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Presentation on theme: "MUSLİMS İN DİALOGUE AND REDİSCOVERİNG THE İSLAMİC FAİTH Muhammed Rizal DALKİLİCH."— Presentation transcript:


2 BEDİUZZAMAN SAİD NURSİ’S VİEW OF DİALOGUE For religious believers, our faith and our understanding of religion shape the way we understand dialogue. Just as our christian brethrens teach the example of Jesus Christ compelling. “ Peace i leave with you” he said “ my peace i give you. İ do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”… And “ i will give you a new commandment that you shall love one another” (Luke 6; 27-36); so does the prophet of İslam, mercy to the whole universe, Muhammad the Messenger of God (pbuh) said also “ But i tell you, you cannot enter paradise without complete faith and you cannot have complete faith without loving one another.” And in daily prayer we, muslims, more than 250 times, say “Allahumma anta salam wa minka salam” “ O God, you are the peace and peace is from you” my point here is that as we see, religion teaches peace and dialogue and love,but we need to see examples of those teachings in daily life. That’s why i selected İmam Nursi,to understand his insights of peace and dialogue from the islamic perspective. İt would be a good exersice for each of us to find a person who is religious,who devoted his life to his Creator but at the same time to humankind for peace and understanding and simply in order to undertake the discipline of asking ourselves, “ what am i doing for dialogue with God,dialogue with my own brothers of faith, dialogue with other people and dialogue with his creation” with this we engage in a process of defining our own values and asking ourselves what dialogue means to us.

3 DİALOGUE İN İMAM NURSİ’S LİFE AND THE RİSALE-İ NUR Very early on his career, Nursi stressed the need to distinguish, on the one hand, between sincere,believing Christians and, on the other, western civilization, which Nursi saw as “Christian” in name, but non-religious and materialist in reality. The concept of enmity in Risale-i Nur is worth to be qouted here; “ we have three enemies; poverty, ignorance conflict, we shall have holy war against these three enemies with the weapon of industry,education and unity.” Nursi affirmed that the enemy of muslims was not all christians; rather, true muslims and true christians must see one another as allies in confronting the true danger to human society, that is, the refusal to believe in God and to respond toGod in faith. İf muslims and christians are together working to uphold the principles of faith in the modern world,they must move beyond ancient polemical debates and inimical attitudes toward each other and put aside,least for the time being, discussion of issues that divide the followers of the two religions. Nursi emphasizes that this is not simply his own opinion, but part of the islamic heritage rooted in the sound Quran and hadiths from Beloved Prophet.(pbuh). Qur’an says; “la tajidanna agrabahum mawaddatan lillazina amanu allazina galu inna nasara zalika bi anna minhum gissisina wa ruhbanan wa annahum la yastakbarun” “ you will find the nearest in love to the believers those who say, we are christians. That is because amongst them are priests and monks,and they are not proud.” it is recorded in authentic traditions of the Prophet that at the end of time, the truly pious among the Christians will unite with the people of the Quran and fight their common foe, irreligion. At this time, too, the people of religion and truth need to unite sincerly not only with their own brothers and fellow believers, but also with the truly pious and spiritual Christians, (And refrain) temporarily from discussion and debate of points of difference in order to combat their common enemy- aggressive atheism.” ( The Flashes,20th Flash,by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi,1934)

4 Also in 1946,shortly after the end of second world war, he stated ; “ Believers should now unite,not only with their Muslim fellow-believers, but with truly religious and pious Christians,disregarding questions of dispute and not arguing over them, for absolute disbelief is on the attack. ” For Said Nursi, the enemy of human happiness and ethical uprightness is unbelief, irreligion. Man in this age is not seeking for Divine guidance but their own path through life. Submitting our own desire not to the will of God,or divine teachings. in such a time like this, muslim and christians should seek a common effort or possibility, at least for the some time, from disputes between these two families of believers. İn saying this,we or Said Nursi are not saying that there is no diffrences between two faith…or that those differences between christianity and İslam are not imporatant. There are real and important differences between christian and islamic faith. His point is that concentrating obsessively on these differences can blind both muslims and christians to the even more important common task which they share, that of offering the modern world a vision of human life and society in which God is central and God’s will is the norm of moral values.

