“We have to protect our family”

“We have to protect our family”

Friday, December 3, 2021

Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, and his spouse Seher Erbaş attended the program of Family Abroad Seminar on Family: Love, Compassion, and Mercy. President Erbaş invited producers of TV series to be careful about family-related issues in their productions. His spouse Seher Erbaş, on the other hand, asked parents to establish continuous communication with their children.

“Ailemizi korumak zorundayız”

“Ailemizi korumak zorundayız”

“Ailemizi korumak zorundayız”

“Ailemizi korumak zorundayız”

“Ailemizi korumak zorundayız”

“Ailemizi korumak zorundayız”

“Ailemizi korumak zorundayız”

Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, and his spouse Seher Erbaş attended the program of Family Abroad Seminar on “Family: Love, Compassion and Mercy”.

Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, and his spouse Seher Erbaş made important statements about the family at the seminar program that was held online by the General Directorate of Foreign Relations within the body of the Presidency of Religious Affairs.

Attending the program with his two grandchildren, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, and his spouse Seher Erbaş answered the questions of Aykut Burak Şimşek, the Chief Editor of Diyanet Radios.

Upon Şimşek’s question on the family phenomenon in Islam and how to understand family, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, expressed the following by stating that family is regarded as the core of the society in Islam:

“To understand how important the notion of family is, we know that the first human being was not left alone and that a spouse was created together with him. They had children, they became a family with their children and Adam, the first example of the entire humanity, and his spouse Hawwa and their children became a family. Then we look at the lives of prophets and see that all of them have a family. We look at the life of Ibrahim. We look at the life of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and see that family members had been so important in his life. In fact, we pray for our family with the duas of Allahumma Salli and Allahumma Barik, which we recite in our prayers. In these duas, we pray both for Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Ibrahim and his family. In fact, while we pray for the family of Ibrahim, we pray for ourselves and our families. Because we know that we are the descendants of Ibrahim. Our lineage goes back to prophets and Ibrahim through Prophet Muhammad (saw). His family is ours because we are a part of his posterity. Therefore, all Muslims pray for such an important institution while establishing their prayers. That is to say, we pray for our family indirectly.”

Noting that it is necessary to keep the institution of marriage alive, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, pointed out the fact that especially the elders of the family should help the young people in this respect.

Giving recommendations to those who stay away from marriage as they do not want to take responsibility, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said, “Marriage is about sharing. If they share the responsibility mutually, then marriage becomes easy. I think there is nothing to be afraid of. This is our recommendation to our single citizens. Even the children should undertake a part of this responsibility. We need to emphasize that responsibility is so important; however, it is not something to be afraid of.”

“Love, respect, loyalty, patience, peace”

Saying “When we are married, we leave ‘me’ and become ‘us’. There is no ‘me’ in marriage, when you say ‘me’, difficulties arise,” Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, continued his words as follows:

“You know there is a formula of 5 compounds: love, respect, loyalty, patience, peace. If we want to maintain the family healthily, just like anyone would do, then there should be mutual love and respect. Loyalty, which refers to honesty, is very important. Children should be honest towards their parents and spouses should be honest towards each other. Loyalty is of great importance here but this cannot be achieved without patience. The Almighty Allah (swt) states in the verses; ‘Allah is with the patient,’ and ‘Our Lord, pour upon us patience.’ In this way, He teaches prophets how to make dua about patience. Family is the area of our lives in which we need patience most. In the family, spouses should be patient with each other, children should be patient with each other, parents should be patient with their children, children should be patient with their parents. Patience is the most important medicine for a family to make it last healthily. Then it is going to be possible to reach peace in a family that is started with love.”

“Demonstrate your love”

Making the evaluation that uttering love is as much important as making somebody feel loved, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said:

“Of course, it is very important to make somebody feel loved; however, Prophet Muhammad (saw) says, ‘Tell your beloved ones that you love them.’ Prophet Muhammad (saw) smooths the way for us in all subjects. How were the exemplary behaviors of Prophet Muhammad (saw) in terms of love, what did he say about it, what did he advise? For example, there is a very important example of making children feel loved or uttering love words to them in the family. One day Prophet Muhammad (saw) walks with a friend, one of the companions, they see children playing, he goes and shows love to them, caresses and kisses them, and utters his love towards those little children. His friend finds it a bit odd and says, ‘O the Messenger of Allah (swt), do you love children like this, do you kiss them? I have ten children but I have never shown love to them or kissed them in this way.’ Hearing this statement, Prophet Muhammad (saw) answers, ‘If Allah (swt) deprived your heart of mercy, what can I do about it?’ How great answer it is. Therefore, demonstrating love in this way actually is a sign of mercy. Not demonstrating love, on the other hand, is the sign of unmercifulness.”

