The Ka'aba, to which almost two million Muslims come every year from the four corners of the world, is a symbol of the peace and compassion that are an integral part of Islamic teaching.
The Qur'anic View of War
…God is All-Gentle, Most Merciful to mankind. (Qur'an, 2:143)
In the Qur'an, war represents an "unwanted obligation" which has to be carried out with strict observance of particular humane and moral guidelines and which must not be resorted to except when it is absolutely inevitable.
In one verse of the Qur'an, it is explained that those who start wars are the disbelievers and that God does not approve of wars:
…Each time they kindle the fire of war, God extinguishes it. They rush about the Earth corrupting it. God does not love corrupters. (Qur'an, 5:64)
In the case of a conflict, before engaging in a war, believers must wait until fighting becomes compulsory. Believers are allowed to fight only when the other party attacks and no other alternative except war remains:
But if they cease (fighting), God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur'an, 2:192)
A closer examination of the Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) life reveals that war was a method resorted to for defensive purposes only in unavoidable situations.
The revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) continued for a period of 23 years. During the first 13 years of this period, Muslims lived as a minority under a pagan order in Mecca and faced much oppression. Many Muslims were harassed, abused, tortured, and even murdered, their houses and possessions plundered. Despite this, however, Muslims led their lives without resorting to violence and always called the pagans to peace.
A view of present-day Madinah, the city to which the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Muslims emigrated and established their own polity.
When the oppression of the pagans escalated unbearably, the Muslims emigrated to the town of Yathrib, which was later to be renamed Madinah, where they could establish their own order in a freer and more friendly environment. Even establishing their own system did not prompt them to take up weapons against the aggressive pagans of Mecca. Only after the following revelation, the Prophet (pbuh) commanded his people to prepare for war:
Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against because they have been wronged – truly God has the power to come to their support – those who were expelled from their homes without any right, merely for saying, "Our Lord is God"… (Qur'an, 22:39-40)
In brief, Muslims were allowed to wage war only because they were oppressed and subjected to violence. To put it in another way, God granted permission for war only for defensive purposes. In other verses, Muslims are warned against the use of unnecessary provocation or violence:
Fight in the Way of God against those who fight you, but do not go beyond the limits. God does not love those who go beyond the limits. (Qur'an, 2:190)
After the revelation of these verses, several wars occurred between the Muslims and the pagan Arabs. In none of these wars, however, were the Muslims the inciting party. Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) established a secure and peaceful social environment for Muslims and pagans alike by signing the peace agreement of Hudaybiya which conceded to the pagans most of their requests. The party who violated the terms of the agreement and started hostilities once again were the pagans. With rapid conversions into Islam, the Islamic armies mustered a great force against the pagan Arabs. However, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) conquered Mecca without bloodshed and in a spirit of compassion. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not take revenge on pagan leaders in the city. Yet, he did not do harm to any one of them, forgave them and treated them with the utmost understanding. Many of pagans, who would later convert to Islam of their own free will, could not help admiring such nobility of character in the Prophet (pbuh).
Not only during Mecca's conquest, but also in the course of all the battles and conquests made in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the rights of innocent and defenseless people were meticulously protected. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) reminded believers numerous times about this subject and by his own practice became a role model for others to follow. Indeed, he addressed believers who were about to go to war in the following terms: "Go to war in adherence to the religion of God. Never touch the elderly, women or children. Always improve their situation and be kind to them. God loves those who are sincere."2The Messenger of God (pbuh) also clarified the attitude Muslims must adopt even when they are in the middle of a raging battle:
Do not kill children. Avoid touching people who devote themselves to worship in churches! Never murder women and the elderly. Do not set trees on fire or cut them down. Never destroy houses! 3
The Islamic principles God proclaims in the Qur'an account for this peaceful and temperate policy of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). In the Qur'an, God commands believers to treat the non-Muslims kindly and justly:
God does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you over religion or driven you from your homes, or from being just towards them. God loves those who are just... (Qur'an, 60:8-9)
In the above verses, how Muslims should behave towards others is stated: A Muslim should treat all non-Muslims kindly. In a case where this enmity causes violent attacks against Islam and Muslims, that is, where they wage a war against them, then Muslims should respond to them justly by considering the humane dimensions of the situation. All forms of barbarism, unnecessary acts of violence and unjust aggression are forbidden by Islam. In another verse, God warns Muslims against this and explains that no condition should not cause them to fall into injustice:
You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of God, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to heedfulness. Heed God (alone). God is aware of what you do. (Qur'an, 5:8)
The True Meaning of Jihad in the Qur'an
There is no killing in the jihad in the Qur'an. There is no raining bombs down in the jihad in the Qur'an. There are no suicide bombers or cowardly attacks on the innocent. There is no hatred or cursing people in the jihad in the Qur'an. The children of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh), of the Prophet Jacob (pbuh) and the Prophet Moses (pbuh) are not accursed in the jihad in the Qur'an. There are no threats and intimidation in the jihad in the Qur'an. Islam is not that kind of faith. There is no slaughter, death, hatred and rage in Islam, nor in Christianity or in Judaism.
