FAQ in the category of Country - State - Nation

1 Could you please explain the concept of nation according to Islam?

The concept of nation refers to religion and shariah in Islamic literature. It does not bear a meaning which is similar to the concept of nation that is widely used today and defined as “the whole people who live on the same territory and who descend from the same origin and who have history, traditions and language in common”.

The Qur’an defines the meaning of the word nation in Islamic literature. The word nation used in the following verses are used referring to the religion and shariah as the word suggests: “Who (therefore) shrinks from the Way of Abraham, save him who makes himself a fool?” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:130)

“Say (to them, O Messenger): "Rather, the Way of Abraham of pure faith (is what we choose, the Way free from unbelief, associating partners with God and hypocrisy, that we may be rightly guided. )"” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:135)

“Say (O Messenger): "God speaks the truth. " Therefore, follow the way of Abraham as people of pure faith (a faith free of unbelief, of associating partners with God, and of hypocrisy).” (the Qur’an, Aal-‘Imran, 3:95)

 “Who is better in religion than he who has submitted his whole being to God (seeking only His good pleasure, as one devoted to) doing good, aware that God is seeing him, and who follows the way (millah) of Abraham being of pure faith (free of unbelief, of associating partners with God and of hypocrisy).” (the Qur’an, an-Nisa, 4:125)

According to the Islamic scholars acting upon the usage of the word in the Qur’an, nation means the same as religion and shariah. In other words, the word nation reflects the social aspect of the religion. However, it does not refer to the society but the religion whereby society gathers together.

In figurative usage, the defining factor is not ancestry, history or language etc as in the concept of nation but it is naturally the religion. That is to say, the word nation is used to refer to those who believe in the divine religion. For this reason, the expression “Islamic nation” as the word suggests literally refers to the religion of Islam and figuratively refers to the whole nations who are Muslim. On the contrary, the word nation cannot be used to either literally or figuratively to refer to the Arab nation or Turkish nation because, the words Arab or Turk do not represent a religion but a race.

Islamic nation does not only refer to those who believe in Muhammad (pbuh) but also to all the Muslims beginning from the very first prophet. 

2 Is it permissible to kill Non-Muslims?

That is even out of question. Nobody has the right to kill non-Muslims. Harming a non Muslim without a lawful reason is even deemed as violating the rights of a servant of Allah.

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, said: “Whoever harms a non-Muslim citizen, I will be his enemy on the Day of Resurrection.

The Prophet's that way of acting towards non-Muslims actually explains the whole issue.

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Can you give information about tabligh (conveying the message of Islam, propagation of Islam) and the tabligh method of our Prophet (pbuh)?

How should our style (method) be in (conveying the message of Islam, propagation of Islam)? How should I convey the message of Islam to people who despise Islam?

3 Could you give some information on nationalism and racism? Is it religiously permissible if I love my nation better than other nations?

One’s love for his own nation and motherland is surely religiously permissible; however, considering his own nation to be superior to others is wrong. Islam defines the superiority of humans according to advancement in devotion of one’s self to Allah. For this reason, no matter which nationality one belongs to, the one who devotes himself to Allah more is deemed superior to others. In that case, the superior one in devotion to Allah must be superior to us in comparison. On the contrary, love for a non-believer in our nation more than Muslims in other nations and considering this non-believer to be superior is not right. For this very reason, Islam has set forth the principle of religious fraternity in order to abolish this kind of conflict in believers’ opinions. A Muslim is our brother or sister no matter what his/her nationality and race is, and s/he is superior to non-believers. Within these criteria, there is no drawback to feeling love for our own nation.

In the verse from the Qur’an which informs us that racism is forbidden and all humans have come from the same origin, it is stated: “Surely the noblest, most honorable of you in God's sight is the one best in piety, righteousness, and reverence for God.” (the Qur’an, Al-Hujuraat 49:13).

So it means that under the concept of fear of Allah, including anti-racism, the acceptable ones in God’s sight, are not those whose nationality is this or that but those who show furthest advancement in piety, righteousness and reverence for Allah no matter what their races are.

Piety has the meaning of fear of Allah and keeping firmly and sensitively away from His prohibitions. On the other hand, when we look at the verses in the Qur’an which include attributions of pious ones, we can see that piety is the symbol, even a sign of designing life completely according to the way Islam suggests.

In the surah “Aal-i-‘Imran”, Allah invites us to His masterpiece, His Paradise and even instead of inviting, He tells us to “hasten”. And the verse ends stating this Paradise has been “prepared for the God-revering, pious.”(the Qur’an, Al-‘Imran 3:133)

The next verse in the surah defines the attributions of pious ones as:

They spend (out of what God has provided for them,) both in ease and hardship
Ever-restraining their rage (even when provoked and able to retaliate)”
Pardoning people (their offenses).” (the Qur’an, Aal-i-‘Imran 3:134)

And in the following verse, these attributions continue to be defined:

They are also the ones who, when they have committed a shameful deed or wronged themselves (through any kind of sinful act), immediately remember God and implore Him to forgive their sins
They do not persist knowingly in whatever (evil) they have committed.” (the Qur’an, Aal-i-‘Imran 3:135)     

And those who bear these attributions are the ones whom Allah loves. No matter which nation, race and position (e.g in government) and which level of (fiscal) income they have. The believers who are aware of devotion to and reverence for God and who have tasted this pleasure, are they not obliged to feel love for ones whom Allah loves? While Allah loves these people, how come one can feel love for a person who lacks in these attributions?

