Wednesday, December 29, 2021
President of Religious Affairs Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş made statements about the agenda on the 24 TV channel’s ‘Arafta Sorular” program, which was moderated by Esra Elönü
President of Religious Affairs Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş was the live broadcast guest on ‘the 24 TV channel’s Arafta Sorular” program.
In response to journalist Esra Elönü's queries, President of Religious Affairs Erbaş evaluated many themes such as propaganda carried out through the Presidency of Religious Affairs, fatwas, deism, and atheism.
President Erbaş said that the Presidency of Religious Affairs is responsible for informing the society on religious matters, remarking, "Almighty Allah (swt) issued order to us; "Let there be a group among you who call 'others' to goodness, promote what is good, and forbid what is wrong." The Presidency of Religious Affairs is the institution that serves and assists our people by calling others to goodness, encouraging what is good and forbidding what is bad, managing mosques and Quran courses, and providing people with support in the realms of worship and belief.
"The attacks are directed at the Presidency of Religious Affairs."
In response to the inquiry, "Are the assaults on the Presidency of Religious Affairs directed at you or at the institution," President Erbaş stated, "I can unequivocally state that the attacks are not directed at me." I say this because I have seen the types of attacks that prior hodjas had been subjected to."
"Some people are annoyed by the services we provide."
President Erbaş continued his words as follows:
"Sometimes there is criticism, sometimes there is an assault, and sometimes there is lying and slander." I believe we are under such an onslaught. We are, to some extent, attempting to serve our people. We have counsellors, attachés, coordinators, and imams not only in our nation, but also in about 120 countries throughout the world. With our two thousand five hundred hodjas, we are in Western Europe, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, and similar Scandinavian countries; in fact, we are an institution that reaches and provides services to all provinces and districts in our country as well as in approximately 149 countries abroad through the Türkiye Diyanet Foundation. As a result, these services may irritate certain people."
"We embrace criticism as long as it is not based on deception or slander."
President Erbaş stated that they always embrace criticism. "Criticism also leads us to understand our faults, which is a valuable thing," he added. Criticism, but constructive criticism, plays a vital function in our civilisation. If there are any falsehoods or slanders in this critique, they are deemed uncomfortable and inappropriate. This is how we evaluate this criticism as well."
"It is our responsibility to deter those who spread misinformation and slander."
President Erbaş spoke about the slanders directed towards the President of Religious Affairs and the institution as follows:
“For 23 years, especially for 13 years in Mecca period, slanders and lies against our Beloved Prophet (saw) made him so upset and disturbed that this verse in Al-Mursalat Surah in Quran was sent 10 times and the Almighty Allah said “Ah woe, that Day, to the Rejecters of Truth!” Telling lies is such a bad thing that of course we must warn them. Necessarily, we will always tell people how bad lie and slander is. It is our duty to deter those who use lies and slanders. In other words, we will never say that an aspersion cast upon us, a lie told about us, let’s step aside and wait. Here our Beloved Prophet (saw) said in a Hadith-i Sharif ““Adhere (you people) to truth, for truth leads to good deeds and good deeds lead to Paradise, and if a man continues to speak the truth and makes truth his object he will be recorded as truthful before Allah. Avoid (you people) falsehood, for falsehood leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to Hell, and if a man continues to speak falsehood and makes falsehood his object he will be recorded as a liar before Allah.” If a person is believer, he should stay away from the lie.
“They are still keep spreading the things we say it is wrong”
Underlining how bad the calumny is, President Erbaş talked as “When our Beloved Prophet (saw) made a warning in the matter of calumny, some of the companions said “the Messenger of Allah (saw), is it still a calumny or gossip if the person who we talk behind his back is there during the calumny?” In reply to this, Our Beloved Prophet (saw) said “If he is not there, it is already a slander.” In other words, it is calumny to talk behind someone’s back about something that he will not like even if he is there. There is a verse in Al-Hujurat Surah regarding this calumny “O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done.” There is merit and virtue in this verse. In other words, slandering someone and feeling regretful. Today people are far from feeling regretful, even they are deliberately slandering and telling lies. They do not even regret it. We are make a statement, we say that it is wrong. They are still keep spreading it.”
“The biggest wounds of the society are lies and slander.”
Emphasizing that lie and slander are among the biggest wounds of the society, President Erbaş said “Can a Muslim or a Non-Muslim tell a lie? He should not tell. Can he slander? He should not. It is an inappropriate behavior not only for Muslim but also human beings whoever he is. Since the Almighty Allah (swt) said in a verse that He created the man in the best of moulds: “We have indeed created man in the best of moulds, then do we abase him (to be) the lowest of the low.” How could man be abased to be the lowest of the low although he was created in the best of moulds? With this kind of behaviors. That’s why everyone should stay away from this kind of behaviors.”
“Deism and atheism could not even entered in the ratio”
Referring to the studies conducted by Presidency of Religious Affairs concerning deism and atheism, President Erbaş talked as “There are atheism, deism and also agnosticism. These -isms are brought to the agenda from time to time. I suppose that this topic was brought to the agenda three years ago on the order of “students are becoming deist in Imam Hatip School”. I was on a TV channel at the time. Let me describe the -isms first. Deism is described in the easiest way that can be understood by our young people as follows: Denying the prophet. In other words, neutralizing the prophet. Which İmam Hatip student condescends to a faith that the Prophet (saw) is neutralized? Of course, the atheism is denying the god completely. In the last religious life study we conducted, we also asked about the deism and it could not event entered in the ratio. Sometimes some topics are brought to the agenda not because they are like this because some people want it to be like this. This is a propaganda of deism. This is a propaganda of atheism.
Reminding that there are Family and Religious Guidance Offices established by Presidency of Religious Affairs in 438 places for families, President Erbaş said “In the meetings which I have with our hodjas performing a duty in these offices, I say that you should not wait for families to come to the offices. You should visit them at their homes in direction of the news or information you received. If they have a trouble, help them. If they have a problem, help them. Since we are, as Presidency of Religious Affairs, an organization which acts and provides service with the duty of enlightening the society in the matter of religion.
“Our Higher Board of Religious Affairs receives 1.500 questions per day”
Referring to the subject of fatwas, President Erbaş talked as “Our Higher Board of Religious Affairs receives 1.500 questions per day. We have 16 members and approximately 60 specialists in our Board. Everyday our specialists answer to the questions asked to them through telephone and they send e-mails in written from time to time. Everyday 1.500 questions and our provinces, provincial offices of mufti and Alo 190 line also receives questions. We also have preachers who trained for answering these questions in our provincial offices of mufti. If we do not answer the questions of our citizens, then they will have to ask these questions to the other people who are not capable. This is a sin for us. We do not want to fall into this sin.