophet did not shake hands with his female companions. We great them with "As-salaam alaikum!" and avoid free mixing of men and women. My observance at the airport was an example that people have deviated from the path Islam asks for. So many people drink or commit other sins in public.
The first thing we must do is to become a muslih servant. We are going to try to correct the Muslims who deviated from the path. The Germans are already trying to make them Christians in the name of integration. The Germans, the French, the Americans, and others are trying to do the same. They work continuously without a break. For instance, they work in the northern Iraq where two million Sunnī Muslims live. The Muslim leaders from there visited me and told me what was going on there. It is a small region, yet there were forty-one missionary organizations. It is a large number. They had invited me there a while ago, but we could not go. When we wanted to go there, there were PKK terrorist activities in the region. The military would not allow us to go there. We could not send anybody there. One of the visitors said, "Khawaja, you did not come there, but there are forty-one organizations that work incessantly there."
When Turks came to Germany as workers, Australia wanted immigrants from Turkey and from Greece. There promised free farmland for the immigrants. The population was small, and they wanted to make the continent a better place to live by accepting immigrants. At that time, the Greek government sent many citizens to Australia. Since the farmlands were not sufficient for the large population and no work was available for them, the Greeks immigrated to many countries in Europe, North America, South America, and Australia. They are all over the world.
The Greek government sent one priest for every twelve families that immigrated to Australia. The purpose was to preserve the Greek identity and the Orthodox denomination. In comparison to that, we would have a hard time finding imams for the mosques in Germany. Our brothers would work in the factory and come to mosque to lead the prayer when they could.
We must do our correction duty toward our brothers who are lost here. That is one of our top responsibilities here. First you must be salih servants to earn the Paradise, and then you must be muslih servants of Allah to have the others to earn the Paradise. To carry out this responsibility, you must get organized and establish organizations.
One of your shortcomings as Muslims living in Germany is that you confine your work to Muslims and neglect the duty of conveying the message of Islam to Germans. What would the companions of the Prophet do if they came to Germany today? They would invite the Germans to Islam and have most of them enter Islam. That means we have faults and shortcomings. That means we fail to practice Islam the way the companions practiced.
How can we have them enter Islam? That will be by being a good example of a Muslim. The situation in Germany is similar to the situation in Asia Minor when the Muslims first entered there. People were Christians; they had churches and other organizations throughout the land. Our forefathers attracted them to Islam by their manners and code of conduct. You must remember the time of Mawlānā Jalalad-dīn-i Rūmī. When he died, Christians attended his funeral in mourning. Before you say anything to the Christians, you must be a practicing good Muslim. They should love Islam in you first. You must be a good neighbour, so they would say, "Muslims are great neighbours!" Your cleanliness, orderliness, trustworthiness, and truthfulness should attract them.
Let me tell you something that happened to me. When I buy something from the supermarket, I check to receipt to make sure that everything is correct. I know the machines do not make mistakes, but people who operate them can. Many years ago in Munich, I checked the receipt at the supermarket and told the cashier: "There is a mistake here!" The cashier wanted to get rid of us: "No, no! It is not possible!" I insisted that there was a mistake. She called her supervisor. I told him that there was an error in the receipt. He responded the same way: "It is not possible!"
I said, "Yes it is possible! Look it is written as 2.45 DM instead of 24.5 DM. The number was entered incorrectly." He could not believe what he heard: "What did you say?"
"It must be 24 DM not 2."
He went to check the price and came back: "You are right!"
What was I to do? I was going to pay him more money! That is why I was trying to convince him. The man was confused. Not only he refused to take the money from me, but also he brought a large chocolate bar--as thick as a book--to give my grade-school-age daughter who was with me there. He thanked me.
These are some incidents that history books could mention in future. The person you are dealing with realizes that Muslims are truthful and trustworthy, they will love Islam. That is why you must assume that you have the responsibility of having people love Islam. That is why you have to orderly, organized and equipped with necessary tools. You are not going to do it for your own pleasure, but for Allah. You have to do everything in the best way possible for Allah. You will utter your words in the best way.
In one of the verses of the Qur'an, there is the passage: "Our Lord! Do not make us a source of mischief for the disbelievers!" How could a Muslim be a source of mischief for a disbeliever? Wouldn't the disbeliever already be in disbelief? A disbeliever could see a wrongdoing in a Muslim and attributes that to Islam. Thus he distances himself from Islam. Then the Muslim becomes in real trouble. That would be the "source of mischief" for the disbeliever. Believers of the past prayed Allah not to be the source of mischief for the disbelievers.
You must learn the language of the west. It is probably too late for you to learn, but your children can. You have to raise them in an excellent way. You shall make sure that they get the best skills and occupations. You must teach them their mother tongue Turkish, too. Now they would acquire German, but there will be a time that they will not understand Turkish [if you do not teach them.]
When I go to Australia, I observe that children of Turkish parents do not understand what I say; neither do some of the grownups. Once I gave a talk in Holland; I heard the comments afterwards: "We did not understand anything from the talk." I had spoken in Turkish. You must learn Turkish as well as the local European languages.
You must raise and educate your children well. Your child should not be an employee but an employer. You should say, "I was a worker, my child will be a boss." You should not be below a German in social status so that your words are taken seriously.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
For the reason I stated, you must work hard! You must work together and join businesses and cooperate. I know that you had some bitter experiences in the past. I know that some people collected money from you and wasted. Nevertheless, you should learn not to be fooled. You should put your efforts together and get stronger. You should establish big businesses.
