pray to the Quran as they are discouraged from reading it, they grow ignorant
of its real substance, according to a theology scholar. In time secondary
sources like sayings attributed to Prophet Muhammad have overshadowed the
Quran, yet most of them are just fallacies which distance Muslims from the
essence of Islam, said Emre Dorman, whose writings on religion are
published in daily Hürriyet during the month of Ramadan.
does your interest in religion come from?
childhood I have been attracted to religion. But I could not find answers to
certain questions as imams discouraged me from reading the Quran, arguing it
was difficult to understand. I was just asked to recite Quranic verses.
point came when I read the Quran myself. I saw the Quran has a very simple
language and it is very clear. I realized that most of the things we were told
about religion did not exist in the Quran. For instance, there is no hate
rhetoric in the Quran. There is no pressure; there is no imposition. God
recognizes the liberty of its subjects to choose with their free will. In the
Quran people have the freedom of even being without a faith. What is being done
by pressure has no value for God. By forcing Islam on people you end up
creating hypocritical people.
you think went wrong in terms of interpreting Islam in such a distorted way?
conflicts, struggle for power and ethnic tension have led to contention among
Muslims. On the other hand, following the death of our prophet, there have been
too many fallacies attributed to our prophet; what are called the Fiqh, or
Hadis. On women for instance. The rights given to women by the Quran were taken
back later on. Yet, men and women are equal in the Quran. There is no supremacy
of one over the other. A woman is an individual in society; her role is not
limited to staying at home to cook and raising children. But then the mentality
that prevailed among the Arabs before Islam came back via fabricated fallacies
that are presented as the sayings of the prophet.
your main focus in your writings?
Islam as a
religion is very rational and logical. The reason why a significant number of
people have prejudice against it is because they don’t have knowledge about it.
First, they have remained far away from the Quran. Second, the secondary
sources have started to overshadow and even outweigh the Quran. Yet everything
should take the Quran as a reference. I believe most of the sayings attributed
to our prophet are slander; they are not in conformity with the Quran.
people the freedom to change religion and the Quran says they will be
accountable in the afterword. But in the Hadith books, it says: “Kill those who
change religion.” The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) bases its
atrocities on that. Muslims massacre Muslims arguing they went out of religion.
But what are the criteria of that? That person did what God has said not to do.
But when you look to the Quran, there is nothing you can do to anybody, even if
they choose to change religion, for that person is only accountable to God.
There is a large space for freedom given in the Quran. The space where God has
not interfered, humans try to interfere in the name of religion. But I have
come to realize that many are unaware of that and they have become distanced
Turkey is believed to be a conservative country with a large majority of
themselves as Muslims. But when we look at their practical lives we see
deviation from the fundamental principles of the Quran. They are not sensitive
to what is seen as right and wrong in the Quran. They don’t abstain from lying,
or being unfair for instance. This is not limited to Turks.
time Muslims, including in Turkey, started to get away from the essence of
truly Islamic society would be one with peace that produces thoughts and
science. But the situation in the Islamic world is nowhere close to it.
Pakistani poet Muhammed Iqbal said, “If we want to explain to non-Muslims that
Islam is a system of values the first thing we need to say is that we [Muslims]
do not represent Islam.” He means to say that by looking to Muslims it is not
possible to say good things about Islam. Most of the Muslim world is governed
by kingdoms or dictators. Injustice is widespread; there is no fair
distribution of income. None of this corresponds to Islam.
concerns you most in Turkey in terms of religion?
for freedom and a democratic environment is provided, then we can live Islam in
its best way. But here most of the people say there is God but live as if there
is no God; they pray to the Quran but continue their lives without knowing the
Quran. If the true principles of the Quran were endorsed we would not see all
these injustices, we would not see people jailed for their thoughts or on trial
for what they have written. We see many behaviours in daily life that are not
in conformity with the Quran. Look at the conformity to traffic rules. There is
a motto for all Muslims: God sees us all the time. Yet we have cameras
everywhere in Turkey. This means people act forgetting that God sees us all the
time. When they see a camera they obey the rules, and when there is no camera
they violate the rules.
you say that the current government’s policies have not helped people have a
better understanding of Islam?
give an integrated answer; we need to look at it case by case. But the
Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) is trying to change certain things;
they are spending efforts for children and women to come to mosques; they try
to instill the love for animals or environmental awareness, etc.
writings, are you trying to recall the essence of islam?
good has been inside us since our creation and the Quran says to reveal it.
Islam does not discriminate but rather unifies. It does not look to which party
you vote for or to your ideology. It looks to whether you can be fair, correct
and virtuous. The rest is up to you. For instance, what matters is not whether
you pray or not, but how that praying reflects in you daily live; then that
prayer has a meaning. If you pray but act in an unfair way, there is no point
in praying. Usually during Ramadan there are debates on whether it is all right
to swim in the sea while fasting, etc. But we first need to explain the
philosophy of fasting.
this, do that; pray and don’t question. But a human is an individual who
questions and God also wants us to question. There are at least 700 verses in
the Quran encouraging people to research.
is even in Turkey a perception that religion and science are not compatible.
because scientists stay away from religion and the pious stay away from
science. But when you look to the Quran it tells people to investigate how
creation started. There is nothing in the Quran that makes us refuse the
evolution theory. There can be an evolution theory in the control of God and
the evolution theory does not say directly there is no God.
what ISIL is doing does not correspond to Islam, but they are somehow not
happened during the caricature crisis (denigrating Islam and the prophet) that
took place a couple of years ago. What was the reaction of Muslims? To attack
embassies, kill people. You need to answer a thought with a thought. When we
cannot produce thoughts we resort to force. We always discuss the results, not
the reasons. ISIL bases its acts on sources other than the Quran. We therefore
need to discuss the fact that these sources do not overlap with Islam. The main
reference should be the Quran, which is very simple. All sorts of other
interpretations come from sources other than the Quran.