Noting that the concept of faithfulness is also an important one in marriage, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said, “Faithfulness is even more meaningful when it is present in a family. I mean when spouses are faithful to each other or when children are faithful to the elder members of the family. Unfaithfulness is a great disease in a society but it is even greater in a family. It is a sign of faithfulness for children to recite the Holy Qur’an and send it to the souls of the deceased members of the family and commemorate them.”

Reminding that the Holy Qur’an includes verses that explain how to behave towards parents, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, used the following expressions, “In the Surah al-Isra of the Holy Qur’an, the Almighty Allah (swt) commands, ‘Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], ‘uff,’ and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, ‘My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.’ How important is this. I mean the verses even clarify the principles of how children should speak to their parents in a family. What is the principle? Do not say to them even ‘uff’. The Almighty Allah (swt) does not let any action that would end love, respect, attachment and faithfulness in a family.”

“Let us not turn eids into holidays”

Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, expressed the following about healthy communication in a family:

“One of the biggest problems of us is to turn eids into holidays. We should draw attention to this point. During eids, let family members be together, congratulate each other on their eids, sit down, eat and chat together. The culture of conversation is one of the most important richness of our civilization. The word companion also refers to that point, the one that is a close friend and with whom a person has a conversation. Therefore, It is really a great richness for a person to sit and chat with his children and grandchildren, to remember the past, that is to say, to remember the elders of the family in order to strengthen family ties. We give these recommendations to our brothers and sisters who are listening to us right now: visit each other often, do it even more often if you are living in the same city, if you live in different cities visit each other on eid days at least, for example, call your parents on Fridays if they live far from you.”

Drawing attention to Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) hadith, ‘Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repulse (them), ’ Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said, “This could be your or someone else’s child. It is very important especially in the family to make children learn beauties and good behaviors by making them love them and calming them with glad tidings, and not repulsing them.”

“We should be a good role model for our children”

Expressing the importance of a role model for children, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, continued his words as follows, “If our children are not willing to establish prayer, we should check our behaviors. I mean, do we establish prayer in front of our children or not? Do we encourage them to do it or not? My heart wants that our children can be raised while they see us establishing prayer in front of them at home, I would love that they witness it. And they grow up not witnessing that we lie never. Therefore, families should be very careful about it. We need to pay attention to our attitudes and actions in the growing process of children. We should not neglect our worships such as prayers, fasting, other issues and doing charity activities. When we go to a mosque, we should take our child there. When we do any charity activities, we need to give the item with which we are going to do the charity activity, money or something else, to our child and make sure that our child gives it.”

Stating that children see their parents as the smartest people in the world during their growing up period and that teachers take on the role of parents after they go to school, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said, “From that perspective, the teacher’s duty here is really important. We provide ‘Values ​​Education’ at our Qur'an courses for 4-6 years old children. With ‘Values ​​Education’, the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (saw), ‘Teach your children basic religious knowledge until they reach the age of seven,’ is also realized. Why do we care about this? Because those are the ages when the character structure of human beings is formed to a large extent. Therefore, parents and teachers should be role models for children at an early age. A Muslim should live in the way that he should be both as a human being and as a Muslim, and his children should grow up seeing him like this, then we are going to have a healthy society.”

“Motherhood is the most important job”

Emphasizing the role of mother in raising a child, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, made an evaluation, “One would wish that every mother could grow up her child herself. Because no other babysitter can be like a mother. There are working mothers, we understand their excuse but I say that they should spare more time to grow up their children if they can do. In other words, a child who is shaped in her own hands and raised in her own hands cannot be like a child who grows up in the hands of someone else. I think that especially our sisters, the mothers, should pay attention to this. Sometimes people ask mothers whether they are working or not. I do not think of mothers who do not work, every mother works, some work at home and some work both at home and workplace. I mean both the one who works at home and the one who works at workplace work. Because the most important job is motherhood and it is important for her to take care of her child at home, raise her child well, and if she has the opportunity, I would like to repeat this point, if she has the opportunity, it would be important for her to devote more time to motherhood duties. I think it is much more valuable for working fathers and mothers to spend as much time with their children as possible. One of the most important issues is that fathers should also make self-sacrifice in this respect. In other words, fathers should say that we should make sacrifices because when our children are growing up, their mothers should spend more time with them. Then they can continue their lives as a much healthier family.”

“We make publications that take into account all members of the family”

Giving information about the publications of the Presidency of Religious Affairs for the family, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, Erbaş made the following statements:

“Diyanet TV produces intensive materials for our children. Around three hours of children’s programs are broadcast on Diyanet TV. Sometimes we broadcast children’s programs on our radios simultaneously with the television. There is the Asr-ı Saadet (the Age of Bliss) radio theater for children with 160 episodes in which the life of Prophet Muhammad (saw) is told. I recommend our people, our brothers and sisters to let their children listen to it.

