بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّح۪يمِ
May eternal thanks and praises be to Almighty Allah who created us out of nothing as children of Adam; who was the first ring of the series of prophets and made us know Himself. May thanks and praises be to Allah who doesn’t leave ants without a leader, bees without a queen bee, and humankind without prophets.
I extend my respects and regards to all of the successors of goodness (leading human beings to become someone morally and spiritually good) and truths of prophethood, firstly Adam Safiyu’llah (distinguished, chosen of God), Noah Nabiyu’llah (prophet of God), Abraham Khalilu’llah (friend of God), Ismael Dhabihullah (the Intended Sacrifice of God), David Huccetullah (the proof of God), Joseph Sıddıkullah (faithful one of God), Moses Kalimu’llah (one who conversed with God), Jesus Ruhu’llah (spirit of God) and all the prophets who illuminated the road of humankind.
May eternal blessings and greetings be particularly to our prophet Muhammad Mustafa (p.b.u.h), who brought the verse “رُسُلِه۪۠ مِنْ اَحَدٍ بَيْنَ نُفَرِّقُ لَا ‘We don’t make discrimination among the prophets” to humankind as a gift of ascension. He is the greatest teacher, the best master, the master of humanity and the right guide who did not make any mistakes and did not and does not lead people to a wrongful path. He is indeed the beloved one of Allah and the last of the prophets. May blessings and greetings and all types of respect be bestowed to him, his family, the ones who saw him (sahaba) and the ones who obey him.
Esteemed Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Governor, Members of Parliament, Distinguished scholars, intellectuals and academicians who have come from all over the world to our country. Ladies and Gentlemen! I greet all of you with love and respect. May Allah bestow blessings, grace and mercy, his Light (which causes one to behave morally), virtue, welfare, compassion and beneficence upon you.
At the beginning of my speech, I would like to express that I regard remembering firstly Bediüzzaman Said Nursi saying “prophethood is the summary and foundation of human good and perfections; self-evidently truth and reality lie in prophethood and in the hands of prophets”. I regard all real successors of absolute prophethood (the prophethood until Muhammad [pbuh]) and prophethood of Muhammad as bestowers of mercy and from them seek gratitude and thankfulness once more as a duty.
Distinguished scholars and intellectuals, dear participants!
The place and role of prophethood in humanity’s journey to the truth cannot be appreciated without knowing the content of prophethood and messengership. It cannot be truly understood without knowing the concept of absolute prophethood in general and the prophethood of Muhammad in particular. Prophethood is a part of divine truth. Prophethood is an inseparable part of the cosmos. So, the prophethood is a divine source which enables human beings to understand the meaning of existence, and reconnect them with all the noble creatures. Almighty Allah says in the surah Al Imran in the 164th verse:
لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللّٰهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِن۪ينَ اِذْ بَعَثَ ف۪يهِمْ رَسُولاً مِنْ اَنْفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُوا عَلَيْهِمْ اٰيَاتِه۪ وَيُزَكّ۪يهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَۚ وَاِنْ كَانُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ لَف۪ي ضَلَالٍ مُب۪ينٍ
‘Allah did confer a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a messenger from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the Signs of Allah, sanctifying them, and instructing them in Scripture and Wisdom.’
Brothers and Sisters! As you know, Allah Almighty created humanity out of nothing, and delivered them revelation as well as the bounty of mind. Our Creator, Lord could have delivered the revelations in numerous ways. If He had wished, He could have written His revelation unto the sky via stars. If He had wished, everybody could have found written plates under their pillows in the morning. Our Lord had the possibility to deliver His revelation in numerous ways. But He chose the wisest way of all; because He is the All Wise. He chose a particular person amongst the human beings. He accepted delivering His message to human beings by choosing a human among them as His sunnah, because, we need a guide who becomes both a model for us and is always in contact with Allah. Because the mind of a human cannot comprehend justice, a pure mind must be present amongst the people so that they can benefit from that mind. Human beings need a prophet whose road is always illuminated by the light of Allah. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi says that:
“The One who creates knows, surely the One who knows will speak. Since He will speak, surely He will speak to those who possess consciousness and thought, and those who will understand His speech. Since He will speak to those who possess thought, surely he will speak to mankind, whose nature and awareness are the most comprehensive of all conscious beings. Since He will speak to mankind, surely He will speak to the most perfect of mankind and those most worthy of address. Since He will speak to those who are most perfect, most worthy of address, highest in morality, and who will guide humanity; He will certainly speak to Muhammad, who, as friend and foe alike testify, is of the highest disposition and morality, who is obeyed by one fifth of humanity, to whose spiritual rule half of the globe has submitted, with the radiance of whose light the future of mankind has been illumined for thirteen centuries, to whom the believers, the luminous segment of humanity, renew five times daily the oath of allegiance, for whose happiness they pray, for whom they call down God’s blessings and bear admiration and love in their hearts. Certainly, He will speak to Muhammad (Upon whom be blessings and peace) and indeed He has done; He will make him the Prophet, and indeed He has done; He will make him the guide for the rest of humanity, and indeed He has done.”
