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FAQ in the category of Islam

1 Why is fornication haram? What is the reason why this deed, which does not harm anyone, is haram?

If something was rendered haram, it is haram because Allah rendered it haram. The other reasons are not the real reason why it is haram. For instance, pork is harmful to human health and haram because of the virus it contains. However, even if this harm is eliminated, it will still be haram. The elimination of the harm does not render something halal. For, this harm is only the part of the harm that we can see. There are many more harms that we cannot see and reasons why it was rendered haram.

Everything that is haram is harmful to man. However, to what extent do we know these harms? That we do not know them does not make that thing harmless. It was not known in the past that pork was harmful; its harms became apparent as science developed. Then, people should have objected to it since its harms were not known in the past; such reasoning is not right. We are obliged to obey what we are ordered; as science develops and the visible benefits of obeying Allah appear, our definite knowledge will increase.

Science is still unable to understand the wisdoms behind the orders of Allah; they are understood in the course of time. Fornication has a lot of harms to both the personal life of man and the community. They have been stated by psychologists and sociologists.

Fornication is regarded as haram and a very ugly deed in Islam and in the heavenly religions before it. It is one of the major sins. Its punishment is the most severe one because it is a crime against honor and lineage.

The following is stated in the Quran:

"Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils)."(al-Isra, 17/32).

"Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred, except for just cause, not commit fornication― and any that does this (not only) meets punishment. (But) the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to him, and he will dwell therein in ignominy."(al-Furqan, 25/68, 69).

2 The organization of Illuminati, which acts upon the motto “There is no religion; there is science”, is against Islam and the whole world. Is it not necessary for Islam to take action against it? Is this organization an organization of Dajjal?

We think it will be useful to present a few principles regarding the issue:

There are hundreds, thousands of doctrines that are contrary to Islam. It will be a waste of time to try to answer all of them. As Imam Sakkaki says in a poet, “If you try to throw a stone at every dog that howls, there will be no stones left on the ground.”

It is better to have a thesis rather than an antithesis regarding an issue. Those who have antitheses always have to work for those who have theses because when you approach an issue with an antithesis, you have to present the thesis first. If there are some strong points of the antithesis, it will affect some pure hearts negatively. The following aphorism of Said Nursi underlines this reality:  “Describing the wrong deviates pure brains.”

A small piece of truth can demolish thousands of dreams at once. Then, what a person who seeks truth needs to do is to present his cause’s criteria based on truth instead of showing the wrong and bad aspects of others’ causes. That is the meaning of the principle“to act positively, not to act negatively”.

To answer the question, we say, “Yes, it is fard for Muslims to struggle against the views that are against Islam..” However, the only method to do it is to use the weapon in a good way. To say that the weapon of the enemy is broken, that it is of no use, that it does not work properly and to declare it to the whole world hundreds of years will waste the valuable time of a person. Victory is related to our using our weapon very well rather than the weapon of the enemy.   

The jihad in this century is spiritual; it is carried out through the weapon of ideas and information. If we do not know our religion well, if we are not equipped with the information to present its realities and if we do not have the weapon of the century, it will not be possible for us to gain a victory in the name of humanity.   

Yes, we will make jihad and struggle against ignorant and aggressive movements like that but we will use a good method. We will struggle through our high ethics and solemn attitude. We will also be equipped with nice literature, with nice fluency that we can use to express our views and with nice information to clarify the issue.   

To sum up, we will show the religion of God, the beauty of the Quran and the universal ethics of Islam through all aspects of us.“We light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.”

We will try to have a light that we will burn using all of our power.   

Any person or group that serves Dajjal movement is called a Dajjal. Therefore, we can say that the aim of the organization mentioned above is to serve Dajjal movement, which aims to eliminate Islam. 

In the world, there are institutions that Jews established and that want to realize their aim of ruling the world. As a matter of fact, there were many statements in the media that the demolition of the twin towers was something planned. 

It is not reasonable to claim that big earthquakes were caused by them though it might be possible to claim it for small ones.

Japan is a country where earthquakes often happen. Therefore, the existence of cards about earthquakes does not mean to know the unknown. 

There were many scenarios before but they could not affect Islam. If they have plans, God has plans too. Nobody can do anything without the will of God. Inshaallah, the year 2012 will be a means of further development of Islam.

There may be some people among them that establish connections with unbelieving jinn. However, unbelieving jinn cannot know the unknown. Some of their predictions might come true but it is very rare.

We should not overestimate those scenarios of the Zionists. However, it is necessary for Muslims to develop both materially and spiritually in order to invalidate their aims. 

3 What rules did Islam introduce to protect life?

Author: Mehmet Kırkıncı

The religion of Islam gives great importance to protecting life. Islam regards murder as a major sin and it regards killing a person as killing the whole mankind: “If anyone slew a person―unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land― it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” (al-Maida, 32)

According to the religion of Islam, “The life and the blood of an innocent person cannot be sacrificed even for the humanity. They are equal both in the eye of the divine power and in the eye of the divine justice.” That is, there is no difference for the power of Allah between creating a person and creating the whole mankind; similarly, there is no difference in the eye of the justice of Allah between the rights of a person and the rights of the whole mankind.   

The Quran condemns the murderers to death in this world and to torture in Hell in the hereafter. It is Allah who gives life and it is Allah who removes it. 

The blood and life of man are very important in the eye of Allah. As a matter of fact, the first cases to be settled in the hereafter are the feuds. Being a human not a Muslim is necessary in the protection of life.   

In the religion of Islam, it is forbidden to kill harmless animals unnecessarily let alone killing people; even the lives of animals are protected because the religion of Islam regards mercy and justice as essential.

4 What are the basic values that the religion of Islam orders to be protected?

There are many rights that Islam gives people. We can list the values that are regarded as basic rights as follows: Life, religion, mind, property and generation.

1- Right of Life:

The religion of Islam regards man as the most superior creature and deems the protection of human life among the basic principles. It is stated in the Quran that to kill a person unjustly is a serious crime like killing all people and that protecting the life of a person is a lofty and valuable act like protecting all people.

Hz Prophet (pbuh) addressed all Muslims as follows in the Farewell Hajj: " Just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust" (Bukhari, "Ilm", 37, "Hajj", 132, Muslim, "Hajj, 147), stating that the right of life of a human is untouchable. In another hadith, the following is stated:  "Avoid seven destructive things. One of them is to kill a person, which is forbidden by Allah except justifiable causes." (Bukhari, "Wasaya", 23; "Tib", 48; "Hudud", 44; Muslim, "Iman", 144; Abu Dawud, "Wasaya", 10).

Killing people like women, children, old people and clergymen were prohibited even in the time of war. Killing a person as well as killing oneself (committing suicide) is prohibited and is regarded among major sins.  

2- Right of religion:

Everybody has the freedom to choose a religion. “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” (al-Baqara, 2/256), “To you be your Way, and to me mine...” (al-Kafirun, 10976) This issue is emphasized in the verses above. Non-Muslims living under the sovereignty of the Islamic state were given the right to practice their own religions.  

3- Mind:

Mind is the most superior quality of man because the trusts of Allah are accepted thanks to the mind and man can attain the consent and content of Allah thanks to it. The source and root of knowledge is the mind. The relationship between knowledge and mind is like the relationship between fruit and tree, light and the sun, sight and the eye. What distinguishes man from the other living and non-living beings in the universe and what makes him superior is the mind.  

The warnings in the Quran that lead people to think like “Think!”, “Do you still not think?”, “Do they ever think”, “Look!”, “Do they not look?”, “Take warning then, O you with eyes!” show the importance given to the mind.

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi defines the mind as a summary of the consciousness filtered from feelings, the most valuable instrument of man, a luminous essence, a key to unlock the treasures of the universe, a tool that examines Allah’s names and attributes that become manifest in the world, an explorer that solves the mysteries in nature, a divine guide that prepares man for the happiness of the eternal life, a valuable present that acts on evidence and shows man high purposes and permanent fruits, and an essence that is isolated from matter with its being and that is related with matter with its action.

The religion of Islam prohibited alcoholic drinks, which intoxicate people, in order to protect such an important essence and imposed penalties on those who violate this prohibition. In the Islamic law, all of the substances that stupefy man and eliminate his ability to think and reason are regarded as forbidden along with alcoholic drinks. 

4- Property:

The religion of Islam guarantees the right to obtain property. Islam wants man to lead a life that fits human honor. Islam is not against wealth. Islam does not want wealth to be a power belonging to a certain part of the society; it wants wealth to spread among individuals.   

Our religion regards killing among major sins; similarly it regards stealing and grabbing as a major sin and imposes a very severe penalty like amputating the thief’s hand in case of theft.

5- Generation:

The institution of marriage is necessary for the continuation and development of human generation. The continuation and maintenance of human generation can only be possible through the establishment of family, which forms the society and which is the keystone of the society. The institution of marriage based on marriage contract forms the basis of the Islamic community.  

Giving importance to the strengthening of the Islamic society, the religion of Islam adopted and encouraged having children and increasing the population. As a matter of fact, Hz. Prophet (pbuh) said, "Marry loveable and fertile women because I will be proud of your multitude in the presence of the other ummahs on the Day of Judgment." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, I, 412).

Hz. Zakariyya (pbuh) prayed Allah as follows for the continuation of his generation: ""Now I fear (what) my relatives (and colleagues) (will do) after me: but my wife is barren: so give me an heir as from Thyself―(One that) will (truly) represent me, and represent the posterity of Jacob; and make him, O my Lord! one with whom Thou art well-pleased! " (Maryam 19/5-6)

In Islam, having children and continuation of the generation is regarded as worship. Due to its importance, harming the child in the uterus, miscarriage and abortion are regarded as murder. It is forbidden to abort the fetus whose organs have become apparent. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) accepted allegiance from women, he laid down “not killing their children in any way” as a condition. This condition is very important. The child is under the control of its mother before it is born. However, after the birth, the father, not the mother, is responsible.  Then, the condition “not killing their children in any way” is related to the fetus in the uterus. 

"O Prophet! When believing women come to thee to take the oath of fealty to thee that they will not associate in worship any other thing whatever with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery (or fornication), that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood and that they will not disobey thee in any just matter then do thou receive their fealty and pray to Allah for the forgiveness (of their sins)..." (al-Mumtahina, 60/12).

5 What should be done in order to learn and practice Islam well?

A person should base his religious life on the Sunnah of the Prophet, not on his own mind and reason. That is, he should know how the Prophet practiced the religion and what he advised to his ummah.

Is Islam only a theoretical religion without practice? You should find answers to the questions above and try to practice Islam by surrendering to Allah. There might be differences in the life of a person at certain phases of life due to the effect of his age.

When we mention Islam, the first thing that comes to the mind is the Quran and the life of the Prophet. Allah sent a book containing His orders and prohibitions and a prophet that practiced the contents of that book. Then, the way of being a good Muslim is to obey the Quran and the Prophet (pbuh). To take the Prophet, who is a living Quran, as an example is something that Allah likes very much. As a matter of fact, Allah states the following in the Quran: “Say: 'If ye do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins...'" (Aal-i Imran, 188)”

In a hadith reported by Abu Dawud, the Prophet said, “Be careful! In near future, some people will say the Quran is sufficient for us. However, I was given as much or twice as much knowledge as the Quran.” Thus, he stated that the Quran would not be understood fully without the Prophet.

As for the decrees that Islamic scholars concluded from the Quran, we have the following verse, which is very clear, regarding the issue: “…If they had only referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have tested it from them (direct)...” (an-Nisa, 83)

As it can be seen, we are asked to refer to those charged with authority after the Prophet. The existence of four madhhabs is an explanation of this verse.

To sum up, the way of learning Islam well and to practice it is to act in accordance with the Quran, the Sunnah and the decrees concluded by Islamic scholars from these two resources.  

As for researching other religions and the views opposite Islam, it is necessary for us to learn our religion strongly and correctly first. Is it reasonable to search the beauties in the garbage dump in our neighborhood before we construct the foundations and walls of our building strongly?  

Do not misunderstand me; I do not want to say that there is nothing good there but if we want to pass through a poisonous room, we need a good mask. Otherwise, we will be poisoned. If we want to search some religiously harmful and poisonous things, we need a good mask that will prevent all kinds of gases, that is, we need a good and true religious belief so that those views will not harm us.

Yes, the only way to find God and the truth is to believe in the Quran and to act in accordance with it because the Quran is a holy book sent by Allah in order to lead humanity to absolute goodness and truth. It is the Quran that will show man the worldly and otherworldly bliss and that will make man mature. It invites man to belief and oneness, worship and servitude, brotherhood and love. It imposes the best criteria regarding belief and righteous deeds. Islam was constructed based on the criteria of the Quran. There is no truth outside the unshakable and magnificent rules of Islam and there is no need to search it. Whatever the Quran regards as good and approves is true; whatever it regards as bad and rejects is false. Islam, which was established by the Quran, rejects old wrong beliefs, superstitions, disgrace and prostitution. Then, all Muslims need to evaluate the holy realities related to creed, worship, ethics, halal, haram, mentioning Allah, ideas and love based on the Quran.

The verses of the Quran are strong enough to persuade everybody. Ordinary people love the plainness of its style; scholars and scientists admire its fluency and rhetoric. “Without doubt, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” Thinkers of all levels satisfy their need for belief with the Quran and they become mature by following it.

The Quran has encouraged man to meditate and has given man the criteria for it. People have been able to read the book of the universe through the criteria it has taught, have discovered the hidden realities in it and have found their Creator and Lord. It is a divine torch given to the mind in order to illuminate the dark and stormy ways of life. The sun illuminates the material world and the Quran was sent down to illuminate the spiritual world.

The following is stated in the Quran: “Verily this Qur'an doth guide to that which is most right (or stable).” (al-Isra, 9)

It is necessary to follow the laws of a science in order to be successful in that science; similarly, it is necessary to accept the principles of the Quran and the Sunnah in order to find the truth.

Yes, man can know the personality and attributes of God Almighty only through the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah. He can understand where he is coming from and where he is going, what his duty in the world is, the nature and the reality of the other world, and what will be acceptable and rejected there only through those two means. He will learn what deeds, actions and attitudes will attract the consent of God Almighty and what deeds, actions and attitudes will attract His wrath, what is true and what is wrong what is a mistake and what is right from the book of Allah and His Prophet. Every Muslim is responsible for realizing his own world of belief and worship under the guidance of these two realities.

He will also learn from these two fundamentals, the Quran and the Sunnah, how he will enter the sphere of Islam and believe in what principles and how he will remain in the sphere of Islam (by doing what deeds and avoiding what deeds).
Since the criteria of all Muslims are the Quran and the Sunnah, a Muslim has to evaluate all human views, claims, beliefs and creeds based on the Quran and hadiths, which are the interpretation the Quran.

First,the Quran teaches us the principle of belief, "belief in Allah, as well as belief in angels, divine books, prophets the hereafter qadar (that Allah created everything, whether good or bad). A person becomes a believer only when he believes the truths of belief as it is stated by the Quran.

The Quran has taught Islam which consists of all of the orders and prohibitions of Allah, to believers. When a believer obeys these orders and prohibitions, he becomes a perfect Muslim.

Alaaddin Başar (Prof.Dr.)

6 What is the importance that Islam gives to justice?

Allah states the following in a verse:

Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberty to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion...” (an-Nahl 90)

That is, God Almighty does not give consent to oppression and rebellion.

Allah, who is absolutely just, is not unaware of what oppressors do; oppressors and traitors will definitely be accounted for what they do in detail in the presence of divine justice.    

In another verse, the risk of inclining to oppressors and tolerating their oppression, let alone supporting them, is stated as follows:

And incline not to those who do wrong, or the Fire will seize you; and ye have no protectors other than Allah, nor shall ye be helped.” (Hud, 113)

In another verse, the following is stated:

Allah doth command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due; and when ye judge between people that ye judge with justice...” (an-Nisa, 58)

The interesting point here is that the word "people" not "believers" is used when justice is mentioned. Accordingly, it is necessary to treat everybody with justice whether they are friends or enemies.

As a matter of fact, the following verse teaches us the same thing:

Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it.” (az-Zilzal, 7-8)

One of the important essentials of justice in Islam is that a person's friends, relatives, nation and state cannot be held responsible for the mistake of that person. God Almighty states the following in the Quran;

Nor can a bearer of burdens bear another's burden…
(Fatir, 18)

Everybody is punished due to their own sins. A person who commits a murder, not anybody else, will be punished because of that murder. However, if someone causes another person to commit a sin, both the sinner and the one that causes it will be punished.    