I particularly recommend them to follow Diyanet Radio, Kur'an Radio, Risalet Radio and the children’s programs on Diyanet TV and the publications made by the General Directorate of Religious Publications within the body of the Presidency of Religious Affairs for children. Let them follow our similar materials such as our Children's Magazine, Cim Magazine, and children’s books. Our Diyanet Aile Magazine is also about family and is very important.

There is a lot of work that we carry out about the family. We have Family Guidance Offices at 438 points of our country. We have Family Guidance Preachers at our Family Guidance Offices, we call it FRGBs (Family and Religious Guidance Bureaus). At 438 points in 81 provinces and big districts of Turkey. We also have family sets that are issued by the General Directorate of Religious Publications within the body of the Presidency of Religious Affairs. We have books related to family issues that are published by Turkiye Diyanet Foundation Publications. We have these in our digital religious publications, those who want to read can download and read from there, those who want to listen can click and listen, those who want to watch some of the programs that we have done on television, there are various sections, selected sections, they can also click and watch them. The Presidency of Religious Affairs works for both our children and the young people, for example, the Geçerken Magazine that is published by it, it was very important that it met with the young people. We make publications that take into account all members of the family. We exert efforts at our best in both visual publications, books and magazines, printed publications and digital publications.”

Inviting the producers of TV series to be careful about the family-related issues in their productions, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, warned about the following matters, “Today, there are many televisions, there are communication tools, there are TV series. We all know how effective TV series are. The producers of TV series and the actors and actresses of these series should pay attention to our customs, traditions, rituals and principles. Contrary to the principles that we want to see in a family, the behaviors that they visualize and constantly repeat in those TV series now settle in the minds of children and become normal. In other words, if there is something wrong, it is not right to normalize it by repeating the wrongful things. Both the producers of TV series and the executives of television channels should pay utmost attention to this point. Because we have to protect our family and the family institution. I would especially like to express that they should be very sensitive in this respect.”

At the end of his speech, President Erbaş greeted everyone who participated in the broadcast from all over the world and supplicated to Allah (swt) as follows, “May Allah (swt) let you establish beautiful and strong families where you live and maintain the families that you have established in a healthy way, insha'Allah.”

Seher Erbaş: “Peace is what every person seeks, makes dua for and wants”

Answering the question of Aykut Burak Şimşek, “What recommendations can you give to parents in order that they can establish a peaceful family environment?”, Seher Erbaş expressed the following points:

“Peace is an important concept. Family is essentially the center of peace for us. If there is no peace in a family, children are raised in such an environment accordingly. Peace is what every person seeks, makes dua for and wants from Allah (swt). Unfortunately, there are some problems in the families in terms of peace in today’s world. The family structure is relatively stronger in our country; however, the concept of family is almost disappearing in many parts of the world. It is clear and definite that we, the parents, are who are going to bring peace to our families. We have to exert efforts in order to have a peaceful family. So, how can this be possible and how can we make our families peaceful? For a peaceful family, we should mention a lot of concepts. For example, justice, responsibility, sacrifice, giving value to each other. These concepts are all should be mutual. Loyalty is of key importance, negotiation, understanding, love, respect....”

“Not ‘me’ but ‘us’”

Pointing out the fact that being a responsible person is very important in a family, Erbaş said, “I think that spouses should be aware of their responsibilities to each other and their home and behave accordingly. When a person starts a family, that person is not a single individual anymore. When a family is started, the responsibility of spouses to each other also starts. When we get married, we become responsible, we become ‘us’ not ‘me’ anymore. When I look at my life, I see that it is very beautiful to be us.”

Giving young adults the recommendation of not postponing marriage too much, Erbaş said, “They think that I need to complete my master’s or doctorate degree but they get older and older, the age of becoming a mother is increasing. Would they ever think that they can do these but also have children? There are a lot of examples, we see a lot of people around who both continue their education with their children and do all the things. I want to say that when a person does some things at the same time, it becomes their happiness, in my opinion. For example, starting a family life together, owning a house together. Now people have things quickly but cannot have the happiness of it.”

“The family environment gets peaceful as long as there is negotiation between spouses”

Underlining the high importance of negotiation in marriage, Erbaş said, “The more a person negotiates and shares with his spouse the more his communication with her strengthens. These sharings also make family ties strong. As a consequence, conversation increases within the family. As negotiation increases, so does conversation and peace begins to prevail in our family. Negotiation comes with a lot of blessings and abundance.”