In the surah right after the surah al-Fatiha, the statement “a guidance for the God-revering, pious who keep their duty to God” and pointing out how significant piety is very meaningful ( the Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:2).  In this surah, the attributions of the pious are : “to believe in the Unseen”,  “establish the Prayer”, “to provide sustenance for the needy out of what Allah gave ”( the Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:3), and “to believe in the Qur’an and what was sent down before (such as the Torah, Gospel and Psalms, and the Scrolls of Abraham), and in the Hereafter” ( the Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:4).

In this surah, there is no mention about race and tribe or chief and servant or slave and master.
These verses are just examples. Through this point of view, we can see obviously that all the verses of the Qur’an forbid racism.

All the commands are for either all humanity or only believers. The verses calling for guidance are for all humanity. No race or tribe or no position or rank is excluded. An Arab’s response to the call for guidance is not more important than an Englishman’s.

The verses about praying and obedience are for believers. No exceptions are made in this issue among the believers. The commands like “worship God” and "prostrate in adoration for God” and “distribute your Zakats” and advice like “do not put your property out at interest”, “ keep away from adultery” and “do not gossip”  are for the attention of all the believers. The virtue of obeying these commands and avoiding these prohibitions is the same for all nations.

In addition, there are the verses about punishment. Warning verses which tell us about punishment over people of the past. In these verses, crimes, rebelling, denials, excessiveness in bad deeds they committed and tortures and torments prophets were exposed are pointed out. Punishment on them was for their crimes, not for whatever nationality they belonged to.

They were punished because of not paying attention to their prophets and even offending them. These verses are great intimidation against us  because even though our Prophet (peace be upon him) left this world for the eternal accommodation, he is still connected with his people.

Each disobedience of ours hurts His exalted spirit and His special heart. Why are we writing this? Because of the fact that almost the whole surah including the holy verse which prohibits racism is connected with this meaning. The holy verse: “We made you into tribes and families” (the Qur’an, Al-Hujuraat, 49:13). In the beginning of this surah, believers are warned “not to raise their voices above the voice of the Prophet” (the Qur’an, Al-Hujuraat 49:2). Lest they could hurt the Holy Prophet.

Afterwards, the event which gave the surah the title are told. The event of a group of bedouin (nomadic Arabs) calling the Prophet (peace be upon him) outside with their high voices. This surah, in a sense, is full of advice for believers to keep away from evil deeds to. warn us not to disturb our Prophet (peace be upon him).

In ninth verse, the command, “If two parties of believers fall to fighting, make peace between them (and act promptly). But if one of them aggressively encroaches the rights of the other, then fight you all against the aggressive side until they comply with God's decree (concerning the matter).” is given and believers are strongly forbidden to bring out discord ( the Qur’an, Al-Hujuraat 49:9).

In the next verse, it is stated, “the believers are but brothers”, and  the command, “make peace between your brothers” is conveyed. (the Qur’an Al-Hujuraat 49:10).

The following verse informs that believers are forbidden to “deride another people” (the Qur’an, Al- Hujuraat 49:11), and the latter verse, believers are advised that they should “avoid suspicion” and that they should “not spy on one another nor backbite against one another” (the Qur’an, Al-Hujuraat 49:12). And finally the next verse informs us that humankind has been “created from a single (pair of) man and woman” and believers are forbidden to commit racist acts and the following is stated, “the noblest, most honorable of you in God's sight is the one best in piety, righteousness, and reverence for God” ( the Qur’an, Al-Hujuraat 49:13).

A believer who takes lesson from this surah avoids any kind of evil deeds as from raising their voice above their elders to backbiting and suspicion and finally nourishing racism. He fears Allah regarding the issue. As it is stated in the very verse of this surah, “O you who believe! Do not be forward in the Presence of God and His Messenger. Keep from disobedience to God in piety and reverence for Him” (the Qur’an, Al-Hujuraat 49:1), believers are forbidden to bring opposite willful measures to the Book and Sunnah and to keep making those kinds of mistakes.

A believer who evaluates this command well holds tightly to the statement “the noblest, most honorable of you in God's sight is the one best in piety, righteousness, and reverence for God” and avoid bringing a new honor criterion by regarding their nation or race or tribe as superior.

Boasting is alone a disease; a kind of soot that blackens the heart. An enemy corroding the spirit. One of the bad habits that Islam forbids: Arrogance which means relying on good deeds. Boasting of good things and good deeds and regarding one’s self to be away from Hell. This habit has been considered to be bad since it veils the fear of Allah.

Let us consider it justly : if boasting of a good deed which we commit with our will and under the command of Allah is a sin, how come can we boast of ourselves or our nationality or race issues on which came into existence out of our will and which we have no right to choose; and how come can we insult or look down on a person whose race is different from ours? How can we condemn them and the worst of all, how can we become enemies against them?