God Almighty has determined boundaries in the Quran so that people will not violate one another's rights; He has named them as "boundaries of Allah". He tells us that those who transgress those boundaries will be regarded as oppressors and warns them that they will suffer divine torture.   

The Prophet (pbuh) states the following in a hadith: “Allah tortures those who torture others in the world.

In the Quran, God Almighty states that the cruel nations that do not rule by justice will have a sad ending. We will give two verses as example:

How many populations have We destroyed, which were given to wrong-doing? They tumbled down on their roofs. And how many wells are lying idle and neglected, and castles lofty and well-built?
(Hajj, 45)

How many were the populations we utterly destroyed because of their iniquities, setting up in their places other peoples!.”
(al-Anbiya , 11)

The religion of Islam orders us to show respect to the rights of the members of other religions, too. In times of peace, their rights are guaranteed and protected just like those of Muslims. As a matter of fact, according to Hanafi madhhab, “A Muslimwho kills a non-Muslim unjustly during the period of peace is executed.” That is, he is also killed.

The Prophet threatens people like that in a hadith as follows:

I am the enemy of the person who persecutes a dhimmi. I will call my enemies to account in the hereafter.”
(Kashfu’l Khafa, II, 218, hadith no: 2341)

This is the reality about Islam. Then, it is necessary to look for the reason why some Muslims who are away from the spirit of Islam are involved in terror and oppression in their ignorance and souls instead of in the religion of Islam.   

It is known that man can err; only a person who commits a crime is held responsible for it, not others. It is not fair to hold a person's religion responsible for a personal mistake that a person makes.

It is necessary to mention a very important point here:

The centers that prevent Muslims from learning the real Islam from its original resources and practicing it, that encourage them to be alienated from their religion by leading them to debauchery and that cause Muslims to be poor by exploiting them ruthlessly are to be held responsible for the Muslims that fall into anarchy. These centers had better call themselves to account and question their own conscience instead of blaming others.

7 What does the concept of slavery (servitude) mean in Islam? What does to serve (worship) Allah mean?

Servitude is a deed that organizes the relationship between man and the Creator, Allah. Therefore, the fact that Allah is the Creator and that man is created are emphasized in the first verses that were revealed:

“Proclaim! (or Read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created― Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood.”(al-Alaq, 96/1-2).

The Quran attracts attention to this relationship in the first verse which calls man to worship:

“O ye people! adore your Guardian-Lord, who created you and those who came before you..”(al-Baqara, 2/21).

It is understood from the verse above that worshipping is a duty of the creation (nature) of man, an expression of thanks to the Creator, and a holy deed serving to realize the purpose of spiritual and bodily mechanisms.

Now we will present the reality of servitude, which we tried to outline in a few items:

Servitude is done in two ways:The first one is the servitude done in the absence of the Creator without addressing Him; the second one is the servitude done addressing Him.

1. The Servitude done in the absence of the Creator can be summarized as follows:

a. Servitude: To confirm the greatness of Allah and to applaud His art by looking at the wonderful deeds of the Creator seen all over the universe like creating, administering, arranging and designing.

b.Servitude: To see the beautiful arts which are the reflections of God's beautiful names, to talk about them and to show them to one another in order to take lessons from them.

c. Servitude: To evaluate the essence of the beautiful names of Allah, all of which are spiritual treasures, with one's mind and appreciate them with the heart.

d. Servitude: To perceive, think and meditate the pages of the universe as a book written by the pen of power and wisdom of Allah.

e.Servitude: To look at the wonderful arts, fine embroideries and decorated designs seen all over the universe, to watch the spiritual beauty and perfection of the Creator there and to know Him closely, to love and respect Him.

2. The servitude in the presence of the Creator addressing Him can be summarized as follows:

a. Servitude: To know that one is always in the presence of Allah and to act accordingly. To reach the doer through the deed and to reach the artist through the art.

b. Servitude: To understand that the Creator wants to be known by displaying His wonderful and miraculous arts; and to answer this request by belief.

c. Servitude: To understand that Allah, who is ar-Rahim (the All-Compassionate), wants to be loved since He Displays His products of His mercy as a reflection of His endless mercy by fulfilling this request of Allah; to allocate his love to Him and to try to make himself loved by Him by worshipping Him.

d. Servitude:  To understand that Allah, who is generous, grants people endless material and spiritual bounties and addresses people's material and spiritual sense organs, wants to give pleasure to palates and minds; in return for them, to present his praise and thanks to Him with his deeds, words and attitudes and even with all of his atoms if he can.

e. Servitude: To say,“Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahuakbar”  to praise Allah's attributes of  jalal (majesty) and jamal (beauty), whose reflections are seen everywhere from atoms to galaxies; to stand, to bow down and to prostate in His presence.  

In addition, servitude is divided into two as worshipping and serving: fasting, performing prayers, hajj, zakah are forms of worshipping; to produce all kinds of technology that makes life easy is also regarded as worship. For instance, to produce cars, to build ships, to construct roads and bridges, to establish factories that produce various technological products are also regarded as worship.  It is definitely necessary to aim to attain the consent of Allah and to be sincere if one wants his worship to be significant.

8 What happens if the religion of Islam turns out to be a false religion after death and Christians or atheists become the rightful side? In that case, why should I work for Islam? Maybe, the other possibilities are true?

Throughout history, in all religions including the past and contemporary ones, there is a strong or weak trace of the belief in the hereafter. There is no doubt that in divine religions especially in the holy Qur’an, there is an elaborate explanation of the belief in the hereafter.

Throughout history in all communities, though not exactly in the Islamic sense, the traces of belief in the hereafter with an either strong or weak manner can be observed. The results of the researches on religious history prove this reality, too. There are not any nations without religion throughout the history, there are not any nations that do not believe in a God, life after death or at least a belief in a life after the soul departures its body, either. Though there are people who deny everything including God, life in the hereafter and everything about religion, they are minorities.

Though there are traces of belief in the hereafter in religions and beliefs, none of them has given elaborate and realistic explanations when compared with Islam. Nearly one third of the Qur’an gives information about the hereafter.

Though Judaism is primarily based on the revelations of Hz. Moses and a divine book, the Torah, it gives so limited space to the life in the hereafter; this fact let some scholars think that there is no belief in the hereafter in Judaism. Some contemporary scholars stated that the Torah, which is called the Old Testament, is completely isolated from the life in the hereafter, resurrection and divine punishment, encouraging elements about the hereafter; thus, this situation astonishes man since it is a divine book. Addison says that religious customs and traditions which are based on a national doctrine play an important role in Judaism’s present situation and this caused them to think of the future of Israel rather than the future waiting for them all after their deaths and this makes them indifferent to the subject of life after death.

The fact that resurrection after death was informed by Hz. Isa (Jesus) when he was in the cradle shows the importance of this belief and the significance of it in Hz. Isa’s declaration. However, principles of reward and punishment in the hereafter are interpreted and different ideas are put forward. For example, according to the Bibles, the torment of hell is eternal; however, some Christian sects claim that Allah will not break His promise but He may give up punishment; therefore, He will put everyone to Paradise by not punishing polytheists; they also claim that  eternal torture does not befit Allah. Though it is mentioned in the Bibles that there exist the resurrection of soul along with the body as well as material aspects of Paradise and hell, the general view by Christians from the past to nowadays is as follows; there are no bodily pleasures such as eating, drinking and marriage in Paradise because, the interpreters of the Bible interpreted the expressions of the bodily expressions of Paradise as spiritual meanings such as happiness; they misinterpreted them. One of the reasons that caused Christians to have such a belief is their belief that in the resurrection, bodies will be different and man will have superhuman qualities in those bodies; and they will almost become like angels.

The subject of the hereafter is elaborately discussed in the Qur’an. The taking of the spirit of man during death by angels, signs of the Doomsday, terrific events in the universe during the Doomsday, blowing of the trumpet, resurrection of man, people being sent to the Gathering Place, the reckoning, dialogues at that moment, distribution of the book of deeds, people being classified for Hell and Paradise, elaborate explanation of the benefactions in Paradise and the torments in Hell, salutation and addressing the folks of Paradise and Hell by angels, dialogues between the people of Hell and Paradise, topics on the eternity of the life of Paradise and Hell are subjects that are elaborately mentioned in the Qur’an about the hereafter.

We should not forget that the Holy Qur’an elaborately informs about the events that man will experience in the hereafter by addressing his/her reason with certainty and in a realistic way, that it is the word of Allah (SWT), that other divine books were distorted and the truth that even a word of the Qur’an has not been changed by anyone. It would be enough to see the difference by looking at the Qur’an and the Bible together.

The subject of the hereafter is among the subjects of the realm of the unseen (ghayb). One of the qualities of Muslims is believing in ghayb. As Badiuzzaman puts it, “belief necessitates affirmation of Divine Unity, affirmation of Divine Unity necessitates submission to God, submission to God necessitates reliance on God, and reliance on God necessarily leads to happiness in this world and the next.”

We can explain those concepts as follows: belief and submission are concepts that complement each other. A believer without submission is not a real believer; submission is out of question for a person without belief. A person who believes is called a believer and a person who submits is called a Muslim.  

The main source of thoughts like that are the scruples of Satan. For instance, the idea in the Christian belief that man will not be punished and that he will be put into Paradise is a nice idea for the soul; they ignore the punishment in the hereafter that will be caused by committing sinful deeds through that belief. They want to relieve their consciences by finding a way out. However, they are all delusions of the soul and Satan.

9 According to Islam, why is the criminal punished?

There have been various considerations regarding punishment throughout history; the purpose of punishments was determined based on these considerations. In the West, the purpose of the punishments in the past (until about the 18th century) was intimidation, revenge and denouncing. Burning, crucifixion, amputation, breaking bones, cauterizing with hot iron, etc were the kinds of punishment seen there in the past.   

Besides, there was no conformity between the crime and the punishment in those eras. In the British Criminal Code, execution was applied for about 200 kinds of crime up to the 18th century. The French Criminal Code applied execution for 215 different types of crime. Most of these crimes were petty crimes.

In the course of time, individual revenge was replaced by the purpose of social and divine revenge. In social revenge, intimidation is prevalent; in divine revenge, the purpose is atonement. Since the 18th century, western thinkers have been struggling against the purpose of revenge in punishments and have been trying other purposes to replace it.  

THE PURPOSES OF PUNISHMENT IN ISLAM

The aim of punishment in the Islamic Criminal Code is not to oppress, torture or take revenge from the criminal. For, Hz. Prophet (pbuh) was not sent to terrorize and tyrannize people; he was sent as mercy for all creatures.

According to what is understood from the religious resources (verses and hadiths) and the statements of mujtahids, the purposes of Islam in punishing the criminals are as follows:

1. Preventing crime in general

The application of punishment in the Islamic law aims to be an exemplary punishment that will deter committing crimes. That is, Islamic punishments have the quality of preventing crimes before they are committed and deterring people from committing crimes by warning them. 

Therefore, in Islam, punishments are applied before the eye of the public. The application of punishments openly in the presence of the public is closely related to human psychology. 

The purpose of being exemplary and deterrent is realized in the best way by denouncing the punishment and applying it in the presence of the public. Thus, the feelings of the people related to hating crimes and condemning them will always be kept alert. Nobody wants to be in the place of the criminal and to be despised in the presence of the public at that moment. It will prevent the tendency of the people toward crimes.

2. Preventing crime in particular

One of the purposes of punishment in Islam is to improve the criminal. The punishment is carried out in order to improve the ethics of the criminal and to chasten him so that he will not commit a crime again.

Punishment in Islam is like education of the child by his father or the treatment of the patient by the doctor. The purpose is not to oppress and torture or take revenge from the criminal.

3. Atonement

Punishment in return for a crime is atonement (kaffarah), which is the necessity of absolute justice. Thus, the sufferer is satisfied and soothed; peace and order are maintained in the community. Therefore, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated the following in a hadith:

"A punishment applied for the realization of justice on earth is better than morning rain for 30 days for the people of the earth."(Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, II / 402)

It is the necessity of justice to retaliate against somebody who does something bad. The issue is stated as follows in the Quran:

"The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due, from Allah: for (Allah) loveth not those who do wrong...."(ash-Shura, 26/40)

As it is seen, it is the necessity of justice to punish the criminal as much as he deserves. However, it is virtuous for the sufferer to forgive the criminal.

Mumathalah (equality) is necessary in punishment. That is, the punishment must be equal to and appropriate for the crime. If the punishment is severe compared to the crime, it will realize oppression and discontent, not justice, in the community.  The atonement characteristic of the punishment is a great grace and mercy for the criminal. According to the view of the most of the scholars, the penalty of a crime paid in the world will atone for the crime; the criminal will not be punished in the hereafter due to that crime.

As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:

"When a person commits a crime and punished because of it, it is regarded his atonement."(Ömer Nasuhi Bilmen - Hukuki İslamiyye ve Istılahat-ı Fıkhiyye K., I / 33)

Since the purpose of punishment is improvement, it is better not apply the punishment if the criminal repents after he has committed the crime. For, the purpose of the punishment has occurred. 

When a person who confessed to the Prophet (pbuh) that he had stolen, the Prophet said to him, "I do not think that you have stolen."(1)

Similarly, when Maiz, one of the Companions, confessed to the Messenger of Allah that he had committed fornication in repentance, the Messenger of Allah said to him,

"Think well. You may have not committed fornication; you may have kissed or done something like that."

Thus, he tried to make Maiz withdraw his confession. However, when Maiz insisted that he had committed fornication, he was punished.(2)

It is necessary to state that in both cases mentioned above, the crime was not definite because nobody knew or saw that the crimes had been committed. The criminals repented and confessed their crimes. If they had not confessed, it would have been impossible to accuse them.

Therefore, when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) saw that they had really repented for the crimes that they had committed, he did not want their crimes to be definite through their confession. He regarded it sufficient for them to repent and ask for forgiveness from Allah.   

If the crime has become definite without the confession of the criminal due to the evidence and witnesses, the situation is different. The repentance of the criminal is not taken into consideration in that case.
In the application of hadd punishment, the interest of the community rather than the criminal is essential. No matter what the state of the criminal is, the punishment of the criminal is applied when the crime has become definite in order to prevent these kinds of severe crimes from spreading in the community and from causing mischief and discontent. However, qisas (retaliation) is excluded because in retaliation, the relatives of the person who was killed have the authority to forgive the killer. And this forgiveness is encouraged in the Quran.

Regarding the crimes that are called tazir and whose punishments are left to the judge to decide, the situation of the criminal is taken into consideration. If the judge is convinced that the criminal will improve, he can eliminate or mitigate the punishment. However, the interest of the community should also be taken into consideration while deciding. 

Footnotes:

(1) Ahmad b. Hanbal, Baqi Musnad al-Ansar, 21480
(2) Muslim, Hudud, 22; ash-Shawkani, Naylul-Awtar, VII, 95,109; az-Zaylai, Nasbu'r-Raya, III, 314 etc.

10 Is the justice of Allah valid only for Muslims; or is it also valid for non-Muslims?

The justice of Allah is valid for everybody, whether Muslim or not. Allah has rendered it haram to commit injustice and oppression to people regardless of their religion. Is it possible for Allah, who renders it haram for people to commit injustice and oppression to others, to oppress people by abandoning justice?

It is emphasized by the phrase “nor is thy Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His servants” in the following verse: “Whoever works righteousness benefits his own soul; whoever works evil, it is against his own soul: nor is thy Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His servants”(Fussilat, 41/46) that nobody will be oppressed and therefore everybody will be treated justly regardless of their religion. 

There are many verses regarding the issue. Two verses that address unbelievers directly are as follows:

“(Disdainfully) bending his side, in order to (lead men) astray from the Path of Allah; for him there is disgrace in this life, and on the Day of Judgment we shall make him taste the Penalty of burning (Fire). (It will be said): "This is because of the deeds which thy hands sent forth, for verily Allah is not unjust to His servants.”(Hajj, 9-10)

The following verse states that no deed, whether small or big, will be lost and that every deed will be rewarded or punished: “Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it.” (az-Zilzal, 99/7-8)

"Zarra" mentioned in the verses means a tiny ant or a particle that can be seen only in the sunlight. What is meant here is stating man's responsibility through the smallest thing that human senses can be interested in. The real aim is to state that the smallest good or bad deed will not be lost in the eye of Allah.

11 Is Islam a religion of logic?

The decrees and principles of the religion of Islam are suitable for the nature of man and his/her reason. This evaluation is correct. Except for a small proportion of principles that are “ta'abbudi” (requiring obedience without needing to know its reason), all rules in Islam are "ma'qul al-mana" (understandable in terms of reason and logic).

