"If Your Trust in the Koran is Strong, You Should Not be Afraid of Dialogue"
The return of the Messiah had been on the cover of Aksiyon magazine. It was asked, "Why has this been published in Aksiyon?" It was said, "Why is it that our Prophet [Mohammed], who is the last prophet, does not return, but it is accepted that the Prophet Jesus will return?" A number of discussions took place on television regarding why they are so interested in this subject; what it is that they want it to be. Among men of religion, there are some who think differently about this matter. Some say that in the Koran, there is no clear sign about this. What do you think about it? Will the Prophet Jesus come back?
The Second Coming of the Prophet Jesus is mentioned ambiguously. Nothing about the nature of the return is said. His return is a subject that has been dwelt upon for ages by other religions as well. The Jews have also waited. They have been waiting for the Prophet Jesus. Namely, someone who will fulfill that function as well. Someone who will come and embrace everyone with mercy and compassion. However, when the Messiah appeared, [Jews] had said, "you are not him."
People have been waiting for our Master as well. The Holy Koran says this obviously. However, when that Prophet [Mohammed] came to them, they denied him too. "You are not him. We have been waiting for someone else," they said. That is, in every religion, there is an expectation that someone will come at the End of Time. That expectation is in Imamiye as well. They wait for a cursed Imam. That is in Shiite too. They wait for an imam who will come at the End of the Times. They have the expectation that someone will come who will put the accounts into order in the Shiite segment, who will guide them and who will take them out of the gayya [a well in Hell]. Today, Christians have such an expectation as well. Therefore, some people come out with the of the Messiah in different places. I think, some people behind the invasions see themselves as such. The people are made to believe in that direction too.
In Islam, in the Koran, it is not explicitly mentioned. However, some great scholars, for instance a person named Allame Keshmiri who was raised in India, said that four verses point out the Second Coming of the Messiah at the End of Time. He collected hundreds of hadith on the subject. Forty something of these hadith are genuine. That is, these are reliable hadith according to hadith experts. Nearly ten of them are said to be hasen, [fair]. However, 100 hadith are about the Second Coming of the Messiah. Four verses of them are not clear, they are pointing out [the Coming].
What are those verses?
Nisa, 4/159; Zuhruf, 43/61; Âl-i İmran, 3/46; Meryem, 19/33.
Do you trust Keshmiri?
He is an authority on that subject. However, the issue is based on hadith and there are some people in Turkey who deny hadith and say, "Koran only". They are critical of this, but from yesterday to today, all of our sources, the followers of Mohammed and his companions, as well as the communities of the sects (ehl-i sunna vel-cemaat), have said it. Namely, mention of [the Prophet Jesus'] return, is in the Koran and hadith; however, the nature of this return is ambiguous. How will he descend? Does this require an understanding that he will descend alive from the sky and will perform his duty and functions? Or, will it happen as a soul and a sense? What is the spirit of the message that the Messiah preached? Compassion, mercy, gentleness, make peace among people and embrace them. I wonder, will it be this way at the End of Time? Will such a thing occur between Christians and Muslims?
The Bediuzzaman, [Said Nursi, one of the greatest Islamic scholars of the 20th century], attributes a possibility to both options. He says that if the obvious religion (din-i mubin), Islam, needs to re-express itself in different places of the world, even if the Messiah is at the other end of the universe, he would return for such a significant function. But, he [Bediuzzaman] interprets him [Jesus] as a spiritual personality. "He will return as a spiritual personality," he says. No one has the right to object to this. To come as a spiritual personality means a soul, a sense, will come as a breeze upon the people. But, perhaps there would be guides who would act as leaders of such a movement.