Therefore, if someone says, "I learned from the Qur'an that I must kill, bomb and curse people" then he is lying, or has been mistaught. A radical who says he is a Muslim follows a faith invented solely for the purpose of killing, bombing and cursing. That invented faith does not stem from the Qur'an. The Holy Book they kiss and touch to their foreheads and hang on the wall may never actually have been read.
That is the kind of faith in which everything is dark. It offers hatred instead of love, anger instead of affection, enmity instead of brotherhood, afflictions instead of beauty and ignorance instead of art, beauty, science and culture. It is easy to put a gun in the hand of someone who believes in such a faith. It is easy to say, "That community are your enemies." It is easy to stir such a person up. It is easy to produce communities of rage. This terrible scourge, which exists not only in Islam but also in all the true faiths and even in Marxism, Satanism and materialism, in short in all religions, ideologies and ways of thinking, is the scourge of radicalism.
Why does radicalism exist? Because that is what many people are taught. They know no other faith. That is all the radicals who appear in the name of Islam know as Islam. They have been left in ignorance, in a ghetto. They have been turned away from society, art and science. They have always been misinformed about the concept of "jihad" and have applied it wrongly because that is what they were taught. They have always imagined that by acting on what they were taught they were doing a good thing. They never even imagined they were actually harming themselves, their faith, their own families, their own peoples and, of course, others.
Yet the jihad in the Qur'an is different to what they imagine. The word jihad comes from the Arabic word – "jahd." Its meaning is: 1. To work, strive, labor, make sacrifices. 2. To control one's own lower self. In Islam, it is to inform the other side, to teach good morals, and to strive to turn people away from evil with love and compassion. In other words, what a Muslim engaged in "jahd" needs to do is to strive to spread love, peace and affection and to teach people in an altruistic manner to turn them away from evil. A Muslim's second jihad is waged with himself. It involves becoming a good person by turning his back on evil, hatred and rage and training his own lower self.
Radicals are ignorant of this. There is therefore no point in condemning, cursing, threatening, imprisoning or exiling someone who imagines that by killing he is waging jihad. None of that false information in his brain can be eradicated through weapons or menaces. Even if the person is eliminated, his ideas will not. That mistaken idea will continue to produce mistaken people. You can only neutralize ideas with other ideas. There is no other way. The problem is lack of education. And in order for such a person to be properly educated, you need teachers who will always support the truth, love and peace. These people need to act in the light of a method that has never yet been tried or applied. They need to speak a new language, "the language of peace."
And do not kill yourselves. God is Most Merciful to you. (Qur'an, 4:29)
It is easy to curse people in a moment of anger. But the language of peace is different. There are no "terrorists" in the language of peace, only falsely educated, ignorant people. This is important, because it becomes harder to teach such a person; the more he is called a terrorist the more he becomes to believe he really is one. There is no destructiveness or bullying in the language of peace. There is no rude talk. There are no angry words, no provocative words in the language of peace, even if the conditions are ripe for anger and hatred. There are no angry people who say, "You are a traitor, a killer" in the language of peace, only teachers who say, "You have been wrongly taught and are misinformed." We need special people, special groups of people who have abandoned the language of anger used for so many years and that merely increases hatred and killing, and who use that special language of peace instead, which requires wisdom, altruism and superior virtues. Instead of joining the hordes of the cursers, who have never solved anything, we need to find solutions to these tragedies as superior people who employ that special language of peace.