The fact that the orders and prohibitions of Islam are valid for people who have reached the age of puberty and who are sane and do not hold responsible people who are not sane shows that Islam gives importance to reason and addresses reason and it also indicates that Islam is “a religion of logic”. 

For example, the institution of alms in Islam is an establishment that helps the poor by the rich and balances the social order, prevents the conflicts between the poor and the rich and turns those conflicts into reconciliation, love-respect and eliminates the injustices that foments the hatred and abhorrence between classes and layers of the society. This function of alms can easily be understood and is very reasonable.

In addition, one of the first conditions of embracing Islam is having faith in Allah and His apostle. The place of belief is the heart. The heart is large enough to hold divine feelings, inspirations, hadiths and the mind (reason). It is a clear indication of this truth that a person who is not sane is not responsible for having a faith.

The style of the Qur’an is full of rational and logical proofs that are required for the approval of man’s reasoning. There are always rational evidence and logical examples when it tells about the existence of Allah, that Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) is a true prophet, that the Qur’an is a word of Allah, and about the existence of resurrection after death.

Actually, if any order or punishment by Allah does not satisfy man’s reasoning, then it cannot be said that a fair test exists here. If someone makes an elementary school student responsible for the questions that belong to the sciences which are valid at university or for doctoral degrees, then that person will be oppressed. That is why, there is always an emphasis on human mind and thoughts in the Qur’an and there are phrases as follows: “Will you not then understand? Will you not then meditate?”  

Secondly, the phrase “Islam is a religion of logic” emphasizes the philosophy of a person who bases his thoughts on his own reason and logic. It is wrong. According to this person, “Great minds think alike”, so the things that he cannot understand are wrong. Therefore, what Islam has and what opposes to his view is wrong. because Islam is a religion of logic. What reason cannot grasp has no place in religion.

Such people who have this kind of philosophy are unable to understand the concept of “reason” because reason cannot grasp everything on itself without external factors; on the contrary, it tries to grasp in the direction of knowledge and ideas that were given to him beforehand. It is the best proof of this truth that a person who has a very high degree of reason but who is not necessarily educated cannot understand and do the things that an engineer, a doctor or a mufti who are not as clever as him.

The most important point to be mentioned here is this: It is not appropriate for some people who cannot comprehend an issue to say “unreasonable” for that issue. Most of us do not know about physics, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, etc and do not comprehend them but nobody says they are unreasonable because some people do not understand them. The mind cannot discover everything on its own. If it were possible, there would be no need for prophets. Each issue has a field that can be understood by specialists only. Those specialists can easily understand the issue that some people cannot comprehend. Similarly, the fact that some people cannot understand the truths of the Quran does not mean that those truths are unreasonable and illogical. 

Another important point is this: The existence of some issues that are called ta’abbudi and that cannot be understood by reason is related to the testing of man. The principles of belief are scientific and based on reason. A few principles of Islam are present in order to test man’s belief and surrender not to satisfy the mind. There need to be some issues that the mind cannot comprehend easily so that it will be clear whether man believes in his mind only or believes in and surrenders to Islam.

To sum up, a person who says, “Since the Quran is the word of Allah, everything in it is correct – even if my mind cannot comprehend“passes the test. A person who hesitates saying, “Such and such issue in the Quran is unreasonable; my mind cannot comprehend it” fails the test because he is either not sincere or is very ignorant.

For instance, the fact that the morning prayer has two rak'ahs but the noon prayer has four rak'ahs has nothing to do with the mind. However, issues like the prohibition of pork and alcohol can be explained by science and reasoning. The issues based on reason are more than ta’abbudi issues.

12 What do you recommend us to do in order to continue Islamic life and daily prayers?

Today, I want to talk to you about some basic rules of us. I do not know whether they will be answers to your unanswered questions or not. It is up to you to decide.

However, those rules must be known at any rate and their existence must not be forgotten. One of them is this:   
"If you cannot do something fully, you should not give it up completely." It is a true rule.

You want to do a correct thing fully; you want to practice it completely. However, there are some difficulties about it; at times, there are impossibilities. Either you are not ready for it due to your soul or the circumstances outside you are not suitable. What will you do in that case?

Since you cannot do it fully, will you give it up completely? Or will you try to do as much of it as you can and wait for a suitable time and circumstances for the part that you have not been able to do?   

The rule says; you do not have to abandon all of it because you cannot do all of it. Do and practice as much of it as you can. Have the determination and will to do and practice the parts that you have not been able to do and practice...

Do it if you want to find a way out of the difficulties and impossibilities you are in, if you want to find a remedy and if you really want to practice it...

I want to draw attention to another point that will expand your reasoning.

Common criteria of verses and hadiths:

Thawabs eliminate sins; good deeds eliminate bad deeds.
Suppose you made a mistake and committed a sin unwillingly due to the pressure of your soul or due to the impossibilities in your environment. Do you think it is all gone and there is no way out?   

In our opinion, it is not all gone; there is still some hope and ways out. This is the verse we have mentioned above:

"Those things that are good remove those that are evil."(Hud, 11/114)

A person who repents his sins is like a person who has not sinned...

Then, increase your worship and rewards to remove the sins that you commit unwillingly; increase your good deeds and concentrate on your service; thus, your thawabs will surpass your sins.   

Your thawabs will probably be more than the sins that you have committed unwillingly and the glad tiding given by the verse will be manifest for you. You will be in the position of winning instead of losing.

What we mention is not permission to commit sins but some hope for those who fall in despair and think that it is all gone.

During all my life, what I have observed has never been all-or-nothing. Sometimes, things started incompletely but in the course of time, defects were diminished, and sometimes the result was perfect.

The same thing is valid for religious issues. Do not overestimate them and say, ‘I cannot do all of them, so I will not try to do any of them’. Do the ones that you can and wait for the love, enthusiasm and possibilities that Allah will grant you for the ones that you have not been able to do.

You may lose everything, but never lose your hope! He who loses his hope has lost more than everything.

Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (az-Zumar, 39/53)

13 What is Islam? Will you please give detailed information about Islam?

Literal Meaning of the Word Islam

Literally, Islam means to surrender, to submit and to obey. This religion is called Islam because it is a religion based on surrendering to the commands of Allah and obeying them. 

Terminological Meaning

It is a way of life, a system based on creed and deeds to make people attain bliss both in the world and in the hereafter, sent by Allah and conveyed to people through prophets. Islam is a divine law that lead people who have minds to good things based on their own choices. 

The Content of Islam

The meaning of Islam is to surrender: to surrender to the commands and prohibition of Allah. Islam is not in question without surrendering to the decrees of Allah. (see al-An'am, 162 and an-Nisa, 65) Man is a slave that Allah created.

Since Allah encompasses everything with His knowledge and since He has wisdom, the necessity of slavery is to surrender to Him. The laws of life make it necessary for man to surrender to Allah because it is Allah who knows these laws and man best.

The universe and everything in it obey the laws of that Creator. Therefore, the religion of the whole universe is Islam. The sun, the moon and the stars are all Muslims. Since Islam means to obey Allah and to surrender to Him, we see that all those beings obey Allah without rebelling. That is, we witness that they surrender and that they are Muslims.

    “Do they seek for other than the Religion of Allah?―While all creatures in the heavens and on earth have willing, or unwilling, bowed to His Will (accepted Islam), and to Him shall they all be brought back." (Aal-i Imran, 3/83)

In the verse above, the surrendering of the beings in the sky and on earth is given as an example and man is addressed as follows: "O man! You should surrender like them." As Hz. Ali (ra) puts it, "Islam is submission and surrendering." A person who does not surrender to Allah is not regarded as a Muslim. Man is regarded to be the slave of the being to whom he surrenders. Islam is a manifestation and reflection of belief. Can surrendering without belief, that is, Islam without belief be possible? Even if it is possible, it is not something that is acceptable. Munafiqs (hypocrites) are people that surrender without belief. Today, the people who introduce themselves as Muslims though they have not believed as it is necessary, they have not accepted the decrees of Allah heartily and they adopt other ideologies (religions) are included in this group. For a valid Islam (surrendering), it is necessary to surrender to the Sharia'ah of Allah willingly, fully and without any conditions.

If man surrenders to Allah with his own free will and choice, and lives like a Muslim by choosing Islam, he will live in peace and in harmony with the universe since he has surrendered to the same being as the universe has surrendered. Thus, such a person becomes the vicegerent and representative of Allah on earth.

It is not possible to define the religion of Islam briefly but comprehensively. Its comprehensive definition can be made only by the definition of the Quran and the Sunnah because the content and the boundaries of Islam are determined by the Quran and the Sunnah. Islam can be learned from the Quran and the Sunnah. Allah has made this religion perfect and comprehensive in all aspects. There is no unexplained issue in Islam. It has been made clear whether something is permissible, haram (forbidden), maruh (abominable), sunnah, fard (obligatory) or wajib (necessary); the decree about any deed or belief has been made clear. There is definitely a decree about belief, worshipping, politics, social issues, economy, war, peace, law or any issue related to man in Islam; or, mujtahids make a judgment about it basing their decision on the Quran and the Sunnah. Allah explains this property of the Quran as follows:

    "We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things." (an-Nahl, 16/89 and also see Yusuf, 111)

Mujtahid scholars make judgments about the issues whose decrees are not stated clearly in the Quran and the Sunnah basing their decisions on the Quran and the Sunnah.

The Prophet (pbuh) defined Islam in various ways. One of those definitions is as follows:

    "Islamis based on five principles: To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad (pbuh) is His Messenger, to perform prayers, to pay zakah (alms), to perform Hajj and to observe fast during the month of Ramadan." (Bukhari, Iman 1; Muslim, Iman 22; Nasai, Iman 13; Tirmidhi Iman 3)

The hadith above states that Islam is based on those five principles. What we need to pay attention to is the fact that those five principles are fundamentals of Islam but they do not form the whole Islam. We cannot say that a house consists of its foundations only; similarly, it is wrong to say that Islam consists of those five principles only. A person who reads the Quran will see that ethics, economy, social issues, peace, war, goodness, evil etc. are mentioned along with those five principles in the Quran. Islam consists of a foundation and a building. The foundation consists of those five principles. The building consists of other decrees of Islam related to human life. The duty of a Muslim is to know Islam as a whole and to practice it as a whole.  

Under the light of the famous hadith above, we can divide the foundations of Islam into two: belief, which is summarized with the words of testimony and righteous deeds, which are mentioned as four deeds due to their importance. Islam is the belief that originates from kalima ash-shahada (words of testimony) and the principles of belief. Islam is worship that appears with prayer, zakah, fasting and hajj. They are called the principles or foundations of Islam. The remaining parts of Islam are the building that is established on these foundations. The elements that form this building are Islam's systems of life: political system, economic system, military system, social system, education system, etc. Islam also has sanctions to ensure its sovereignty. (Sanction means the force ensuring that laws and ethical commands are fulfilled; it means a rule related to enforcement) These sanctions are jihad, enjoining what is good and prohibiting what is bad, natural penalties and the divine penalties given by Allah both in the world and in the hereafter. Thus, Islam is belief, worship, life systems and sanctions. 

Islam means surrendering of man to Allah with his inner and outer self, with his heart and body, mind and conscience, desire and hatred, feelings and sensitivities. Islam means to save one's heart, mind, body, inner and outer self from all kinds of influences except Allah. Islam is a general system, a program of human acts that imposes commands through laws and revelation related to all aspects of life and   that is declared and conveyed by the Prophet.  Those who obey this program are rewarded and those who do not are punished. Islam is the whole of decrees sent down by Allah, creed, worship, ethics, muamalat (transactions) and all of the news in the Quran and the Sunnah.

The opposite of Islam is Jahiliyya (ignorance). (Jahiliyya is the common name of all kinds of unbelief outside Islam as a belief and lifestyle. It means unbelief. ) Ignorance is definitely against every part of Islam.  As Hz.  Umar puts it, "When those who do not know Islam and Ignorance appear, the knots of Islam are untied one by one." Islam is against Ignorance in all details because every part of Islam is a work of Allah's knowledge that surrounds everything.  Every view and movement that is against Him is definitely Ignorance because it is the work of man's limited knowledge.  Besides, man's fancies and desires can overcome him and can show the good as bad and the bad as good.

    "Do they then seek after a judgment of (the Days of) Ignorance? But who, for a people whose faith is assured, can give better judgment than Allah?” al-Maida, 5/50)

When some people see the beauty and maturity in the acts, lifestyle or some systems of some of the people who follow the path of Ignorance, they feel doubtful. It is because something related to Islam can sometimes exist in Ignorance, too. That Islamic thing seems nice there, too. An ignorant person adopts that system because he does not know the truth of Islam. If that person knew the truth, he would understand that the partial good deeds that he saw in Ignorance belonged to Islam and would turn toward the source and the origin.    

There exists Islam and Ignorance in beliefs. There exist Islam and Ignorance in ethics, politics, teaching, war, peace and social issues. There exist Islam and Ignorance in all of the issues related to man, in all of the laws and rules. Ignorance in belief and worship is the most dangerous ignorance. Therefore, Allah forgets the people who do some deeds of ignorance but who have strong belief but He does not forgive the people whose belief and worship are those of Ignorance even if they have full Islamic ethics. 

    "Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with him; but He forgiveth anything, else to whom He pleaseth." (an-Nisa, 4/48)

Allah sent Islam as a whole. A person who takes it as a whole is a Muslim. A person who takes some of it and does not take the other part mixes Islam and Ignorance.  

    "Then is it only a part of the Book that ye believe in, and do ye reject the rest? But what is the reward for those among you who behave like this but disgrace in this life? -and on the Day of Judgment they shall be consigned to the most grievous penalty For Allah is not unmindful of what ye do." (al-Baqara, 2/85)

It is necessary for every Muslim to be purified of all of the customs and rules of Ignorance and take Islam as a whole. 

The Aim of the Religion of Islam

The decrees that Islam introduced aim the happiness of people. Those who act in accordance with these decrees will attain bliss both in the world and in the hereafter. Islam makes man attain happiness by improving his heart, mental thoughts and deeds. Since the happiness of the community depends on the happiness of the individual, the happiness of an individual means the happiness of the community. Islam introduced some decrees in order to realize this aim. They are called Shari'ah decrees  

Decrees of the Religion of Islam

The decrees of the religion of Islam are divided into four.

a) Belief (Decrees related to creed): They are the decrees that are related to the issues that man needs to accept and refuse in the religion of Islam. These decrees teach man what he needs to accept and refuse. By believing in the principles of belief, man takes his spiritual food, purifies his heart of wrong beliefs and gains his real value. 

b) Deeds: Deeds are the actions that man performs. They are the actions that need to be done or not to be done. The decrees that explain what deeds should be done under what conditions and how deeds become valid are called practical deeds; for instance, to pray, to pay zakah (alms), to make jihad, to learn knowledge.

c) Ethics: They are decrees that explain states and actions, attitudes and Islamic and human relations. They are decrees that are related to beautifying ethics and educating conscience; for instance, not cursing or telling lies, wanting things that one wants for himself also for others.

d) Law [Muamalat (Transactions), Uqubat (Penalties)]: They are the decrees that are outside the issues like belief, ethics and private deeds and that are related to governing the state, ruling the community, economic issues, marriage, divorce, inheritance, commercial and political affairs; in short, they are all of the decrees that determine the laws and rules of the Islamic state. 

Islam is not an indispensible part of human life but the whole of it with all aspects. Islam encompasses and determines man's twenty-four hours and all of the issues from birth to death.  Islam is the whole of man's life. It is a whole with its belief, worship and law. It cannot be divided or synthesized with something else. It does not accept removal and addition, and superstitions.  It is a perfect system completed by Allah.

General characteristics of Islam

1) Divinity: (Belonging to Lord; being divine) Islam is the true and divine religion. It is based on revelation. Its aim and purpose is divine. The pleasure (consent) of Allah is an indispensible aim for a Muslim. The source and method of Islam is divine, too.

2) Humanness: (Harmony with human nature) The Quran was sent to human beings, and prophets were chosen among human beings. Islam gives man and human mind great importance; and it has imposed decrees.  According to Islam, man was created on earth in the best way and as the vicegerent; he was made a distinguished being with the spiritual element; and the universe was put at his disposal.  Islam does not neglect any power and energy groups. It leads all of them to improvement, work and development.  By undertaking the burdens that he can carry, man continues on his way in peace, security and tranquility.  These responsibilities are harmonious with man's nature.  They become integrated with the sound of man's heart and conscience. It aims to improve his nature.  All of the decrees of Islam are oriented toward happiness in the world and in the hereafter. 