Allah has eternal perfection and beauty; but He makes himself known via prophets. Allah created the universe in the form of a palace. The duty to make that palace known was assigned to the prophets.
Every creature is a sign for the existence of Allah. We can know that fact only via prophets. The universe is like a book in the sense that it informs us of the names and attributes of Allah. People need prophets who teach that book as a course to them. Our Lord has bestowed eternal bounties to human beings. People can learn how they should praise their Lord only via prophets.
Dear guests! In the opinion of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi; there are 3 great teachers who familiarize us with Allah and teach us Our Lord:
The first of them: The Universe, the big book. The second: the Holy Quran, the eternal translation of the universe by Allah. The third: the prophets who are crystal-clear evidences. The greatest of those teachers, no doubt, is Muhammad Mustafa (p.bu.h).
“Yes, behold the collective personality of this proof! The face of the earth is his mosque, Mecca, his mihrab, and Medina, his pulpit. Our Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), this clear proof, is the leader of all believers, preacher to all mankind, the chief of all the prophets, the lord of all the saints, and the leader of a circle for the remembrance of God comprising the prophets and saints. He is a luminous tree whose living roots are all the prophets, and fresh fruits are all the saints; whose claims all the prophets relying on their miracles and all the saints relying on their wonder-working confirm and corroborate. For he declares and claims: “There is no god but God!” All on left and right, that is, those luminous reciters of God’s names lined up in the past and the future, repeat the same words, and through their consensus as though declare: “You speak the truth and what you say is right!” What false idea has the power to intrude on a claim that is thus affirmed and corroborated by thousands?”
Bediüzzaman, who sees creation as a book, and suggests us to continuously read it like a great book, likens our prophet Muhammad to the ink in the pen of the Eternal Clerk Who wrote this great book. He tells this point in The Sixth Treatise (Habbe) of Al-Mathnawi Al-Nuri (Seedbed of the Light) so briefly:
“Know, O Friend! If you see the universe as a great book, you will see the light of Muhammad as the pen’s ink with which that book was written. If you see the universe as a tree, you will see his light as originally its seed and consequently its fruit. If you see the universe as an animate being, you will see his light as its soul. If you see the universe as a macro-human, you will see his light as its intellect. If you see the universe as a flower garden, you will see his light as its nightingale.”
Dear audience! It is necessary to pay attention to the delicate balance between the qualities of prophethood and the humanity of the prophets and not to exceed that balance in order to understand the content of prophethood and messengership accurately.
The ones who exceeded that balance were mistaken by either deifying Muhammad (pbuh) and the other prophets, not accepting them as a model because they saw them as superhuman, or not seeing them as a guide because they reduced them to someone who only quoted revelation.
However, the Holy Quran says that the prophets must be human and their duty must not be only to quote revelation.
Our Lord tells this point as follows:
قُلْ اِنَّـمَٓا اَنَا۬ بَشَرٌ مِثْلُكُمْ يُوحٰٓى اِلَيَّ اَنَّـمَٓا اِلٰهُكُمْ اِلٰهٌ وَاحِدٌۚ فَمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُوا لِقَٓاءَ رَبِّه۪ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلاً صَالِحاً وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّه۪ٓ اَحَداً
“Say: “I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your God is One God. Whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.” However, I must state that this human is not an ordinary one. He is a human who is Mustafa (purified and distinguished) and Müçteba (selected) having been chosen among human beings elaborately. He was sent to all humanity as a model. He was introduced to humanity as a good model by our Lord. Aisha, his wife, said that his morality was composed of the Holy Quran. Bediüzzaman expressed this point as follows: “Muhammad (Upon whom be blessings and peace) is the exemplar of the fine moral qualities described by the Qur’an. He conforms to them more than anyone, and his nature was created in accordance with them.”
Let remember the verse (And you [stand] on an exalted standard of character)
“So even lunatics would understand how unfortunate are those heedless members of his community who believe in him yet give no importance to his practices or want to change them, despite each of his deeds, states, words, and actions being worthy of emulation by mankind.”
Dear scholars! For the people who believe in the revelation, there are numerous principles that can be found via the Prophet which will guide them until Doomsday. The unique source of these principles is firstly the Holy Quran and secondly the Prophet Muhammad and his sunnah; his being a model who can be a guide in all ages. Recognizing the Prophet Muhammad does not mean only recognizing his character and physical appearance. One must know the principles and basics which guided him when he established a civilization. The utterance of Bediüzzaman ‘Although many scholars who have researched the matter have concluded that the proofs of Muhammad’s (UWBP) prophethood and his miracles number about one thousand, there are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of proofs of his prophethood’ is a sentence which must be underlined.
If you asked me (who is both a student of hadith and a brother who lectured on the hadiths of the prophet Muhammad at the university for 20 years); what the biggest miracle of the prophet was – my modest opinion is that when you examine the works of Bediüzzaman, you will see that the biggest miracle of the Prophet is that he established a modern civilization out of a society composed of Bedouins, maybe of Bedouins in the worst condition on the most infertile soils of the earth.