No nations or communities have ever tried this because they have known only one way: to brand and curse the aggressors before them. And so new generations have grown up living in anger and aggression and constantly cursing others, as if that were an answer. They have never sought to realize that ignorance is the real problem. Of course, as with all communities, there have been evil people within these communities. But if the ignorant people who constitute the majority of a society can be taught properly, the evil will have no power. However, it must not be forgotten that ignorance can only come to an end through careful and scrupulous education by those who use only the language of peace. Once ignorance comes to an end, there will be nobody left to talk into killing, launching rockets or becoming suicide bombers. Bombs and killing will lose all their logic. Of course, it calls for special virtues and maturity to keep the language of peace alive in a community that lives in aggression. But solutions in hard times have always come from achieving what is difficult. Teaching the radicals with the language of peace is a solution. And, whether they like it or not, it is the only solution.
Killing Oneself (Committing Suicide) Is Forbidden in the Qur'an
Another important matter that arose in the wake of terrorist assaults committed supposedly in the name of religion is that of suicide attacks. Some people who are ill-informed on Islam have made utterly erroneous statements to the effect that Islam, the religion of love and peace, allows suicide attacks, whereas in Islam killing oneself and killing other people are both prohibited. In the words, "Do not kill yourselves." (Qur'an, 4:29) God has declared suicide to be a sin. In Islam it is forbidden for anyone to kill himself or herself, for no matter what reason.
Committing suicide, and thus carrying out suicide attacks, and causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people while doing so, is a total violation of Islamic morality. God says in the Qur'an that it is a sin to put an end to one's own life as well as to others'. For that reason, it is quite impossible for someone who believes in God and says he abides by the Qur'an to do such a thing. The only people who can do such things are those who have a very mistaken perception of religion, have no idea of true Qur'anic morality, fail to use their reason and conscience, are under the influence of atheist ideologies, and who have been brainwashed with feelings of hatred and revenge. Everybody must oppose such actions.
Conversations with Adnan Oktar, en.a9.com.tr
Muslims Must Struggle Through Knowledge and Ideas
Reporter: Could you talk about terror a bit? There are suicide attacks taking place in Afghanistan. Is that acceptable in Islam? Can one wage jihad by killing oneself?
Adnan Oktar: What needs is there for suicide? For one thing, suicide is a sin. To kill an innocent person for no reason is something deserving a punishment of eternal hell. Someone who kills himself has killed a human being and thus committed a terrible sin, and since he departs without repenting he risks spending eternity in hell. That is why a Muslim should educate, rather than kill himself, and increase his knowledge, love, affection, compassion and strength, and should go and preach to people. There is no need to go and bomb people. Go and preach to them, tell them about Islam. There was a period, as you know, in the early years of our Prophet's (pbuh) coming when he did not reveal himself. They began preaching in secret, and only later openly. They were insulted, oppressed, beaten and sworn at, they were alienated and subjected to sanctions, and they even abandoned their country and migrated to another. They preached amid all these many difficulties, and Muslims must preach in the same way, preaching and explaining. But they cannot be of any use by bombing and hanging people. That is wrong. It is incompatible with the Qur'an, with the moral values of the Qur'an and with logic and reason.
If they open madrassas, that is great, masha'God. Let them describe faith and the religion and talk about science. They can work against Darwinism and demolish its philosophies and engage in serious intellectual activities against Marxism, Leninism, communism and fascism. Let them raise their levels of culture, wear spotless clothes and spread moral virtues all around. That is the way to spread Islam. But there is no room in Islam for shedding the blood of innocent people with nothing to do with anything, bombing them and tearing them to bits. These are things our Prophet (pbuh) never encouraged, that have no place in the Qur'an, were introduced subsequently are horribly ugly. And they are sinning through these ugly actions. The right thing to do is to make those madrassas into gardens of peace. To establish fine, modern madrassas, to teach and enlighten people there, isn't it? To spread love, peace, brotherhood, lovableness, humanity, eagerness to help others, in short, to teach and spread moral virtues. You cannot spread the faith by bombing people, that has the exact opposite effect. Terror is totally harmful. But the faith will snowball through activities of the kind I have described and these will cause Islamic values to rule the whole world, insha'God. (Afghanistan Ayna, 12 December 2008)
The Background of Suicide Bombers Who Claim to Act in the Name of Islam
Following the World War II, the the psyche and minds of the people living in Islamic countries in the the Middle East were affected by the post war era and introduction of Communism. This new outlook, which was in no way compatible with the tenets of Islam, was stealthily changing the mindset of people on these lands that were once shaped with the beautiful values of the Qur'an for centuries. This also had its impact on the nascent political structures gradually forming in the region.
