Monday, December 6, 2021
Speaking at the 40th Consultation Meeting of Provincial Muftis, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said: “Working beyond every kind of different opinion and thought with a comprehensive approach is one of our most fundamental sensitivities. In this context, it is such a wrongful act to draw the Presidency of Religious Affairs into daily discussions.”
The 40th Consultation Meeting of Provincial Muftis started in Ankara under the chairmanship of Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs.
Giving the opening speech of the meeting that is held at the Conference Hall of Turkiye Diyanet Foundation with the title ‘The Pandemic Process, Social Change and the Services of Diyanet’, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said that the meeting is of great importance for the evaluation of the services that are provided by the Presidency of Religious Affairs.
Wishing that the meeting is going to yield auspicious results, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, stated, “We are holding an important meeting in an important process. We are going to evaluate this process. We are going to discuss the present condition and future of our services in the face of the processes that have been gone through by humanity and our country. We are going to negotiate the ways and opportunities to give service to our nation in the best way in this process.”
Uttering the fact that the Presidency of Religious Affairs has been giving service to the nation with great effort and devotion since the beginning of the pandemic process, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said, “In this process, we carried out our training and guidance services through digital environments and tried to give spiritual support to our nation continuously. I would like to thank once again each one of our hodjas regardless of their cadres and titles, our muftis being in the first place, for their dedicated works.”
Pointing out that humanity is on the brink of a new world, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, continued as follows: “The most significant characteristic of the modern period, the phenomenon of globalization and the era in which we live was pushing the world to have ‘’rapid changes’’. However, when we look back to the last two years that we have experienced, beyond the mentioned rapidity and change, we see that humanity is going through an extraordinary process of transformation. Those who interpret this process correctly are going to be more effective in shaping the future, of course. The daily lives of people are mostly shaped according to the innovations and opportunities that are introduced by technology in the era in which we live. The interests and tendencies of people are canalizing into different areas day by day and the perceptions of people about religion, society and life are also affected in many aspects.”
“Protecting humanitarian values and conscientious virtues gets harder substantially”
Expressing that the most basic global problem of the modern age related to “meaning and values” is the “moral and civilizational” crisis, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, used the following expressions, “With the drifts that happen in the axis of humanitarian and moral virtues; materiality, interests and selfishness are increasingly encompassing life. Protecting humanitarian values and conscientious virtues gets harder substantially today when interests and perceptions change often. Today, humanity is stuck in the grip of extravagance, selfishness and complacency, on one hand, and social problems such as hunger, poverty, misery and social loneliness, on the other hand.”
Making an evaluation that the majority of people are struggling for life in a vortex of desperation and hopelessness due to terrorist incidents, diseases and injustices surrounding the whole world, President Erbaş, said, “This situation, which is the basis of serious global and psychological breaks in terms of social relations, is also among the main factors of material and spiritual depressions. The only system of life that is going to give hope to humanity in such an environment is undoubtedly Islam. There is no other prescription for salvation. We are not going to despair of the mercy of Allah (swt). We have the power to overcome all these negativities with the Holy Qur’an, the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Islam.”
“The entire Islamic world and humanity wait for our services”
Making evaluations also about the situation of the Islamic world currently, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, stated, “We face with a bitter reality that it is surrounded by serious political, economic, social and cultural problems when we look at the Islamic world. Intimidation, despair and pessimism have literally dominated the Islamic world, especially due to the external and internal effects that have been experienced in the last few centuries. At this point, the responsibility that is undertaken by our country, nation, and the Presidency of Religious Affairs for the sake of ummah and humanity becomes even more important. We are not only responsible for the provinces and districts of our country. The entire Islamic world and humanity wait for us to perform our duties. For fulfilling this great responsibility, of course, the members of the Presidency of Religious Affairs have great duties. Because Islam is universal.”
“We should never think of our homeland as an unlivable place”
Emphasizing the need for fighting against hardships with a strong belief and effort and without losing hope and giving up being ambitious, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said, “Hopelessness, pessimism and moodiness have no place in our faith. If there are any hopelessness, pessimism and moodiness, it might stem from two underlying reasons: the first one can be named laziness, inertia, nonchalance or indifference. Those who are indifferent to what is happening around them cannot let go of the thought that everything is going bad. Those who do not work cannot see the efforts of others. On the other hand, the second one is not having a plan and being ignorant. And not being able to interpret the processes that are experienced. And not being able to make plans and design projects that are going to help you overcome problems. Then, a person becomes despair and have a pessimistic view and feel hopeless. Let us hear what Cemil Meriç says about this subject, “Those who regard their homeland as an unlivable place are those who make their homeland an unlivable place.” We should never think of our homeland as an unlivable place. Because it is entrusted to us by our ancestors. The verses ‘Who would not sacrifice their life for this paradise of a country? Martyrs would burst forth should one simply squeeze the soil! Martyrs! May God take my life, my loved ones, and all possessions from me if He will, / But may Him not deprive me of my one true homeland in the world,’ were not written by Mehmet Akif Ersoy in vain.
Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said that the medicine for hopelessness is taking initiatives, being ambitious and working more, and making stronger and long-term plans.
“We should fight for the salvation of humanity with great ambition”
Saying “Today what Muslims should do against the problems that are faced by the ummah and the humanity is not wailing for the situation. Their responsibility is also not wasting breath on the descriptions from those who spoil the world.”, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, continued his words as follows:
“On the contrary, their responsibility is to fight for the salvation of humanity with greater ambition. Their responsibility is to try to overcome problems with a stronger determination. It is to put their heart and soul in working to make humanity meet with Islam’s climate of wisdom and science, justice and mercy, and peace and affection. It is to act in foresight and sagacity. We are the kind of people who believed that every hardship is followed by an easiness. We believe that hardships are overcome with iman, patience and firmness. Hardships are overcome with unity, togetherness and solidarity. What is important is not losing our hope and belief for more beautiful days to be experienced in the future. Of course, the pioneers of this ambition and consciousness should be the members of our Presidency of Religious Affairs.”
“I want to see young people with each of our hodjas and each of our hodjas with young people”
Uttering that the Presidency attaches more importance to, out of the services that are provided by it, the services that are provided for the youth and the families, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, used the following expressions, “Our family and our generations are the starting point for building a more peaceful life and a more beautiful world. For this reason, I want to see young people with each of our hodjas. And I want to see each of our hodjas with young people, too. Our young people and children, to whom we are going to entrust our future, are our most valuable assets.”
Saying “We have to be their guide and supporter against the movements, ideas, structures and habits that negatively affect our young people’s vision of life and harm their material and spiritual development.”, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, continued, “We have to bring our young people together with the curing, healing, unifying and integrating the power of faith and worship against the moral collapse, intellectual corruption and religious drifts to which humanity is exposed on a global scale.”
“Every one of our country’s young people is equally valuable for us”
Underlying the fact that it requires a special effort to deal with the young people and guide their excitements and ideals, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, made an evaluation, “It requires a prophetic effort, a serious formation, an effective language and ability of communication. At this point, I would like to remind you that our muftis should be the guides of our hodjas who are commissioned in their provinces. We know that young people are more prone to and suitable to understand and adopt the truth. However, we need to tell the truth to them correctly in order for them to understand and adopt it. In this respect, the most important method is being an example to them. It is to be an example to them in the most beautiful way.”
Pointing out that he sees the good services and efforts that are provided and made for young people but that they should never be seen as sufficient, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, used the following expressions, “We need to reach every young person without making any discrimination. Every one of our country’s young people is equally valuable for us.”
Mentioning the importance of the works that are carried out for families, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said, “Our services for families are also of vital importance in terms of our present and future. Family is the center of mercy, love and affection. When the families of our society get stronger, then the hardships are going to be overcome more easily. For this purpose, our services for families should continue increasingly day by day.”
Drawing attention to the fact that we are living in an age in which violence affects negatively our lives in all aspects, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, used the following expressions, “For this reason, we are dwelling on the importance of fighting against violence on every platform to which we attend. We make khutbahs about this issue read at mosques. Why is there violence? Violence emerges from the absence of mercy. For this reason, we need to make mercy dominate our lives. We need to root mercy in the hearts and conscience of people. Undoubtedly, it is going to be achieved through education. On the other hand, a family environment is the most basic school and the strongest center in terms of giving the education of mercy. When mercy is put into action in families, then mercy is going to dominate our lives.”
“We need to turn our mosques into centers of renewal and purification”
Expressing that they continued the services of guidance also during the pandemic, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said:
“We tried to make use of digital platforms effectively and comprehensively. But now we should put our shoulder to the wheel with more determination and excitement. We should exert more efforts in order to compensate for the negative effect of this process on our services. At this point, we should seriously consider the ways of reviving our mosques as an opportunity that extends to every corner and every individual of our country. We should seek ways to figure out what can be done for this purpose. We need to turn our mosques into centers of renewal and purification in order to heal our spiritual, emotional and social wounds after this difficult process.”
