· Do you consider Christianity to be a system of disbelief that will be eliminated under the rule of the Mahdi and Jesus?
ADNAN OKTAR: Genuine Christians are people who believe in Allah (God), have a great love of the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and believe in the angels and the Hereafter. It is impossible for a Muslim to regard a Christian as an unbeliever. According to the Qur’an, Christians and Jews are the people of the Book. In the Qur’an, Muslims are encouraged to establish civilized relations based on respect and compassion with the people of the Book. It is lawful for the people of the Book and Muslims to eat food prepared by the other, and Muslim men can marry women from the People of the Book. (Surat al-Ma’ida, 5) These provisions show that friendly, neighborly and familial relations can be established between Muslims, Christians and Jews, and that they should therefore enjoy sincere, lively, loving and affectionate social relations. Devout Muslims regard the people of the Book as a legacy from the prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all). They protect and watch over them and provide an environment in which they can worship as they wish and live at ease. The Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is Muslims’ role model here. He always treated Jews and Christians with great justice and compassion and sought a climate based on love and agreement between members of the Abrahamic faiths and Muslims.
At the Prophet Muhammad’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) advice, some Muslims exposed to oppression and intimidation from the idolaters of Mecca sought shelter with King Najashi of Ethiopia. They developed a model of co-existence with Jews living in Medina that would represent a model for all subsequent generations. There are accounts of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) attending wedding feats of the People of the Book and extending hospitality to them. When the Najran Christians visited, the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) spread his woolen garment out for them to sit on. Our Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) marriage with Mariye (or Maryam), an Egyptian Christian, is another example of that attitude. Following the death of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), Muslims’ virtuous attitudes toward the People of the Book were based on the stipulations in the Qur’an and the tolerance that the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) extended to these communities throughout his life.
The Christian belief in the Trinity needs to be changed. There is one God. And the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is Allah’s servant. His moral values make him a superior and holy servant, but one who still has to eat, drink and sleep and who has other physical, humanly needs. According to the idea of the Trinity, there is God, the father, the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and the Holy Ghost. But Christians only pray to Jesus (pbuh). Why do they avoid praying to Allah? Why do they not pray to the Holy Ghost? If there are three deities (surely Allah is beyond that), why do they not pray to them all at once? There is obviously an error and illogicality in this belief. But it is the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) who will correct that error. When the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) returns to Earth, he will tell Christians the truth and direct them towards the true faith.
· Do you agree with these other Muslim authors, jurists and scholars that under the rule of the Mahdi and Jesus, Christians and Jews will face the option of converting to Islam or death?
ADNAN OKTAR: The system of Hazrat Mahdi (as) is a well-intentioned and rational one based on human love, respect and compassion. There are hundreds of completely trustworthy hadith about the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) and the return of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh), but not a single one says that blood will be shed during the time of the Mahdi. If anyone suggests such a thing, they are in error and have misinterpreted the hadith and other accounts. One of Hazrat Mahdi’s (pbuh) distinguishing characteristics is that he will cause religious morals to prevail by means of peace and love. The hadith say that in the time of the Mahdi, nobody’s nose will even bleed, and that the sleeper will not be wakened:
Those who swear allegaince to him (Hazrat Mahdi), will do so between the Pilar and the Rock (near the Kaaba). He will not waken the sleeper, and will never shed blood. (al-Haytamî,Al- Qawl Mukhtasar fi Alamat-al Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 24)
People will swarm around Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) like bees round their keeper. He will fill the world with justice, where before it was full of oppression. So great will be his justice that nobody who is sleeping will be awakened, and not even a drop of blood will be spilled... (Al- Qawl Mukhtasar fi Alamat-al Mahdi al-Muntazar , pp. 29 and 48)
It is also narrated that justice, peace and love will rule the world after the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) and the Prophet Jesus (pbuh):
He will eliminate hatred and enmity... he will fill the world with peace ike a bowl with water. There will be religious unity and none but Allah will be worshipped. War will set aside its burden. (Sunan Ibn Majah, 10/334)
No enmity will remain between anyone. And all enmity, conflict and disputes will vanish. (Imam Sha’rani, Death-Doomsday-The Hereafter and the Portents of the End Times, 496)
As noted in the expression “war will set aside its burden,” all forms of violence, oppression, tyranny and conflict will come to an end in his time.
