Question: What is the correct understanding we should have towards people who are suffering from oppression and tyranny (even if they are not following Islam 100%)? What mercy did the Ottomans to such persecuted groups during their time?
BismillahirRahmanirRahim. Number one, as believers we should not be making any separation who is going to be saved and who is not going to be saved. This is not up to us to decide, do you understand? We may say, that one believing in the wrong thing. We may say this is wrong, this is wrong, but we are not going to judge them to say now, because of that they are going to be condemned. You don’t know what’s going to happen; maybe it’s going to turn. The reason why we have to say it is wrong is so that we don’t fall into the same wrongness, do you understand? It is not to condemn them, it is so that we don’t get confused and we think wrong is right. But that doesn’t mean that you see something wrong and you’re going to hate them, you want to kill them and you want to condemn them to hell fire forever. We see something wrong; we try to find something right. In the Day of Judgment Allah swt is saying, to this creature, to this servant, disobedient servant who did nothing good in his life, nothing, nothing good in his life, and Allah is going to ask, ‘did he show any love to any one of My Friends, at least one drop, that I may join him to My Friend?’
So now we should not be separating, because everyone in this world, from the time of the time of the Prophet (asws), 1400 years ago, until Judgment Day, everyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, believer or unbeliever, every human being in this world is belonging to the Ummat of the Holy Prophet (asws). You’re a Jew; you are from the Ummat of the Prophet, you’re a Christian; you’re from the Ummat of the Prophet, you’re a Hindu, you’re from the Ummat, you’re a Buddhist – whatever you call yourself, you are from the ummat of the Prophet (asws). And Muslims, especially, for 1400 years, especially the Ottomans, they believe in this and they acted on it. That’s why they gave the rights to the non-Muslims who are living in the Ottoman lands. And they don’t interfere into their religion. Never once the Ottomans said to any Christian or any Jew ‘you should not be wearing your religious attire.’ Never once, ‘you should not have churches, you should not have synagogue.’
So people who are suffering from oppression and tyranny, everyone who is suffering from that, belonging to this nation, we raise our hands and we ask Allah swt to help us, to remove that tyranny and that oppression. This is a Dua that especially in the Naksibendi order, we are making this every single day. Every single day at least five times a day. We say ‘Ya Rabbi, show mercy to the ummat of Muhammad. Protect the Ummat of Muhammad.’ No separation that we are making. ‘Love the ummat of Muhammad.’ We are saying all this for the whole world. Praying for the whole world. This is what the Holy Prophet (asws) taught us, his Sahabis, the Tabieen, Tabi’ Tabieen, continuing, the Evliyaullah. As to the mercy that the Ottomans show to their groups, oh, I don’t have to tell you. You can do your own research. They helped, let me tell you in a very simple way.
The Jews, they have always been treated with cruelty, suspicion and with oppression. In their whole history. And when the Jews were expelled from Spain, Spain was ruled by the Muslims for 800 years, and it’s because of the Muslims’ own tyranny and heedlessness and out from the way of the Holy Prophet (asws), we lost Spain. The Christians took over, massacred so many, destroyed so much, Muslims were forced either to go in a moment’s notice or to become Christian, later they did the same to the Jews, the Ottoman Sultans welcomed them in into the Ottoman Muslim lands. That was governing by Shariat, because that is what Shariat demands. That you have to show mercy and be tolerant and give everyone their rights. That the Jews they said, ‘it is better for us to be ruled under the turban than under the tiara of the pope.’
The Christian groups that were fighting amongst each other. The Protestants with the Catholics, or the Orthodox with the Catholics, they found peace and protection in the Ottoman lands. They are able to practice their own faith. This is not one or two years, this is state policy for centuries. And the Ottomans, they were geniuses at this, balancing. The holiest place in Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, every Christian group wants to have the honor of controlling that site, that church and the Ottomans, when Quds was under their rule, they gave very strict laws and rights to every Christian group, giving them their rights in that church so that not one group is going to control. You have the Catholics in charge of this. You have the Orthodox in charge of this. Different orthodoxies they are going to be doing this and this. Protestants they are going to – everyone has a place and everyone has a role. And the Ottomans they are there to make sure everyone does the proper thing and no fighting. They did that. Centuries it happened. Every morning, it is the Ottoman official who opens the church and everyone comes in and they do their work and there’s no fighting. Once the Israelis, recently, maybe ten years ago, they decided to change that centuries-old law, they changed it overnight. Complete chaos. Crosses flying through the air, rosaries strangling each other, blood everywhere, monks and priests fighting with each other. They say ‘no. Then go back to those old laws of the Ottomans.’ And they did.
What the Ottomans did to Aceh and Sumatra, what the Ottomans to the Irish, what the Ottomans did, these are just very small examples. It is very easy for you to do your research now, especially more thing are opening up from Turkey, from the archives, and understand, this is our lineage, this is heritage. Our heritage is not Wahhabism. Our lineage is not Wahhabism. That is a heresy.
We are following, insya’Allah ar-Rahman, the way of the Holy Prophet (asws), his companions and the Evliyaullah. Insya’Allah ar-Rahman, may we learn from the Holy Ottomans and to take their spirit and to put it into our lives and to have more mercy and compassion and intelligence and skill to be able to live in these days. Wa minallahu Taufiq, al Fatiha. Amin. Selam Aleykum wa Rahmatullah.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
18 Jamadial Ahir 1438
March 17, 2017