3)  Comprehensiveness and universality: Islam is so long as to cover eternity, so wide as to encompass the whole mankind and so deep as to contain worldly and otherworldly affairs. Its message and decrees are related to the whole world and mankind.  It arranges all of the stages of human life, from the cradle to the grave and all fields of life. The teachings of Islam are also comprehensive. This comprehensiveness becomes manifest in belief, worship, imagination, ethics and virtues, and arrangements and laws. 

4)  Moderation and balance:  Islam is a religion that has basic dynamics like balance, mildness, justice and moderation. It is away from excessiveness and deficiency.  It has no extremism. It does not let man go astray and be oppressed. The power of man is not sufficient to establish such a balanced system.  We can easily see the elements of moderation (justice and balance) in belief, worship, ethics and legislation. There is a balance between the world and the hereafter, matter and spirit, the rich and the poor.  It balances man's inside and outside, spirit and body, the individual and the community, women and men, the family and the nation. It determines their rights and duties towards one another in a balanced and harmonious way.

5) Clarity: The belief principles and religious concepts of Islam are plain and clear. They are easy to understand, explain and accept.  It is not refused by the mind and reason.   

6) Pure religion:   It is a religion that cannot be distorted since it does not allow analysis and synthesis, removal and addition and since its source is sound and unchangeable. Its doors are closed to superstitions. It is the only true religion completed and accepted by Allah. 

7) Oneness (Tawhid): Islam is primarily a religion of oneness. It settles the perfect belief in Allah.  In Islam, the attributes of Allah cannot be associated with people and other beings.  It emphasizes that Allah does not resemble anyone. People and other beings cannot be deified. It is not possible to worship and pray any being except Allah.

8) Approving all prophets: A Muslim believes in all of the prophets sent by Allah. He does not discriminate among them. He accepts them as the messengers and slaves of Allah by keeping away from deifying them and inappropriate descriptions regarding Him.

9) Sovereignty belongs to Allah: It belongs to Allah to determine, laws and principles and to impose laws. Islam constitutes a community where decree, domination, sovereignty and authority are given to Allah and where there are no oppressors, oppressed people and slaves of slaves.

10) Sound source: The main source of Islam is the Quran. The Quran is a book that will not be distorted until Doomsday. All of the copies of the Quran in the world are the same.

11) Harmony with the universe: The universe and everything in it are regarded as Muslims since they surrender to and obey Allah. Man who accepts Islam and surrenders obeys the same rules in harmony with the universe. Thus, the effort and energy of man combine with the facilities of the universe. Islam does not make man conflict and fight with the natural powers in the universe.

12) It constitutes one community (umma): Islam constitutes a community (umma) that is harmonious and loyal and that acts in solidarity. The basic dynamics of this community, which comes together with the bond of creed and which does not discriminate among races, colors, countries and classes are fraternity, solidarity, equality, justice, advising truth and patience, spreading goodness and struggling against evil. It constitutes a virtuous and chaste community where bad characters and ugly traditions like fornication, prostitution, theft, injustice and interest are eliminated, where man's extreme desires for eating, drinking, housing and sex are prevented. Unbelievers are regarded as one nation; similarly, all Muslims constitute one nation that regards one another as brothers. 

13) Ease and glad-tiding: Islam regards anyone that utters kalima ash-shahada and lives accordingly a Muslim no matter what he was like in the past. It is based on the principle of equality and justice. It does not allow anyone to be forced to become a Muslim. It aims to spread by conquering hearts. Its decrees are easy enough to practice. Many conveniences have been introduced regarding worship taking man's stamina into consideration. Tasks or duties that are too difficult are not ordered. Islam’s mercy, pardon and glad-tiding overweigh. Islam views all of man's spiritual and bodily needs with tolerance and finds easy and simple solutions to them. However, those who ignore worshipping and obeying Allah despite all this ease due to laziness and extreme inclination toward the world are warned against the torture of Allah.

14) It gives importance to the mind and knowledge: Islam is a religion of revelation but it gives importance to the mind. It also gives great importance to science and knowledge, stating that learning knowledge is fard for all Muslims; it gives importance to issues like working, learning and thought. It should not be forgotten that Islam is not a rationalist religion but a religion of minds.

15) Human rights: Islam, which cares about human rights in such a way that cannot be seen in any system (religion), protects the following rights of man:

     a. Safety of religion: Islam protects the right of religion and the freedom of practicing religion.

     b. Safety of soul: Islam ensures the right of living.

     c. Safety of mind: Islam, which orders science and meditation, prohibits things that harm the mind like alcohol and drugs; it takes all kinds of measures in order to protect the mind from all kinds of disorders. 

     d. Safety of generation: It takes all necessary measures in order to ensure the protection of chaste and honor and the upbringing of healthy generations.   

     e. Safety of goods: Islam closes the ways that lead to crimes like theft in order to protect property; in addition, it gives man the right and opportunity to have sufficient means of livelihood.

To sum up, Islam guarantees the honor, chaste, freedom, religion, life, livelihood and job of every man.  

Regarding the issue of human rights, Islam is still in a position that cannot be achieved. It encourages the principle of human fraternity. Islam rejects racism and the understanding of superiority except for taqwa. Islam's orders, prohibitions, decrees, worship, understanding of punishment, etc prove equality.  This much equality does not exist in other systems even in theory. Islam does not overlook injustice for the sake of equality. It does not allow the exploitation of sexuality by overlooking sexual differences under the pretext of equality of women and men and the extremism that will lead to the exploitation and oppression of people. 

The Relationship of Islam with the Shari'ahs of the Previous Prophets

a) Islam is the name of all of the religions sent down through all prophets.  (see al-Baqara, 130 - 133) Humanity came to the world with a prophet (Hz. Adam). Allah sent prophets with different shari'ahs (laws) based on the conditions of the time and the needs of humanity; however, creed (belief) was the same for all prophets.

b) The religions conveyed by the previous prophets had been sent to certain nations. The religion sent to Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) is a universal religion. That is, it was presented to the whole universe and humanity by Allah; it is a way of life that will be valid until Doomsday.

c) The religion of Islam, which Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) conveyed, abrogated the decrees (shari'ahs) of the religions conveyed by the previous prophets. That is, what is valid today is the shari'ah of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh).

d) The religion of Islam confirms all of the books and prophets sent by Allah before Hz. Muhammad (pbuh).

Some Verses on Islam

    “The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His will).” (Aal-i Imran, 3/19)

    “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah) never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost. (all spiritual good).” (Aal-i Imran, 3/85)

    “Whoever submits his whole self to Allah, and is a doer of good, has grasped indeed the trustworthy hand-hold: and with Allah rests the End and Decision of (all) affairs.” (Luqman, 31/22)

    “…This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion...” (al-Maida, 5/3)

The Fundamentals of Islam

The fundamentals (pillars) of Islam are five: To testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad (pbuh) is His Messenger, to perform prayers, to pay zakah (alms), to perform Hajj and to observe fast during the month of Ramadan.

In the hadith in which the Prophet defines Islam, which is known as the hadith of Gabriel, which we mentioned at the beginning and which states that Islam is based on five pillars (which ignorant people wrongly call it five conditions of Islam), these five pillars are listed. We will deal with the basic principles of belief which we call kalima ash-shahada or kalima at-tawhid in detail when we explain the issue of oneness (tawhid).  Here, we will briefly mention the principles (pillars) which are stated as prototype examples due to the importance of these kinds of worship and which we can inclusively define as righteous deeds along with other kinds of worship in terms of its aspect related to creed. How to do these deeds are dealt with in fiqh and catechism books and in the subject of fiqh.  

What is righteous deed (amal salih)? Righteous deeds are deeds that are liked by Allah. A righteous deed has two characteristics: The first one is being in compliance with the shari'ah of Islam; the second one is the intention being for the sake of Allah and aiming to worship Him. If a deed does not contain both of them, it is not regarded as a righteous deed by Allah. Such a deed brings no profit and reward. Our Lord states the following:

    “…Whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.” (al-Kahf, 18/110)

The place of righteous deed in Islam is very important because these deeds are the fruits of belief in Allah and the hereafter. The meaning of kalima ash-shahada (tawhid) becomes manifest through doing righteous deeds and being on this way. When we remember that the meaning of Islam is surrendering and submission, and that this submission means obeying and surrendering to Allah's commands, it becomes clear that Islam cannot be without deeds, obedience and worship. Many verses praise righteous deeds due to its importance in Islam. Some of these verses regard them as close to belief; some mention the reward for them and others mention the benefits of them in the hereafter.   

    “By (the Token of) time (through the Ages), verily Man is in loss, except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy..” (al-Asr, 103/1-3)

For some other verses, see al-Maida, 9 ; ar-Ra’d, 29 ;an-Nahl, 97 ; al-Kahf, 30; Maryam, 76; al-Ankabut, 7, 9.

It is necessary to adopt Islam for the deed to be accepted. Therefore, Allah mentions belief and righteous deeds together. If a person does a righteous deed that is incompliance with the shari'ah of Islam and for the sake of Allah, his deed will be rejected by Allah unless he accepts and adopts Islam as a whole. There is no reward or benefit for such a deed. (see Aal-i İmran, 3/85)

There are several kinds of good deeds. They are all of the things that God Almighty orders, whether they are related to worship or transactions. When a Muslim does a righteous deed by aiming to obey his Lord, surrender to the shari'ah and demand the consent of Allah, he becomes a person of good deed.

The righteous deeds in the first place (in the narrow sense) are the acts of worship. The main acts of worship are daily prayers, hajj and zakah. They are the foundations of Islam. It is definitely impermissible to neglect or to despise their importance. Therefore, they are clearly stated in the famous hadith that defines Islam.   

The importance of worship in Islam is great. Worship arranges a person's relationship with his Lord and shows his servitude to Allah. Worship is the special right of Allah that he demands from His slaves. It is necessary to take care of worship and to invite other people to belief principles and then to worship. When worship is incomplete, man's belief cannot be strengthened and cannot settle in his heart. Furthermore, today, when the sovereignty of unbelief has reached everywhere, the belief of people who act lazily and neglect some kinds of worship especially daily prayers is imperiled. That is, it is very difficult for a person to remain a believer without performing daily prayers and other kinds of worship. Worship is like water for a fish and air for a person.

Among these kinds of worship, daily prayers are especially important in terms of creed. Islam describes prayers as a characteristic that distinguishes between a Muslim and an unbeliever. It s not permissible to neglect prayers even when a person is on a journey, at war or when he is ill. It is the habit of munafiqs (hypocrites) to abandon prayer and to act lazily when it is time to pray. When a person returns to his Lord, the first thing he will be questioned about is prayers. Prayer is a kind of worship that always reminds a person of his servitude to Allah and the meaning of kalima at-tawhid. Prayer prevents a person from committing all kinds of ugly deeds, fornication and evil. Some of the verses of the Quran that are related to the importance of prayers are as follows: ar-Rum, 31; al-Baqara, 1-3, 153 and 238; an-Nisa, 103; 142; al-Ankabut, 45 ...

The Muslim is invited to prayer by “Allahu Akbar”; he starts prayer by it; he often repeats it while praying because Allah is greater than every great being and loftier than every powerful being. If a person adheres to Allah, who is greater and mightier than everything is, he will not be afraid of anyone. He will avoid worshipping others.

Fasting, hajj, zakah and all of the other kinds of worship strengthen belief, purify the soul of evil and make a person adhere to his Lord. In fasting, a person prefers love of Allah to the desires of his body. It makes a Muslim have sincerity, will and patience. Zakah is a kind of financial worship that enables a Muslim to be purified of the disease of stinginess. Thanks to zakah, he understands it better that Allah is the real owner of the property and that he is only a person to whom that property is entrusted. Zakah means to prefer the consent and love of Allah to the love of property. It means to allocate a share of one's property to the poor of the community and hence to contribute to social justice. Hajj is the practical education of a Muslim. We see that a Muslim shows his servitude practically and clearly through the worship of hajj. The commands like obtaining knowledge, making jihad, ordering what is good, prohibiting what is evil, showing patience and tawakkul, having taqwa, loving Allah and fearing His torture  are among the main kinds of righteous deeds that the Quran insistently emphasizes. 

Conveying the Message of Islam

Islam must be conveyed to everybody as long as humanity exists. The real aim of this invitation and conveyance is to save people from being the slaves of other people and making them adhere only to Allah, who is one. There must always be some people who will carry out this duty. 

    “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/104)

The verse above affirms this duty. Islam must be conveyed to everybody but especially to those who superficially act like Muslims because what they regard to be Islam is not real Islam. This state must definitely be changed and they should be shown the truth.  

One of the aims of calling people to Islam is to save Islam from the monopoly the people who do not convey it to anybody and inform everybody about Islam. No one can have a monopoly on Islam. No one can dominate some kinds of worship and make them difficult for Muslims to perform. Those who do it, whether they do it on behalf of Islam or on behalf of Ignorance, commit disrespect toward Allah because Allah wants all of the obstacles preventing people from reaching Him to be eliminated. What is more, He rendered it fard to make jihad against those obstacles so that people would know about, learn and accept Islam, which is pure and lucid, of their own accord. To save people from the domination and tyranny of other people, from the landlords, big brothers, ancestors, fathers, masters and the customs that they adhere to, and to make them reach Islam, which is the system and sovereignty of Allah, in all phases of life... That is what Islam is; all of the prophets were sent to realize this.

To Make Islam Sovereign in Life

The basic principle that is the main basis of Islam throughout human history is the principle of “La ilaha illallah”. That is, the rule of allocating divinity, lordship, sultanate and sovereignty to Allah only. This rule should be manifest in the form of belief in the heart, worship in the feelings, and acts and law and system in life. If a person does not testify that there is no god but Allah in such a proper way, it is regarded as disrespect toward Allah and Islam.

This rule is applied fully when man turns toward Allah wholly in his life. Thus, man refers to the decree of Allah in all affairs and all phases of his life; he accepts and prefers Allah's decree to his own view.

The person who tells and conveys the decrees of Allah to people is the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). This rule constitutes the second part of kalima ash-shahada.

    “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” (al-Fath, 48/29)

This is the second part of the basic principle on which Islam depends. When this rule is practiced fully in all aspects of life, the perfect system will appear. This is the system to which Allah gives consent. 

The aim of Islam is to eliminate Ignorance. It is necessary to form a new and active staff to realize it. This is a group of people that acts in accordance with the Islamic method with their lifestyle, frame of mind, social system, standard of judgment and resource, in short, everything. Only such a staff can form the umma of Islam again and deserve to be the addressee of the following verses:     

    “Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/110)

    “Thus have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced That ye might be witnesses over the nations and the Messenger a witness over yourselves...” (al-Baqara, 2/143)

14 If Islam is the true religion, why are there so many people who deny it and who are members of other religions in the world? Who prevents people from being Muslims?

First of all, we should not forget that the number of the members of the religion of Islam is probably in the first or at least in the second place. If whether a religion is a true religion or not depends on the number of its followers, the religions of Christianity and Islam are true religions. One out of every three people in the world is a Muslim today. This majority in number is a sign of an important truth.  

Throughout history, no religion has been able to make all people in the world follow it. If this point is taken into consideration, it is necessary to believe that no religion is the true religion. This thought is obviously wrong.

Those who do not accept the religion of Islam are divided into two groups:

First group: They do not accept Islam without based on any evidence for or against it. It is called denial without accepting. That is, they are the people who are not interested in whether Islam is right or not, who are interested in their own pleasures, who do not want to reject Islam based on any evidence or who do not think of exerting any efforts to accept Islam based on any evidence.  Most of the people who do not accept Islam are people like that. They do not want to keep away from their pleasure by accepting Islam, which aims to discipline people’s lives by laying burdens and responsibilities on them. This group, which is indifferent to Islam, is a complete victim of ignorance.

Second group: They are the people who are allergic to Islam with prejudice, who do not heed any evidence in favor of Islam and who regard every weak or slight sign as evidence against Islam. They are very few people and they have never been able and never will be able to refute the truths of Islam through real scientific and logical evidence without prejudice. On the contrary, many non-Muslims have embraced Islam throughscientific and logical reasoning throughout history. Even today, thousands of people, among whom are hundreds of scientists and clergymen, who were members of Christianity, which is a religion claiming to be universal, have embraced and continue to embrace Islam.

The evaluations of Badiuzzaman Said Nursi throw light upon the issue:

According to Nursi, there are eight barriers that prevent Islam, which is a universal religion and which makes all of its issues accepted by the mind, from spreading all over the world. They can be listed as follows:

1. The ignorance of foreigners / non-Muslims. Even the People of the Book could not discriminate between the white and the black because they were so ignorant.