· If the day ever comes that the Mahdi and Jesus are here on earth, I will not convert to Islam. Will there be any other option for myself other than death? And what would be the purpose of abolishing the jizyah, if not to eliminate the option of being a protected dhimmi?
ADNAN OKTAR: When Hazrat Mahdi and the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon them) come, they will tell people of the existing errors in Christianity. If someone comes and says, “I am the son of Allah” (Allah is beyond that), we must follow the course of that person’s destiny. It is impossible for him to be successful in his destiny. Only someone who says, “There is one God and I am His servant” can be successful. Otherwise, they will obviously fail; because the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) also says there is one God and he prays to Him. Allah (God) cannot pray to Allah (God). The Bible contains various instances of Jesus (pbuh) praying to Allah (God):
Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. (Luke, 6:12)
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. (Mark, 1/35)
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. (Matthew, 14:23)
Why do Cristians pray only to Jesus (pbuh) and not to the Holy Ghost? If they also consider them to be God, (Allah is beyond that) there is clearly an error here. Since they regard all three as Allah (God) (Allah is beyond that), why do they only pray to Jesus (pbuh), when they should pray directly to Allah (God)? The Bible says there is only one Allah (God) and that believers must serve Him on many occasions:
... Jesus answered, ‘The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark, 12: 29-32)
... “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.” (Matthew, 4: 10)
To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.... (Timothy 1, 1: 17)
Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed for ever... (Romans 1, 1: 25)
Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will clarify all this when he appears, and when he comes, the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will teach the truth.
At this time, Christians and Jews will become Muslims through the marvelous nature of a miracle. In the Qur’an, Allah says that none will fail to believe in the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) before they die:
There is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in him before he dies; and on the Day of Rising he will be a witness against them. (Surat an-Nisa, 159)
Allah is referring to genuine believers here. There is no reference here to a hypocritical belief imposed under duress. Hypocrite is the word for someone who believes under force, and Allah reveals that hypocrites are the most despicable people in the world and will be cast into the lowest, most humiliating and violent circle of Hell. Allah does not want people to be hypocrites. But if someone describes himself as a Muslim when he is not, then he is a hypocrite. Islam strongly opposes that. As verse 256 of Surat al-Baqara says, “There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned...”
Everyone at that time will be true believers by means of their devotion to the Prophet Jesus and Hazrat Mahdi (peace be upon them) and under their influence. All people will believe willingly, happily and knowingly, out of their love for the Prophet Jesus and Hazrat Mahdi (peace be upon them). Allah will cause everyone to believe, as a miracle.
As for the capitation tax on non-Muslims, it is not a compulsory matter. If someone wants to live under the protection of an Islamic state, then it is perfectly normal and essential for him to contribute to the state’s expenses. Like every citizen, he must contribute to state spending. But if he does not want the state’s help and protection, then there is of course no need to pay. In the same way that the countries joining the EU set up a common fund, in the same way that any citizen in any country pays something toward municipal expenses and costs such as roads, water and electricity and the like, this is a similar kind of requirement, but not compulsory.
· How often does you receive reports that Christians or Jews have read your books and converted to Islam as a result?
ADNAN OKTAR: I know there are hundreds of people all over the world who have become Muslims after reading my works. You can even see this from a brief research on the Internet. There has been huge progress in Russia, Britain, China, America, Germany and France in particular. It is also reflected in the press from time to time, but many people contact us every day via the www.harunyahya.com web site and send messages saying they have converted to Islam.
· Many of the Shi’a believe that through the emergence of al-Mahdi Muntadhzar, that all Sunnis will convert to Shi’a Islam. How do you perceive that the Mahdi will unify the Sunni and Shi’a? What will this look like? Do you believe that the Shi’a will become Sunni?
ADNAN OKTAR: What is being referred to here is an increase in love of the alh al-bayt [line of descent of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)] in the time of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). There will be a strong love for the desendants of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). And this is already happening. Muslims increasing their love of the blessed Ali, Hasan and Hussein, the line of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in other words, does not necessarily mean being Shiite, of course. Shiites and Sunis are two separate schools. When Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) comes, both Shiites and Sunnis will swear allegiance to Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) alone. In other words, it is not a matter of Shiites becoming Sunni or Sunnis becoming Shiite.