No one in person can say, "I am the Messiah." Because The Messiah has come and gone. He left as the Prophet. It is 'qufr' for a person to dare to say, "I am the Messiah," because, it is 'qufr' for one who is not a prophet to say, "I am a prophet." Conversely, it would also have been 'qufr' for the Messiah to have said, "I am not a prophet." These are dangerous things. A prophet cannot say, "I am not a prophet." One who is not a prophet cannot say, "I am a prophet." But, many in the world say this. Some are being drugged in the prisons and being made to say it. Today, it is being done easily, it happens in different places of the world. This has occurred in Capadocia as well. If a person arrives very healthy but as he/she leaves, says, "I am the Messiah," it has to be investigated. The case has to be researched in neurology as well.
Pardon me. Did this occur in Capadocia in the 20th century?
Yes. Let me end it here. All the weird things that one would never have thought of occurred in the past century. The land is very fertile; anything can grow in it. If the Messiah will descend as a spiritual personality, I do not see it as that far off. It could be that the soul would descend in that sense.
For the sake of dialogue and tolerance, it is going to different churches and saying, "let's read together." In various places, it is said, "You join our Bible class in return." This is mutual. If you have any doubts about your own values and if your trust in the Koran can be easily shaken, then such a faith that is about to fall apart will eventually collapse anyway. Let it be. But, if you have strong beliefs and if you believe that no one could mix you up about anything, then you should not have any fear. Go to the different places. Meet with spiritual leaders. A great person at the beginning of the century, a great thinker, an architect of thought said that, "Reasons prone to quarrel should not be talked about with Christians." If you think in terms of agreement and reconciliation, then these should not be talked about. Persons who make efforts for dialogue act in such a way. Many people could be talked about within a frame that I would call Christian Muslim. These [people] say, "I believe in the Prophet Jesus, he is a prophet. But, the Prophet Mohammed is the last prophet of Allah. And the Koran is a scripture." I do not recall any Muslims who converted to Christianity: however, I do remember many [Christians] who converted to Islam.
But, in the magazine [Aksiyon], there is a picture of the Messiah. How this became the picture of the Messiah we do not know. There is a picture that is passed around. In the pictures in Africa, his hair is a little curly. In Western movies, he is blonde and has blue eyes. In the Middle East, he is somewhat typical of Middle Easterners. He is, in fact, of Middle Eastern descent. He was born in Nazareth. His name is, "Youth from Nazareth." Everyone thinks he resembles their own people. There are many pictures of the Messiah in circulation. Here, his pictures are hung along the roadside during Easter and Christmas. These are different types of pictures. One of them was found and published in the magazine. They possibly thought, "Could this [picture] soften the hearts of people with whom we would like to have more tolerance?" To me, it was unnecessary. The Koran, genuine sunnah, grants the Messiah his position. At a time in which partial materialism had been put forth, he was a prophet who was sent to a certain tribe. He came with sense, with spirit. Namely, in every aspect, he is a person who emphasized every meaning. He comes to the world with no father. He was given birth by one so pure as Meryem [Virgin Mary]. He says only, "Spirit," he says, "Do not fight". For instance, in the Bible he denounces the Pharisees in the temples as hypocrites. He says, "Let Allah take your lives. You cannot act as such." He had come to alter, to make corrections, to break the material. The Koran possibly gives signs of these. The Koran tells about the Messiah differently, the Torah differently. The nature of the Torah is in proportion with its congregation. Or its congregation's character is proportional to the Torah. Hence, there is a separate view for both. The last verse of the Feth surah, expresses these two points very nicely.
Now, it is possible that the friends at the magazine might take the job a little far. I was slightly disturbed as well. This makes some people, who are looking for excuses, disturbed. Moreover, some members of the Abraham religions [Judaism, Christianity and Islam] are disturbed by this. Our Master [Prophet] has a very serious respect for the Prophet Abraham. "Among the prophets whom had come before me, I resemble the Messiah and Abraham," he says. The Prophet Abraham is also the guide of the Prophet Moses, the Prophet David, the Prophet Solomon, the Messiah, the Prophet Zachariah, and the Prophet Isaiah. If our Master is proud to be affiliated with a prophet, then respect for that prophet is required in my opinion. People try to constitute a platform under the name of a prophet and to analyze the concept of unity. To draw a conclusion from this such that it causes one to be regretful of our own religion, and causes them to value some other religion more, is very cruel.