Our Prophet (peace be upon him) put this expression about racism for our consideration that it is nothing to do with mind, knowledge or justice: “Solidarity of ignorance

A person can be regarded neither good nor bad because of his race. None of the descriptions of good and bad includes this concept. As any mind ratifies, every conscience is familiar with it. We talk about a person’s good morals or piety or their good deeds, honesty and their being industrious when we are to describe them. All these are about their will. So, since nobody can choose their race at their own will, we will be declaring our ignorance if we are to say something like “this man is good because he is from that race”.

Solidarity of ignorance. Racism is nothing but ignorance; no matter what your point of view on it is.

Does the spirit belong to any race?

The spirit is the guest of country of “body”. Man lives a kind of a vegetable life until he becomes four months old in the mother’s womb. He is a descendant of a father from such-and-such race and decided to settle in a mother’s womb from whatever race. With the bestowal of his Lord who created the human seed in his father’s body and who made the mother’s womb a residence for him, in this dark spot, he continues to grow.

The concept of race only bears its meaning here about this spot and this residence. The guest in this domicile does not belong to any race. From the realm of spirits, he comes to the womb. The spirit is from no race. And man is nothing but spirit in its complete and mature meaning. The body is only an apparel and no human can change even if they wear costumes made of different cloths.

Let us give up these matters of costume like foolish children. Let us fill our hearts with good traits which Allah will consent to us. Let us make our love for Him be the sultan of our spirituality. And may all other love be subject to Him. Let us have our minds consider His great work. And let all the knowledge become nicer as long as they serve Him. Let our guide be not the perverse leaders of any ideology but His Prophet.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was not brought about in the Arab nation. He is sent not only for Arabs but also as a blessing for all nations and races. Arabs could be only one of these nations. He came on the scene to preach the Unity of God. He encountered every kind of shirk (the sin of believing in any divinity except God and of associating other gods with God). He just wanted to free people from the slavery to idols, from captivity of bodily appetites and from domination of superstitions and change them into good servants for Allah and have them bow their heads down to Him.

Justice would be substituted in place of persecution, and he would eliminate all sorts of false consideration with the light of divine inspiration. He would change all kinds of bad morals into the morals the Qur’an suggests. Beyond tribe, beyond race was his struggle even beyond universe. How could a nonbeliever be superior to any one? Then he would begin his work in faith. And he did so.

How could a person rebelling against his Creator be virtuous? So he would make people around worship Him. And he did so. His own people opposed to him. His own relatives opposed. Even his own uncle opposed.

In the Golden Age, how meaningful it is that the believers battled against their relatives who did not believe in God! In those battles, with every ruptured head of the deniers, both idolatry and racism were collapsing. Believers with their faithful brothers with whom they had no genealogical relationship fought shoulder to shoulder and they were killing their own fathers and brothers. With that spilled blood, racism and shirk was flowing and vanishing in the past. Along with the tears of the devil.

A thousand and four hundred years passed. However, the devil still was the same devil. Compared to past, perhaps he must have gained a considerable amount of experience.

Let us consider the verse “He ( Satan) is a manifest enemy to you” ( the Qur’an, Ya-Sin 36:60). Let us not go to Hell by following the one who caused our Father to be banished from Paradise.

Here is the place, we think, for the blood feud.

Who is the first to struggle for racism and whose characteristics is this kind of action?

Racism is far beyond a struggle. Just as being from this or that race is out of our control, it is a reality that we cannot ever change our race into another. Then, what is the point of struggle and propaganda for racism? Would it not be foolish of a person if he attempted to boast of himself like, “ Is there anyone as tall as I am?” Everyone would respond to him: “Brother, your parents did not stretch your body to make you tall. And a short person was not squeezed in a clamp. It is in vain what you are struggling for. Even if I am to appreciate you, is it possible that I can be like you? So what are you struggling for?”

Satan started boasting of the race or ancestry and look down on people from other races in scorn. He had refused to prostrate to Adam (peace be upon him), saying “You have created me from fire and him, You have created him from clay. "(the Qur’an, Saad 38:76). Claiming, “Fire is superior to clay. So how can I prostrate one who is inferior to me?”, he attempted to defend his rebellion.

Now, we feel sorry to see that this same mentality of Satan reigns over the people, all of whom were created from clay. This reverse mentality, this false evaluation only takes the owner to Satan’s side because, he is the inventor of this idea and he owns the patent for it.

What is the point of view on racism in the Qur’an?

The timeless decree and divine command from the surah Al-Hujuraat: “The believers are but brothers, so make peace between your brothers” (the Qur’an, Al-Hujuraat 49:10).

Allah regards neither Turks nor Kurds as brothers but believers. A non-believer cannot be an inheritor to his believing father. Once the belief is lost, material, anatomical and racial relations mean nothing.

Stating “ Those who do not want for their believing brothers the things they want for themselves cannot be complete and mature believers”, the prophet ( peace be upon him) shows us how to reflect this verse to our deeds and feelings.

If grudge or enmity enters among believers for this or that reason although they are expected to love each other, then what should they do? The rest of the verse tell us : “Make peace between your brothers; and keep from disobedience to God in reverence for Him and piety (particularly in your duties toward one another as brothers), so that you may be shown mercy (granted a good, virtuous life in the world as individuals and as a community, and eternal happiness in the Hereafter).” ( the Qur’an, Al-Hujuraat 49:10).