· According to Islamic tradition, ad-Dajjal, is said to be blind in one eye and have the word KUFR written on his forehead. Do you believe that this is to be taken literally or do you believe that these descriptions should be understood in a symbolic and spiritualized manner?
ADNAN OKTAR: It is true he will have one blind eye, and will claim to be divine (surely Allah is beyond that) despite being blind in one eye, but the word kafir (unbeliever) may not be written on his forehead.
· Imagine if a man appeared in Israel who claimed to be divine and the Son of God, who claimed to be Jesus Christ and had the ability to do wonderful miracles. If this man claimed that Islam was not the truth and instead taught that the Bible was not corrupted and that Christianity was the true religion, would this man be, in your opinion, fulfill the necessary requirements to be viewed as ad-Dajjal?
ADNAN OKTAR: For one thing, by Allah’s leave, when the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) comes nobody will confuse him with anyone else, due to his extraordinary beauty, radiance, luminosity of faith, cleanliness, majesty, modesty and honesty. We will immediately know and recognize him. At the time of the coming of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh), there will also appear someone who claims to be Jesus and even, surely Allah is beyond that, works miracles and claims to be Allah (God) Himself. This person will cause terrible strife and corruption on Earth but, by Allah’s leave, the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will destroy his false miracles and corruption. He will dissolve away and vanish like salt in water. If this person were the real Jesus (pbuh) he would prevent the eradication of his marvels. The real Jesus (pbuh) would be strong enough to prevent that. It will therefore be seen that he is not the true Jesus. The false Jesus will not have the strength of the real Jesus (pbuh). And it will immediately be obvious which is the real Jesus (pbuh).
The false Jesus will in any case be abnormal-looking. You will feel no love for him. Allah will create him with one blind eye for identification purposes. One will tell that he is an imposter, unbalanced and aggressive, from his face. The true Jesus is beautiful and with two healthy eyes. He is tall, red-haired, narrow-waisted, with an innocent expression, polit-looking and highly logical and rational. He will imediately be recognized as the true Jesus (pbuh) from his honest language, cleanliness, human love, warmth, extraordinary intelligence and peaceful nature. And he will do away with all the false marvels of the false Jesus.
In short, there will be no difficulty or confusion when it comes to recognizing the real Jesus (pbuh). There will be no difficulty in recognizing either. In verse 185 of Surat al-Baqara, Almighty Allah says, “Allah desires ease for you. He does not desire difficulty for you.” In another verse (Surat al-Baqara, 286) He states, “Allah does not impose on any self more tha it can stand.” Therefore, it will be very easy for true believers to recognize the real Jesus, insha’Allah.
· Islamic tradition holds that Jesus would descend by the White Mosque in Damascus. Do you believe that this is also not to be taken literally, but rather symbolically?
ADNAN OKTAR: Jesus (pbuh) may descend in Damascus, or Jerusalem or in Istanbul. Various places are mentioned in the hadith. It may even be in the USA. When the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) returns, he will do so as a very delightful person who has no memory of his own past, wearing the clothing and footwear of that time. He will subsequently learn foreign languages, the Qur’an, the Torah and the Gospels. He will appear in a Christian community reminiscent of Islam. He will be a Muslim and will call the whole Christian world to Islam.
· Could you share a bit about how you believe the Islamic Union will emerge in the years to come?
The Turkish-Islamic Union is a union of love, a union of hearts, in which every state will maintain its own identity. It will have a democratic and secular nature. It will respect human rights. It will establish an environment in which people of all beliefs, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and atheists can freely express those beliefs. Its foundations will be love, altruism, mutual aid, compassion, tolerance, understanding and reconciliation. The Turkish-Islamic Union will oppose all movements that incite war and conflict and represent a power that opposes all developments that provoke war. With the founding of the Turkish-Islamic Union, America, Europe, China, Russia, Israel, and in short the whole world, will be able to relax. The problem of terror will come to an end, access to raw materials will be guaranteed, economic and social order will be protected, and cultural conflict will be entirely eradicated. America will have no need to send its troops thousands of kilometers away, Israel will no longer live behind walls, the nations of the EU will encounter no economic obstacles, Russia will have no security concerns and China will have no difficulties over raw materials. With the founding of the union, the Western world’s defense spending will decline. The USA heads the list of military spending with a budget of some $400 billion. Then comes Russia with $60 billion and China with $42 billion. The Turkish-Islamic Union will establish an environment of global peace and security that will eliminate all conflict and tension regarding the Islamic world. It will enable many countries of the world, not just Muslim countries, to reduce their military spending. Investment on the military and armaments development will thus be diverted to such fields as education, medicine, science and culture. The Turkish-Islamic Union will reinvigorate commerce and strengthen the economy. The single entity formed by Muslim countries in the political, economic and cultural spheres will allow the more backward to progress rapidly and those with the necessary means and infrasructure to use them in the most productive manner. Economic growth will increase investment in science and technology. With economic growth, education levels in the union will naturally rise and society will develop in many directions.