Your mosques should be attractive and clean. You must pay attention to this. Have you seen the worship house of Jehovah Witnesses? Theirs is attractive because they spend their money on it. They spend significant amount of money for that because it is matter of propaganda and advertisement. Don't we have money? We do, but we do not think it is necessary. We are content with what we have. We say, "Our houses in Turkey are not any better than this." In fact, we have other duties and responsibilities here. You ought to invite the German to the mosque, and he shall listen.
Why do I say all of these? You may say, "These are material things of this world; we do not need them." My response will be "No! You must pay attention to this because these have a contribution on the spread of Islam."
You must organize courses and conferences, oral and written material in the local languages. Your children can help you prepare such material. You should direct some of your children to seek Islamic knowledge and spread it.
In Ankara, I had a rich contractor friend. He belonged to our tariqa. His son was a student at Imam-Khatib School. Once he said: "Khawaja, I want to keep my son at a Mercedes parts dealer for this summer." I objected: "An Imam-Khatib School student should not spend his summer at an automobile parts store. You ought to keep him with the preacher Osman Shawkat Yardimedici as his helper. He should carry his briefcase as he goes from one mosque to the next. He should listen to him and learn from him as his apprentice. If you wanted him to be a parts dealer, why did you send him to Imam-Khatib School?"
You must send your smartest child to an Islamic school so that he becomes a scholar. He learns well and he preaches well to invite people to the truth. He will earn rewards for himself and for you, too. You must select the smartest of your children and support him in this way. Tell him: "Son I am with you, I will support you. I will buy you a good car and an apartment. Do not worry about worldly things. Do not worry about the business or trading. Try to learn Islam in the best way and teach others." I promised my children and grand children: "I will buy a car for any of you who memorizes the Qur'an entirely." By the will of Allah, I can do it. Let them study and learn.
You musty have your smartest child seek Islamic knowledge. You must also pay attention to radio and television broadcast as well as audio-visual Islamic productions. I would like to remind you that our radio station AKRA [www.akradyo.net] can be heard here, too. Now we broadcast from a satellite. We do this to teach our children our religion and our culture. Brother Cemaleddin can provide you the satellite and frequency details. You should listen to this broadcast with all of your family members. That will keep your Turkish alive and intact. You will also get the news from a reliable source along with the cultural programs. Similar work here is very important.
I would like to remind you about a hadith of our beloved Prophet: "If five Muslims have residences in a locality, it becomes an obligation on these Muslims to call for adhan, to call for iqąma and to offer congregational prayers. If they fail to do so, the Satan overpowers them, gets their control, (istehweze aleyhumush-shaytąn) puts his teeth on their flesh, puts them in his pocket. They become the hunts of the Satan."
I want to emphasize that the Prophet requires Muslims to establish congregational prayers in a location even if they are "five families" only. It is very important. That is why, my dear brothers, you must plan your housing. Establish a commission to do the planning. If possible establish cooperatives and housing projects. You could use credit for housing, and you could pay it back as you pay rent. If you live close to one another, you can easily carryout the congregational prayers and other activities. Your wives can support one another, too.
There are such housing projects that we have completed in Turkey. Imagine, the man of the house goes abroad for six months, and he does not worry about the safety of his family because the residents in the housing complex are good and religious people. You should establish similar projects here. You must start planning immediately.
You must also get involved in the local politics. I heard that some of our brothers participated in some of the political parties in Sweden. They receive support, too. If you are elected as representatives, then you have a better chance to protect your rights.
You must take part in social activities and establish associations and organizations. You must cooperate with international charitable organizations and support them. If you do all of these, you will be well established in the society, and your children will have a better social status. You will be considered as a minority, but you will be effective. You will be protecting the future of your children and their beliefs. You will save them from the hellfire.
If a person abandons Islam and becomes a disbeliever, he will end up in hellfire. As you head to Paradise, how would you take it if your children are dragged to hellfire? It is your duty to keep them on the path of Islam. That is why you must do all of these activities.
These are what I have to say on the responsibilities of Muslims who are living in Europe. You must try your best to earn paradise. Try to earn the consent of Allah.
I have left something out inadvertently: The best method to carryout these responsibilities is Tasawwuf. Establishment of Islam in Asia Minor became possible through the works of Yunus Emre and Mawlānā Jalāluddīn Rumī. Pay attention to them, for they were Sufis, Mutasawwifs, and their principles are very important. They said: (Dögene elsiz gerek/ Sögene dilsiz gerek) "Do not response to one who hits you / Do not say anything to one who insults you." They worked with good manners and unselfishness. They earn the love and respect of people.
To become a salih (righteous) and muslih (correcting) person, you must pay attention to the training of your nafs and your character. You shall carry out other work with love and zeal; then, you will be a beloved servant, one of the awliya, of Allah. Almighty Allah then will make your life in this world and in the hereafter very pleasant.
May almighty Allah give you happiness in this world and in the hereafter. May He grant you, your family and your loved ones with all of the good things of this life and of the hereafter.
Bi hurmati habībihī muhammedinil mustafā, wa bihurmati esrāri sūratil fātiha!..
October 23, 1995 - Gostar, GERMANY