2. They led a life that was away from civilization. Therefore, they were far away from understanding the beauty of the Islamic civilization.

3. Especially the People of the Book displayed great bigotry in their religion. This bigotry prevented them from seeing the Islamic truths.    

4. The domination and arbitrary power of the clergy and religious leaders. This despotism did not allow the people to reason freely and to make a choice.

5. The people obeyed and followed the clergy and religious leaders blindly. The fact that the minds of the people were grabbed by them did not allow the people to think of the possibility that the truth could be somewhere else.

6. The individual and social domination and despotism that the Muslims had. This despotism harmed the beauties of Islam and the civilization of the Quran despotically and caused a scene that was deemed as unpleasant by foreigners.

7. Various kinds of immorality among Muslims that originated from the acts that were contrary to Islam. This non-Islamic immorality harmed the attraction of the sun of Islam and prevented that bright sun like dark clouds from reaching the minds. These two obstacles have also started to disappear with the rise among mankind of the idea of freedom, and the desire to search for the truth.

8. The eighth barrier was the existence of the delusion that there were some controversies between some issues in the Quran and the facts that were approved by science. Due to this wrong delusion, many scientists kept away from Islam, committing a grave mistake.

According to Nursi, the first, second and third barriers have been destroyed by the virtues of knowledge and civilization, and they have begun to disperse.

The fourth and fifth obstacles have started to disappear since the idea of freedom and the tendency to search and find the truth have occurred among people. 

The sixth and seventh obstacles will disappear as despotism will be eliminated and as the ugly side of immorality will become visible. The fact that the separate despotic power residing in a single individual is now declining indicates that the fearful despotism of larger groups in society and of committees will also decline in thirty to forty years time. And the great upsurge in Islamic zeal, together with the fact that the ugly results of immorality are becoming apparent show that these two obstacles are about to decline; rather, that they have begun to do so. Inshaallah, they will completely disappear in the future.

The eighth obstacle is bound to disappear as it becomes clear that there is no controversy between the correctly perceived facts of the Quran and the correctly understood new discoveries of the exact sciences. In the past, the scientists and philosophers opposed Islam because they did not know about the facts of Islam well. This situation has changed completely now.   .

“In the 'Treatise on the Miracles of the Quran, the Risale-i Nur points out flashes of the Qur'an's miraculousness that lie beneath each of all the verses that science attacks, and it sets forth clearly the elevated truths, which the hand of science cannot reach, in those sentences and phrases of the Holy Quran that the scientists suppose to be points of criticism; it compels even the most obstinate philosopher to submit. It is clear and self-evident, anyone who wishes may look.”

“The future shall be Islam's and Islam's alone. And its ruler shall be the truths of the Quran and belief… We, Muslims, who are students of the Quran, follow proof; we approach the truths of belief through reason, though, and our hearts. We do not abandon proof in favor of blind obedience and imitation of the clergy like some adherents of other religions. Therefore, in the future, when the intellect, science and technology prevail, of a certainty, that will be the time the Qur'an will gain ascendancy, which relies on rational proofs and invites the intellect to confirm its pronounce.”[Hutbe-i Şamiye (Damascus Sermon)]

15 What are the basic conditions that the religion of Islam gives man?

In order to be able to understand the importance given to human rights in Islam, it is necessary to take a glance at the state of the world before Islam.

1. All of the states in the world used to be ruled by monarchy. The king, ruler or empire had full authority over the people he ruled. He could execute anybody he wished and he did not have to account for to anybody.

2. People were divided into classes. The people around the king, his relatives and noble people were the privileged class. On the other hand, there was a big mass of people who were despised and whose rights were violated; they formed another class. There were great differences between the classes.

3. Slavery was applied in its wildest form. Human honor was trampled.

4. People used to be treated based on their race and color; the superiority of lineage was regarded as the only criterion. People did not use to be evaluated based on their intelligence, knowledge, ability, ethics and virtues.   

5. There were no basic rights and freedoms. Basic rights like freedom of religion and conscience, right of property, freedom of obtaining a dwelling, freedom of thought were not in question for an ordinary citizen. People used to be oppressed and tortured due to their beliefs and thoughts.

6. The basic principles of law were trodden under foot. It was impossible even to imagine basic legal concepts like legal equality, sovereignty of law, privacy and legality of penalty. There was no independent and impartial judiciary. Personal wishes and commands had replaced laws; people who committed the same crime were punished differently based on the class they belonged to.

When the world was in this state, the religion of Islam emerged and realized the greatest revolution in human history.

If it is viewed through fair eyes, it will be seen that the ultimate human targets that have been determined today had been determined both in the Quran and in the Sunnah of Hz.  Prophet centuries before the human rights declarations were issued in the Western world.  

As a matter of fact, the principles related to human rights included in the speech (Farewell Sermon) made by Hz. Prophet (pbuh) during the Farewell Hajj are the clearest example of it.   

This sermon was recited in the presence of more than 100.000 Muslims in 632 AD; that is, 1157 years before the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen issued in 1789, which is regarded as the first written document regarding human rights.  

The new principles introduced by Islam regarding human rights were very influential on the struggle of human rights in the West.

Man has a more different value than the other creatures. This value increases when he believes in Allah and obeys His orders. Thus, man becomes the most honorable guest of the universe. Man gains the value of humanity with his birth or even before it, with his formation in the uterus, and carries it throughout his life.

The value originating from being a human has encompassed everybody. This compassion has surrounded everybody, man or woman, old or young, black or white, weak or strong, poor or rich no matter what their religion, nation, race and color are.   

Thus the religion of Islam protects all individuals’ blood from being shed, honor from being tarnished, property from being grabbed, house from being trespassed, lineage from being broken and conscience from being pressurized. It ensures human honor and dignity.

Basic rights and freedoms brought to humanity by Islam are as follows:

1. Islam ended racial and color discrimination. All people come from Adam. It is not possible for a person to choose his race and color. It is completely the predestination of Allah. It is completely wrong and harmful in terms of Islam and humanity to regard people different in terms of color and race and to despise some races and colors and regard others as superior. 

Allah states in the Quran that He created people from a single pair of a male and a female, and made them into nations and tribes when their numbers increased so that they may know each other. (al-Hujurat, 13)

As it is seen, the reason why people are of different races and colors is to know and help one another not to claim to be superior.

An incident that will shed light on this understanding of Islam is as follows:

One of the Companions, Abu Dharr, got angry with Bilal al-Habashi one day and insulted him by addressing him as, “son of the black woman”. He despised Abu Dharr due to the color of his mother. When the Prophet (pbuh) was informed about the situation, the Prophet got angry and addressed Abu Dharr as follows:   

— O Abu Dharr! You condemned Bilal due to the color of his mother? It means you still have the mentality of Jahiliyya!"

Abu Dharr, who had uttered those words as a result of a momentary fury involuntarily, became very sorry for what he had done and repented. He started to cry, lay down and put his face on the ground; then, he said, 

“I will not lift my face from the ground unless Bilal comes and steps on my cheek.” He apologized to Bilal repeatedly.   

2. Islam put an end to boasting due to superiority of one’s lineage and ancestors. In a meeting where the Companions were present, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas asked some of the notables of the Companions to list their ancestors. Meanwhile, he listed his ancestors from the beginning to the end. Salman al-Farisi (Iranian) was also present there. He did not have ancestors that he could boast of like the Qurayshis. He did not know his ancestors in detail, either.  

When Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas asked him to list his ancestors, he founded this request odd and said, “I am Salman; son of Islam. I do not know my ancestors like you do. I know only one thing. Allah honored me through Islam.”

Hz. Umar was also disturbed by this unnecessary offer of Sa’d which evoked the mentality of Jahiliyya. He liked this meaningful answer of Salman very much; he said, “I am Umar; son of Islam.” Thus, he gave a similar answer to Salman’s.

When Hz. Prophet (pbuh) heard about the incident, he liked Salman’s answer very much, too. He said, “Salman is of me; he is from my family.”

Hz. Prophet married the daughters of the noblest families of the Quraysh off to some freed slaves among the Companions; thus, he eliminated the Jahiliyya mentality based on the superiority of lineage.  

3. Islam has given people the right to check and inspect their administrators. It aims to end arbitrary acts, oppression, injustice and lawlessness. 

When Hz. Abu Bakr was chosen as the Caliph, he addressed the people as follows:

"O people! I was chosen as your administrator though I am not the best one of you. If I carry out my duty in accordance with Islam, obey me. If I deviate from the right path, warn me."

One day, during his Caliphate, Hz. Umar asked the Muslims in the mosque, "What will you do if I deviate from the right path? They said, "We will correct you with our swords." Hz. Umar became very pleased when he heard that answer.

4. Freedom of thought and conscience. Freedom of thought and conscience is the most important right after the right of life. Not to give a person this right means to remove him from his own self and reduce him to the level of animals.  Therefore, Islam does not allow thoughts and consciences being pressurized. With the principle, “let there be no compulsion in religion”, Islam did not regard it appropriate to make people accept the principles of belief by using force.   

5. Islam dealt with the institution of slavery meticulously and gave it a legal status.

When the religion of Islam emerged, slavery was widespread all over the world with its wildest and most inhuman practices. Islam naturally was not expected to completely abolish this system, which was widespread in the whole world. Therefore, it did not abolish slavery radically and suddenly but improved the conditions greatly and gave it the most humane and civilized form. Besides, Islam increased and eased the ways of freedom and introduced formulas that would end slavery indirectly.

6. Freedom of Property. Love of goods and desire to obtain property are among the various feelings that Allah gave man. This issue is stated clearly in the Quran.

Islam gave individuals the right of property and paved the way for them to satisfy this need legitimately. The right of property given by Islam to the individual can never be intervened without the permission of its owner.

7. Legal Equality. Islam regards all people as equal as the teeth in a comb in the presence of law. It does not allow privileged treatment based on the social state and lineage of people.

In Islam, the sovereignty and superiority of law is essential. A head of the state and an ordinary people are treated equally by law. The criminal is certainly punished even if he is the head of the state. 

The trial of Fatih Sultan Mehmet and a Greek architect, Hz. Ali and a Jew, Salahaddin al-Ayyubi and an Armenian in the presence of qadis are the most striking examples of the issue.

On the day of the conquest of Makkah, a woman from the noble families of Makhzum tribe had committed theft and had been caught red-handed. She had to be punished. However, since she belonged to a noble family, they did not want the family to be dishonored; therefore, they wanted the woman to be forgiven. How would they do it? How would they tell the Prophet about it? Eventually, they decided to send Usama, whom the Prophet loved very much, to the Prophet.  Usama went to the presence of the Prophet and told him about the issue. He asked the Prophet to forgive the guilty woman. The Prophet got very angry. He went out and made the following historical speech: “O people! Do you know the reason why the nations before you were destroyed? When a person of high rank committed a crime, they, they spared him. When an ordinary person committed a crime, they eagerly wanted him to be punished. This oppression caused their destruction. By Allah, if Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, were to steal, I would have her punished without hesitation. 

Thereupon, the punishment was executed.

The sentences in the speech of Hz. Abu Bakr when he was chosen as the Caliph are remarkable.

"The weak ones among you are the strongest ones in my eyes until they obtain their rights; the strong ones are the weakest ones in my eyes until I obtain the rights of others from them."

8. Privacy and Legality of Penalty. In Islam, there is no penalty without law, and it is not possible to punish someone else instead of the culprit.

The principle of privacy and legality of penalty is stated as follows in the chapter of al-Anam: " Every soul draws the meed of its acts on none but itself: no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another." (Verse: 164)

9. Independency and Impartiality of Courts. In Islam, courts, which are the institutions of justice, are kept away from all kinds of external pressure, personal hatred and grudge, and arbitrary practices; judges are not allowed to lose their impartiality. In the Islamic courts, the heads of states were tried side by side with ordinary citizens; they were punished if they were found guilty.   

10. Dwelling and Privacy Immunity. In Islam, nobody has the right to intervene in the privacy of a person and to enter his dwelling without permission. It is forbidden to spy on the private affairs of people in Islam. 

11. Freedom of Travel. It is regarded that travel helps people learn things and recover from illnesses in Islam. Therefore, people are encouraged to travel.

12. Right to live and guarantee of the protection of life, property and chastity. This issue is stated in the best way by the Messenger of Allah in the Farewell Sermon: 

"O People!, just as you regard this month, this day, and this city, Makkah, as sacred, so regard the life, property and honor of every Muslim as a sacred trust. They are protected from all kinds of violation."

13. Social Security. The religion of Islam protects man so that he will not suffer from and will not be harmed by old age, illnesses, disasters and accidents; it guarantees the future of the needy through the social security measures it has introduced. Islam encourages people to work in the first place so that they will secure themselves financially. In addition, it has provided a separate security in the family and among neighbors thanks to various measures it has introduced. When all of these security measures are insufficient, the state itself guarantees the security of the individuals. The institution of zakah and foundations are perfect social security institutions.

14. Freedom of work, wages justice and equality. Working and making efforts are appreciated and encouraged a lot in Islam. It is not regarded nice to beg and be a burden on others. To work in order to make one’s living through legitimate means is regarded as worship if that person fulfills his fard duties. The verse "That man can have nothing but what he strives for" shows the importance Islam gives to effort and work.

Guaranteeing freedom of work — on condition that it is earned legitimately —, Islam arranges the relationships between employees and employer in the best way.

The principle "Pay the worker his wage before his sweat dries" guarantees the right of the worker in the perfect way. 

As a principle, the worker will try to do the task he is assigned fully and in the best way and deserve the wage he gets.

15. Protection of Children. Islam takes care of children beginning from their birth, helps parents for their expenditure on food and clothing and allocates some money for them from the Treasure. Today, all rich states give parents child benefits. The Messenger of Allah insistently ordered his army not to kill women and especially children during war.

16. Basic Education is Compulsory and Free. The hadith "Seeking knowledge is fard for every Muslim, whether male or female" introduces compulsory education. Basic education curriculum has been prepared meticulously in Islam.

Along with, religious, ethical and literary knowledge, vocational knowledge is included in basic education. Islam regards it necessary for a child to learn vocational knowledge along with religious knowledge.

16 "If they say, summarize the Bible, I will say, 'love'. If they say, summarize the Quran, I will say, 'love in Makkan verses, grudge, hatred, enmity, killing, war and sword in Madinan verses'." Will you inform me about the issue?

We can summarize the reason why religions were sent down as "to ensure happiness for man both in the world and in the hereafter." In order to realize this, God Almighty sent divine revelations in every period of the history; He prevented people from living in accordance with their own desires and minds by sending prophets and books; thus, He guided man to the bright atmosphere of the religion. Man can understand life, know himself and his Lord, realize the reason why he was sent to the world only through the lofty truths of belief that Allah taught through His prophets; which is the same for all religions (though there are some differences of being concise or lengthy).  

However, the divine decrees that were sent varied based on the development, rank and improvement of humanity. Humanity developed in every century and reached a certain level just like a child who grows up and reaches a certain level. Therefore, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) is the sultan of the prophets; similarly, Islam has brought together the fruits of the religions before it; it expanded the basic judgments and sound principles that were introduced by the prophets before it and presented them to humanity by strengthening them. That is, the Quran is a universal book that introduced sound principles that will be valid until Doomsday.

Law of War in the Present Torah

One of the aspects of Islam that especially the Westerners criticize and want to despise is that it spread by force of the sword. When we have a look at the heavenly religions, it will be seen that the religion that put war in a system and introduced certain principles regarding war like other fields of life is Islam. In Christianity and Judaism, there are not detailed decrees regarding the period before war and during war. When we have a look at the New Testament, we cannot find any serious decrees because the New Testament did not abrogate the Old Testament; it accepted that the decrees in the Old Testament were valid for Christians. In the Torah (Old Testament), there exist harsh penalties for the crimes that are committed but there are no principles that will be observed during war. In the verses regarding war, there is generally a tough attitude and an ultimately harsh and severe war understanding has been introduced. Some of the verses that are present in the Torah as follows:  

"When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies."(Deuteronomy 20:10-14)

"You are my war club, my weapon for battle-- with you I shatter nations, with you I destroy kingdoms, with you I shatter horse and rider, with you I shatter chariot and driver, with you I shatter man and woman, with you I shatter old man and youth, with you I shatter young man and maiden, with you I shatter shepherd and flock, with you I shatter farmer and oxen, with you I shatter governors and officials."(Jeremiah 51:20-23)

"Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys."(1. Samuel 15/3)

"You must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. Gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. It is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt." (Deuteronomy, 13;15-16)

"Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the western sea. No man will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go."(Deuteronomy 11:24-25)

In fact, when we look at the verses that order children and innocent people to be killed at war, we can doubt whether they really exist in the book that was sent down to Moses. As it is known, the Torah did not remain original; it was distorted. There are some Jewish scholars who think that those kinds of verses are historical.