Given this history, the dreadful state of Syria in our modern day cannot be attributed to Islam. It is surely a legacy of the communist ideology that was planted in those lands whose borders were artificially created following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. In the absence of a ruling system predicated on Islamic tenets like that of the Ottoman Empire, the countries that emerged became vulnerable to ideologies that were either Western or Eastern, (Communist Soviet Union and China), and did not value or give importance to the ideas of love, brotherhood, and compassion, or simply humane ideas.
Syria is just one example. When Hafez Assad came to power with the Ba'ath Party in the 1960s, the state started to exert violence over its own people. This type of harsh and cold rule by the Ba'ath party became widely known in the world as the news of the horrible Hama massacre dominated the international headlines of the press.
Syria was not the only country in the Middle East that was subjected to the inhuman practices of the Ba'ath Party. The Party also became influential in Egypt and Iraq. Meanwhile other Arab countries including Iran silently came under the sway of communist China. Another part of the Middle East whose roots were detached from Islam and surrendered itself to communism was Palestine. The al-Fatah movement that had grown in this country was not hiding the ideology by which it was acting upon.
The conflicts and bloodshed that raged throughout the Middle East were a result of communism coupled with Arab nationalism that steadily intensified. Within the regimes that identified with communism and socialism, it is then not surprising that such violent developments would take place, it is actually a part of the normal course of events.
These countries - as systems and individuals – having gone through a transformation to communism and socialism, and departed Islam still kept their names as "Islamic Republics", and were thus always identified with Islam. This being the case, all the crimes, murders, mass killings perpetrated by these regimes and individuals were always incorrectly attributed to Islam and Muslims.
A suicide bomber is a typical example. A suicide attack happening in any corner of the world today is being identified incorrectly with Islam and it is perceived by the West, especially those who are unfamiliar with the tenets of Islam, as a practice encouraged by the religion of Islam.
Islam, however, is a religion that gives the utmost value to human life. It is a religion based upon humanity, love, compassion, brotherhood, tolerance, justice, and peace. It treats the "human being" as a very precious being. Communism, on the other hand, is a savage system that in no way appreciates an individual as a human being. It is founded on the tenets of Darwinism and the theory of evolution, which incorrectly expounds social darwinism, namely that the strong are eligible to survive while the weak are doomed to perish. Thus one should not be surprised by the actions of communists, since it is a system based on a cruel set of ideas. Therefore communist regimes do not hesitate to kill people, even if they are of their own nation, race or ethnicity. Indeed, killing people is such an indispensable and inherent part of this system that, committing suicide or taking part in suicide bombings, becomes acceptable, while it is openly an outrageous act condemned by God in the Qur'an.
According to Islam, suicide is an unlawful act no different from killing another person. In other words, committing suicide equates to murder. It is God Who gives life to a person and it is only He Who can take back that life. A person does not have the right to kill himself thinking that it is his own life and thus he can decide when to put an end to that life. Therefore a person who is ready to kill innocent children, women, that is anyone, together with himself, openly acts against the provisions of the Qur'an and thus can by no means be a Muslim. Such a person's mind and soul is totally divorced from Islam and thus Islam cannot be held accountable for such crimes.
As we have seen, individuals, communities and systems in the Middle East of today have gone through a grand transformation. The norms that shaped the behavior of the citizents of the Middle Eastern countries aare no longer purely based on Islam. Communism, socialism and other ideologies that are completely against Islam have entered the equation and have been influencing them for a quite long time. Since this is the root cause of radical and extremist mindsets, one has to reflect and think deeply about the underlying motivations for the behavior of radicals and extremists in order to make a correct judgment, otherwise we would attribute a false label on an entire religion.
