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True Muslims Cannot Be Terrorists

The style adopted by those who treat others with hatred and hostility, whose opposition to Muslims, Jews and Christians apart from themselves has been sharpened with anger and who smear them by calling them "infidel" is not in keeping with Islam at all. As we pointed out above, Islam is a religion of love and tolerance. Muslims are the bodyguards of love and affection, who shun all acts of terrorism and who have purged their bodies of all manner of hate and hostility.

Islam literally means "surrender". Islam is the religion of contentment, security and peace. It is a great shame that Islam, which is based on those tenets, is seen by others to be the same as terrorism. This is a huge historical mistake because as we pointed out above, for a system based on peace and security to be associated with terrorism is first and foremost shows that those people know nothing of the spirit of Islam and are unable to grasp it through their own souls.

While the Prophet (pbuh) went out of his way to show respect for others, the fact that today people are citing religion when being offensive to others means that they have not properly understood their Prophet. This is because there is no room for hate and hostility either in Islam or in the multicolored world of its envoy Muhammad (pbuh).

Islam literally means "surrender". Islam is the religion of contentment, security and peace. These principles are so commonplace in a Muslim's life that when he stops to pray Namaz he cuts off all ties with the world, bows and prostrates before God and then stands with hands clasped in respect. When he comes out of prayer, it is like starting a new life. He ends the prayer by greeting those to his left and right and wishing them health, security and peace, then goes and joins the other people.

Greeting others and wishing them peace are considered among the most auspicious acts that are done in Islam. Indeed, when the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was asked, "What is the most auspicious act in Islam?" he replied, "Giving food to others and greeting all those you know and do not know."

Accusations of terrorism

It is a great shame that Islam, which is based on those tenets, is seen by others to be the same as terrorism. This is a huge historical mistake because as we pointed out above, for a system based on peace and security to be associated with terrorism is first and foremost shows that those people know nothing of the spirit of Islam and are unable to grasp it through their own souls. One should seek Islam through its own sources and its own true representatives throughout history, and not through the actions of a tiny minority that misrepresent it. The truth is that there is no harshness or bigotry in Islam. It is entirely a religion of forgiveness and tolerance. Such pillars of love and tolerance like Mevlana, Yunus Emre, Ahmed Yesevi, Bediuzzaman and similar expressed this aspect of Islam most beautifully and went down in history as examples of this affection and tolerance.

Jihad in Islam

Jihad is an element of Islam based on certain specific principles aimed at removing all the obstacles to the defense or exaltation of the name of God. We can cite numerous examples throughout history in connection with this topic. As a nation we put up a sterling defense on many fronts such as Canakkale and Trablusgarp. Had we not, were we going to say to these enemies intent on occupying our country, "You have come to make us civilized. That's good of you. Welcome. Look, you've brought soldiers!" ? There are always going to be battles, which are an inescapable reality of humanity. However, the verses in the Koran revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) specifying the conditions for Jihad are misinterpreted by others to mean the main aim of Islam. In essence, these people, who have failed to grasp the true spirit of Islam, are unable to strike a balance between the broad and the finer points and this, when coupled to the fact that they are consumed with hatred, leads them to misinterpret Islam. Whereas, the breast of a genuine Muslim community is full of love and affection for all of creation. A poet once wrote: Muhammad was begotten of affection; Without Muhammad, what comes of affection!

Love binds existence

Yes. Muhammad (pbuh) is a man of affection. He is also known as "Habibullah", which comes from the word 'habib' which means 'he who loves God and is loved by God.' Mystics such as Imam Rabbani, Mevlana Halid and Shah Veliyullah Dehlevi say that the highest degree is that of love.

God created the whole of creation out of love and Islam has embroidered the delicate lacework of this love. In the words of another great mystic, love is the raison d'etre for the existence of creation. Of course, in spite of all this we cannot deny that Islam does have an element of violence in the name of deterrent. However, some people take these elements, which should be secondary, and consider them to be what Islam is all about, whereas Islam is peaceful. Once, a friend of mine who shared these sentiments told me, "You speak with everybody without imposing any restrictions. This in turn breaks the tension we have. Whereas we have been taught that according to Islam we should show our hostility to certain people in the name of God." Actually, this thought stems from the incorrect interpretation of this idea. In Islam, everything that is created is to be loved in the name of God. What is to be hated and shown hostility to are impure and immoral thoughts and feelings nd blasphemy. God meant man as a kind creature. (Isra 17/70) and one can say that everyone is blessed with that quality to varying extents. The Prophet of God (pbuh) was passing a Jewish funeral and he stopped to pay hi respects. When reminded that the person being buried was a Jew, Muhammad replied, "He is still human though." He showed the value given to humankind in Islam.

