As many of you know, I recently visited Istanbul, Turkey upon the invitation of Adnan Oktar, aka Harun Yahya for a time of personal connection and discussion. And as many of you also know, Adnan is a controversial though very influential Muslim leader and intellectual who has written over three hundred books. He is very well known throughout Turkey and the larger Muslim world with literally millions of his books in circulation in numerous languages. While in Istanbul, I was treated with great care and hospitality by Adnan and his supporters. My time there was wonderful and I am very thankful to Mr. Oktar for the invitation and for his very generous hospitality.
The initial plan was that I would meet only once with Adnan but instead I was able to have two substantial meetings that lasted perhaps a total of about five hours. The first meeting was definitely a bit more interactive, but it was not filmed. In this meeting, I shared my concern for Mr. Oktar and extended to him an invitation to Christianity and to become a follower of the Jesus of the Bible. Despite my very direct and somewhat confrontational comments, Adnan was very patient and gracious, generally expressing delight at my “sincere faith”. Adnan’s overall insistence was that Islam is at its core, peaceful and compassionate and that anything to the contrary was not true Islam... I was also able to present Adnan with a New Testament, a book on the resurrection by Josh McDowell and another by Pastor David Wickwire, all in Turkish. Mr. Oktar also presented me with some of his books as well.
... In this interview, I allowed Adnan to generally run with it. I wanted him to articulate his vision with regard to the coming of the Mahdi and his call for a Turkish Led Islamic Union. Only a small portion of the interview was edited out. Several significant issues were discussed. Surprising to me was the fact that Adnan has developed a very friendly relationship with the Israel Sanhedrin Rabbis who also are surprisingly very much in favor of this Turkish Led Islamic Union. Most notable is Mr. Oktar’s friendship with Rabbi Menachem Froman. Also of interest is Mr. Oktar’s call to rebuild the Jewish Temple. The remainder of the interview and all that was discussed is self-explanatory. I was invited to return to Istanbul, which I most certainly hope I am able to do. I would like this friendship and dialogue to continue. As I said, I was treated with the utmost of respect by Mr. Oktar and his organization and I would ask that anyone who comments here make efforts to do the same. Please continue to pray for Adnan and his supporters...
You can watch the whole interview
Transcript of the interview:
MR. ADNAN OKTAR'S INTERVIEW BY JOEL RICHARDSON (22 June 2009)
JOEL RICHARDSON: Let’s begin if you could. Share with us some of the most essential elements of what you believe with regards to the Mahdi.
ADNAN OKTAR: Yes. Hazrat Mahdi (as) is a person who will appear before the coming of the Prophet Jesus, who will unite Muslims in the Islamic world, whose aim is love, who will take affection and compassion as basis, who seeks to eradicate all weapons from the world, who will disarm the world, who will eliminate all weapons from the world and build peace and brotherhood. But false Mahdis and false Messiahs will come before Hazrat Mahdi (as). That also appears in the Bible. We are told that a false Muslim leader will appear and that false prophets will emerge. This also takes place in the hadith as well. These false prophets and messiahs have appeared to date. But now is the time of the real Mahdi (as), we can see all the portents of the true Mahdi (as) now. The greatest characteristic of the true Mahdi (as) is that he will take love, affection and brotherhood as basis. For instance in one account it says: “Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be so compassionate that in his time neither the sleeper will be woken nor will anyone’s nose be made to bleed.” Hazrat Mahdi (as) will perform such great and important services that it is said in accounts that not only people will be delighted with his rule, but also will all the creatures of the earth and sky. Accounts say that in the same way that the people of the earth and sky will be pleased with him, so will the birds in the air, wild animals in the forests and even the fish in the sea. In his, Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) time, the wolf and the sheep will graze together, snakes will not hurt children, and a man will sow one handful but reap 700 handfuls. El-Kavlu'l Muhtasar Fi Alamet-il Mehdiyy-il Muntazar. This is an entirely trustworthy book of hadith. Insha’Allah, in the time of the Mahdi (as) the world will be disarmed for the very first time and a true climate of peace will emerge.