5 9 RULES 1. To act positively, that is, out of love for one’s own outlook, avoiding enmity for other outlooks, not criticizing them, interfering in their beliefs and sciences, or in any way concerning oneself with them. 2. To unite within the fold of Islam, irrespective of particular outlook, remembering those numerous ties of unity that evoke love, brotherhood and concord. 3. To adopt the just rule of conduct that the follower of any right outlook has the right to say, “My outlook is true, or the best,” but not that “My outlook alone is true,” or that “My outlook alone is good,” thus implying the falsity or repugnance of all other outlooks. 4. To consider that union with the people of truth is a cause of Divine succour and the high dignity of religion.( God will bless those who Work for unity.) 5. To realize that the individual resistance of the most powerful person against the attacks through its genius of the mighty collective force of the people of misguidance and falsehood, which arises from their solidarity, will inevitably be defeated, and through the union of the people of truth, to create a joint and collective force also, in order to preserve justice and right in the face of that fearsome collective force of misguidance.( truth will win out in the end.) 6. In order to preserve truth from the assaults of falsehood, 7. To abandon the self and its egoism, 8. And give up the mistaken concept of self-pride, 9. And cease from all insignificant feelings aroused by rivalry.

6 İn 1933, he examine the Europe like this; “ Europe is two. One follows the sciences which serve justice and right and activities beneficial for the life of society through the inspiration it has received from true Christianity. This first europe i am not adressing. Rather i am adressing the second, corrupt Europe which, through the darkness of the philosophy of naturalism that considered the evils of civilization to be its virtues, has driven humankind to vice and misguidence.” ( Bediuzzaman Said Nursi,The Flashes,1933) All those who believe in God and seek to promote a theocentric approach to life must recognize the dangers involved; İmam Nursi states,again in 1946,when atheistic communism was extending its rule throughout Eastern Europe; “it is essential that missionaries, pious christians as well as Nurjus ( Students of Said Nursi or followers of teaching of Risale-i Nur) be exteremly careful,for with the idea of defending itself against the attacks of the religions of İslam and Christianity,- the current from the North- will try to destroy the accord of İslam and missionaries.”

7 Said Nursi was aware that muslim-christian relations were not limited to an alliance of believers in critically confronting the dangers of modernist ideology, to the resolution of conflicts and empathizing with innocent victims, but should move in direction of peace, reconciliation, and even friendship. Five years before his death, in supporting Baghdat Pact, he noted in Emirdag Lahikasi that an advantage of the pact was not only that Turks would gain 400 million brothers and sisters among muslims, but that the international accord would also gain for Muslim Turks “ the friendship of 800 million christians” and be a step toward a much-needed peace and general reconciliation between the two communities of faith. İn his final years, Said Nursi exerted his personal efforts at building reconciliation and friendship with Christians. İn 1950, he sent a collection of his Works ( i was personally informed by Fr.Thomas Michell S.J that those books are stil available in library of papacy in Vatican.) to Pope Pius XII in Rome and received in reply, on 22 February 1951, a personal letter of thanks. And Ustad Bediuzzaman put that letter among the letters of him and his students in Emirdag Letters, one volume of the Risale-i Nur collectıon. Fr.Thomas notes that it was only little over ten years later that, at the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church proclaimed its respect and esteem for Muslims and asserted that İslam was a genuine path of salvation. İn the same way, a few years later in 1953, Said Nursi visited the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in İstanbul to seek cooperation between Muslims and Christians in the face of aggressive atheism

8 Before I end, let me share some guidelines that may be helpful in dialogue. These came about as lessons learned by friends through the course of interfaith dialogues. Sincere efforts of dialogue should always start by learning the other party’s Fundamentals of faith and what is most dear to them. İt is important to note that the motives for muslims to engage in dialogue with non-muslims have their roots embedded not in the recent past, but date back to the seventh century. Dialogue is not a civilized virtiue of modern times, but rather a duty upon every muslim, who is following the footsteps of the Prophet of İslam. Dialogue is not a temporary activity, but a way of living that spans a lifetime. İn the very first days of his mission, the Prophet sought every possible means of comminication with his fellow townsmen, despite fierce opposition and in the face of all kinds of dangers and threats, he was the one who took the first step and initiated “dialogue”.