According to the decree of the Qur’an, all believers are brothers and sisters. All of them are a family. Today, standing against the discord and strengthening the ties of communication among the believers is a kind of a jihad.

A lesson from the surah Hud : Noah wanted his son to be rescued from the Flood and pleading that "O my Lord, my son was of my family (as a believer)”( the Qur’an, Hud 11:45) and Divine response was : “O Noah, he ( being a unbeliever) is not of your family.” And he was forbidden to take his son on board.  So, it means a non-believer son is considered not to be of their family.

A non-believer from the same race cannot be a friend or brother to them. Allah’s word which grants no possibility for willful misinterpretations: “O you who believe! Do not take your fathers and your brothers for confidants and guardians (to whom you can entrust your affairs), if they choose unbelief in preference to belief. Whoever of you takes them for confidants and guardians, those are wrongdoers (who have wronged themselves by committing a great error).” ( the Qur’an, At-Taubah 9:23)

The lesson from the verse “The believers are but brothers” (the Qur’an, Al- Hujuraat 49:10) is a sign of a delicate spirit and profound consciousness. Your father or brother who does not believe is not a friend to you. Taking them for friends is wrongdoing.

Those who took them for friends tread over the truth and wrong themselves.
Their feeling of love that Allah bestowed on them was misused and wronged.
This wrong choice led them to Hell and they behaved cruelly to their own selves.
On their scale of love, denial weighed more than belief and they became cruel by committing this injustice.

Judgment Day is the exceptional time when everyone will declare their contempt in the presence of God. Allah “The Master of the Day of Judgment” informs us: “The Day when neither wealth will be of any use, nor offspring. But only he (will prosper) who comes before God with a sound heart (free of all kinds of unbelief, hypocrisy, and associating partners with God). " (the Qur’an, Ash-Shu’ara 26: 88/89).

Is the relation between a father and the son not the very first step and the furthest level of racial closeness? This verse informs us that this relation will be of no use at that particular time. And what is the point of talking about racism? That day, none of the property or wealth or the offsprings will be of any use for anyone.

Only valid on that day is a sound heart. A clean and pure heart that has been given in to Allah and that has obeyed His commands. A heart that has loved but Him. Whoever has this kind of heart, whether an Arab or Iranian, is acceptable. And paradise is the destination of reward for the owners of sound heart. Each believer will be rewarded a domicile according to their deeds, morals, strife and their effort to be deserve this reward.

Let us remember the verse which forbids racism: O humankind! Surely We have created you from a single (pair of) male and female, and made you into tribes and families so that you may know one another (and so build mutuality and co-operative relationships, not so that you may take pride in your differences of race or social rank, or breed enmities). Surely the noblest, most honorable of you in God's sight is the one best in piety, righteousness, and reverence for God. (the Qur’an, Al- Hujuraat 49:13).

What is Prophet’s (peace be upon him) point of view on racism?

The only guide for the human and the jinn used the expression of “ solidarity of ignorance” on the matter of racism and regarded it as a disgraceful struggle remaining from the period of jahiliyyah ( period of ignorance) before the Golden Age of Islam. Also, there are a number of hadiths on the issue. One of them is: “My people will perish due to these three reasons: fate (denial of fate in the expression of ‘creation of one’s own act’). Racism and indolence in religious deeds. (Imam Tabarani, Mu’jamus Saghir, 158).

Another hadith: “Whoever attempts to struggle for racism, to spread it and who fights for the sake of it is not from us” ( Abu Dawood, Adab, 121).

Another hadith also tells us: “whoever battles for false matters, calls out for racism, and gets carried away with racism filled with rage and fearless action without thinking dies as an ignorant. ( Ibn Majah, Fitan 7)  

If we evaluate these hadiths, love for one’s own race and racism is different from one another. “Struggle for racism” that Islam forbids, and the Prophet suggests us to stay away from, looking down on believers in scorn, attempts to separate Islamic world, considering other aspects as superior to piety are all against the spirit of Islam. Otherwise, everybody  loves their parents and relatives and commit favors for them. There are already many encouragements in Allah’s commands on the issue. A person’s love for his nation, his sympathy with them, attempts to correct their mistakes and efforts to become a deserving descendant for their ancestors and to take pride in their honorable actions in the past is something so much more different from racism.

Islam does not refuse races but racism. We can exemplify this with the concept of gender. The Qur’an informs us that we were “made into tribes and families” and that we were created into men and women. Neither do we refuse race nor gender. Just as the concept of family would destroy if men and women divided into different sides and battle, dividing into sides for the sake of struggle of racism brings us no use but injury for our nation and state and weakness against our enemies. 

I will conclude our Prophet’s statement on racism with the “Farewell Sermon”. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) performed his last hajj in his final days of his life after twenty three year’s preaching Allah’s word and with his matchless sermon that he yielded from this preaching, he called Muslim’s attention to the main issues once again. And it is of high importance that racism was pointed out in this sermon.

In one part of the sermon, the following was stated : “Your Lord is one; your father is one. You are all children of Adam. Adam was created out of mud. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab a red skinned person has no superiority over a black; nor a black has any superiority over a red skinned person. Superiority is only through taqwa (piety). The best of you in the eye of Allah is the one that fears Him the most.”