· How do you suspect that Turkey will emerge as the leader of this Union?
ADNAN OKTAR: There is much information in the hadith of our Prophet (saas) to the effect that the Turkish nation will undertake a very special task in the End Times. Istanbul is much noted in the hadith. The Turkish nation is the best suited, in terms of moral values and nature, to the task, and whoever you may ask is agreed on that. The characteristic of the Turkish nation is this: it is a virtuous and religious one. It has always been the standard-bearer of Islam. Such a nation has the right to be a leader. It will justly discharge that function and be an excellent leader. But this is not a claim of any kind of racial superiority. It is impossible for a Muslim to make such a claim. We are servants of Allah. Superiority lies in taqwa (awe or fear of Allah, which inspires a person to be on guard against wrong action and eager for actions which please Him). Anything else leads to fascism, infertility and evilness. Allah will respond to anyone who thinks like that, and the result will be catastrophic for them.
When I talk about a Turkish-Islamic Union under Turkish leadership and supported by the Turkic states, I am referring to the moral values of the Turkish nation. Allah has created this nation to be very excellent and charged it with spreading justice to mankind and the world. It is a natural leader, resistant to suffering, troubles and hunger, loyal, courageous, religious, morally virtuous and honest. Anatolian people are very virtuous. Go to the Black Sea region and you will be amazed at their moral values, or to Anatolia. Go to the South-East and you will be amazed. Words canot describe their hospitality, affection, respect, kindness and honor. You cannot find that anywhere else in the world. To sum up, first, Turkey will undertake this duty as a legacy from the Ottoman Empire. Second, the model of Islam as is lived by in Turkey is an exemplary one. The rational, enlightened and honest conception of Islam in Turkey, warm, tolerant and not at all radical, is of the greatest importance. This is both an excellent example for the Muslim world and also an ideal model that will eliminate all doubts in Western minds. Third, all the sacred and holy relics are in Turkey. Fourth, we are at the center. We are at a key point for connecting the Turkic states and Islamic countries to Europe. We have a very-well educated and enlightened potential and are eager to assume the job. We are highly enthusiastic for it. Nobody else is as keen as us.
· How do you perceive that both the people and the leaders in Iran would respond to an Islamic Union led by Turkey? Do you believe that they would willingly go along with such an arrangement?
ADNAN OKTAR: Our Iranian brothers are completely willing. If Turkey proposed it today they would agree at once. Iran will never be concerned over Turkish leadership, and that is clear from recent developments. As you know, President Ahmadinejad recently visited Istanbul, during which he prayed behind a Sunni imam at the Sultanahmad Mosque. In his statement he said, “The political message I am sending here is very significant.” What does a Shiite leader praying behind a Sunni imam mean? It means, “If the Turkish-Islamic Union is established I will go along with the Sunnis, I will pray behind the Sunnis and accept their leadership.” And it means, “I support the Turkish-Islamıc Union.” Another important event was Iranian and U.S. officials meeting together in Ankara under Turkish mediation. Iran has stated it wants Turkey to act as an intermediary and has expressed its pleasure at that. That means they trust Turkey’s justice, honesty, sincerity and neutrality. People who trust in those will also trust in Turkish leadership and want it to be to the fore. Because the foundation of the Turkish-Islamic Union will mean the salvation of Iran, too. It will bring security and well-being to Islam and totally eliminate all tensions.
· Once the Caliphate is established, will it be acceptable for the Ummah to wage war against any nations that refuse to accept Islam?