For instance the Sünen-i İbn-i Mace is a highly reliable book of hadith. A trustworthy book of hadith. Look, it states this quite openly. “The people of war will abandon their burdens, their arms and their tools in the time of the Mahdi (as).” The Sünen-i Ibn-i Mace. Doomsday, the Hereafter and the Portents of the End Times; the people of war will abandon all their weapons and equipment. Imam-i Sharani. In Death, Doomsday and the Hereafter, the Portents of the End Times it states: “The Mahdi (as) will eliminate enmity and hatred. The world will be filled with peace like a bowl with water. Religious unity will be born, and none but Allah will be worshiped. War will abandon its burden.” All kinds of weapons, tanks, planes and bombs will be eliminated. The Sünen-i Ibn-i Mace, pages 331-335. But the false Mahdis and Messiahs who come before him will ground themselves in bloodshed, destruction and bombing. But this will not apply to the true Mahdi. He will offer a world that has been disarmed and is full of love and peace.
There is a verse in the Holy Qur’an that emphasizes this. Verse 46 of Surat al-Ankabut says, “Only argue with the people of the Book” meaning Christians and Jews “in the kindest way.” Meaning we must tell them things with verbal descriptions, with love and affection. “Saying, ‘We have iman in what has been sent down to us’.” In other words, we believe in the Qur’an that has been sent down to us, but we also believe in the Bible and in the Old Testament that has been sent to you. “Our God and your God are one.“ Allah we believe in and Allah you believe in is the same. He is One and Only. “And we submit to Him.” The Qur’an forbids war and bloodshed against the people of the Book. Look, it is been made quite clear – “Only argue with the people of the Book in the kindest way.” Allah says there can be no armed struggle against them. Not by bloodshed, but convincing them with love, affection and science and only as much as it could be. If they are not convinced, that must also be respected. There are verses of the Qur’an that states “Your religion for you, our religion for us.” There is no compulsion in Islam. There is a verse to that effect. There is a crystal clear pronouncement in the Qur’an which states “There is no compulsion in the deen”. .
The Mahdi cannot kill the Anti-Christ, meaning he cannot neutralize him. The Prophet Jesus will eliminate the Anti-Christ. Look what Said Nursi says; “Moreover, in the world of humanity, with the intention of denying the Godhead,- that is to say the denial of the existence of Allah- the secret society of the Dajjal (Anti-Christ) will overturn civilization and subvert- that is to say clutter- all mankind's sacred matters. A zealous and self-sacrificing community known as a Christian community, but worthy of being called "Muslim Christians," will work to unite the true religion of Jesus (peace be upon him)-that is to say the real religion- with the reality of Islam, and will neutralize and rout that society of the Dajjal under the command of Jesus, thus saving humanity from atheism.“Letters, page 515
The killing being referred to here is of course not a deliberate killing using weapons or bloodshed, not the classic meaning of killing, but an intellectual one. He will do away with his ideas.
JOEL RICHARDSON: With regard to the rule and reign of the Mahdi, clearly you are emphasizing the non-violent and peaceful elements of his reign. We have a saying in the United States; we say; “we are playing the devil’s advocate.” And so my question to you first would be; do you believe the four rightly guided caliphs, the four caliphs were indeed rightly guided. And that the methods by which they spread Islam throughout much of the Middle East do you believe that the methods that they used by God, would you believe that they were using an improper and non-Islamic methods?
ADNAN OKTAR: Knowledge of history is not particularly determinative for us. Knowledge of the Qur’an is very important for us and the trustworthy hadith are very important. Our Prophet (saas) praises two periods. His own time and the time of Hazrat Mahdi (as). Excluding the time of Omar, Othman,Ali, and Abu Bakr excluding the period of the great Companions, there were major upheavals, difficulties and also good aspects in other periods. But the basic measure for us is the Qur’an and the trustworthy hadith. When we look at these we see that the End Times will be enormously pleasant and peaceful. Because there is no other path apart from love in a world without weapons. No climate in which we might expect oppression and violence remains. Because an unarmed person cannot oppress anyone. The whole question is one of a disarmed, love-filled world. The Mahdi (as) and the Prophet Jesus will bring that about.
Verse 61 of Surat az-Zukhruf says, “He [Jesus(as) - The Messiah] is a sign of the hour.” There is a verse describing him as a sign. In other words, the coming of the Prophet Jesus is a sign for Doomsday, the most important event of the time of Hazrat Mahdi (as).