Prof. Dr. Alaaddin Başar

4 What should we do about the "Injustices" that we face everyday?

Please read the article given below so that you can have the answers you need;

How was the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) way of conveying of the message and summoning men to the truth?

A Muslim is responsible for practicing the right Islam, and live the honesty that is worthy of Islam. Besides, if he lives Islam and acts in accordance with Islam, it is a form of tabligh (conveying Islam). Therefore, it is necessary to live in the community and serve as a good example. 
Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and argue with them in the best way possible. Your Lord surely knows best who has gone astray from His way, and He knows best who are the rightly guided.” (An-Nahl, 125)

Taking that verse and similar verses as examples, our Prophet guided believers through knowledge and wisdom and based that guidance upon proofs.

He demonstrated no mark of anger and violence in his guidance. He welcomed his addressees and advised them with mercy and compassion. He always preferred being soft-spoken while conveying the truth. With great patience and understanding, he removed doubts and scruples that occurred in people’s minds. He held his addressees in esteem and spoke to them eloquently in order to convince them. He (PBUH) even welcomed questions that were irrelevant to the point with smile and took them seriously. The most important reason for his influence over people was his pardoning people’s faults and forgiving them. During the Conquest of Makkah, he pardoned even the assassin of his own uncle and others who killed or set assassins to kill his companions. On that day, he had the complete power. He could have punished them as he wished.

Thus, with such great and high qualities, he had an influence over the souls of people around him, enabled them to develop themselves spiritually, and aroused their hidden capacities. He made them stars of the space of humanity. He removed the fogs of ignorance that veiled that century. He changed the shape of the world. He had some virtuous qualities such as justice, love, solidarity put into practice. He introduced curing treatments for all ailments that threatened personal and social life and cured all humanity with the permission of Allah.

The way of tabligh is the way of “weakness, poverty, compassion and contemplation”. It is the cause of saving the belief of people. It is the cause of removing people from the terrifying mischiefs of the end of time and directing them towards high ideals. It is the cause of rescuing mankind from the soul, the devil and the influence of the extremely degenerated sociological atmosphere and making mankind aware of the pleasure of being a slave of Allah. If a man can attain that high ideal as a result of divine grace, the first thing he should do is to confess his weakness and poverty in managing that difficult task and to rely on the power and mercy of his Lord.

Weakness and poverty are two personal characteristics of a slave, the most apparent properties of man. As a matter of fact, we take shelter in the Lord of the worlds by saying “Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek” when reciting Chapter al-Fatiha and ask his help in our tasks whether they are related to this world or the hereafter.  Although the soldiers of the service of belief and the Quran do their best to make guidance grow in the hearts of people, they beg Allah with weakness and poverty because they know that they cannot obtain that great outcome through their own effort and power. 

The third step is to feel pity for disobedient and sinning people who prepare themselves for Hell, and to rush to help them with the sensitivity of a doctor and the compassion of a mother. And the fourth step is to carry out those activities with wisdom.  

The great ideal expressed in this couplet by the Turkish national poet, the late Mehmet Akif,

We should take inspiration directly from the Quran, and make the intellect of the age pronounce Islam.”

is realized in Risale-i Nur Collection. In the market of this age, which is full of questions, only a collection that can appeal both to the mind and the heart, that makes its cause loved by others and that proves it can be in the demand; and it has been in demand.

The first of those determinations teaches us that the most important condition of conveying Islam to both our citizens and to the world is being equipped with the high ethics of the Quran. The other determines that it is necessary to develop economically in order to convey the truths of Islam to the needy. 

We should try to cure those two illnesses by admitting that we have them. If we ignore it and rely on transient and indecisive political formulas, we will continue to drag behind and we will face the responsibility of being a veil and barrier preventing the message of Islam from being conveyed to needy hearts. 

Each Muslim must do his duty. The position of a man in a community imposes him some responsibilities. Each Muslim is responsible in accordance with his position. We can look at the issue in the light of the following hadith: “If you see an evil, correct it with your hand; if you cannot correct it with your hand, correct it with your tongue (words); if you cannot do it either, feel that it is wrong in your heart.”

Not everybody can interpret that hadith on his own. For instance, if we see an evil on the way and try to correct it and harm a person and if that person files a lawsuit against us, we will be punished. Then, how should we understand the meaning of the hadith?

To correct with the hand is the duty of the people who have the authority, that is the duty of the state and security forces; to correct with the tongue is the duty of scholars; and to feel that it is wrong in the heart is the duty of the rest.

Therefore, first of all, a Muslim must live Islam truly. Then, he should inform others about Islam using a soft and sweet tongue if he does not harm Islam. Then, he should leave the outcome to Allah.

A person who wants to grow trees pays attention to the following: The seed needs to be improved, the field needs to be suitable for seeding, the time should be appropriate and the person to sow the seeds should be an expert. If a person who is not good at sowing sows spoiled seeds in a hard and unsuitable field at an inappropriate time, everything will go down the drain. When an expert gardener does his duty, he does not go into the field in order to grow flowers and roses and turn them into trees. He does his duty and then leaves the outcome to Allah

Similarly, it is necessary to live and tell people about the real Islam and the honesty worthy of Islam. To describe the thoughts and ideas that are contrary to Islam as Islam will harm both Islam and the person who describes and the person to whom it is described.