ADNAN OKTAR: The leadership that will emerge with the establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union is a spiritual one, one that will provide a spiritual leader for the whole Islamic world. There is no question of establishing a caliphate in the historic sense. Islam is not a religion of war and violence. It is a religion of peace. Allah states in one verse of the Qur’an as:
You who believe! Enter Islam totally. Do not follow in the footsteps of satan. He is an outright enemy to you. (Surat al-Baqara, 208)
There is no compulsion in Islam. It invites people to adopt moral virtues using love, compassion and kind words alone. Muslims have to extend invitations, not force people to embrace the faith. Everyone is responsible for his or her own self desires. Qur’anic moral values require Muslims to avoid war and all forms of conflict and to be reconciliatory, resolving disputes by negotiation and discussion. War, according to the Qur’an, is only to be resorted to when obligatory, and is an “undesired obligation” to be waged within human and ethical bounds. Believers always prefer peace and reconciliation when problems arise, and have a responsibility only to wage war for the purpose of self-defense if attacked by the other side.
Another verse describes how there are evil people who start wars, and how Allah does not like such corrupt types:
... Each time they kindle the fire of war, Allah extinguishes it. They rush about the earth corrupting it. Allah does not love corrupters. (Surat al-Ma’ida, 64)
The distinguishing feature of Islamic communities is that they are moderate and well-balanced, and use kind words to command people to do good and avoid evil. The founding aim of the Turkish-Islamic Union is to establish a climate of peace in which disagreements can be resolved by reconciliation and rational means. When the Turkish-Islamic Union is established, terror and conflict will come to an end in a matter of moments, and all the world will live in peace.
· Do you perceive the present global economic meltdown as contributing positively to the rise of global Islamic power?
ADNAN OKTAR: A great economic crisis is one of the portents of the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). This is revealed in the hadith of our Prophet (saas):
(Before the coming of Hazrat Mahdi [pbuh]) THE MARKET WILL FREEZE AND EARNINGS WILL DECLINE. (Portents of Doomsday, p. 148)
Before the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh), TRADE AND ROADS BETWEEN NATIONS WILL BE CUT, and strife among people will grow. (Al- Qawl Mukhtasar fi Alamat-al Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 39)
Everyone will complain of LOW EARNINGS and the rich will be respected for their money. (Portents of Doomsday, p. 146)
Business will be bad. Everyone will complain, “I cannot sell anything, I cannot buy or earn anything.” (Portents of Doomsday, p. 152)
This economic crisis is one of the most important signs of the End Times and, according to the hadith and the Qur’an, will be long-lasting. There are many references to the End Times in Surah Yusuf in the Qur’an. The way the Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) attached great importance to agriculture and livestock raising also has a figurative sense. It also stresses the number 7. The crisis began in 2007, a year ending in 7, and may continue for 7 years, ending in 2014. At the heart of the crisis lie high interest rates, lack of trust in Allah, fear, in other words the idea that bad things will happen tomorrow, saving money and goods away, not spending, not helping the poor, not distributing money and general parsimony. If money is distributed the money supply is activated and production is stimulated. But when money is held back, so are goods, and production is stalled, and the system as a whole dies. This stems from the selfishness of some people. Interest must be abolished, and interest rates have indeed fallen to nearly 0% in the world as a whole. The Bank of England has announced it is thinking of moving to a no interest system. Taxes must also be reduced. We need high demand in the markets and people need to be freed from this state of panic. In other words, they must spend the money they have saved up, and that has to be encouraged. In that event, the market will automatically be reinvigorated, production will be easier because interest rates have fallen, and manufacturing will be easier with low taxes. Such troubles and difficulties are of course means whereby people turn to religious moral values. They bring about a climate of solidarity, love and altruism. There is good in everything that Allah creates, and there is also much wisdom in this crisis. One of them may be that people will turn to religious moral values. Allah knows the truth, insha’Allah.
· What changes do you perceive the United States will undergo within the next ten years?
ADNAN OKTAR: I expect America to become more religious in the next 10 years. Love for the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will grow. Belief in creation will dominate the USA. There may be a contraction in industrialization. Economic difficulties may continue, but there is also good in this, insha’Allah.
· Presently, there are various peace deals that seem to be in the works involving Israel and other parties. Do you think that Turkey will be the nation that is finally able to make such a peace treaty take place?