For example, in verse 55 of Surat al-‘Imran Allah says, “I will raise you up and take you back to me and purify those of you who are kafir.” I will purge Christianity of the enemies of the Prophet Jesus, of the enemies of Christianity at that time. I will purify you off them, that is to say I will save you from them He says that those who follow you and love you, those who loves Jesus, who loves the Messiah – and we love him and you do too-, He says He will make those who love the Prophet Jesus superior to the deniers until the time of Doomsday, until the times very near to the Doomsday. He says He will make them a superior force for the ones who love Jesus. “Then you will all return to Me,” says Allah. This verse makes it clear that Islam will rule the world. He says, “I will place the people who follow you above those who are kafir until the Day of Rising.” That means He is saying He will make them strong and sovereign in all respects, social, political and economical. Whoever loves the Prophet Jesus, I mean Muslims with faith and whoever really loves the Prophet Jesus. In verse 159 of Surat an-Nisa Allah says, “There is not one of the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who will not believe in him before he dies; and on the Day of Rising he will be a witness against them.” What does that mean? It means Islam will rule the world. It appears separately from this expression and from other verses that Islam will rule the world. Allah swears “There is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in him before he dies.” Everyone will believe. What does that mean? Everyone in the world, wherever they may be, in Africa, Asia or the in the North Pole or the South Pole will believe in the Prophet Jesus when he comes. And that means the world dominion of Islam.
In his Tasdik-i Gaybi Said Nursi says of Hazrat Mahdi (as): “The Mahdi’s third task will be to create an alliance with devout Christians and Christian scholars and to serve Islam in co-operation and solidarity, acting together with them.” That is how he describes Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) third task.
JOEL RICHARDSON: I have a very interesting question. In some of your previous interviews I have heard people ask you questions about the Mahdi you said – they have asked you questions with regard to the identification, the identity of the Mahdi and you have been very emphatic that the Mahdi would never ever say that he is the Mahdi. The Mahdi will simply be acknowledged as such through his actions. So I certainly understand that the Mahdi would never claim to be the Mahdi. That said; do you ever wonder would you ever hope that you yourself are the Mahdi.
ADNAN OKTAR: I have been asked this far too many times. Looking at the hadith, we do see that my external appearance does indeed resemble many of the signs. If they ask me whether the signs are upon me, if I said no, it would be dishonest, a downright lie and very ugly to deny it. Because people look at me and say that the Mahdi’s (as) brow is very broad. It would be a terrible lie for me to say that mine is narrow. They say the Mahdi (as) is bearded and that he has a mole on his cheek and a furrow on his brow between his eyebrows. People look and see that I have one furrow, and it would be unpleasant and annoy people for me to deny it. And I have a mark on my back, so why lie about it? There is a mole on my back, just like that of our Prophet (saas). It is said that Mahdi would have another mole on his back. I have that as well. He says the Mahdi will be of medium stature, and true I am of medium height. Who would believe it if I said I was tall or short? That would be really abnormal. For example he says the Mahdi (as) has broad shoulders. And how can I say that my broad shoulders are narrow? He says his stomach is wide. Should I say that mine is not? For instance he says His thighs are wide, should I say mine are not? My appearance from top to bottom is certainly like his, that is an apparent truth. He says the Mahdi (as) has a broad forehead, and I have a broad forehead. He says his hair and beard are black and that he has a mole on his cheek. There is a mole on my left cheek. Some people sometimes ask about this too. I have a mole on my right leg, and that is also a characteristic of the Mahdi (as). But despite all this I never claim to be Hazrat Mahdi (as). People must not waste their time on that. I try to convince people who come to me with that claim to return to the deen, to enter Islam. It would be irreligious for anyone to come to me and say you are the Mahdi (as), and I make no such claim. But it is true there is a resemblance. But the Prophet Jesus will come and Islam will rule the world. The Prophet Jesus will pray with Hazrat Mahdi (as), and then we can say that this person, Allah knows the truth, is Hazrat Mahdi (as) and does indeed look like him. But apart from this, nobody can make any claim regarding Hazrat Mahdi (as) on the basis of physical appearance alone. Some people do, but these are false Mahdis prior to the real Hazrat Mahdi (as). The Bible also speaks of this. And there are hadith on the subject. False Mahdis will emerge and state clearly that they are the Mahdi. There will be false Jesuses and false Messiahs... These have appeared and are still appearing and openly saying that is who they are. The rank of Mahdi is attained through success, not by claiming it. But the resemblance is true, there are many similarities, and there is no question of hiding these during a sincere conversation. Of course I will state it honestly, but when it comes to making such claims, I would not have such a claim.I fear Allah and I can go to hell as well as to paradise. I am a humble servant of Allah, just an ordinary human being. I have never claimed to be anyone extraordinary.