The needy hearts into whom the seeds of Islam will be sowed should be ready for it. Sometimes it becomes harmful to tell people who are not ready yet about Islam.

In addition, the time of tabligh is also important. The environment, the mood of the person, his expectations, etc are also important. The seed that is not sown in its true season may be lost.

On the other hand, the person who conveys the message of Islam should be equipped with the ways and methods of conveying it without offending anyone and by presenting it in a nice way. He should be competent like a specialist.

A Muslim who has those qualities leaves it to Allah to grow the roses of belief and Islam in people’s hearts after fulfilling his duty. He does not intervene in the duty of Allah.


5 What are the duties of people towards their nation according to Islam?

This is a many-sided subject. We will herein deal with some aspects briefly.

Islam has been sent to provide both worldly happiness and happiness in the hereafter. People’s love for each other and their being in solidarity is one of the main conditions of the worldly happiness. A person’s remembering and mentioning the name of Allah and overcoming his solitude, his solidarity with himself and then solidarity in the family within the framework of the duties and rights Islam defined and after that, solidarity with close and distant neighbors and afterwards, solidarity with the people in the neighborhood, town and region and then solidarity with all the believers in Islam… They are the most eminent factors which sustain social peace and justice and even social security.

The word “believer” bears the meaning of the one who believes in the existence and oneness of Allah; it also means a confidential and trustable person. Therefore, a believer is a person who is loyal to his elders and loyal to his deeds, straightforward and trustable. In the first verses of the surah al-Mu’minun in the Qur’an, defining the qualifications of believers who are triumphant, Allah states the following in the 8th verse: “They are faithful and true to their trusts (which either God, society, or an individual places in their charge), and to their pledges (between them and God or other persons or society).” (the Qur’an, al-Mu’minun, 23:8)  

Prophet Muhammad described a Muslim and a believer in his hadiths as follows:

A Muslim is a person from whose tongue and hands  other Muslims are safe, and a believer is a person on whom people trust about their lives and property”. ( 3- the Qur’an, al-Isra’, 17:34). “ A believer is one who is easy and good to get along with. There is no good in those who are difficult to get along with.” ( 4- Ahmad b. Hanbal, 11:400).

This hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) provides us with great information on the rights of neighborhood.

Lend money to your neighbor when they ask you for it; help them if they ask you to; you should help if they are in need; attend their funeral if they are dead; be pleased and congratulate them when they attain a blessing,; feel sorry if they get in a trouble and console them; do not disturb them with the smell of what you cook; share with them what you cook; do not raise your building over theirs; do not block their refreshing breeze unless they allow you to; when you buy some fruit, share with them; do not let your children go out with clothes which they might envy. The Prophet (pbuh) once ordered addressing Aisha (may God be pleased with her) :” Go to your Jewish neighbor first when you begin to distribute your meat of sacrifice”. ( al-Qurtubi, V:188)

6 Which region in the world has the largest Muslim population today?

The Asian region has the largest Muslim population today.

7 What are the criteria for social intercourse with non-Muslims? Is it permissible to be business partners with them?
8 What is the method of establishing an Islamic state or Caliphate?

- As it is seen in the meaning of the verse “Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power) (caliphate), as He granted it (caliphate) to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion- the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me. If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked”(Qur’an, The Light (An-Nur); 55 (24: 55)), the term caliphate is a Qur’anic term.

- The Prophet (pbuh) also stated : “The caliphate (or the caliphate of the prophethood) is thirty years after me.” (see Abu Dawud, Sunna, 8; Tirmidhi, Fitan, 48; Ahmad b. Hanbal, 4/272; 5/220, 221). The terms caliphate/caliph were used in many hadiths like that one.

Therefore, Muslims have taken that concept seriously after the Prophet.

- Since the term “ulu al-amr (those in authority)” was also used in the Qur’an”(Qur’an, The Women (An-Nissa); 59 (4: 59))besides the term caliphate and the term “amer (the ruler)” was used in the hadiths, those terms were also used by the Muslims. It is also known that the title “Amer al- mu’mineen (the ruler of the believers)” was also used for the Rightly-Guided Caliphs.

- However, the caliphate concept is a phenomenon that takes both the worldly and the religious services on as an institutional mechanism. Especially during the last periods of the Ottoman Empire, since there had been some events making those two institutions differ from each other, the caliphate began to be an institution in charge of the religious services. After the individual caliphate ended, that mission was assigned to the Assembly. Later on, the secular structure came into prominence.

- Under the light of that information, we can say that existence of an individual caliphate in a certain country seems to be quite difficult since the caliphate represents the entire ummah (community) in our age. For, it would be only a meaningless, unauthorized, powerless name and image in that case. Indeed, in this century, since constituting committees prevail, it is important for  Muslims to form institutions. Maybe a nominal caliph would exist in the “Sacred places” to which the entire ummah would respect.

In Islam, it is important to reflect the essence of the case rather than name and image. 

9 What is Caliphate? Is it possible to put Islam into practice in every part of life without an Islamic state? What should be the Ummah’s role in establishing Caliphate?

Caliphate is the name of the position which is responsible for applying Islamic judgments and rules as a manifestation of Allah’s right of sovereignty.