Expressing that the Qur’an courses are one of the most important activities that make the Presidency of Religious Affairs meet with society, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, used the following words, “We should mobilize to strengthen and make our courses, where especially our sisters, children and young people meet with the Holy Qur’an, more effective. We should arrange programs and develop projects to bring our people together with its deep meaning and guidance to the right path along with the recitation of the Holy Qur’an.”
Mentioning the importance of reaching the services of the Presidency to every individual of our society, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, used the following expressions, “No one should be unaware of our services. I would like to share a point with you explicitly, we have Diyanet television channel, radios, periodicals, other publications... If even a single citizen in your province does not know about these services, we are in great sin.”
“Killing an innocent person is the same thing as killing the entire humanity”
Saying “In this difficult process to which humanity is exposed, it is necessary to think carefully about the causes of violence, abuse and murder as individual and social disasters.”, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, expressed the following:
“Harassment, violence, neglect and abuse and the violation of rights of other people are not only great crimes and inhuman behaviors, but also an indicator of a terrible corruption that collapses society. Of course, it is not possible to consider such manifestations as isolated incidents. No one should deny responsibility in this field. Being responsible for problems means being responsible to humanity. Killing an innocent person is the same thing as killing the entire humanity. This is stated in the Holy Qur’an, the guide of life, addressing the entire humanity. We have to work day and night in order to prevent such loathsome behaviors that also upset the psychology of both individuals and society. From another point of view, if a person is dragged into suicide in the vortex of problems he gets stuck in the society in which we live, is a great sin of us in terms of our faith, conscience and the Hereafter.”
“Let us not make the news in a way to cause being explained worse than its realization”
Emphasizing that inhumane behaviors’ and crimes’ being the subject of media in all details cause serious damage to individual and social consciousness, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, said, “In this respect, especially our brothers and sisters who work for media institutions should undertake great responsibilities. Everyone who writes, speaks and reports on such sensitive issues should act responsibly and there is an expression in our civilization, it goes ‘being explained worse than its realization’. Please let us not make the news in a way to cause ‘being explained worse than its realization’.”
“It is such a wrongful act to draw the Presidency of Religious Affairs into daily discussions”
Emphasizing the fact that the Presidency of Religious Affairs is legally responsible for explaining the principles of Islam, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, made the following evaluation,
“Working beyond every kind of different opinion and thought with a comprehensive approach is one of our most fundamental sensitivities in this field. In this context, it is such a wrongful and upsetting act to draw the Presidency of Religious Affairs into daily discussions. Everyone who writes, speaks and shares on religion and religious issues should be much more sensitive about this issue. Of course, we accept criticism as an opportunity to make better works. However, defaming this beautiful institution and its members utilizing incorrect information and targeting their reputation is not criticism. It is hard to accept such things as criticism.”
“We are working so that our young people can know about our religion and civilization but people get annoyed”
Pointing out the fact that there are sometimes people on media, who have difficulty in understanding the services of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the President of Religious Affairs, stated the following points:
“Unfortunately, we also witness the existence of people who cannot put up with even our children’s and young people’s going to mosques and attending our programs. Why? Who would get harmed by benevolence? Who would get harmed by inviting people to make good acts and stay away from evil? We are teaching universal values to our young people and children. Why would anyone get annoyed with such a thing?
We meet with our young people at the scouting event, they get annoyed. We are working so that our young people can know about our religion and civilization to avoid them from being trapped by abuser structures but people get annoyed. Even when we talk about unity, togetherness and brotherhood, they get annoyed again.”
“They are unfamiliar with religion to an extent of not being able to tell difference between a verse and a hadith but they criticize religious issues”
“They are unfamiliar with religion to an extent of not being able to tell difference between a verse and a hadith but they criticize religious issues. I get surprised. We are following all these in sorrow and pity. Everyone should know that if there is a problem, it stems from our generations’ being away from their belief, civilization, tradition and values. We need to fight for eliminating this problem. How could such a generation fight against hardships? How could it find its way in the journey of humanity? Moreover, how could it protect itself from abuser structures?”
Vasip Şahin, the Governor of Ankara, the senior executives of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, and muftis of 81 provinces of Turkey attended the opening session of the meeting that is going to continue 5 days.