JOEL RICHARDSON: Okay thank you. With regard to Jesus; you have said “in my view the prophet Jesus has already returned to the earth but he is hidden. He is obliged to conceal himself because of the terrorist and political attacks he would be exposed to. However he too will emerge in the very near future and together with the Mahdi will embark upon his intellectual struggle.” Do you believe that when Jesus return he will abolish Christianity as we know it today, do you believe that he will abolish the doctrines of the trinity of the divine incarnation of the Messiah as well as the Christian doctrine that the Christ was crucified died resurrected and sent to heaven?
ADNAN OKTAR: The essential belief in Christianity is the Oneness of Allah, belief in the hereafter, justice, the idea that Allah will provide justice. It is loving Allah and being careful over what is lawful and unlawful. It is treating people well. These are other matters, the belief in Trinity and other things. If with the coming of the Jesus, if it undergoes a change in the sense we are familiar with then Christianity would return to its former perfect state. It will return to its original form. According to our beliefs, it will return to the true Christianity. Again according to our belief, the original and the true Bible will also be found in that time. Maybe they will examine it using the Carbon 14 technique or using other methods, but the original form of the Gospels will be found. I mean, when the prophet Jesus comes and says that Allah is One, that is not something that will do away with Christianity. He would be saying something that reinforces Christianity. I mean, Christianity is in any case a religion of Islam. If we had lived in the time of the Prophet Jesus, we would have been Christians as well. If we had been around in the time of the Prophet Musa, we would have been Jews. Consequently the religion of the Prophet Ibrahim was also the true deen at the time and unaltered Christianity brought by the Prophet Jesus is the true Christianity. The Torah and the religion brought by the Prophet Musa is also the true faith, but according to our belief it has gradually been altered over the course of time. When the Prophet Jesus comes- there are some Christians sects that are against the Cross. They do not have the Cross. I believe there are even some such sects and various groups in America. But they still say “We are Christians,” I mean this does not stop them being Christians. In other words, it is their believing in the Oneness of Allah and in the statements of the Prophet Jesus on other matters, their acceptance of statements compatible with the Qur’an, that makes them truly Christian and that makes them a true Muslim, it makes their belief a true religion of Islam.
In our belief, when the Prophet Jesus comes he will correct certain altered aspects of the New Testament. He will restore the New Testament to its original form and consequently he will be following the Qur’an. That is to say a New Testament whose altered aspects have been corrected will in any case be restored to its pure and original form. But since the Qur’an is the final scripture, of course the Prophet Jesus will follow the Qur’an. But the pronouncements of the New Testament will not be invalidated. I mean the pronouncements of a true scripture will not be lifted. For example, the true pronouncements of the original form of the Torah will not be invalidated; I read the Torah night and day, for instance. I read the New Testament. There is no reason for those pronouncements to be lifted. For example, the Torah says that Allah is One. That delights me, it is a most excellent thing to say. Only those parts that are incorrect according to our belief will be put right. Otherwise no pronouncement of that book can be lifted. But I follow the Qur’an, of course. And when the Prophet Jesus comes he will also follow the Qur’an. But Muslims will also benefit from the New Testament and will read it. They will abide by the correct pronouncements in it. And they will abide by the correct pronouncements in the Torah as well. Because all three, the Qur’an, the Torah and the New Testament, say the same things, so if you comply with one you would be complying with all. A Christian who complies with the original New Testament does not leave Christianity rather consolidates it. When the New Testament turns into its original form I will abide by it too. Of course I follow the Qur’an, but I also apply the correct and proper pronouncements in the New Testament. I will also apply the correct and proper pronouncements in the Torah when it is found, and if there are parts of it that have been changed by the pronouncements of the Qur’an, then of course I follow the Qur’an. But I comply by all those pronouncements that are the same in all three.