This position, which is exclusive to Islamic government both theoretically and practically, is generally called “Caliphate (khilafah)”. Besides having certain qualities, one should also go through certain ways in order to be promoted to this position.


As deduced from verses related to the topic in the Quran, Allah the Glorious created all human beings as His vicegerents (caliphs) on earth in general. That is to say, all human beings are held responsible for believing in Allah and accepting His sovereignty as a result of this belief. The caliphate of man means to carry out applications in the name of Allah. In these applications, Allah’s laws are indisputable criteria. Humankind cannot deviate from these criteria and cannot oppose them while performing their caliphate, because Allah did not give an infinite freedom to humankind which He assigned as caliphs to act in His name. Some limits have been established for human beings and they are expected not to go beyond them.


Each Muslim is responsible for believing, worshipping and applying Islamic rules in their relationships with others, even though there may not be a Caliph charged with governing the state, because it is not a deterrent factor. Individuals are not responsible if Islamic rules are not applied in the administration because it is the duty of the administrators.

10 Will you give information about migrating because of not being able to practice Islam?

Fiqh scholars of Islam divide land of unbelievers into four:

1. Places where it is impossible to practice the basics of Islam:

It is not permissible for Muslims to settle and stay in such a place. They need to do their best in order to migrate from that place.

2. Places where it is possible to live like a Muslim and to resist against unbelievers:

It is fard to settle and stay in such a place and to strengthen Islam. A person who migrates from such a place is held responsible. For, it is regarded treason to hand over a piece of land of Muslims to unbelievers.

3. Places where it is possible to practice the basics of Islam but it is not possible to spread Islam and it is not useful for Islam to stay:

It is permissible to stay in such a place but it is better to migrate.

4. Places where it is possible to practice the basics of Islam, to spread Islam and where non-Muslims are expected to enter Islam:

It is necessary to stay in such a place. (Qurratu'l-Ayn, p. 206)


If it is useful for Muslims and Islam to stay in a country, it is necessary to try to stay there. On the other hand, if Muslims are in minority in a country and if the situation gets worse for them day by day, it is better for them to leave that country.

(see Halil GÜNENÇ, Günümüz Meselelerine Fetvalar, II/296)

11 Who are the people called ulul-amr? How should obedience to ulul-amr be?

“O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination.”(an-Nisa, 4/59)

“But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against Thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction.” (an-Nisa, 4/65)

“All who obey Allah and the apostle are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah,- of the prophets (who teach), the sincere (lovers of Truth), the witnesses (who testify), and the Righteous (who do good): Ah! What a beautiful fellowship! Such is the bounty from Allah. And sufficient is it that Allah knoweth all.” (an-Nisa, 4/69, 70)

The main topic of the verses above is obedience. Obedience, which means “to obey, to surrender, to fulfill an order” is one of the basic concepts and institutions that establish the Islamic life system with social, political, legal and ethical dimensions. From this point of view, obedience is used after the concepts of trust and justice, which are of the same nature; and the verses mentioning the consequences that those who do not obey orders will face like “munafiqs (hypocrites) and fasiqs (sinners)” in the world and the hereafter are also included.

Obedience to Allah means “to obey His orders and wills in the Quran and the words and deeds of His messenger expressing His message”. Obedience to the Messenger of Allah is, first of all, acting in compliance with the Quran and Sunnah, which he conveyed to us. However, the conjunction “and” is not regarded as sufficient here and the order “obey” is also repeated for “the Messenger of Allah”, which shows that obedience is beyond acting in compliance with the message of the revelation, which is the Quran, and that obedience includes all of his deeds serving as a model and fulfilling all orders. The Companions fulfilled all of the orders and wishes of the Messenger of Allah with the consciousness of “obedience to him is a religious duty” except “his orders that he said were not religious or binding or his orders that they understood to be so”; when they did so, they based their deeds on the verses and hadiths about obedience, the purpose of the Messenger of Allah being sent, the duties given to him and the verses and hadiths that mentioned him as a model.

The phrase “and ulul-amr...” (those charged with authority) is used without repeating the order“obey”, which indicates that they are not like Allah and His Messenger in terms of the obligation of obedience and that they cannot be obeyed unless their orders are legitimate (in compliance with the instruction of Allah). The following hadiths explain this rule clearly: “It is not permissible to obey to anyone if the order is not in compliance with the order of Allah.” “Only legitimate orders are obeyed.” “The order which is regarded as disobedience to Allah is not obeyed.”

Once, the Prophet gave a team a military duty and appointed Abdullah bin Hudhafa as the commander of the team. Abdullah got very angry for some reason during this duty and ordered his soldiers to collect wood, make a fire and enter the fire. The soldiers who received this order hesitated. Some of them wanted to enter the fire saying,“it is necessary to obey the commander (ulul-amr)” while others prevented them saying,“the obedience depends on whether the order is legitimate or not” adding, “We joined the Prophet by escaping from fire.” While they were discussing like that, the fire went out. When the returned, they informed the Messenger of Allah about it. He said,“If they had entered the fire, they would not have been saved from it until the Day of Judgment. Obedience is due when the order is legitimate.”