ADNAN OKTAR: Turkey has recently been following a very active and successful policy, masha’Allah. It is a sign that Turkey will be an important element, a leader, in future world politics. The meetings between Syria and Israel, , the steps taken for the foundation of the Caucasian Alliance, the bringing together in Istanbul of the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan and all such developments are proof that Turkey will lead the way to love and peace. But the salvation of Syria, Israel and Palestine will basically be enabled by the foundation of the Turkish-Islamic Union. And that is what they want, too. Leading Israelis say, “In Ottoman times you governed the region with 10 privates and a sergeant, while we are unable to with all our troops.” They look back to the old Ottoman times. Syria openly wants to join with Turkey, and if an official proposal were made, Syria would sign up within a week. Iraq is already a river of blood. But if Turkey assumed the role of older brother it would immediately become a truly heavenly place. The problem would be totally resolved. Everyone can see that. Delegations coming from Palestine always propose it and they all demand it. Turkey’s playing the role of older brother has become of crucial importance to the region. There is a vacuum in the region, one that only Turkey is in a position to fill. And that is a human, ethical and religious duty. It is a duty that Turkey wants. When the Turkish-Islamic Union is founded, the whole Middle East will be a paradise, Israel and Palestine will be at ease and as free as possible. It will be a salvation for the peoples of Palestine and Israel. Everyone will be freed from the problem of terror and violence. An age of total peace and security will dawn. That is why I can say that the foundation of the Turkish-Islamic Union is the most urgent issue facing the world.
· Do you believe that the Mahdi will establish his governance from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as many Hadith indicate?
ADNAN OKTAR: Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will visit Jerusalem, but we can see from the hadith that Istanbul will be the real center of the Islamic world at this time, and that Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will work in Istanbul. There are many accounts that indicate this. Islamic scholars are all agreed on the subject.
· Have you ever had the chance to discuss your beliefs about the Mahdi, Jesus and the Islamic Union with fellow Turkish intellectual, Fethullah Gulen? As far as you know, do you and Gulen share similar beliefs on most of these issues?
ADNAN OKTAR: I do not know Fethullah Gülen personally, so we have had no chance to talk face-to-face. But he is a highly respectable, gentle, virtuous, modest, polite and immaculate person. Like all the people of the Sunna, Fethullah Gülen refers to Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) in terms of love and joy in his works and addresses. He describes how the Mahdi will appear and how the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return to Earth. He educates and encourages Muslims. He is also instrumental in very good works, masha’Allah.
· How do you think that Prime Minister Erdogan would respond to these ideas concerning an Islamic Union with Turkey in a leadership role?
ADNAN OKTAR: The prime minister and the current government are striving with all their might for the establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union. The initiative for the establishment of the Caucasian Union, the pipeline projects, railway projects, Turkey’s adopting an active role in the Middle East and problems being resolved under Turkish leadership are all initiatives being taken for the establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union. These are all very excellent, very successful initiatives. They will pick up further pace in the future and, by Allah’s leave, a Turkish-Islamic Union under Turkish leadership will be founded in the next 10-20 years.
· Are you aware of any within the Turkish Muslim community who suspect that Prime Minister Erdogan could himself be the Mahdi?
ADNAN OKTAR: There is no such claim about the prime minister nor anything matching the portents described in the hadith. If anyone does claim such a thing, it is an irrational and illogical claim.
· According to certain Hadith, Muhammad once said that Turkey would be conquered a second time for Islam through peaceful means. Are you aware of any within the Turkish Islamic community that believe that this prophecy has been or is being fulfilled through the rise of the AKP Islamist party in Turkey?
ADNAN OKTAR: The hadith describe how Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will capture Istanbul with the taqbir, that is to say, by reciting the name of Allah. This once again shows that Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will strengthen belief in Allah through cultural and intellectual activities, that he will be instrumental in a rise in spiritual matters and people turning to religious moral values, and that religious moral values will prevail over the world in that way. You know, when Fatih Sultan Mehmet captured Istanbul he was initially unwilling to undertake the campaign since the hadith say that he who captures Istanbul will be Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). He then consulted with his teacher, Akshemsettin, who told him, “First Mehmet will capture Istanbul, and the Mahdi will subsequently capture it spiritually.” In other words, he says that the physical capture of Istanbul will be by Fatih, and its spiritual conquest by the Mahdi. Fatih then set out on his campaign. The Turkish nation have always been loyal to spiritual values, a religious nation. But there has been a very evident strengthening in that context in recent times. Intellectual work that has demolished Darwinism and materialism has of course played a major role in this. In the 1970s, the level of belief in Darwinism was very high, around 80%. Today it is the exact opposite. Turkey is the country with the lowest level of belief in Darwinism. More than 90% believe in Creation.