JOEL RICHARDSON: I want to move on and discuss the Turkish led Islamic Union with you very much but before I do I want to touch on some of what you just discussed. You are a thinking individual. Obviously you have produced over 300 books, written over 300 books and produced these massive volumes. Specifically with the regard to creationism, opposing Darwinism. So you are someone who is willing to examine the facts. Examine the evidences examine history so as to correct the false teachings of the Darwinists. As I hear the overall theme of all that we are talking about, various issues pop up in my head. Specifically I want to ask you about the crucifixion Death, burial resurrection of Christ which Christians have always taught. When Christians look at the evidence for the historicity of this event what we see is numerous logical reasonable historical facts which establish the fact that Jesus did die on the cross and did come back to life. Twelve of Jesus’s disciples well all but one of Jesus’s twelve disciples died as martyrs were proclaiming the same message that Christians proclaim today. Which is that Jesus in fact did come and die on the cross according to the prophecies of the Old Testament. And I guess my question to you is how is that you are able to reconcile your faith which denies this historical event, with the numerous facts that we can examine, for instance why would 11 individuals die for something that they know it to be a lie. Did Allah deceive them, did Jesus deceive his disciples? If so what does that speak about the nature of Allah? In the Qur’an there is the verse that says with regard to the crucifixion that Christians have only conjecture to follow but in fact just the opposite is true we have numerous reasonable historical facts that we stand on when we look at this claim, that it is Christians that have only conjecture to follow the fact of the matter is that when we look at the Islamic Ummah we see that there are numerous theories among the Islamic scholars with regard to what really happened. And that Muslim scholars cannot even begin to come to any form of agreement, as far as what they do believe happened at the cross. Some say that Jesus was replaced with someone on the cross yet they can’t agree as to who that may have been. Some say Judas some say someone else. Some Muslim scholars say that Jesus did get crucified but then he was revived and came back, some people say that it was made to appear. There is numerous theories suggested by Muslim scholars so in fact when we look at the reality it is Islam that has only conjecture to follow where as Christianity has numerous Christian as well as many non-Christian historians that attest clearly to the fact in fact this is one of the most solidly established facts of history that Jesus in fact did die on the cross. So I guess my question to you is as a scientific thinker as someone who someone relies often on reason on facts and evidences, how is it that you are able to deny such a significant demonstrable portion of history?
ADNAN OKTAR: The Prophet Jesus is different to the other prophets. That is clearly seen in the Qur’an. He is an extraordinary person. His miracles are most extraordinary. He resurrects the dead, for instance, and he shapes mud into the form of a bird and when he blows onto that bird shaped clay the bird flies away. He is such an extraordinary individual. So it is out of question for a handful of worthless people making such an extraordinary person cry out and strapping him onto the cross. Jesus (as) is an exceptionally special prophet under the special protection of Allah. On account of this, the person who gave him away said: “He is in that room, I will show him to you.” The Roman troops took him and he led them as the squealer. This was the 13th disciple. I think his name was Judas Iscariot. And he entered the room he thought the Prophet Jesus was in. It is true that Jesus was there. When he entered the room to betray the Prophet Jesus, to turn him over to the Romans, Allah took the Prophet Jesus into the sky. That is to say the prophet Jesus ascended beyond time and space. He had been taken to a different dimension. Allah raised him into the sky, to His presence, with his original clothing and shoes, the sandals between his toes, the long robe he had on, and even with the possessions he had on his person. Only Judas was left there, Judas Iscariot. When the Roman soldiers entered they looked for the Prophet Jesus and imagined that since he looked very much like him and had long hair just like him, Judas was the Prophet Jesus. Allah says that He caused him to resemble the prophet. The Romans beat him bloody, beat him black and blue so that he was unrecognizable, and crucified him. Elohi, elohi, that person says. Why have you forsaken me? For one thing, the Prophet Jesus would not say such a thing. The prophet Jesus was someone with a sincere and powerful faith in Allah. He was an extraordinary person and would never say such a thing. It is clear even from that alone that these were the words of Judas Iscariot. Judah Iscariot was crucified, and his followers may have removed him from the tomb shortly thereafter, his friends or his family may have taken him away from his grave later on, that is a diffirent issue on its own. But Almighty Allah clarifies the issue in the Qur’an, saying "and their saying, ‘We killed- qatalna- the Messiah, ‘Isa son of Maryam, Messenger of Allah.’ They did not kill him -wama qataloohu-“ says Allah, “ they did not kill him and they did not crucify him- wamasalaboohu- but it was made to seem so to them.” Who? That Judas Iscariot. “shubbiha” says Allah, that means It was made to seem so. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it.” That is to say “they were unable decide” says Allah. “They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture.” Allah says they are just making suggestions out of conjecture, He says there is no such thing. Allah says “But they certainly did not kill him.” Allah repeats wama qataloohu and He says:” I will take you back and raise you up to Me – warafiAAuka- “and purify you of those who are kafir. And I will place the people who follow you above those who are kafir until the Day of Rising.”