9 4 points that lead muslims and christians to misunderstanding and miscomunicating; is “Allah” the same god as the God of the Bible? Trinity and tawheed divinity of Jesus and concept of Prophethood Authenticty of Holy Scriptures

10 is “Allah” the same god as the God of the Bible? The answer to this question is different for each side. According to İslamic teachings, the Creator of the heavens and earth, Who sent prophets to mankind, speaks in the Bible as well as in the Quran. Thus the answer for muslims doubtless “yes”. But in the same way,we cannont expect christians to say “yes” which means they will accept that the quran is the word of God. The names and attributes of Allah as they are mentioned in the bible are very few compared to the many found in the Quran and the sayings of Prophet,peace and blessings be upon Him. Naturally when a christian hears the word God he or she immediately begins to think what kind of God figure is being referred to? İs he like old or the new testament? To make things more complicated, the word “Lord” is sometimes used to refer to “ Jesus” in Christianity. Thus in a muslim- christian Dialogue the two sides may have significant diffrences in the very concept of God, the first article of faith. The succesful way in dialogue to discuss Attributes and Names of God as they are presented in Bible or in Quran. This should be done without confusing the issue by discussing the personality or the claimed divinity of Jesus. The similarities in the way the Creator describes Himself in both Boks will surprise the parties and clearly show that it is the same Divine Being Who is speaking in both Boks.

11 Trinity and tawheed Trinity is often misunderstood by muslims even some learned man of religion. Most of the time, it is portrayed as believing in three Gods or in three deities. However,as is well known, Christianity is a monotheistic religion, not a polytheistic one. The confusion comes from the fact that the godhead of Trinity has three distinct characters. But, to a christians believer,these three characters are like three different manifestations of the same Divine Being on different platforms. İn one of the most quoted verses of the Bible, Jesus says; “ Father and İ are one” so,to a chrisitian, jesus is the manifestation of the Heavenly father on earth. This may be the grounds for many other disagreements between muslims and christians about the personality of Jesus, but it certainly does not make christianity a polytheistic religion. İn both side actually believe in God and one God, He is the Creator of the heavens and earth, Almighty, All-knowing, Pre-eternal,Everlasting God that we all worship. The oneness of God is not the only tenet shared by these two major world religion. Resurrection and hereafter,angels,destiny and other articles of faith are similar and almost same in both faiths.

12 the divinity of Jesus and concept of Prophethood Many muslims simply fail to understand how central the divinity of Jesus is to the Chrisitian faith in most denominations. İt is not very uncommon for muslim speakers to start their speech by claiming that İslam respects Jesus so much so that it considers Him as one of the five major Prophets of God. İt is in fact a great blasphemy for a christian to consider jesus as less than divine. As much as muslims disagree with it, the idea that Jesus was sent to earth by God as his beloved son and that he died on the cross as a ransom fort he sins of believers are main tebets of the christian faith and they are as central as Trinity itself. For a Christian to accept that Jesus was indeed a man just like us, and or he was actually not crıucified is the same as abandoning the Chrisitian faith in its most orthodox form as practiced by majority of churches. On the other hand, the high respect paid to the institution of prophethood in İslam, both fort he major and minor prophets,it is not shared by the christian scripts. The old testament contains many accounts of major acts of sin committed by the prophets. The life style of the prophets depicted in these stories very often does not resemble that God’s choosen people, contrary to their counterparts in the Quran. Consequently it is very difficult for Christian individual to feel the same high respect that muslim feels fort he prophets. Therefore, calling Jesus a prophet in an attempt to find a common ground with christians backfires for two reasons; first anything less than divinity for Jesus is not acceptable to a christian mind; secon, the institution of prophethood is not as lofty for a Christian as it is for a Muslim. Where is the common grounds regarding this matter? As mentioned abov,the divinity of Jesus should not be adressed by the muslim side at all. Neither shouyld they insist on calling Jesus a prophet. A more productive approach fort he Muslim side would perhaps be to emphasize the fact İslam recognizes Jesus as the promissed Messiah and as the word of God ( Kelimatullah,Quran ; 4: 171) and that He has been strengthened with the Holy Spirit ( ruhul Quds,Quran, 2: 287 and 2: 253). He indeed has a very special place among the other prophets in the Quran.