· You have stated that you believe that both the Mahdi and Jesus are present now on the earth. What makes you believe this exactly?
ADNAN OKTAR: Allah promises in verse 55 of Surat an-Nur that Islamic moral values will prevail over the world. Many other verses also impart these welcome tidings. There are some 300 portents in the hadith regarding the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). Our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) says these will happen one by one, “like beads on a necklace.” And these really have happened one after the other since 1400 (hegira-style, 1979 A.D.). A great many portents have come about. Our Prophet (saas) says that Afghanistan will be invaded, and that happened. He says that Iraq will be occupied, and that has happened. He says blood will be spilled in the Kaaba, and that happened. He says the waters of the Euphrates will be cut, and that happened. He says there will be eclipses of the Sun and Moon at 15-day intervals in the moth of Ramadan, and that happened. He says there will be a sign in the Sun, and that happened. He speaks of the devastation of Baghdad, and that has happened. He reveals the economic crisis, and that is happening. Many other things have happened, but what really matters is that they have all taken place in the space of 20-30 years. Afghanistan may have been invaded or Baghdad devastated at their times in history, but this is the first time that all these events have happened in the same period as described by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). That means there is something extraordinary going on.
I think that the coming of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is also very close. The Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return, and we will welcome, love and embrace him in 10-20 years, insha’Allah. After that, insha’Allah, the world will be very delightful, bright and prosperous.
· According to Islamic tradition, in the Last-Days, the Beast would emerge from Mecca. He would mark the foreheads of all true believers. What do you understand this “mark of the beast” to be?
ADNAN OKTAR: The Dabbat al-Ardh [The Beast coming out of the earth]is one of the portents that will appear in the End Times, and there are a great many hadith concerning the Dabbat al-Ardh, although some are confused and they may not all be true. I do not think this is a completely sound hadith. But the subject does appear in the Qur’an. In verse 82 of Surat an-Naml Allah says: “When the Word is justly carried out against them, We will produce a Beast from the earth which will speak to them. Truly mankind had no certainty about Our signs.”
The verse reveals that the Dabbat al-Ardh will appear from the earth, in other words that it is a product of the earth. It describes an entity that will talk to people. The hadith refer to him being able to cross large distances in a single step, talking to people and travelling everywhere. Since it is a product of the earth, it will be something made up of such minerals and metals extracted from underground as iron, copper, zinc, cobalt and chrome. These substances are the basic components of present-day computers. Talking to people and covering large distances in a short space of time is a reference to the Internet. Thanks to the Internet it is very easy to access or transfer information, to speak to people and establish communications with them. And thanks to the internet, people will be told about the Qur’an even more quickly. In the End Times, the Internet will be an important means whereby Islamic moral values come to prevail the world.
· Will the Mahdi be able to bring together all religions, and if so, how will he do this?
ADNAN OKTAR: The Mahdi will bring together with love people from all faiths and holding all kinds of ideas, will enable them to see one another’s good sides by strengthening their feelings of friendship and brotherhood, and will ensure they treat one another with understanding. When Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) appears, love will rule the world and people will abandon all fellings of hatred and anger. So much so that, the hadith describe how even the fish in the sea and the birds in the air will be content with the environment of beauty and love of which Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will be instrumental, and that love for Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will descend on everyone’s hearts. The sincere love that people feel for Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will be instrumental in them trusting each other with love, affection and compassion.
· Mr. Oktar, the career and life of Muhammad as well as that of his earliest followers is claimed to involve wars. Your vision of the Mahdi is one of a peaceful and non-violent rise to power as well as a peaceful rule. Yet one must ask how the Mahdi would be able to do?