The Prophet Jesus was raised to the skies in his sleep, and he will be brought back again in his sleep. He will be consigned in his sleep to a Christian community, one reminiscent of Islam. Jesus(as) will be wearing the same original clothes, but he will be unable to remember his own past. He will later study the Qur’an, the Torah and the New Testament. He will begin acting according to the Qur’an. He will restore the New Testament to its essential and original form, but he will abide by the Qur’an. And he will call on the entire Christian world to follow the Qur’an. In this way, those parts of the New Testament that our belief says are corrupted or distorted will be eliminated, though these are in any case few in number.
Look at verse 5 of Surat al-Ma’ida. “ “And the food of those given the Book”- that is to say You can eat meat slaughtered by the people of the Book, by Christians and Jews, - “is also halal for you and your food is halal for them.” That means one can eat food prepared by Jews.“So are chaste women from among the muminun and chaste women of those given the Book before you, once you have given them their dowries in marriage “ One can marry women from the people of the Book, Jews and Christians in other words. For a person to get married to someone means that he has great trust in and loves the person he marries. Because that woman will be the mother of his children. The Muslim attitude toward Christianity is thus set out in this verse.In Surah Al-Maidah, 5/5.
For example, Allah says “Those who have iman and those who are Jews and the Sabaeans and the Christians, all who have iman in Allah and the Last Day and act rightly will feel no fear and will know no sorrow.” That means Allah says they can enter paradise, He says that they will enter paradise, insha’Allah.
Allah says ,for instance, “Among the people of the Book there are some who have iman in Allah and in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down to them,” - to the Qur’an, to the Old Testament and the New Testament – “and who are humble before Allah. They do not sell Allah’s Signs for a paltry price. Such people will have their reward with their Lord.” The Almighty Allah says they believe in the Torah , in the New Testament and in the Qur’an.
JOEL RICHARDSON: I want to address a few points that you made; first of all I very much appreciate you articulating the Islamic perspective regarding what happened on the cross at least your version of the Islamic perspective. But I think that you still didn’t answer my question; which is how do you deal with the historical facts regarding the crucifixion of Christ? Do you generally just tend to ignore the abundance, the wealth of evidence that we have? For instance how do you deal with the reality that all of Jesus’s disciples preached and went about the whole world preaching the message that Jesus died on the cross and then came back to life in accordance with the prophecies of the whole Old Testament? How do you deal with the fact that these men were willing to die for something that they believed in so deeply? Do you just simply disregard this just despite the abundant historical evidence? And then secondly I just want to clarify a misconception that you have when Jesus cried out on the cross “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?” There are many Muslims that believed that Jesus was actually crying out to Allah in saying “Oh God why have you forsaken me?” actually asking this question. What he was actually doing was quoting a verse, a passage from the Old Testament, this was very common in oral societies who memorized much of their scriptures orally. And he was making reference to Psalm 22; so by making this statement, by declaring the first verse from the 22 Psalm Jesus was calling to his disciples attention the prophecies in Psalm 22 which predicted that the Messiah would come and suffer and actually die at the hands of his enemies. So Jesus was essentially saying, he wasn’t saying “Oh, God help me, why?” what he was doing was saying to his disciples he was inferring to them “Look, I am fulfilling the prophecies of King David and in fact i am the fulfillment of that which all the prophets have spoken of. So I just wanted to clarify that misconception and then also just get back and just ask “How is it that you as a thinking person, who again who looks at the evidences, who looks at the all of the various facts for instance with regard the Darwinism, how is it that you are able to in essence disregard and ignore such a vast wealth of information and would you be willing to consider looking at and studying some of this information more and considering whether or not it is the biblical narrative as opposed to the Qur’anic narrative which is in fact true? Because this is an essential, essential point.
ADNAN OKTAR: Whether or not Jesus was crucified does not actually alter his attributes. As per our belief, we of coursecan tell from the Qur’an that no such thing was done to the Prophet Jesus, I mean no such thing had happened. He was taken into the sky. I mean there is something extraordinary there. The important thing is that Prophet Jesus was raised up and those people failed. They failed, Allah foiled their trap and he was raised up to the sky. But of course, for your hearts to be put at rest, what will be necessary is that the prophet Jesus to return and describe it himself. In other words, I do not think you will worry about that subject when he returns, because the important thing is the Prophet Jesus’s general teachings. We say that the Prophet Jesus was not crucified. His not being crucified is a good thing, it is much better than that him being crucified. He could have suffered that, face such difficulties, but Allah did not put him in that position according to our belief. But when he returns he will speak of this himself. No more than 10 or 15 years remain until the coming of the Prophet Jesus. The facts will then emerge. The prophet Jesus will tell people what those expressions meant. Those expressions in the Torah certainly mean something. The Prophet Jesus will explain them in the finest manner.
