A Muslim prays during Maghrib (evening) prayer on the night of the Hijri New Year, also known as Islamic new year (Ras al-Sanah al-Hijriya) at Al Azhar mosque in old Cairoon Nov. 14, 2012. (REUTERS) People said that things would calm down once the dictators had gone. But the dictators went and the conflict continues. They said that new laws and policies would re-establish order in countries, but they just fell into worse disorder. Brother continued attacking brother, and brother countries represented threats to one another. Refugee camps were established. Muslims in Syria and Muslims in Burma were unable to return to their homes. Every morning when they got up, people heard reports of new disasters, bloody images of the dead and protests filled with hatred. Was anyone speaking of love, friendship and peace?
Sounds of conflict between Israel and Palestine were heard on the last night of 1433 Hijri-2012 AD. The Palestinian people wept. The Israeli people wept. It was again the innocent peoples of Palestine and Israel who suffered.
We need to look carefully at the confusion in the Muslim world. Why is this happening? Because part of the Muslim world is in a state of error. That error lies in producing divisions and harboring lovelessness instead of love under a mask of religious devotion. People have been indoctrinated with the demands of radicals and bigots in Islam, as in all faiths and ideologies and opinions.
Bigotry has suddenly become regarded as more powerful than the true Islam based on the Koran. And this has become regarded as the real Islam.
As a Muslim woman, I have always been criticized by certain circles for advocating the morality of the Koran boldly, for communicating the importance of peace, love, democracy, freedom of thought and respect to every idea and for seeing Christians and Jews as my brothers and sisters, for respecting people from every thought and for espousing unity. I have always asked people to give me evidence from the Koran about the things that they criticize me for, yet I have never received a response to such calls. I have asked them to tell me with evidence from the Koran why they are so prone to hatred, how could killing be that easy for them and why they preferred conflicts over peace and why they keep away from music, art, science and aesthetics. As a matter of fact, I always knew that they wouldn’t be able to give evidence from the Koran. That is because Islam is not such a religion as they present it to be. Nevertheless I have shown them evidence from the Koran of the beautiful morality I advocate one by one and I continue to do so.
This new Islamic year should be the year bigots and radicals will be educated with the true Islam. In this new Hijri year, we should wage a powerful intellectual struggle against this false understanding of Islam. Muslims should be educated as true Muslims that understand the message of love in the Koran. It needs to be communicated that the real Islam deems killing unlawful and never permits aggression and attacks on the other side. It needs to be explained that the true concept of jihad set out in the Koran comes from the root “jahd,” which means “striving” to tell the other side of moral virtues using knowledge, science, beauty and love. People need to be told that women are compared to flowers in the Koran and occupy a superior position and that arts, science, beauty, quality, music, dance, joy, friendship, merriness, unity, brotherhood, culture and education are deemed essential and agreeable things for Muslims.
In this new Islamic year, I, as a Muslim, want to see Muslims come forward as people who embrace everyone, from all faiths, races and sects. I want to see Muslims who are united among themselves and who seek to unite the whole world in bonds of brotherhood. I want to see Muslims who treat Jews and Christians as brothers, rather than launching rockets at them. I want to see people of love with radiant faces on the papers instead of suicide bombers or protesters with swords in their hands. I want the Islamic world to become a world of love, peace, friendship, affection and joy. Before all else, I want to see Muslims embracing each other with love and unity without making any discrimination among sects. And then I want Muslims who embrace Jews and Christians with love and feel compassion for everyone no matter which religion or ideology they adopt.
We urgently need such togetherness in this current disorder in the world. Otherwise, good people would always remain weak and powerless while those who create disorder, who regard good and honest people as a threat to them, who benefit from conflict, would continue with their sinister plans and grow even stronger. Allah is always with those who are steadfast and good. And the time for the world to become a beautiful place is imminent.
Aylin Kocaman is a commentator and religious and political analyst at A9 TV Istanbul/Turkey and a host for the Building Bridges show carried by the WTPNetwork.