ADNAN OKTAR: The revelation of the Qur’an to our Prophet (saas) took 23 years. During the first 13 years, Muslims lived as a minority in the idolatrous system in Mecca and were subjected to enormous oppression. Many Muslims were physically tortured, some were killed, most had their goods and homes plundered and were constantly exposed to insults and slander. Nonetheless, Muslims did not turn to war but always invited the idolators to peace. When the pressure they were exposed to from the idolators became intolerable the Muslims migrated to the city of Yathrib (later to be known as Medina), where there was a freer and more friendly climate, and established their own administration there. Even after establishing their own political order in that way, they still did not wage war against the idolators of Mecca. When they did fight, it was always for reasons of self-defense. The superior moral values demonstrated by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and his companions during these unavoidable wars have gone down in history as highly exemplary.
For example, Arab custom dictated that anyone taken prisoner in battle should be killed. Because of the commandments revealed by Allah, however, our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) ordered that captives be treated well and that Muslims should share their food with them. These characteristics of believers in revealed in verse 8 of Surat al-Insan, “They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captives.” All that was asked of people taken captive was, if they were able, for them to teach those Muslims who could not read and write to do so. Muslims’ justice, courage and determination was instrumental in many Arab tribes converting to Islam; in other words, Islam was spread, not through war, but by the moral virtues and taqwa exhibited by Muslims. Another example of this took place during the capture of Mecca. The army of Islam set out for Mecca in 630 A.D. The Meccan idolators were terrified that the Muslims would wreak revenge for their previous oppression of them. According to Arab custom, the males of a tribe defeated in war would be put to the sword, and the women and children enslaved. The idolators of Mecca were convinced that was what would happen to them. But our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) declared that no vengeance would be extracted from the people of Mecca and that nobody would be forced to become a Muslim. This great forgiveness and tolerance has also attracted the attention of Western historians. For instance, the Haverford University academic Micheal Sells describes this superior moral virtue of the Prophet (saas) and says that when he arrived to Mecca, let alone taking a bloody vengeance, he embraced Meccans who were making war with him and struggling to kill him for three years. He further adds that this attitude evoke great admiration in the people of that time. Sells concludes that for that reason in the foundation of a religion, there existed great benevolence, an extraordinary civility and compassion. (Islam Empire of Faith; An Empires Special, PBS Home Video)
· A Christian author named Dr. David Reagan has just released a very critical review of some of the things that I have written. In his criticism, he claims that I am "very misleading" when I claim that belief in the Mahdi is not exclusively held by the Shi'a belief but is also held by a wide range of Sunnis as well. Dr. Reagan then states that Sunnis are not looking for the Mahdi. What would you say to Dr. Reagan? In your experience, what percentage of Sunnis generally believe in the Mahdi?
ADNAN OKTAR: According to Sunni belief (in the Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi’i and Maliki schools), it is an absolute and unanimous article of faith that Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will come, that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will descend from the sky, and will insist that Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) act as his imam. It is perfectly normal for people who are not Sunni and who reject the hadith also to deny the coming of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and belief in Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). But none of the Sunni ulama (scholars) have ever rejected the coming of the Prophet Jesus and Hazrat Mahdi (peace be upon them), but have all been unanimously agreed on the subject for hundreds of years. Our scholars are in “full agreement” in imparting this truth to Muslims. For example, the great Imam Abu Hanifa, the founder or my school, reveals that the coming of the Prophet Jesus and the appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (peace be upon them) are matters “which cannot possibly be denied.”
The appearance of the Dajjal and of Gog and Magog, the Sun rising in the West, the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) descending from the sky and all the other trustworthy reports of the portents of Doomsday are true and inevitable. There are other great portents of Doomsday. Such as the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). All these events reported in trustworthy accounts are true and will happen. (Fiqhi Aqbar Translation, The Great Imam Abu Hanifa, edited by Ali Rıza Kaşeli, p. 99)
The great Imam Abu Hanifa, the founder of my school, Imam Hanbal, founder of the Hanbali school, Imam Malik, founder of the Maliki school, and Imam Shafi, founder of the Shafi’i school, have all stated that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return to earth and that Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will appear. These imams of the four great Sunni schools are all expounders of Islamic law. In addition to them, all great Islamic scholars have said that Islamic moral values will prevail the world in the End Times, that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return and that Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will appear. Sunni Muslims following in the path of these greats scholars naturally believe in the coming of Hazrat Mahdi and the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon them). It is impossible for any Sunni to believe or say anything else.