Compassion, Affection and Humanity in the History of Islam
To sum up the facts we have seen so far, Islam is a religion of peace, love and compassion. This truth is accepted by many non-Muslim historians and theologians. One of these is the British historian Karen Armstrong, a former nun and an expert on Middle East history. In her book Holy War, which examines the history of the three divine religions, she makes the following comments:
... The word 'Islam' comes from the same Arabic root as the word 'peace' and the Qur'an condemns war as an abnormal state of affairs opposed to God's will… Islam does not justify a total aggressive war of extermination… Islam recognizes that war is inevitable and sometimes a positive duty in order to end oppression and suffering. The Qur'an teaches that war must be limited and be conducted in as humane a way as possible. Mohammad had to fight not only the Meccans but also the Jewish tribes in the area and Christian tribes in Syria who planned on offensive against him in alliance with the Jews. Yet this did not make Mohammed denounce the People of the Book. His Muslims were forced to defend themselves but they were not fighting a 'holy war' against the religion of their enemies. When Mohammad sent his freedman Zaid against the Christians at the head of a Muslim army, he told them to fight in the cause of God bravely but humanely. They must not molest priests, monks and nuns nor the weak and helpless people who were unable to fight. There must be no massacre of civilians nor should they cut down a single tree nor pull down any building.4
The Caliphs who succeeded the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) were also very sensitive in exercising justice. In conquered countries, both the indigenous people and the newcomers led their lives in peace and security. Abu Bakr (ra), the first Caliph, demanded his people adopt just and compassionate attitudes in these lands. All these attitudes were in compliance with the values of the Qur'an. Abu Bakr gave the following command to his army before the first Syrian expedition:
Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules to keep by heart: Do not commit treachery, nor depart from the right path. You must not mutilate, neither kill a child or aged man or woman. Do not destroy a palm tree, nor burn it with fire and do not cut any fruitful tree. You must not slay any of the flock or herds or the camels, save for your subsistence. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them to that to which they have devoted their lives. You are likely, likewise, to find people who will present to you meals of many kinds. You may eat; but do no forget to mention the name of God.5
Jerusalem, which is sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians, must be a place where all believers can remember God with joy and love.
Omar ibn al-Khattab, who succeeded Abu Bakr, was famous for the way he exercised justice and made contracts with the indigenous people of the conquered countries. Each one of these contracts proved to be an example of compassion and justice. For instance, in his declaration granting protection to Christians in Jerusalem and Lod, he ensured that churches would not be demolished and guaranteed that Muslims would not worship in churches in groups. Hazrat Omar granted the same conditions to the Christians of Bethlehem. During the conquest of Medain, the declaration of protection given to the Nestorian Patriarch Isho'yab III (650 - 660 AD) again guaranteed that churches would not be demolished and that no building would be converted into a house or a mosque.6 The letter written by the patriarch to the bishop of Fars (Persia) after the conquest is most striking, in the sense that it depicts the understanding and compassion shown by Muslim rulers to the People of the Book in the words of a Christian:
The Arabs to whom God has given at this time the government of the world... do not persecute the Christian religion. Indeed, they favour it, honour our priests and the saints of the Lord and confer benefits on churches and monasteries.7
The following document by Omar shows us the kind of understanding and concept of justice God grants to man, provided that he adopts the character traits described in the Qur'an:
This is the security which 'Umar, the servant of God, the commander of the faithful, grants to the people of Ælia. He grants to all, whether sick or sound, security for their lives, their possessions, their churches and their crosses, and for all that concerns their religion. Their churches shall not be changed into dwelling places, nor destroyed, neither shall they nor their appurtenances be in any way diminished, nor the crosses of the inhabitants nor aught of their possessions, nor shall any constraint be put upon them in the matter of their faith, nor shall any one of them be harmed. 8
All these are very important examples revealing the understanding of justice and understanding of true believers. In a verse God commands the following:
God commands you to return to their owners the things you hold on trust and, when you judge between people, to judge with justice. How excellent is what God exhorts you to do! God is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (Qur'an, 4:58)
Canon Taylor, one of the mission leaders of the Anglican Church, expresses the beauty revealed by the Islamic morality in one of his speeches as follows:
It [Islam] brought out the fundamental dogmas of religion – the unity and greatness of God, that He is merciful and righteous, that He claims obedience to His will, resignation and faith. It proclaimed the responsibility of man, a future life, a day of judgment, and stern retribution to fall upon the wicked; and enforced the duties of prayer, almsgiving, fasting and benevolence. It thrust aside the artificial virtues, the religious frauds and follies, the perverted moral sentiments, and the verbal subtleties of theological disputants… It gave hope to the slave, brotherhood to mankind, and recognition to the fundamental facts of human nature.9
The false assertion that people in conquered countries converted to Islam under threat has also been disproved by Western researchers, and the justice and compassionate attitude of Muslims has been confirmed. L.Browne, a Western researcher, expresses this situation in the following words:
Incidentally these well-established facts dispose of the idea so widely fostered in Christian writings that the Muslims, wherever they went, forced people to accept Islam at the point of the sword.10
In his book The Prospects of Islam, Browne goes on to say that the real motive behind the Muslims' conquests was the brotherhood of Islam. The vast majority of Muslim administrators who have reigned over the Muslim lands throughout history continued to treat the members of other religions with the utmost compassion and respect. Within the borders of all Islamic states, both Jews and Christians lived in safety and enjoyed freedom.