Said Nursi says, “Although Muhammad al-Hashimi (UWBP) was unlettered and could neither read nor write, and had no outward power and no sovereignty, and neither did his forefathers, and although he had no desire for domination and rule, with all his heart and confidence and assurance in a position of the gravest danger and importance, he undertook a matter of supreme gravity and conquered minds and became the beloved of spirits, and dominated dispositions, and uprooted from the depths of their hearts their many habitual entrenched familiar savage practices and customs. He then planted in their place with the utmost firmness, as though fusing with their very flesh and blood, elevated morals and fine customs. He replaced the hard-heartedness of a people degenerated in the far-flung corners of barbarity, with fine sensitivities and he disclosed the jewel of their humanity.”
Distinguished audience! I would like to end my speech by sharing some evaluations related to the absolute prophethood and the prophethood of Muhammad and the sunnahs; which are the biggest work of the Prophet Muhammad. There is no doubt that the Holy Quran orders us to take the prophet (pbuh) as a model, to obey him and accept him as a guide in every field:
قُلْ اِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّٰهَ فَاتَّبِعُون۪ي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّٰهُ ٌ
He said, ‘O My Beloved! Say to human beings “If you love Allah, obey me, then Allah will love you, too.”’
However, the Islamic world is confronting a big problem today. The real problem is not related to accepting the prophethood, messengership and his sunnah of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh), but related to carrying the prophet’s model, guidance and sunnah to this age, today’s people and youth. Maybe the point that scholars must put the biggest emphasis on is why we don’t convey the model of the Prophet to this age.
Muhammed İkbal, the great poet and philosopher of Pakistan says that the Prophet Muhammad is somewhere between the ancient and new worlds. He belongs to the ancient times in terms of the message he quoted, but he belongs to the future in terms of the spirit of the message.
The important thing is to bring the spirit of the prophet’s message for the future to this age. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi endeavoured for that all his life. I believe that all scholars will put an emphasis on this matter. We can practise the sunnahs which are composed of his behaviour and some physical movements. However, can we place the sunnahs of the prophetic heart, to whom revelation was delivered, in our hearts? Can we say that the sunnahs, which are composed of the Prophet’s realm of opinion, have been placed into the opinions of the Muslims sufficiently and have we been successful in that?
As Shah Saint Dehlevi says, it can be partly said that we practise the sunnahs as a form, but can we say easily that the spirit of the sunnahs, which are valid in all ages, are being conveyed to the future generations? He has hundreds of sunnahs which he did so that people would take them as an example. However, can we claim that we are successful in conveying the sunnahs of His road to our road, the sunnahs of His streets to our street, the sunnahs of His neighbourhood to our neighbourhood? Can we claim that we are successful in bringing the sunnahs which turned the village of Yesrib into Medina to our cities, metropolises and megapols?
Today, our Muslimism cannot prevent racism which was accepted as the biggest habit during the period before the Prophet Muhammad came. We, as mu’mins, cannot prevent sectarianism and partisanship. Our understanding of the sunnah cannot prevent oppression, oppressors and dictatorships in the Islamic world. And the Islamic world, which is traditionally a realm of science and civilization, is turning into a realm of oppression and the oppressed and of negative things such as war, massacres, occupations, death, poverty, hunger, privation, and terrorism. These are yet to be eliminated. So we have to seriously think about the prophethood, the messengership, and the Prophet Muhammad as a model and sunnah.
Today, we, Muslims, have critical problems in conveying the principles of the true path of the sunnah to our current age. We have to review our madrasas, universities, mechanisms, curriculums and programs as a means for educating people as scholars in those aspects just as we have the opportunity to see the scholars from many countries now.
Lastly, the Holy Quran says, ‘Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong’ and thus it leaves the duty of messengership to the conscience of the ummah completely. In this context, the prophetic mission is the most important duty of the Mu’mins for both the ummah and the human beings all the time.
Today, firstly the Islamic world and the human beings are in need of the information and wisdom which was delivered via revelation. The fact that our prophet is the last prophet does not mean that this message is a prescription which belongs to only that period with regard to the salvation of human beings. The life span of the prophethood did not depend on the prophet’s life span. Especially, the life span of the prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad did not depend on his life span.
Today, the rule of the prophethood is valid with its fruits. We will always need the divine guidance which acquires the information of humanity via prophethood. In this matter, the behaviour that is becoming to the scholars, the successors of the prophets – is to follow the duty of the prophets. There will be always societal leaders and scholars who will deliver the prophetic messages to human beings in every age and period, and who convey those messages in a way that people can understand. There were scholars such as İmam-ı Gazali, İmam Rabbani, Mevlana in the ancient times. Today, there will be many scholars like Said, Akif, and İkbal.
Today, they will struggle in a way similar to the way in which the prophets struggled in order to rescue humanity from oppression and to lead them towards good actions without having worldly desires and self-interest. They will call for knowledge, wisdom, the true path, morality, brotherhood, consultancy, justice and happiness.
As both a student of hadith and the Director of Religious Affairs, I extend my sincere thanks once more to the ones who have organized this symposium. I pray by Allah that this symposium would resolve our individual, social, and universal problems via the prophethood, messengership, and the path and sunnah of the Prophet, and I extend my love and respects to you.