I have seen different people on this subject of tolerance and dialogue. There were some who had fallen into suspicion by saying, "I wonder if I am doing good or not?" But, at first, our Master behaves well towards Christians. The Caliph Omer had behaved very nicely to both Christians and Jews when he conquered Palestine. Selahaddin Eyyubi had treated them very well. When Fatih [Mehmet the Conqueror] conquered Istanbul, Orthodox and Armenians said, "We have been freed from the Western barbarism," when they saw the tolerance and leniency of Muslims.
In this subject, we have predecessors. Bediuzzaman wrote a letter to the Vatican. At the same time, he wrote a letter to the Orthodox Church. He received replies from them. He received cards for bayram [two religious holidays of Muslims]. These are examples of tolerance. However, I know that with all this, I would sit and sob, saying, "I wonder if we are dong the right thing. Could this be misunderstood?" But, when I was on a flight, one of the people sitting next to me, whispered into my ear, "I would not hide this from you, La ilahe illallah Muhammeden Rasullullah."["There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His Prophet."] One of them said this to me. I have ten witnesses regarding the matter. Many people travel here in groups. Their remark is this: "The Koran is a scripture. It is a book descended from Allah."
A friend of mine came to me and said: "Some say, 'we are Christians'; but in such and such place, as a group, they spread the propaganda of our Master and the Koran. Should I tell them not to say 'we are Christians'?" I said to my friend, "No."
When you say so, you are biased. Your words do not carry as much weight. Accepting our Master is very important. Necip Fazil [Kisakurek], either about Pascal or some other thinker, said since he felt admiration, "He came to the port, but he missed the ship." Now, getting on his ship is crucially important. Sadi says in his Bostan, "No sadness for that ummah, [community of Believers or Muslims], who get on his ship. He is the captain of that ship." It is very important to make them say that. If there is a chance that thousands of people could be made to say, "La ilahe illallah Muhammedun Rasulullah"…
Let me tell you about an incident that took place between a director in a Catholic church and a friend of mine who is a faculty member: Our friends say: "Once, the director said, 'I will not teach the class. You teach it for me.' I said, 'I will teach the class but what will I tell them? He said, 'Go in and talk about Fatiha [the Opening, first surah in the Koran]. This is a common surah between you and us.'" I went to class and talked about Fatiha to the Christians in the class. I did not receive any negative reactions; I was praised. One day, I went to him. He was in his room. A Koran was in his hand and he was reading it. I said, 'what are you doing?' He said, 'I am reading the Koran. But you should know this, I am not reading just to have information as you do when you read the Old Testament, I read the Koran because it is the book of Allah and so that I can earn some good deeds." (He gets emotional and his eyes fill with tears.)
Now, if that much of a softness can occur among the elite, to me it is a gain. It should not be measured by only the ones who have converted to Islam. The ones who kind of accept Islam should also be included in this number. The ones who say, "The Koran could be the words of Allah," should be considered as should also be the ones who say, "The prophet Mohammed could be a prophet." These are very important things. After this generation, there are future generations. If you do not fill these gaps today, you will not be able to find the opportunity to express yourself, your right thoughts, tomorrow. Until now, with the gaps, we have always stayed at a distance from one another. We waited for them to come to us. The matter is not so. The gaps should be filled. The Master [Bediuzzaman] says, "In some respects it is shameful and disrespectful to label Christian and Jews as qafir [unbeliever], or moreover to name a qafir as a qafir." That is such a well-mannered, well thought out, judgment. These are now the People of the Book. When its addresses them, the Koran says, 'O, People of the Book.' He makes an interpretation that no one has done before, he says, 'O, People of the School.' 'You are educated ones. Come, let's unite with a single word, Allah.' He interprets that verse as such. Thousands of people know this. Tolerance is maintained within this frame. Every platform is realized. Our greats are understood. Muhyiddin-i Ibn Arabi is talked about, Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi.
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