He may give a most astonishing explanation, one that people never expected. It may be a code they never knew. The Prophet Jesus will best explain it, but even if we were to look into it, we may also interpret it in a logical manner. That is to say we can work on a logical but the fact that the Prophet Jesus was not crucified does not stop him being the Prophet Jesus. There is no need to have been crucified for a prophet to be the Prophet Jesus. It is a good thing he was not crucified, a slap in the face to the irreligious and his enemies. In other words that means Allah foiled their snares. He humiliated and disgraced them. He raised the Prophet Jesus and will send him back as an immaculate prophet. In any case an extraordinary miracle will take place. I mean the fact that after some 2000 years a prophet will return to earth and enter the dimension of time and space, is something extraordinary. When he comes, the best thing will be to abide by what he says. This will be very powerful evidence for Christians, convincing evidence. The Qur’an is sufficient for us, of course, but it is very important for Christians to hear it from the Prophet Jesus’s own mouth. He will explain those pronouncements in the Torah. That will be a most surprising explanation. You will be amazed by it and it will be perfectly reasonable. We need to be relaxed about this as we await the Prophet Jesus. We must trust the Prophet Jesus and Allah.
He will espouse all the beauties and truths in the New Testament. I also read the New Testament night and day. Those parts that are compatible with the Qur’an truly delight me. I read the Torah as well and act on those parts that are compatible with the Qur’an. But there are aspects that do not agree with the Qur’an. One loses nothing by not acting on those, and that does not stop one being a believer. Abandoning a false pronouncement, one that is false in our view, actually binds one even close to the Book’s pronouncements. It enables one to be a true Jew or Christian. The important thing is to love Allah very much and, inshaAllah to be together with Him in the hereafter. The Prophet Musa, the Prophet Jesus, Christians, Jews and Muslims will all be together, inshaAllah. But of course the ones that are in the true manner described by the Qur’an, by the true Torah and the true New Testament will be together. The important thing is to love and believe in Allah. I mean the rest , for instance when it comes to performing the namaz some Muslims hold their hand a bit higher and others a bit lower, these are just details, but what matters is the Existence and Oneness of Allah, to love and fear Allah, and to earn His approval and thus live in happiness forever.
But of course this is according to our belief, and it is rather different for a Christian, it is rather different according to their current beliefs. I of course do respect their beliefs and the beliefs of all the faiths.
JOEL RICHARDSON: I want to somewhat move on. I think this is an area where we say sometimes we just have to agree to disagree. There is a prophecy in the Bible that says that the day will come and the Prophet Zekeriya when Jesus will return and it says that all the families of the earth will look upon the one who may have pierced. And they will mourn and weep for him as one mourns for the loss of an only son and that it says specifically that all the peoples of the earth will come to recognize that Jesus in fact the one that returns was the one that was pierced. So my hope and pray for you deeply is that perhaps before that day but at the very least on that day that when you see the risen Christ the Christ of the Bible return and recognize that in fact it was the Christ that was crucified. And that in fact the testimony of the Bible is true. That it is reliable that it is historical. That you also would come to be one of his servants and then also I would like you to promise me that you would read the book that I gave you with regard to the resurrection by Josh McDowell and perhaps at a later time we could discuss this a little bit more in depth. Because for the Christians the issue as to whether or not Christ was crucified or not, as to whether or not the testimony of the Bible is true or the denial of that by the Qur’an is essential and at the core foundation of our faith. So not to put a burden on you I know you are a very busy man but I would like you to promise me that you will consider some of the evidences because for my perspective, from the perspective of a Christian this is the difference between eternity with him or without him, in Heaven or in Hell.
ADNAN OKTAR: I am someone who lives for Allah. These activities are very important for me. It is an honor and a blessing rather than an inconvenience. I will read those books of course. I shall read them all, read all three. I promise you that. In addition, we can communicate over the internet and you can send me questions. I will look into them in detail. I shall research everything you say in detail. You send me detailed responses and a wealth of information will emerge. Let us prepare the environment before the coming of the Prophet Jesus.