However, we see that the Quran has the last word regarding war, as it is the case with all fields of life. The importance of peace was understood only after the advent of Islam; Muslims were asked not to go beyond limits (al-Baqara, 2/190) in the battle field – due to some reasons we will explain – and the attitudes toward the enemy and the rules to be followed were determined. Besides, it cannot be thought that a religion that is sovereign over every part of life and that brings rules that are valid until Doomsday will not state anything regarding this field and leave it empty. Humanity has observed many times what disasters a war that is isolated from religious rules brings about; that is, children killed mercilessly, women who were raped, treating prisoners of war inhumanely, etc.

We see that some decrees of Judaism are Moderated in Christianity:

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that." (Luke 6: 27-33)

"Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."(Matthew, 5; 39-41)

There are some verses regarding war in Christianity, which claims to be a religion of peace. The words of Christ in the tenth chapter of Matthew’s Bible are as follows:

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-- a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.’"(Matthew 10; 34-36)

The following is stated in the second chapter of Luke’s Bible:

"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division."(Luke,12; 49-51)

In general, Christians regarded war as a state policy and acted accordingly. The Christians, who were exposed to great torture in the Roman period, did not resist; they put tolerance on the foreground by abandoning fighting. With St Augustine, after the 4th century, this view was replaced by the one that war was necessary in order to help the oppressed and to maintain peace. That is, according to him, war is inevitable in order to establish a just system. The thought of peace, which they accepted as the basic principle, continued to exist only in the first three-five centuries.  

Afterwards, Christian clergymen introduced the concept "just war" in the fifth century and stated that it was necessary to fight when certain conditions occurred. However, after the tenth century, along with the Crusades, they wanted to legitimatize their attacks by naming it "holy war" and encourage it; as a result, they caused the death of millions of people and shed a lot of blood in the world.

They assumed a severe bigotry in wars with the desire to rule the Muslims and to make them accept their religion by force. Thus, wars and shedding blood that could be seen rarely in the history of mankind took place; as a result, Europe became the center of wars and disorder. When Christians saw the hatred of Muslims and Westerners, they abandoned this understanding and stated that wars could be fought in order to defend by giving it a laic appearance.  However, some people stated that wars were necessary acting upon the following verses in the Bible and the verses stating that there would be a dozen disasters before Christ was sent down: "Toward  the end of time, violence and disasters will be common in order to prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus.  Christ will rule people with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery." (Revelation, 2; 26-28).

As it is seen, there are no war rules adopted by Christians. After this brief look at the views of those religions regarding war, let us try to present the law of war introduced by Islam. It will be seen that those who criticize Islam’s understanding of jihad will see that the religion that has much better principles than their religions is Islam.  

In Islam, Peace is essential; War is Exceptional

The people of Jahiliyya, who buried their daughters alive, enslaved people, killed people due to insignificant reasons, understood how honorable a person’s life is and its value only after the advent of Islam.

God Almighty states the following in a verse:  

"We have honored the sons of Adam." (al-Isra, 17/70)

Thus, He attracted attention to the exceptional state of man among other living beings without making any discrimination of language, religion and race; and he has protected basic human rights stating that the life, property and honor of a person is haram even if he is an unbeliever. He also states in various verses that killing a person is an evil act and that according to the principle of absolute justice, killing a person unjustly is equal to killing all human beings. Due to this value given to man, He does not approve a state like war in which many rights of man are violated and attracts attention to the importance of peace. The following is stated in the Quran regarding the issue:

"O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the Evil One; for he is to you an avowed enemy."(al-Baqara, 2/208)

The order of Allah about accepting the proposal of peace made by the enemy is as follows:

"if they withdraw from you but fight you, not and (instead) send you (guarantees of) peace, then Allah hath opened no way for you (to war against them)."(an-Nisa, 4/90).

In fact, those meanings are present in the word Islam. That is, this word reminds us peace and welfare.  

When we observe the way the Messenger of Allah followed throughout his life, we will see that he is a supporter of peace. The fact that he conquered Makkah without fighting, that he signed the peace treaty of Hudaybiyah when all of their hopes were destroyed when he and the Muslims were prevented from circumambulating the Kaaba  and when there were articles that seemed against the Muslims in the treaty, that he signed treaties with Jews, Christians and other groups as soon as he migrated to Madinah and that he avoided any physical fighting when he was in Madinah are only some of the examples showing that this person of high ethics was not a supporter of war.

Islam wants tolerance and peace but it takes into consideration that man, who owns good characteristics as well as bad characteristics like egoism, meanness, destruction, cannot always act justly and that he can violate others’ rights causing the other party use his right of self-defense; therefore, it has brought decrees about war. By doing so, Islam aims to place war on a legitimate and just foundation. In short, it can be said that peace, security and welfare are essential in Islam but war is a secondary state resorted to when necessary. As a matter of fact, when the wars that were fought by the Prophet are examined, it will be seen that almost all of them are wars of self-defense. That is, war is an exceptional state resorted to in order to keep evil away. People will be able to practice Islam fully and the barriers between Allah and people can be eliminated only in an environment where people can live peacefully and securely.   

What Aims Make War Legitimate?

One of the unjust criticisms uttered by the Westerners about Muslims is the claim that Islam spread by force of the sword. However, historical events do not prove it and religious decrees do not allow something like that. Basic rules regarding war are present in the Quran and Sunnah but they were explained in detail in fiqh books. There are special parts in those books called "siyar" to explain the issue. As Sarakhsi states in his book al-Mabsut, according to most of the Islamic scholars, "the cause for the occurrence of war is the attack by the other party against our religion and country." It is possible to deduce it from the following verse of the Quran:

"Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors." (al-Baqara, 2/190)

Another verse that is related to the issue, stating that those who do not attack Muslims will be treated well:

"Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just. Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection)." (al-Mumtahina, 60/8-9)

Accordingly, forcing unbelievers to accept Islam cannot be a reason for war. This issue is decreed by the following verse in the Quran:

"Let there be no compulsion in religion." (al-Baqara, 2/256)

Belief and unbelief are properties that are related to the heart; it cannot be known who is a Muslim and who is an unbeliever. If it were a reason for war, everybody, children, young people and old people, women and men would be killed without any discrimination. It would be contrary to the general principles of war and it would mean to ignore the following order of the Quran: "do not transgress".

The aim of the expeditions that the Prophet (pbuh) joined was either to scatter the military units that gathered against Muslims; that is, to fight a defense war or to prevent the powers that were formed against the Muslims. Apart from it, Muslims can intervene if the believers are prevented from practicing their religion, if their freedom of religion is removed; this intervention aims to regain the rights they had and to eliminate the oppression and mischief. The following verse shows us this aim: 

"And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?― men, women, and children, whose cry is: ‘Our Lord! rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise for us from Thee one who will help!’" (an-Nisa, 4/75)

History shows that difference of belief was never the only reason for the wars of the Prophet (pbuh). To start a war with the intention of invasion, imperialism, transgression as the Westerners did is definitely not in accordance with the spirit of Islam. Some criticisms are uttered against Islam because some Quranic verses that are related to the actual state of war are misunderstood. However, this act can only be explained as seeking evidence for the view that is adopted because making a judgment based on one or two verses in isolation without taking the precedent and antecedent verses and general verses and hadiths into consideration will not lead a person to a true conclusion.

Islam Wants the Means to be Legitimate too

When the conditions make it obligatory, to fight can be a fard for the Muslims. And such a struggle will form part of jihad, which is defined as "eliminating the barriers between Allah and people". Not to oppose in a place where the religion, property, lives and honor of people are attacked and not to struggle to protect them cannot be together with belief. However, while struggling, only legitimate means should be used and the boundaries determined by the religion should not be transgressed.  It is quite natural that every nation and society defends their country when it is attacked. Our religion wants both the target and the means to reach this target to be legitimate and has introduced some rules to ensure it. A Muslim who has this consciousness cannot kill people (women, children) without any discrimination by becoming a suicide bomber. Islam does not campaign wars against individuals. A group or organization cannot declare war. It is something that the state decides. As a matter of fact, Hanafi scholars mention jihad as one of the four duties of the state. Those rules need to be observed at the beginning of the war; Islam has also introduced rules to be observed during war, which we will explain below.

Rules to be Observed When the State of War Continues

General rules have been introduced by the verses of the Quran regarding the issue:

"And if ye do catch them out, catch them out no worse than they catch you out: but if ye show patience, that is indeed the best (course) for those who are patient."(an-Nahl, 16/126)

"Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors." (al-Baqara, 2/190)

"O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear Allah For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do."(al-Maida, 5/8)

The law of war is expressed in a more detailed way by the applications of the Prophet (pbuh). He gave the following instructions to the commanders he sent to war:  

"Set off in the name of Allah; struggle in the way of Allah; if there is a treaty between you and the people you fight, obey that treaty; do not transgress; do not commit musla (showing disrespect to the dead bodies of the enemy by cutting off their noses and ears); do not kill children, old people, women and the people in temples."(Musnad, 1/300; Abu Dawud, Jihad 82; Sunan al-Kubra, 9/90)

Hazrat Abu Bakr gave the following instruction to Usama, when he sent him to Syria.

"O Usama! Do not betray; do not do wrong; do not plunder; do not commit musla; do not kill children, old people and women; do not destroy and burn date groves. Do not cut down fruitful trees. Do not kill sheep, cattle and camels if you do not intend to eat them. You might see some people living in temples, monasteries on the way; do not touch them and do not intervene in their worship...."(Ibnu'l-Athir, 2/335)

When the Prophet (pbuh) saw a woman killed during a war, he said,

"This woman is not a warrior; why was she killed?"

He prohibited killing women who did not oppose Muslims with weapons even during wars. (Bukhari, Jihad 147)

When we evaluate the principles to be observed during war in general, we see the following:

- People who do not take part in fighting and who do not harm Muslims cannot be killed. Therefore, women, children, slaves that help their owners who are warriors, the blind, religious people who have nothing to do with the world, the insane people, old people, ill people, paralyzed people, etc cannot be killed.

- The parts of the dead bodies of the enemy cannot be cut off; they cannot be tortured.

- Avoiding acting contrarily to the promises and treaties.

- Agricultural products, forests and trees cannot be burned down if it is not necessary for the war.

- Avoiding rape, fornication and illegitimate intercourses.

- The captives of the enemy cannot be killed. They cannot be killed even for retaliation.

- Avoiding killing prisoners of war or the people of the conquered land.

- Avoiding confronting one’s relatives in the battlefield if there is any; trying not to confront him as much as possible.

- Avoiding killing people like farmers, merchants, businessmen who do not take part in war and who are not interested in war.

- Avoiding using captives as human shield.

17 Some people say, "Islam is a religion of war"; is it true?

War is not something that is desired but humanity has not been able to get rid of war throughout history. In the Quran, the struggle of two sons of Adam is mentioned. One of them is innocent the other is aggressive. The aggressive one kills the innocent one. (See the chapter of al-Maida, 27-31) The name of the innocent one is Abel; and the name of the aggressive one is Cain.

When Cain killed his brother, human blood was shed for the first time in the world. However, this blood increased in the course of time and spread to the whole world. Abel and Cain are the representatives of the innocent people and aggressive people. As long as people like Cain exist in the world, people like Abel will have the right to defend themselves.  

Thus, Islam allows war based on certain conditions in order to prevent the cruelty of the oppressors and to ensure universal peace. For instance, let us have a look at the following verse:

“To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight) because they are wronged― and verily, Allah is Most powerful for their aid.” (al-Hajj, 39)

This verse addresses the Prophet and his Companions who are in the first rank of Islam. They had suffered pressure and torture that caused the death of some of them in Makkah. Some of them went to Abyssinia acting upon the advice of the Prophet. The others migrated to Madinah afterwards. They almost always heard news like the following: “Makkans are attacking; Makkans have attacked.” Muslims were allowed to fight when they were under such conditions.

The following is stated in another verse related to war:  

“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.” (al-Baqara, 190)

The following issues are pointed out in the verse:

1- “Fight those who fight you.” That is, do not fight those who do not fight you. As a matter of fact, the Prophet enjoined his commanders not to kill children, women, old people and those who retired into seclusion in temples.

2- The war must be “fi sabilillah”, that is “in the way of Allah”. Others might fight in order to invade new countries and to own the resources of raw materials, etc. However, a Muslim can fight only in the way of Allah. That is, he struggles in order to stop cruelty, mischief and chaos in the world.  

3- It is not permissible to transgress limits during or after the war. Islam orders Muslims to kill in a nice way when they have to kill. For instance, Islam prohibits killing by torture and cutting off ears, noses, etc.

The following is stated in another verse:

“And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?― men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise for us from Thee one who will help.’’ (an-Nisa,75)

In this verse, Muslims are advised to fight if they are oppressed in a town or if they are prevented from practicing their belief. At the end of the war, Muslims are freed from oppression and they attain freedom of religion and conscience; the people of that country are left free to accept Islam or not.   

We can state the following in conclusion:

What is essential in Islam is peace not war. However, when people are oppressed or when a state attacks another state, war is in question. Islam allows war in those cases. Islam did not introduce war when it was non-existent in the world. When those who regard Islam as a religion of war look at their own history, they will see the reality that there were wars almost in every period of their history. Therefore, the existence of war decrees in Islam is not a deficiency for Islam but perfection. In the decrees that are mentioned in verses and hadiths, a reality like war which is inevitable was transformed into a civilized and humane form from a bedouin and wild appearance.

18 Is Islam a view or a life style?

Islam is the only religion that Allah revealed to man since the beginning of the creation. Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus all worked to spread the same religion. Our Prophet, Muhammad (pbuh), conveyed the last divine message since he was the last prophet.

Islam is religion that is completely sensible.  Islam presents an ethical system that guides man in every step of him.   

The religion that Allah chose for man as suitable for their life is the religion Islam. Allah made His religion very easy so that people will practice it.

Religion removes the entire burden from man and all of the loads that limit and restrict him and that cause him difficulties. It tells people to surrender only to the qadar (destiny) that Allah, who has endless mercy, who creates everything in a good way for His righteous slaves and who has the whole power, determined for him and to seek His consent and content in everything and to turn toward Him.   

To trust in and depend on Allah, who is the owner of all beings and all events that take place in the universe, and to assume Him as one’s friend, means the end of one’s all fears, worries, troubles and difficulties.  This is one of the most important facilities and beauties brought by the religion of Islam for a person who practices the ethics of the Quran. In addition, Allah informed people about all of His commands and decrees, which are suitable for their nature and which are not difficult.   

Allah states in the Quran that the ethics of the religion is easy and that things will be easy for those who follow the religion of Allah as follows:

"And We will make it easy for thee (to follow) the simple (Path)."(al-A'la, 87/8)

"…He has chosen you and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father Abraham..."(al-Hajj 22/78)

In parallel with the verses above, the Prophet (pbuh) said,  

"Religion is ease." (Bukhari, Iman: 29; Nasai, Iman: 28; Musnad, 5:69)

Thus, he invited people to practice the religion.

It is a reality that the religion of Islam is the best form of life for the nature, peace and happiness of man and that the life led in accordance with the ethics of the Quran is the best possible life style for man.

19 How can we reply those to who claim that religion is fear?

There can be some void and null religions that are based on fear, but it would be misleading to ground all of the religions on the base of fear.  Especially, those who consider Islam, the unique true religion, to be a religion of fear are in a great illusion. The Quran both gives good news and warns people. The warnings are given in order to protect humans from falling into mistakes and faults, not to give fear. To notify humans of the would-be dangers is a warning aiming to make them take necessary measures, not to give fear. 

Islam mentions not only Hell but also Paradise. Before the advent of Islam, the humanity was far away from belief of the hereafter and believed that there was no life after the death. Islam has brought this belief to an end and heralded Paradise after the death.  Hence, this hadith of  Holy Prophet’s is a good example:

“Makethings easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repulse (them)." (Bukhari, 3/72.)

The religion of Islam is a hand of help given to man by God Almighty in order to make him attain the happiness in this worldly life and endless bliss in the hereafter and is knowledge of the truth to which He invites.  Thanks to it, we, can recognize ourselves and our Creator, and grasp the ultimate meaning of the existence; we can achieve peace and tranquility both in our inner realm and outside. All of the apostles and the messengers from Adam to Noah, from Abraham to Moses from Jesus Christ to Muhammad, became envoys and guides of this call to peace, love and salvation.