13 Authenticty of Holy Scriptures Christians have a diverse opinion as to how much and what part of the bible were inspired by God. The opinions on this matter extend from those who believe that each and every word in the Bible is inspired and hence binding to those are indicated in red ink in the “red lettered” Bible. But fort he majority of Christians the Bible inspired by god in its entirety. Even the ones who do not agree with this statement would at least believe that the Bible is a book of good guidence as a whole. For the Muslims, however, it is simply not acceptable to found a religion on information that s doubtful in its authenticity. Religious principles can only be derived from the Holy Quran and sunna. Thus Muslims again approach the Christian Scriptures on the matter of authenticity with severe criticism. İn general, Christians do not see the need for a word by word authenticity in a relgious scripture fort he foundations of the the religion to be strong. İn fact they think that this is hardly possible as the Bible was written by 66 authors. İt is very much accepted and expected that some parts of the book should be the words of holy men who committed themselves to spreading it to others,in the form of letters and such,mixed with the inspired words by God. Word by word revelation,as happened with Muhammad,on the other hand,is a new concept that Christians only become familiar when they talk to their muslim friends. Therefore the Muslim challange to the Christian mind on this matter does not mean much more than the fact that it is another point which Muslims use to attack the foundations of chriistian faith.

14 One of other important point is the selection of terminology. The words such as grace, Lord and Saint could be misunderstand by both side… Conclusion; 1st; muslims should be very sensetive when discussing the personality of Jesus, who is not just a prophet to Christians,but everything that Christianity is built on. Calling Jesus a prophet is literally attacking the very foundation of Christianity and it should be avoided. 2nd; trinity and particularly the divinity of Jesus does not mean a trivial matter to the followers of the faith. İt is an issue of faith rather than reasoning. 3rd; Christian also should pay attention to the concept of prophethood in İslam,and the attributes and the names of God in İslam. 4th; it will be beneficial for christians who involved in dialogue with muslims,to study on second coming of Christ in İslam.

15 LAST WORDS OF MİNE İslam and christianity,Muhammad and Jesus, Abubakr and Peter the Rock, Omar and John, Othman and James, Ali and Philip,companions of Muhammad and the aposteles of Christ,Mawlana Rumi and Francis Asisi,İmam-i Rabbani and Pope John XXIII,Rabiatu’l Adawiyya and Mother Theresa, Said Nursi and Pope John Paul II and many others ( like İmam-i Gazzali, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein, Abdulkadir Gaylani, Archbishop of San Salvador Central America Oscar Romero, Fethullah Gulen an activist who teaches peace and practices dialogue…) all calling us to dialogue,understanding,tolerance,peace and love…oh love!!! This call to love, even across the boundaries of one’s religious community, still rings true today. Events which have occured in our world since the beginning of past century; two World Wars, conflicts between İndia and Pakistan, war between İraq and İran, Russia and Afghanistan, massacres in Rwanda and Burundi, the middle east conflict and the plight of Palestinian People, the destruction of Bosnia and Kosova, september 11, falling bombs in İraq, destroyed homes, shattered lives, killed and maimed innocent people, violation of international laws,and ignoring of United Nation duties which after the last great World War was created as a structure for the promotion of universal peace and fellowship…the advance of civil society has been dealt a serious blow,and the human family has taken a great step backwards into barbarity. The law of the jungle in which might makes right is at the moment prevailing over Divinely-revealed values of brotherhood, human dignity,morality and peace…and so many other conflicts and events arround the world remind us that love is the only solution to fratricidal destruction. The world still looks to Muslims and Christians as two communities of faith founded on the Loving and Compassionate God to show the way to love as the Divine Alternative to hatred and war.This kind of understanding is much needed in our world today. And i am telling you another world is possible…


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