Yes, this was the measure of our Prophet's respect for people. What lies behind certain Muslim people or institutions that misunderstand Islam getting involved in terrorist attacks that occur throughout the world should be sought not in Islam but within those people themselves, in their misinterpretations and in other factors. Just as Islam is not a religion of terrorism, any Muslim who correctly understands Islam cannot be thought of as a terrorist.

Given that there are bound to be exceptions, the interpretations of Islam by Turks are very positive. If we can spread the understanding of Islam held by the pillars of affection like Mevlana and Yunus Emre throughout the world, and if we can get their message of love, dialogue and tolerance to those people parched for this message, then people from all over the world will come running into the arms of this love, peace and tolerance we represent.

The tolerance of Islam is so vast that the Prophet (pbuh) specifically banned even the saying of things that would offend people. Despite all the self sacrificing efforts by Muhammad, Ebu Jehil failed to become a Muslim and died a wretch. In fact, the name Jehil means ignorant. In fact, this ignorant and course man spent all his life as the enemy of the Prophet (pbuh) and his attitude has become second nature to Muslims. Saying that, shortly after the conquest of Mecca Ebu Jehil's Muslim son started saying things in council against his father and was reprimanded by the Prophet (pbuh) for doing so.

Respect for mankind

In another Hadith [story of the words and deeds of the Prophet (pbuh)] he said it was a great sin to swear at somebody's mother or father. They asked him if people ever swore at their in-laws. He replied that a man swears at another's father; or someone swears at another's mother, then he causes his own mother or father to be sworn at and is in effect guilty of swearing at them himself.

While the Prophet (pbuh) went out of his way to show respect for others, the fact that today people are citing religion when being offensive to others means that they have not properly understood their Prophet. This is because there is no room for hate and hostility either in Islam or in the multicolored world of its envoy Muhammad (pbuh).

Servants of God

When we read the Koran, we see that it is based throughout on forgiveness and tolerance. In the passage 'The House of Imran' in the Koran it reads: 'Those who spend benevolently in ease and in straightness, and those who restrain their anger and pardon men; and God loves those who do good to others.' (Al e-Imran 3/133) Let us explain further. You encounter an incident that makes your blood boil; people have sworn at and insulted you. As much as you can, you should behave indifferently and without reacting. The Koran how people of good morals should behave even at times when you just want to snap: "They are such magnanimous people that when they are confronted with events that would drive them crazy they swallow their anger like it was a thorn and they turn a blind eye to the faults of others." The Arabic words from this passage have much meaning. 'Kezm' means swallowing what cannot be swallowed; while Kazim means someone who swallows his anger.

In another passage, God tells His followers: "And they who do not bear witness to what is false, and when they pass by what is vain, they pass by nobly." (Al-Furqan 25/71)

An Islamic style

When we look at the exalted life of the Prophet (pbuh), we see that he practiced everything preached in the Koran. For example, to some one who came and admitted adultery asking to be cleansed of his sins whatever the punishment may be, the Prophet (pbuh) said, "Go home, repent. There is no sin God does not forgive." Another Hadith tells how a person accused another to the Prophet (pbuh) of stealing from him. Just when the penalty was about to be stated, the man turned and forgave the thief, to which Muhammad (pbuh) said, "Why didn't you forgive him in the first place?"

So, when all of these are examined in detail from their own sources, it will be seen that the style adopted by those who treat others with hatred and hostility, whose opposition to Muslims, Jews and Christians apart from themselves has been sharpened with anger and who smear them by calling them "infidel" is not in keeping with Islam at all. As we pointed out above, Islam is a religion of love and tolerance. Muslims are the bodyguards of love and affection, who shun all acts of terrorism and who have purged their bodies of all manner of hate and hostility.

This article is taken from the book, "Tolerance and Atmosphere of Dialogue in Fethullah Gulen's Writings and Sayings." 09.17.2001