20 In Islam, fornication is punished by stoning and theft is punished by amputating the arm. These decrees are regarded as barbarism in the modern age. What is your answer regarding the issue?

- What we need to do as Muslims is to surrender to and to obey the orders of Allah and His Messenger.

- It is known that in the modern legal system, fornication is not a crime. Is it possible for a sane person who has the concept of honor, whether he is a believer or not, to tolerate that fornication is not a crime when it is related to his/her relatives?

- We should state it clearly that decrees like stoning in Islam are severe deterring penalties. One of the common purposes of the humanity and all heavenly religions is to ensure the continuation of the generation. Fornication is a mean and illegitimate way that degenerates and confuses generations in terms of various legal and human criteria. Fornication is a severe crime and an attractive mechanism of committing crimes for naughty souls. We cannot expect Islam, which is a universal religion, not to take a deterrent measure to prevent such a mean crime.   

- Along with this deterrent measure, it is remarkable that four witnesses are necessary for the determination of the crime of fornication because it is almost impossible for four witnesses to see two people committing fornication. Furthermore, if a person who says he has seen two people committing fornication is not confirmed by three more people, he is given eighty lashes. It means nobody should speak about it recklessly.

As a matter of fact, almost all of the incidents of stoning that took place during the time of the Prophet were applied as a result of the confession of the criminals in order to get rid of the guilty conscience. In fact, the Prophet (pbuh) pretended not to hear the confessors in order to protect them from being stoned; he tried all means like investigating whether the confessor was sane or not, whether it was really fornication or preliminary deeds, etc; however, he had to apply the punishment when they confessed insistently.

- The decree of the Quran regarding the amputation of the hand of the thief is, so to speak, a contemporary decree because there were no age in which there were so many thieves, bandits, snatchers, muggers, etc. Everybody except thieves agrees that the superficial penalties for theft are not deterrent at all.    

- The number of the cases of the amputation of the hand in the first three centuries of the Islamic history, when this punishment was applied fairly, was only six. (Ismail al-Fahrani, “ash-Shariatu bayna’s-salihin wa’l-Murjifin” al-Ahram, 17 January, 2011)

At the moment, in every city of the world, at least one or more heads, not hands, are cut off, property owners are killed cruelly along with money and goods that are stolen due to these crimes. This age needs more than all of the other ages to stop this crime through a deterrent deed.  

-It is necessary to listen to the following determination of Badiuzzaman Said Nursi:

“One time in the desert, a man was the guest of a nomad who was one of the people of reality. He saw that the desert-dwellers did not concern themselves with guarding their belongings. His host had even left some money openly in the corner of the room.

The guest asked him, “Aren’t you frightened of thieves, just throwing your belongings in the corner like that?

His host answered, “We do not have any thieves here.

The guest said, “We put our money in safes and lock them, but it is still frequently stolen.

His host told him, “We cut off the hands of thieves as a Divine command and on account of the justice of the Shari‘a.

Whereupon the guest exclaimed, “Then most of you must be lacking a hand!

His host told him: “I am fifty years old, and yet in my whole life I have only seen one person.

To sum up:When the punishments are carried out in the name of the Divine commands and dominical justice, both the spirit, and the intellect, and the conscience, and man’s innate subtle faculties are affected and influenced. It is for this reason that the execution of a punishment once in fifty years is more effective than your imprisoning numerous people every day...” (Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Hutbe-i Şâmiye (Damascus Sermon), Envar, p. 75-78)

21 Is there a principle like "There is no questioning in religion" in Islam? If there is, what is meant by it?

There are two kinds of decrees of shari'ah:

1. The decrees and prohibitions that come directly from Allah; we call them “taabbudi”, that is to say, their reasons (wisdom) are not known.

2. The part whose reasons (wisdom) that lay on the divine decrees and prohibitions may be searched about; we call them “maqul al-mana”.

We can look at your question from a different aspect. "Why is the morning prayer four rak'ahs but not ten or twenty rak'ahs?" The answer is "because Allah commanded us to do so."

The noon prayer was determined by Allah as 10 rak'ahs. To search the wisdom behind it will turn out to be in vain. The real answer to the question is because Allah commanded so. However, some shari'ah rules may be explained with wisdom, but they are not the real reasons. The actual reason is Allah’s command and prohibition.

For example, "Why did Allah command salah (prayer)?" One can list the wisdoms and purposes of it in volumes of books. One can answer why we fast by searching its wisdom and reasons. However, reasons (wisdom) and benefits cannot replace Allah’s decrees. For example, one of the reasons of fasting is to empathize with the people who suffer hunger and approach them with compassion.

So, a person can say “I will experience more hunger so that my feeling of compassion can be increased and I can help the poor much more.” Although the time of imsak (the time to begin fasting) is at 4.00 a.m., if one intends to start fasting at 11 o’clock at night, but if he breaks his fast 5 minutes before iftar (the breaking of fast at sunset), can his fast be acceptable? Certainly not. There is a determined time to break the fast.  And although that person stays hungry longer, his fast is not accepted. That is to say, the wisdom that required for fasting is applied (by staying hungry), but because of breaking the fast at a time that Allah does not permit, his fast is not accepted.

Thus, we should look at the all of the decrees and prohibitions in this way. That is to say, we do it because Allah ordered us to do so. Certainly, there may be reasons (wisdom) behind it, too. And these reasons can be searched. It is also knowledge and worship. However, wisdoms and benefits are definitely not the actual reasons, but details.

22 Will you give information about the value Islam gives to the rights of a person?

In the religion of Islam, along with man's life, his belief, chastity, freedom, goods, property honor and dignity are protected. For, the peace and happiness of man in this world and the hereafter are based on the items mentioned above.    

To violate the material or spiritual rights of a person is a great offense in the eye of Allah and it is not included in the scope of Allah's pardoning. That is, if you violate the rights of a person, you can be forgiven only by that person. Allah does not forgive that crime unless the other person receives his right or waives his right. Everybody has to show respect to the rights of others in the religion of Islam.     

Man is a being that has a social life. Then, there are numerous social relationships among people. These relationships need to be established on truth and justice. Otherwise, violation of people's rights and oppression will occur.   

The Quran protects the spiritual rights of people so much that it prohibits believers from harboring sinister suspicions about others, spying on others and backbiting.

O ye who believe! avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?”  (al-Hujurat, 12)

Now, let us think fairly: Does a religion that prohibits backbiting and spying on others allow anarchy, terror and killing others unjustly?

23 Is the most effective method to spread and settle Islam war or tabligh (conveyance)?

It is necessary to answer the questions "Who is the Prophet?" , "What is his duty?" in order to be able to evaluate the concept of jihad correctly. While making all people proceed toward the realm of the hereafter, God Almighty sent prophets to guide people in their journey that will take them to Paradise or Hell. The primary duty of these messengers of God is to make people know Allah, to teach them worship, halal and haram, and to teach them how to thank Him for His endless bounties. 

Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), who is the Prophet of the end of time, fulfilled this duty perfectly; he informed people about Allah in Makkah, taught them His commands and prohibitions and told them that to worship idols meant associating partners with Allah. He showed patience to all kinds of oppression and cruelty of the people who opposed his message for thirteen years and then migrated to Madinah acting upon the order and permission of Allah; he continued his duty there. The polytheists who wanted to prevent him from fulfilling this lofty duty continued to disturb him in Madinah too but they could not prevent Islam from being adopted by the people there. 

An important property of the Prophet (pbuh) of the end of time mentioned in all heavenly books is that he is “sahib-us sayf” (owner of the sword); that is, along with spiritual guidance, he is allowed to fight (when he is prevented from conveying his message). Some of the prophets in the past, for instance Hz. Dawud (David) and Hz. Suleiman (Solomon), supported their spiritual jihad with their swords when it was necessary.   

When history is examined objectively, it will be seen that the main factor that made Islam influence hearts and spirits was not war but conveying the message, that is, to tell people about the realities of Islam and show them the beauties of Islam. Historians agree that two groups of people had the greatest share in the spread of Islam. The first one is the scholars and teachers who dedicated their lives to teaching Islam and who migrated to very distant countries to do it. The second one is the merchants who went to some countries in order to do business and displayed the beauties of Islam to the people living there.  

The following verses show clearly that Islam spread through conveying the message and invitation not through sword:

“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from Error.”(al-Baqara Sûresi, 256)

“Therefore do thou give admonition for thou art one to admonish. Thou art not one to manage (men's) affairs.” (al-Ghashiya, 21-22)

There is a lot of evidence showing that Islam spread through conveying its message. We will mention some of them: When the Prophet (pbuh) started to convey the message of Islam in Makkah, he had no material means or power. Although all of the polytheists there were hostile against him, he conquered the hearts of people through conveying the message and persuasion. Many people, from Hz. Abubakr to Hz. Umar, became Muslims like that and declared to everybody that Islam was an invincible power. If the Companions had wanted, they could have killed all of the polytheists of Quraysh, foremost Abu Jahl, overnight. However, they did not do so. They continued to convey the message of Islam by enduring all kinds of troubles and hardships; they did not resort to terror and anarchy.

The Muslims who had migrated to Madinah before the Prophet did converted several people to Islam there by conveying the message of Islam and inviting them to Islam. Thus, the foundations of Islam were established through conveying the message in both Makkah and Madinah.   

In the following years, Islam settled firmly in Madinah. Makkan polytheists accepted Muslims as a power and signed a treaty with them at Hudaybiya. The duration of the treaty was ten years but it lasted for two years and was violated by Makkan polytheists. However, the number of the people that adopted Islam during these two years was more than number of the people that adopted Islam during the twenty year-period since the emergence of Islam.

In the following centuries, Moguls ended the Abbasid caliphate; they burned and disturbed Islamic resources. However, after a while, they started to convert to Islam of their own accord. It is a historical fact that the sword had no role in the conversion of Moguls to Islam. 

The spread of Islam in Indonesia, Malaysia and Africa took place through conveying the message not through the sword. 

After this short look at history, let us have a look at today: Muslims lost their material power in the last century but Islam continued its spread and development spiritually. Most of the people who have converted to Islam in European countries foremost in Germany and England, and in America are scientists; most of them adopted Islam only by examining it, without even being conveyed the message of Islam. 

24 Will you please give information about the duties of man regarding the environment?

Man has certain duties regarding the environment.

The precautions and applications of the Prophet regarding the environment

After mentioning the Islamic understanding of the environment, it will be useful to mention some actual precautions in the sunnah of the Prophet regarding the protection of the environment.   

1- Precautions related to the immediate environment: When we say the immediate environment, we can understand the trio of the body, clothes and dwelling. For, man is spirit in essence. His body is his closest environment and wrapping. His personality becomes integrated with his immediate environment. The acceptance of the prayer he performs depends on the cleanliness of his immediate environment; his body and clothes have to be materially and spiritually clean like the place where he performs prayers.    

Then, the cleanliness of the immediate environment is essential and it is a necessity of belief. Those who have a real and accepted belief have to represent such an understanding. Therefore, the hadith "Cleanliness is a part of faith/belief" expresses a lofty truth and it becomes realized with the cleanliness of the immediate environment.

Hz. Prophet stated that angels would not enter a place where stink and especially the stink of urine existed (1), expressing the importance of the cleanliness of the immediate environment: "Purify yourselves of urine because the torture in the grave is due to urine." (2) Because of impurities, (3) it is forbidden to perform prayers on garbage dump, in slaughterhouses, public baths, etc. (4) The statement that angels would not enter a house where there was urine for a long time (5) and that one should not urinate where he took a bath (6) are precautions related to the cleanliness of the immediate environment.

There is a warning from the Prophet about the cleanliness of the yard, which is regarded as the extension of a house, and the empty area around the house and keeping them clean, without accumulating garbage there: “Allah is clean and elegant; He likes purity and cleanliness. He is openhanded and generous. He likes generosity. Then, keep your yards and open areas clean. Do not resemble Jews. They keep their garbage at home.” (7)

2- The cleanliness of the distant environment: We can remind you the warning of the Prophet about picnic places regarding the issue. He warned people many times not to dirty the places where people rest, pass by or wait. Once he said, "Beware of being one of those who were cursed." His Companions asked, "O Messenger of Allah! Who are they?" He said, "Those who urinate where people pass by and rest." (8)

In some narrations, it was forbidden to urinate under fruit trees. (9) The scholars who explained the hadith said, “What is meant by the places that are forbidden to dirty are not only the places under the trees, but any shade where people can sit in order to rest even if it is the shade of a rock.” (10) Besides, to interpret dirtying as urinating or emptying the bowels would be to narrow down the meaning of the hadith. Today, tin cans, plastic and glass bottles, food wastes and other things that disturb people should be included in this prohibition.

We can include the countryside and roads in the distant environment. The Prophet described removing things that disturb people from the roads as "a part of belief/faith". (11) The Prophet gave a man who cut off a tree branch that disturbed passers-by as an example of those who deserve Paradise. (12) He also said the following: “All of the good and bad deeds of my ummah were shown to me. I saw removing something that disturbs people from the road among good deeds. I saw saliva spat on the road among bad deeds.” (13) ”Those who disturb Muslims on the road are cursed by them.” (14)

Similarly, the prohibition of urinating in the holes of wild animals and insects in the countryside and near the roads (15) can also be mentioned among the precautions of protecting the environment. “For, roads are passes for animals and shelters for snakes and others.” (16)

There are more narrations regarding the issue; we have mentioned some of them. (17)

3- Protection of Waters: Hz. Prophet took measures to protect water and gave instructions to protect the cleanliness of water. The issue of water is dealt with in separate chapters in fiqh books in detail. We will mention the interest of the Prophet in the issue here; we will not go into particulars:

1- In many narrations, the Prophet prohibited emptying the bowels in water resources (18), and next to rivers and streams (19).
2- In a narration reported by Hz. Jabir, the Prophet also prohibited urinating in rivers and streams. (20)
3- Urinating in still waters is also among the prohibitions. Some narrations include the phrase ”to be used” (21) but others prohibit urinating in still waters directly without mentioning that phrase. (22)
4- Hz. Prophet took care of water wells too; he introduced some principles to protect them from pollution. He introduced the prohibition of not building anything in an area of fifty ziras in diameter (one zira is about 64 cm) around old water wells and twenty-five ziras around new water wells. (23). He also ordered that animal pens and sheds be at least forty ziras away from water wells. (24)
Those precautions were taken against the pollutants of that period. Today, the precautions need to be taken against the pollutants of this age based on the figures introduced by scientists.

4- Encouraging to plant trees: One of the best factors that protect the soil and water is trees. Therefore, the Prophet gave great importance to planting trees: “Even if you know that Doomsday will struck tomorrow, plant the sapling you have.” (25) The order of the hadith above becomes more significant when the following hadith is read: “If any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or an animal eats the fruit of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much in charity. Anything benefitted from it will be sadaqah for him." (26 (27) A person may make use of a tree by using its wood, leaves and shade. This benefitting may be "by any creature of Allah" (28) (a person who buys it, a thief, a dealer or a traveler, a wild or domestic animal). Then, all of them are regarded as charity (sadaqah) for the person who planted it and it will be regarded as a continuous charity for that person as long as that tree lives.

The Messenger of Allah planted 500 dates in order to pay an important debt, setting an example and an actual sunnah full of grace and bounties to his ummah. (29) Those who think of only limited things like beard, mustache, turban and misvak when sunnah is mentioned should take lessons from it.

5- Establishing a forest: The Prophet set an example through a forest, too. A narration by Balazuri is as follows: Ibnu Juduba and Abu Mansur narrate: While returning from the Expedition of Zuqard, the people of Banu Haritha said near the place called Zuraybut-Tawil: “O Messenger of Allah! This place is where our camels graze and women go for a picnic.” They meant the place of al-Ghaba with those words. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,
— Anyone who cuts down a tree from this place should plant a new tree in return for it. Thereupon, trees were planted and a forest was established there.”(30)

As it is seen, an old wood was transformed into a forest thanks to the care and interest of the Messenger of Allah and he imposed a rule: “To permit cutting down a tree from the forest if a new tree is planted”

6- Establishing a green belt: We see that the Prophet also established a green belt. That is, he declared an area of 36 kilometers in diameter around Madinah as a protected area and prohibited hunting, cutting down trees and weeding there. There are several narrations regarding the issue. According to the narration from Hz. Anas, while returning from Khaybar, the Prophet pointed to the city when they approached Madinah and said, “O Lord! I rendered Madinah haram (forbidden) just like Hz. Ibrahim rendered Makkah haram. The part of it between two rocky places is haram; the trees cannot be cut down; the animals cannot be hunted; the weeds cannot be picked and the leaves cannot be shaken off the trees there. (31)

This precaution is the first example of the application called the green belt, which was set up in the modern age. However, it is not the first application. As the Messenger of Allah puts it, the first application was carried out by Hz. Ibrahim when he rendered the area around Makkah haram.