The reign of the Seljuk Turks and that of the Ottoman Empire were also marked by the just and compassionate outlook of Islam. In his book, The Preaching of Islam, Thomas Arnold explains the Christians' willingness to come under Seljuk rule because of this attitude:
This same sense of security of religious life under Muslim rule led many of the Christians of Asia Minor, also, about the same time, to welcome the advent of the Saljuq Turks as their deliverers… In the reign of Michael VIII (1261-1282), the Turks were often invited to take possession of the smaller towns in the interior of Asia Minor by the inhabitants, that they might escape from the tyranny of the empire; and both rich and poor often emigrated into Turkish dominions.11
Malik Shah, the ruler of the Islamic Seljuk Empire during its brightest age, approached the people in the conquered lands with great compassion and justice and thus was remembered with respect and love by them. All objective historians refer to the justice and compassion of Malik Shah in their works. His compassion also kindled feelings of love towards him in the hearts of the People of the Book. For this reason, unprecedented in history, many cities came under Malik Shah's rule of their own free will. Sir Thomas Arnold also mentions Odo de Diogilo, a monk of St. Denis, who participated in the Second Crusade as the private chaplain of Louis VII, refers in his memoirs to the justice administered by Muslims regardless of the subjects' religious affiliation. Based on the graphic account of Odo de Diogilo, Sir Thomas Arnold writes:
The situation of the survivors would have been utterly hopeless, had not the sight of their misery melted the hearts of the Muhammadans to pity. They tended the sick and relieved the poor and starving with open-handed liberality. Some even bought up the French money which the Greeks had got out of the pilgrims by force or cunning, and lavishly distributed it among the needy. So great was the contrast between the kind treatment the pilgrims received from [them] . . . and the cruelty of their fellow-Christians, the Greeks, who imposed forced labour upon them, beat them, and robbed them of what little they had left, that many of them voluntarily embraced the faith of their deliverers. As the old chronicler [Odo de Diogilo] says: "Avoiding their co-religionists who had been so cruel to them, they went in safety among the infidels who had compassion upon them, and, as we heard, more than three thousand joined themselves to the Turks when they retired."12
Muslim rule in Spain came to an end in 1492 when Granada was conquered by the armies of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. In the picture above, the surrender of the city is depicted.
These statements by historians reveal that Muslim administrators who truly adopted the morality of Islam always ruled with compassion and justice. Likewise, the history of the Ottoman Empire which ruled lands on three continents for centuries abounds with examples of justice.
The way the Jews settled in Ottoman lands during the time of Sultan Beyazid II, after being subjected to massacre and exile in the Catholic kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, is a fine example of the compassion that Islamic morality brings with it. The Catholic monarchs who ruled much of Spain at the time brought grave pressure to bear on the Jews who had formerly lived in peace under Muslim rule in Andalusia. While Muslims, Christians and Jews were able to live side by side in peace in Andalusia, the Catholic monarchs tried to force the whole country to become Christian, and declared war on the Muslims while oppressing the Jews. As a result, the last Muslim ruler in the Granada region of southern Spain was overthrown in 1492. Muslims were subjected to terrible slaughter, and those Jews who refused to change their religion were sent into exile.
One group of these Jews without a homeland sought shelter in the Ottoman Empire, and the state allowed them to do so. The Ottoman fleet, under the command of Kemal Reis, brought the exiled Jews, and those Muslims who had survived the slaughter, to the land of the Ottomans.
Sultan Beyazid II has gone down in history as a most pious believer, and in the spring of 1492 he settled these wronged Jews who had been expelled from Spain in certain parts of his empire, around Edirne, and Thessalonica in present-day Greece. Most of the 25,000 Turkish Jews living in Turkey today are the ancestors of those Spanish Jews. They have practiced their religion and customs, which they brought from Spain some 500 years ago and continued to live most comfortably with their own schools, hospitals, old people's homes, cultural associations and newspapers. In the same way that they have traders and businessmen, they also have representatives in numerous professions, from technical subjects to advertising, with increasingly developing intellectual circles. While Jewish communities in many countries in Europe have for centuries been exposed to the fear of anti-Semitic racist attacks, those in Turkey have lived in peace and security. This example alone is enough to demonstrate the compassion that Islam brings with it and its understanding of justice.
