After the disintegration of the Ottoman State, consecutive disintegrations ensued in the Islamic World. Today there are new efforts by Muslims to stand on their feet and find their own spirit again. Even if you do not look at the entire picture but only at the example of Turkey, you see that things are not as they used to be in the past, that so many things have changed within the recent forty to fifty years. Some powers that are disturbed by these developments and changes in the Islamic world are instigating some ignorant people who do not know the true criteria of their religion and who act on emotions and chauvinism, and they are manipulating these people for their wicked purposes.
The Need for paranoia and deluded masses
Unfortunately, it is a reality that not all people living in Islamic regions are sensible ones with a balanced way of thinking and sufficient knowledge of their own sources. As for the powers that wish to trigger paranoia and whip up the masses to form public opinion in the world to suit their benefits, they see these weaknesses in Muslims that stem from their ignorance and poverty, prepare stories to mask their plots, and thus induce those liable ones as pawns in their plots, either by deceiving them or by robotizing them through psychoactive drugs. They abuse the neglected generations condemned to ignorance and thus delude the masses. The way to be saved from delusion depends on keeping our immune system strong. If you have a healthy body resistant to viruses and germs, then you can overcome them all. However, if there are serious flaws in your immune system and others continually try to inject viruses with an intention to make the body topple over, you cannot prevent it.
For this reason, in the shrinking world of our time, the Muslims who follow the Prophet’s way need to act much more wisely, think before taking every step, weigh the possible consequences of their statements very carefully, and consider what feelings those words are likely to evoke in the other side. Pros and cons must be evaluated before speaking, and not a single word must be said without thinking about its consequences ten times. Particularly, those in a position to represent an entire collective need to act with further care, as an entire body of people pay for the consequences of the mistakes they make. For example, if an ordinary man says something as, “Such and such people desecrated your mosque, so go and do the same thing to them,” nobody will care about it. But if an unstable person in a position where his words are listened to says such a thing, it is taken seriously and this causes destruction very difficult to mend. If one lacks sound knowledge, wisdom, perspicacity, and insight along with bravery and courage, the bravery and courage of such people can lead them to such insanity that it will not be possible to rectify the mistakes they make. In this respect, it is not correct to solely put the blame on the other side for the disasters we undergo. Since the early periods, those who wish to prevent the beauties of Islam being practiced and witnessed by others, try to put such plots into action. The Rightly Guided Caliphs and the insightful rulers who took them as example did not let that happen. On the other hand, particularly within the recent two or three centuries, alien factors succeeded at manipulating some liable ones to suit their purposes, and they unfortunately marred the effulgent face of Islam. It can be said that no period of Islam witnessed the like of today’s atrocities, committed so-called in the name of religion. Different groups in different periods, such as the Muwahhidin, Karmatis, and Batinis, attempted such monstrous acts. But even they did not become live bombs and did not commit suicide attacks, resulting in mass murders of women, elderly, children, and all.
The way of struggle that becomes a believer
I would like to relate a memory of mine at this point. A person who came for a visit talked with me about Islamophobia and stated that Westerners view Muslims like monsters and that they try to defame Islam in their caricatures, newspapers, and television shows. In response to this, I told him how people make the mistake of reacting emotionally against such attacks against Islam and commit certain behaviors absolutely incompatible with Islam, and that it is not really correct for us to declare ourselves to be completely innocent. It was an unexpected reply that made him surprised, but it was an undeniable reality. When responding to badness done, we are supposed to take a way of struggle that becomes a believer. Otherwise, the wrongs committed put all the Muslims on earth in a difficult situation, because such acts provide certain circles with a weapon they can use against Muslims. As for the course of action to be followed, we should always regard our attitudes and manner as our honor (and thus act with utmost sensitivity) and try to fend off attacks in compliance with the essential principles of our religion.
Those who commit atrocities have no share of Islamic faith
How can it ever be possible to make people love religion through violence and rage? Religion has been defined in the following words: “Religion is such a body of systems decreed by God that it guides those who possess reason to goodness out of their own will.” In my opinion, this definition of religion is a consideration that excels even the most developed form of democracy, because it takes human free will as basis and leaves individuals with their own free will. According to Islam, humans are blessed with a potential for benevolence and appreciating goodness. If religion can be represented in the right way and the beauties it promises for the future can be demonstrated, people will welcome it. If you demonstrate the beauties of religion, help people to love it, and engender a desire toward it in their hearts, people choose it with their free will. Nobody can object to that. Everyone has the freedom to choose whichever religion he or she wishes. What really matters is the beauty of representation. Another merit of the Pride of Humanity, blessings and peace be upon him, was his representation of the Divine message by personal example, as well as conveying it in words. He represented every virtue he taught with immaculate correctness and thus set a throne in hearts.
Long ago, we, as his followers, also represented those virtues. However, we have degenerated over several centuries. And unfortunately some people have committed many evils in the name of religion. But in reality, people who commit atrocities have no share of true Muslimness. As it was expressed in different instances, a terrorist cannot be Muslim, and a Muslim cannot be a terrorist. Even if a terrorist appears from among Muslims, it means that such a person has lost the attributes of being Muslim. So it is not possible to call that person as a sound Muslim. How can it be! There are certain rules even for wartime. When an army was setting off on a campaign, God’s Messenger stated that Islam forbids doing harm to women, children, and people who took refuge in places of worship. For this reason, it is impossible to reconcile these murders committed in the name of religion today with the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
In conclusion, what falls to us is being respectful toward everyone and meeting every understanding with respect, along with representing religion in the right way, as coercing others to accept one’s system contradicts the spirit of religion. Marching upon people with firearms and brutal force, occupying a shopping mall by declaring a war of one’s own, and taking innocent people as hostages are irreconcilable with Islam. As followers of the religion of peace and benevolence, we regard the principle of responding to any wrong with the like of it as tyrannical and refuse to commit cruelty through tit-for-tat reactions, preferring virtuous behavior over inhuman acts against all odds. A true believer does not, indeed cannot, fall to a level to resort to such behaviors.
May God Almighty bless our hearts with true wisdom. May He protect us from all contradictory acts that go against His Divine Will! May He bless all of us with taking the path of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and following the example of those who have truly walked on his path.
 Abdulaziz al-Bukhari, Kashf al-Asrar, 1/13
This article has originally been published in Turkish on 25/11/2013.