Speaking about the concept of giving value to each other in a family, Seher Erbaş used the following expressions, “It is very important to give value to each other and the thoughts and habits of each other. I would like to say this to all families: Let your spouses know that you love and value them, do not captivate your love in your heart but utter it. Because as you utter it, it increases mutually. Let us utter it and make it felt at the same time. Sometimes one cannot say it but make it felt. Even if you do not utter your love, when you take care of him in sickness, your spouse already receives and feels that love. Because human beings are capable of feeling love. Allah (swt) created us in this way, we are blended with love.”

Mentioning that there are family members who live alone in separate rooms in today’s world, Erbaş pointed out the fact that parents are responsible for undertaking important duties in this respect. Saying that parents need to communicate with their children, Erbaş emphasized that concepts such as the language of love, the language of a person’s behaviors, the language of understanding and the language of consistency are important.

Noting that parents should approach their children by using the language of love rather than shouting or getting angry at them, Erbaş made the following evaluation, “The spiritual food of a child is love. We should express our love certainly, we should also pay attention to them. Let us not lose our children. Do not make them search for love outside. The children who cannot feel love in their family may search for love outside and go in the wrong direction. When they are loved, children are attached to their parents even more. When you give your love to them, children trust you. Because they believe in your love and trust, even if something bad happens outside, they would think ‘My parents are not going to scold me in any troubling situation.’, they would come and talk to you and tell it, then you can then take care of the situation. The language of understanding that is used towards a child is also important. A child is expected to act like a child, that is in their nature. It is wrong to expect them to act like an adult.”

“Motherhood is a great sacrifice”

Upon Şimşek’s question to Seher Erbaş about her preference of raising the children herself to work outside the home, Erbaş used the following words, “Motherhood is a very difficult profession, so it is not easy, it demands sacrifice, gives you sleepless nights and tiring days. One of the children goes to school, the other arrives at home. You need to arrange all these, prepare their favorite food and behave towards them according to their characters because each has a different character. Motherhood is a great sacrifice. For this reason, I preferred raising my children myself. When I look back now, I raised all four of them then, I say that I am glad I did so. But this does not mean that working mothers are doing something wrong, this is a matter of need. They need to work and need a job, then there is nothing to do about it.”

Saying that parents should spend time with their children in order to protect them from the dangers of the digital world, Seher Erbaş expressed the following points:

“Family members should spend quality time together at home. Not in separate rooms but together in a common area. Meals should definitely be served together. A child takes his plate and goes to his room immediately.

Not just the young ones but older children do it, too. Sometimes you look, 5 to 6 persons live in a home but all of them have telephones at their hands, how bitter is this. Sometimes I personally take everyone’s telephone from their hands. This is a nice method actually. Of course, it cannot be done all the time, of course, we should follow social media. I am telling this for us and young people; however, there should be a limit to it. Our aim should not be preventing people from using it but figuring out how to decrease the time spent on it and leading children correctly.

You should certainly follow your children. With what do they deal with, what kind of websites do they visit, whom do they follow, with whom do they see each other? Of course, here we should again mention the language of love. Do not follow them by shouting or getting angry at them. Do not say that ‘Do you want to be like them, what are you doing?’, etc. Use a nicer tone while talking to them. Say my little one, my son, my daughter, you should know that what you are dealing with is not something to benefit you neither in this world nor in the Hereafter. Especially mothers have a great responsibility. They should follow the actions of their children nicely. What they follow, what kind of websites they visit, mothers should know these and tell them with a nice language that they would not contribute anything to them, that is to say, they are webpages that are always set up to take things away from children, and that they would not give any information. Of course, parents should put this into practice first. I mean they should not take their telephones and enter an empty room in the evening.”

Underlining the benefits of making activities together such as reading books or reciting the Holy Qur’an, Erbaş said, “Imagine how joyous it would be and if there is something wrong with a member of the family, it can be corrected there. For example, family members may read the book Hadislerle İslam (Islam with Hadiths) together. For example, the President of Religious Affairs mentioned the publications of the Presidency. The articles in Geçerken Magazine is written in such a fluent and understandable language. I would like to recommend it not only to young people but also to parents. Diyanet Magazine is also like that. We can read them together with our children.”

Expressing that children should be taught good behaviors without getting angry at them but using a nice tone, Erbaş used the following expressions, “Having meals together, waiting for father to come home from work, welcoming father together, these are our beautiful customs that have been lost. However, this should be the habit of family members, a father should be welcomed when he comes home from work, he should be greeted with nice words, one of the family members should take off his jacket and the other should reach him his house shoes. Once we witnessed these and put them into practice. This is how we were raised and educated, alhamdulillah. On the other hand, we do not say that our children do not do such things, they do.”

Saying that parents should teach their children how they want them to behave towards the elders with the language of a person’s behaviors, that is to say, being an example to them in person, Seher Erbaş supplicated to Allah (swt) at the end of her speech, “May Allah (swt) protect all families, young people, our children, and the unity and togetherness of the families.”