The conquest of Istanbul by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror meant freedom for Jews and heterodox Christians who had been subjected to oppression for centuries by Roman and Byzantine rulers.
The compassion and affection exhibited by Sultan Beyazid II applied to all the Ottoman sultans. When Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror conquered Istanbul, he allowed the Christians and the Jews to live freely there. André Miquel, who is known for the valuable works he has written about the just and compassionate practices of Muslims and the world of Islam, says:
The Christian communities lived under a well administered state that they did not have during the Byzantine and Latin periods. They were never subjected to systematic persecution. On the contrary, the empire and especially Istanbul had become a refuge for Spanish Jews who were tortured. People were never Islamized by force; the movements of Islamization took place as a result of social processes.13
The non-Muslims were granted many rights also in the pre-Ottoman Islamic states. Georgetown University's Professor of Religion and International Relations John L. Esposito describes how Jews and Christians who came under the administration of Muslim states met with enormous understanding:
For many non-Muslim populations in Byzantine and Persian territories already subjugated to foreign rulers, Islamic rule meant an exchange of rulers, the new ones often more flexible and tolerant, rather than a loss of independence. Many of these populations now enjoyed greater local autonomy and often paid lower taxes... Religiously, Islam proved a more tolerant religion, providing greater religious freedom for Jews and indigenous Christians. 14
Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror granted many concessions to the Patriarchate. The Patriarch enjoyed autonomy for the first time in history, under Turkish rule. In the picture we see Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror receiving the Patriarch.
As is clear from these facts, Muslims have at no time in history been oppressive. On the contrary, they have brought peace and security to all nations and beliefs wherever they have gone. They have abided by God's verse which says: "Worship God and do not associate anything with Him. Be good to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to neighbors who are related to you and neighbors who are not related to you, and to companions and travellers and your slaves. God does not love anyone vain or boastful." (Qur'an, 4:36) and have behaved well to all people.
In short, friendship, brotherhood, peace and love are the bases of Qur'anic morality, and it is to these superior virtues that Muslims try to adhere. (For further details, see Harun Yahya's Justice and Compassion in the Qur'an)
Conversations with Adnan Oktar, en.a9.com.tr
Muslims Must Adopt the Affection of Our Prophet (pbuh) as a Model
Adnan Oktar: The People of the Book is a subject explicitly set out in the Qur'an. It is not something unknown. Some ignorant people think of the People of the Book as meaning "they should be killed wherever they are, bombed wherever they are found. Their weddings should be stormed and everyone killed, women or children regardless." But that is a sin. There is no room for that in Islam. Islam involves affection and compassion. They are entrusted to us. Insha'God, they will be under our protection in the time of the Turkish-Islamic Union. Look at this, from the text of an agreement between Christians and Muslims in the time of Hazrat Omar (ra). The treaty between Muslims and the Christians of Hira says; "if one of them is weakened – any one of the Christians – or grows old or suffers because of sickness, or becomes poor when once he was rich, then he or his family will receive help from the Public Treasury for so long as they live in Islamic lands." There is no talk there of killing, slaughtering, bombing or hatred, is there?
In other words, if they base themselves on the time of the Messenger of God (pbuh) and the Qur'an, then what they are doing is wrong. According to the Qur'an and the Sunna of and methods employed by the Messenger of God (pbuh) , the practice was this, look, "if one of them is weakened – any of the Christians – or grows old or suffers because of sickness, or becomes poor when once he was rich…" in other words, this is something extraordinary, isn't it? It was also applied to his own citizens, but was carefully implemented for the Christians. "… then he or his family will receive help from the Public Treasury for so long as they live in Islamic lands." The surrender document drawn up for Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians living in Debil – an Armenian city – during its capture in the time of Hazrat Uthman (ra), guaranteed that places of worship would be protected. Damaged churches were allowed to be repaired, and permission was always given for new synagogues and monasteries to be built. One monastery that had been burned was rebuilt by Patriarch Mar Amme in the time of Hazrat Uthman (ra). There is no bombing there, is there? No killing and slaughter. Their goods and lands were also guaranteed. They could not be compelled to convert. Nobody could come between them and their laws. (Gaziantep Olay TV, 23 January 2010)