The Prophet imposed some rules to check this prohibition. If a person violates this prohibition, his tools like scythe, axe, rope etc will be confiscated, his clothes will be taken off and he will be beaten. (32)

Hz. Umar appointed a ward to protect this area. (33)

The Messenger of Allah stated the following in order to settle this prohibition in the minds of people: “Madinah is a haram area between Mount Air and Thawr. May the curse of Allah, angels and all people be on a person who commits a haram deed there or protects a person who commits a haram deed there! May Allah not accept his repentance, fidyah, fards nafilahs of that person!” (34)

Hz. Prophet marked the forbidden area by appointing special people. (35)
He also gave permission to some tribes like Taif, Tay and Banu Juraysh who wanted to establish haram areas like that in other cities. (36)

References:
1) Muslim, Masajid 72.
2) Mundhiri, Targhib 1, 139; Haythami, Majmauz-Zawaid 1,207.
3) Sindi, Hashiya Ala Suna-i Ibni Majah 1, 252.
4) Ibn Majah, Masajid 4.
5) Haythami ibid. 1, 104.
6) Ibn Majah, Taharah 12, Abu Dawud, Taharah 15.
7) See Ibnu Qayyim, at-Tibbun-Nabawi, p. 216.
8) Muslim, Taharah 68.
9) Haythami, ibid. 1, 204.
10) Azimabadi, Awnul-Mabud 1, 48; Sindi, Hashiya Ala Ibni Majah 1, 138-139.
11) Muslim, Iman 58; Bukhari, Hiba 35; Abu Dawud, Adab 160; Tirmidhi, Iman 6.
12) Muslim, Birr 128-130; Ibn Majah, Adab 7.
13) Ibn Majah, Adab 7.
14)Haythami, ibid. 1.
15) Ibnu Maja, Taharah 21; Usdul-Ghaba 5, 227.
16) Shafii, al-Umm 4, 258-259; Jamius-Saghir 6, 182.
17) For details, see the book called Çevre Ahlakı. p. 109-124.
18) Abu Dawud, Taharah 14; Ibn Majah, Taharah 21.
19) Haythami, ibid. 1, 204.
20) ibid, the same page.
21) Muslim, Taharah 94, 95, 96; Bukhari, Wudu 71.
22) Usdul-Ghaba 1, 422.
23) Hakim, Mustadrak 4, 97-98.
24) Ibn Majah, Ruhun 22; Ahmad, Musnad 2, 494.
25) Buhari, al-Adabul-Mufrad p. 168, Haythami, ibid. 4,, 63. Munawi, Faydul-Qadir 3, 30.
26) Muslim, Musakat 10, Bukhari, Adab 27.
27) Muslim, Musakat 7, 8.
28) al-Muttaqi, Kanzul-Ummal, 3, 896.
29) Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad 5, 354, 440.
30) Balazuri, ibid. 1, 17.
31) Abu Dawud, Manasik 96. 32) ibid, the same page.
33) Balazuri, ibid. 1, 15.
34) For details, see the book called Çevre Ahlakı. p. 72-80.
35) Samhudi, ibid. 1, 97.
36) For details, see the book called Çevre Ahlakı. p. 78-80.

25 If a person exits the religion of Islam and becomes a murtad (apostate), and becomes a Muslim again, what will happen to his previous deeds?

 "And if any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be Companions of the Fire and will abide therein."(al-Baqara, 2/217)

A Muslim who denies Islam and accepts another religion or irreligion is called a murtad (apostate). A person with a belief whose distinctive characteristic is shirk, that is, "associating partners with Allah and associating the attributes and deeds that are peculiar to Him to others" is called a mushrik (polytheist).  They are munafiqs (hypocrites) who are unbelievers in their hearts but Muslims in appearance. The term kafir (unbeliever) has a wider meaning than these three terms, expressing all of those with beliefs that are contrary to the true religion and that make people exit the true religion.

According to many verses, these beliefs of all unbelievers (mushrik, munafiq, murtad) eliminate the religious results of the good deeds they do in the world, preventing them from benefitting from those good deeds as thawabs, ajrs (rewards), sustenance and capital of the hereafter. (al-Maida 5/5; al-An'am 6/88; at-Tawba 9/17,69) Unbelievers are deprived of the rights and relationships that are peculiar to Muslims like brotherhood, being guardians of one another, shares from booty, permissibility of marriage; in addition, they go to Hell in the hereafter and stay there forever.

Are the rewards obtained by a person when he was a Muslim going to be evaluated again or are they going to be of no use when he exits the true religion and becomes a Muslim again because they were removed due to his denial?

According to the verse we have quoted at the beginning, if a murtad dies as an unbeliever, all of his deeds are eliminated; if he gives up denial and becomes a Muslim again, his deeds will not be useless. In other verses regarding the issue, the elimination of the deeds in case of exiting Islam is not dependent on dying in that state. (al-Maida 5/5; al-An'am 6/88; az-Zumar 39/65)  

The mujtahids and tafsir scholars who evaluated those verses together and interpreted them differently came to different conclusions. According to Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik, the deeds of the people who exit the true religion are eliminated; if a person made a vow before he exited Islam, he does not have to fulfill it; if he performed hajj, he has to perform it again after he is converted to Islam again.  According to Imam Shafii, who takes the condition in this verse into account and interprets the other verses accordingly, when a murtad becomes a Muslim again, his previous deeds return with him; they are not eliminated.

The evidences of both views are as follows:

According to Hanafis and  Malikis, when a Muslim becomes a murtad, all of his deeds are eliminated. He has to perform the prayers, fast, hajj, zakah that he performed before exiting Islam again after he is converted to Islam. (Badaiu’s-Sanai, 1/292; al-Bahru’r-Raiq 5/137; al-Hurashi, 8/68) For, Allah states the following in the Quran:

"If anyone rejects faith, fruitless is his work." (al-Maida, 5/5)
"If thou wert to join (gods with Allah), truly fruitless will be thy work (in life)." (az-Zumar, 39/65)
"If they were to join other gods with Him, all that they did would be vain for them." (al-Anam, 6/88)

- According to Shafiis and Hanbalis, a person's deeds he performed as a Muslim are not eliminated unless he dies as a murtad. (Nawawi, al-Majmu’ Sharh-ul Muhazzab 3/5-6; al-Insaf 1/392)

"And if any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be Companions of the Fire and will abide therein."(al-Baqara, 2/217)

If a person's deeds he did as a Muslim were eliminated, the phrase "and die in unbelief" in the verse would be meaningless. Accordingly, his deeds are eliminated if he dies as a murtad. If he becomes a Muslim again before he dies, his deeds are restored.

If a person who exits Islam becomes a Muslim again, he does not have to perform the worships he performed before. However, if he is rich, he has to perform hajj again. According to the majority of the scholars, the rewards he obtained before exiting Islam are not eliminated when he becomes a Muslim again; they are returned to him.  

Besides, those who exit Islam are held responsible for violating the rights of Allah and other people. A murtad has to perform the religious duties like fard prayers and fasting that he abandoned when he was a Muslim after becoming a Muslim again. For, it is a sin to abandon them. The sin continues after he exits the religion of Islam. Therefore, he needs to try to get rid of his previous sins. (see Ö. Nasuhi Bilmen, Hukûkî İslâmiyye ve İstilâhât-ı Fıkhıyye Kamusu, VI/5-30)

Will you please click on the link given below;

What is Murted? Who is called an apostate; ex-Muslim? Can a Muslim be addressed as kafir (unbeliever)?

26 How does the religion of Islam view the maintenance of the national values and customs in religious communities?

In a community, there are material and spiritual issues and customs that form in the course of time and that are accepted by the community. They are the working styles and attitudes that are transferred from the past and exist in various areas of life. Therefore, not all thoughts and customs transferred from the past are bad or good on their own. Some customs and traditions lead the community to degeneration and inertia while others are beneficial for the continuation of social life and harmony.  

In the previous centuries, customs and traditions were of great importance because it was difficult to impose legal rules appropriate for the structure of the economic life man leads; so, the main source of the rules that arranged and regulated people's lives was customs and traditions. Therefore, communities accepted certain customs and practiced them.     

Customs and traditions take place with a basic and important thing. That is, they form in accordance with the desires, structures and values of the community; they change as the structure of the community changes. Besides, customs and traditions compensate the mistakes made by the law in some cases. In that case, people refer to customs and traditions as a source of law regarding the issues that the law does not mention.  

Urf (customs, manners) is accepted as a source of decree in the second degree in Islamic law. Urf includes customs, manners and traditions. Customs are the deeds that are repeatedly done by individuals and groups. Customs are the verbal and actual practices of a tribe or group. (Faruk an-Nabhan, İslâm Anayasa ve İdare Hukukunun Genel Esasları, Trnsl by. Servet Armağan, İstanbul 1980, p. 241-339).

Islamic scholars define customs and traditions as"things that are agreed by the common sense and that are repeated by the people." In addition, it is necessary to be careful about the following related to customs and traditions: "They should be legally and mentally acceptable and should not be disliked by the common sense." (Yusuf Kerimoğlu, Kelimeler Kavramlar, İstanbul 1983, p. 139).

Islam allowed some customs and traditions that were widely accepted and precedent to exist in the periods when it settled; thus, customs, traditions and common practices formed one of the important sources of the Islamic law. (Osman Öztürk, Osmanlı Hukuk Tarihinde Mecelle, İstanbul 1973, p. 7).

In the Western literature, tradition is defined as social heritage that changed the least slowly among the values and institutions and that formed a bond between the former communities and the existing ones. Some sociologists say that revolutions eliminate traditions but it is observed that some traditions survive even the harshest revolutions. (H. Ziya Ülken, Sosyoloji Sözlüğü, İstanbul 1969, p. 115).

When Islam emerged, it categorized the customs that existed in Arabia at that time. It rejected some of them totally, improved some of them and accepted others.  

Every country has its own national values and traditions. It is approved by Islam to exclude the ones that are contrary to Islam and to continue the values and customs that are not contrary to the principles of the religion of Islam.

27 Is it not contrary to compassion and humanity to eat an animal that dies by feeling pain?

The Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:

“When you slaughter an animal, slaughter it in a nice way (do not make it suffer. You should whet your knife and make the animal you will slaughter ease.” (Muslim, Dhabaih:57; Abu Dawud, Adahi 11-12)

Therefore, it is sunnah to have animals slaughtered by sharp knives and in due form. (see Zuhayli, al-Fiqhu’l-Islami, 3/262) According to this statement, when an animal is not slaughtered in due form, it is understood that it is tormented and agonized.

However, it can be said that animals that are slaughtered in due form do not feel pain. Their sense of feeling pain can be eliminated and they can be saved from the feeling of pain by the grace of Allah. This state is an indication of Allah's mercy.

Therefore, an animal held down to be slaughtered, even, does not feel anything. It wants to feel it as the knife cuts, but that feeling disappears as well, and it is saved from the pain. (see Nursi, Şualar, On Birinci Şua [Rays, Eleventh Ray])

"Since the One who creates knows, surely the One who knows will speak."In accordance with this rule, our Lord, who created all animals and put them at the disposal of human beings, described the animals we make use of as blessings and bounties. The animals whose flesh is eaten are created as sustenance for man. When man slaughters those animals, their spirits go to Paradise. Their bodies will continue to function in the human body. Allah, who is their creator, definitely prepared good duties and a nice future for them.

28 On what practices is Islamic law of war based?

It is useful to know the following views and practices of the Prophet about the topic:

The Prophet was sent as mercy for all creatures (al-Anbiya, 21/107). Islam, which Allah sent with him, means peace. Displaying the Prophet as a supporter of war is incompatible with reality.

Firstly, it should be stated that both in Mecca and Medina periods, our Prophet invited people to Islam through advice, evidence, persuasion and reciting the Qur’an.

So, the community around him was not formed by the people gathered by force; in contrast, it was formed by the people who chose Islam with their own freewill as the result of being invited to Allah through soft words and persuasion.

In fact, Hz. Muhammad, the Prophet of peace, love and mercy, did not like war and fight. He did not react in the same way to those who treated him and Muslims in a hostile manner, tormented them with violence during the Mecca period; and he did not resort to take vengeance on them.

The Prophet Muhammad and believers were always advised to be patient in the verses of the Qur’an revealed during the Mecca period. When believers complained about the torments they were exposed to, the Prophet advised them to be patient and firm by saying “Be patient, I have not been ordered to fight”.

In the Qur’an, peace is essential in relationships with other communities. The Qur’an orders all believers to “enter into peace all together” (al-Baqara, 2/208). If others incline towards peace, the Prophet is also asked to incline to peace (al-Anfal, 8/61).

Another indication showing that  the Prophet’s purpose is peace is his expressions he uttered through various means that peace will be dominant in the neighborhood. Thus, the following statement he made to Adiy bin Khatim, who came Medina and became a Muslim, is very meaningful; “I swear by Allah that you will soon hear that a woman coming from Qadisiyyah on her camel to visit the Kaaba on her own will not feel any fear except for the fear of Allah”.

In the Mecca period, our Prophet did not introduce Islam with weapons to the people out of this city, and did not spread it using force. In contrast, Muslims  were attacked by swords because they accepted Islam. After the Hegira, instead of tolerance and submission, they were allowed and even ordered to fight.

Reasons for the permission to fight and the legitimacy of jihad can be summarized as follows:

a) Legitimate self-defense: The leading reason for war is to enable Muslims to protect their lives, properties and honor.

The more the Muslims tolerated the unbelievers in Mecca the more they increased their oppression and cruelties. This aggression continued after the Hegira, too. Abu Sufyan and Ubay bin Khalaf wanted Ansar to withdraw from between their tribe and Muhammad by sending them a letter; otherwise, they declared that they would fight them. Because Ansar rejected this, they sent the same letters to the Jews and hypocrites of the Quraysh. Abu Sufyan began to attack Medina with small troops.

As a matter of fact, eight months after the Hegira, they proceeded to the place named Batn ar-Rabigh with a troop of two hundred people. This showed that the polytheists of Mecca did not appreciate goodness, tolerance and politeness and that their attacks could not be prevented by tolerance.

It was inevitable to resort to force against force and respond to power with power. With the revelation of the verses allowing jihad, Muslims were enabled to fight to protect their lives and properties. In these verses, it is stated that the believers were fought, exposed to persecution, and driven out of their homeland unjustly just because they believed in Allah and that they were allowed to fight because of these reasons.

b) Securing the call to Islam: It was necessary for Islam, which was sent by Allah for all mankind, to spread. It could have been an obstacle for the spreading of Islam not to give the right of defense to those who became Muslims with their freewill and who were attacked. If Muslim had been compelled to submit to the unbelievers who prevented the call to Islam with weapons, other people who noticed this situation would have avoided to accept a religion that did not give the right of defense to them against attacks.

c) Securing human rights and freedom of religion: As the Prophet Muhammad did not force people to enter Islam, nobody has the right to convert those who became Muslims with their freewill to their previous beliefs. Forcing people in this point means violating human rights, and depriving people of their freedom of religion.

d) To punish those who spoil treaties, and traitors: The wars made against Jews can be regarded as part of the policy of punishing those who break the oath. Jews in Medina violated the treaty which they signed with the Prophet.

Some of them collaborated with unbelievers, some of them even tried to assassinate the Prophet. The tribe of Qaynuqa and Sons of Nadir accepted to leave Medina. They could have been executed unquestioningly, but the Prophet did not do so.

As for the warriors of Sons of Qurayza, they committed war crime against the Muslims during the Battle of Khandaq; so, they were executed according to the judgment of the judge who was chosen by them.

e) Protecting the Islamic land against the attacks of foreigners: When the universal call to Islam reached the boundaries of the Arabian Peninsula, both Islam and Muslims would have been harmed if it had not been protected against the attacks of the super powers of the world at that time to the Islamic land.

As a matter of fact, when Islam spread to every part of the Arabian Peninsula, Byzantine and Sasanian Empires that did not pay attention to Muslims before that time planned attacks to the Islamic regions.

Tabuk and Muta Wars happened in order to prevent such attacks (İbrahim Sarıçam, Hz. Muhammed ve Evrensel Mesajı, 147, ff).

Conquest and wars throughout the history of Islam generally happened  within the framework of these principles.