Ulul-amr means "the owners of command/order, those who have the authority to give orders and those who are in this position, chiefs". There are various understandings and narrations about who they are as follows: "the president, the administrators and commanders whom the president or the community authorized" and "scholars". Since the phrase in the verse is “...obey those charged with authority among you”, it is understood that they are certain people and owners of authority, that they are chosen or appointed from among Muslims (believers) and that it is Allah's command and requirement of the religion to obey them related to their legitimate commands.

The religion of Islam wants the people who have some properties and attributes both in public life and in private life to be obeyed and their commands to be fulfilled. These people are the president, the head of the family, the commander, the parents, and the scholars compared to those who do not know; and all of them are included in the concept of ulul-amr. The ulul-amr in public life is determined by election and by the allegiance of the ummah like the caliph - the high-ranking officers appointed by the caliph also become ulul-amr indirectly determined by the ummah - they attain this authority due to their superior qualities. These superior qualities are "Islam, knowledge (ilm) and justice".

Those who do not know are obliged to consult the people who are Muslims, who are just, who have high ethics and who are scholars, ask fatwa from them and act in accordance with the answers they receive. The administrators are also obliged to ask those who know - about the issues that they do not know. From this point of view, the ulul-amr in the first place is "the scholars" and the ulul-amr in the second place is "the administrators, chiefs and commanders".

Differing in (disagreeing about) something

“Differing in (disagreeing about) something” cannot take place between Allah and His believers, nor between the Messenger of Allah and his ummah.

Then, the ummah (administrators, subjects of the state, scholars, those who ask, etc.) remains; when there is a disagreement among the ummah in this context, the issue needs to be taken to Allah and His Messenger.

The only authority in this disagreement between the subjects of the state and ulul-amr is Allah and His Messenger because ulul-amr is also a party of the disagreement; that is, the institutions that will produce solutions in the light of the main resources of religion - as it will be explained shortly afterwards.

If ulul-amr is not one of the parties of the disagreement, it is natural for him to step in based on the adopted administrative style and within the framework of his authority to settle the issue; however, ulul-amr is not independent of Allah and His Messenger in his deeds.

Taking the issue to Allah necessitates referring to the Quran and taking it to the Messenger necessitates referring to the Sunnah.

If there are solutions and decrees about the disagreement in these two resources, it is binding for the whole ummah and the disagreement is settled by acting accordingly.

The solution in these two resources is not always directly relevant to the issue. Not all of the solutions to all the disputes that will arise until the Doomsday are found in the Book and Sunnah in detail. However, there are principles, signs, indications, examples and precedents that shed light on the solution of all disputes. Finding solutions and making judgments by making use of them is called ijtihad. Ijtihad is the name of the method and effort of solving unknown things, ambiguous issues and disputes by referring to the Book and the Sunnah; it was taught to the Companions by the Messenger of Allah and later generations wrote its method by taking it from them, used and improved it.

"The sentence structure in the form of “if you differ in anything among yourselves...” in the verse expresses generality.

Accordingly, anything that is disputable in the life of the believers will be solved by the Quran and the Sunnah, in other words, the solution will be sought by referring to these two resources. Only Allah is both the judge (hakim) and the deity (the one who is worshipped). If these attributes and authorities that belong to Allah are accepted for another authority or person in the same sense, it is polytheism and the name of this authority and person in the Quran is taghut (transgressor) as it is mentioned in verse 60 of an-Nisa.

Once, there was a disagreement between Zubayr b. Awwam and his neighbor of the garden due to water. They applied to the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet said, "O Zubayr! After you water your garden, let the water so that your neighbor will water his garden." The neighbor implied that the Prophet (pbuh) took sides for Zubayr. (He probably thought this decree was for reconciliation, not a decree of the religion.) Thereupon, the Prophet was not pleased with the attitude of the complainant and told Zubayr to use his normal right.

Accordingly, true believers must have two basic qualities:

a) When a disagreement occurs, to appoint the Messenger of Allah as the judge and apply to him for the decree.

b) When the Prophet (pbuh) has made a judgment, to admit it, to believe that it is just and not to try to oppose. To apply to the Messenger of Allah for his decree, which means the decree of the religion of Allah and to adopt it heartily is a sign of belief; however, it is not a sign of unbelief or hypocrisy to feel sorry upon hearing a decree that is not in accordance with one’s interest and that is not what one expects as long as he believes that the decree is just and fair.

According to what Shawkani reported from the hadith scholars like Tabarani and Ziya al-Maqdisi, a Companion came to the Messenger of Allah and expressed his concern, which made the world a narrow place for him as follows:

“O Messenger of Allah! I love you more than my own soul and my children. I remember you at home and come to see you at once and look at your face because I cannot put up with your longing. I thought about your death and my death. I have realized that when you die and enter Paradise, you will be in high ranks peculiar to prophets. I am worried that I will not be able to see you in Paradise.”

Before Hz. Prophet answered him, Jibril arrived and revealed that verse stating with whom those who obey Allah and His Messenger will be in Paradise:

“All who obey Allah and the apostle are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah,- of the prophets (who teach), the sincere (lovers of Truth), the witnesses (who testify), and the Righteous (who do good): Ah! what a beautiful fellowship!” (An-Nisa, 4/69)


Hayrettin Karaman (Prof. Dr.)