Moreover, come again and be our guest. Let us meet up very often. If you have other knowledgeable brothers like yourself, priests or clergymen, you can all come together. You can come with a couple of friends and we can talk and discuss things. We can go into more detail. There may be areas we have not seen or are unaware of, and that will be very good. But let us be in constant contact. Because for me, acting together with Christians is exceedingly important; acting in alliance with Christians and those who love the Prophet Jesus against atheism and waging an intellectual struggle against those false ideas is of vital importance to me. Said Nursi also gave us, his followers, advice on the same subject. He regarded it as a matter of importance. And from that perspective I love Christians very much, I love you all very much, let me tell you that.
JOEL RICHARDSON: Thank you. Thanks very much.
ADNAN OKTAR: Thank you.
JOEL RICHARDSON: That will be my pleasure. I love you as well. And I love Istanbul, I love Turkey.
ADNAN OKTAR: MashaAllah, mashaAllah.
JOEL RICHARDSON: And I certainly hope that I can come back.
ADNAN OKTAR: MashaAllah.
JOEL RICHARDSON: Thank you.
ADNAN OKTAR: MashaAllah
JOEL RICHARDSON: Okay moving on to the Turkish led Islamic Union. I think this is a very, very important that you have been espousing and casting the vision for a Turkish led Islamic union and I have a million questions that I would love to ask you about this. But right off the bed by this title Turkish led Islamic Union is it fair to say that what you are calling for is a Caliphate? Is there any significant difference between a caliphate and what you are calling for with regard to a Turkish led Islamic Union.
ADNAN OKTAR: States will maintain their unitary structures in the same way. Secular systems will continue as they are. There can be no question of mutual interference in states’ systems, but ties of friendship, brotherhood and love will be strengthened, there will be a serious attitude adopted toward terror and anarchy, and strong efforts will be made to disarm the world. All the delights of Islamic moral values will be put into action and feelings of brotherhood and mutual aid will be reinforced. But the ultimate aim is to establish brotherhood throughout the world and a complete end to terror, bloodshed and anarchy. Great efforts will be made to rid the world of all weapons, especially nuclear weapons.
It will be a union that includes Israel, Armenia, the Orthodox, Russia and Catholic Christians. Jews and Christians will be brothers and will all take their places as friends within the union.
JOEL RICHARDSON: Would it be fair to say that according to your understanding that the vision for such groups as perhaps Hizbul Tahrir would be compatible with your vision for the Turkish led Islamic Union?
ADNAN OKTAR: Of course they are entrusted to us by Allah. The Jews are the children of the Prophet Ibrahim. Christians are people who love the Prophet Jesus, who love Allah and who believe in the other prophets. Of course Muslims have a debt to protect and look out for them. That is a duty Muslims must perform. Of course they will discharge this duty in the best way to bring them peace and happiness. That is a religious observance. For example, our Prophet (saas) collected all the Muslims together and brought them off to Ethiopia, where there was a Christian administration at the time. Would the Muslims have gone there and entrusted their goods, assets and honor in that way if they had not had such trust in Christians? And our Prophet (saas) went to that Christian state and sought refuge to save his life, and migrated there. He lived there happily with them, as brothers. This is a continuation of that brotherhood.
JOEL RICHARDSON: Your organization and you are involved in dialogue with many different groups. And I was fascinated in speaking with your assistant Şeyda when she informed me that you have actually been in contact with the Obama administration. Specifically with regard to the Turkish led Islamic Union. Would you mind sharing a little bit about how you have been involved or what type of dialogue you have experienced with Obama administration.
ADNAN OKTAR: I spoke withObama’s advisor. Not with Obama himself. But we talked the matter over together.
JOEL RICHARDSON: Şeyda had also mentioned that she was of the understanding that the Obama administration also had set up some form of research committee to try to understand the issue of Al Mahdi. Is that accurate?
ADNAN OKTAR: That is something that has been around for a long time. I mean there is a study in that respect in America, and this is not the first, it is nothing new. There are research groups engaged on it, and institutes, and work is taking place.
JOEL RICHARDSON: What type of evidences have you seen have you observed that perhaps the Obama administration may in fact be looking very favorable toward this notion of a Turkish led Islamic Union.
ADNAN OKTAR: Radical Islam is the subject that is alarming America and the whole world at the moment. There is an aggressive and repressive way of thinking, foreign to Sunni belief, that does not recognize love or affection, that seeks to incite bloodshed and disagreement on all matters, and that behaves in the exact opposite manner to that described by Messenger of Allah (sav). And there are all kinds of terrorist ideas, the deep states of many countries that shed blood, inflict suffering on people, bomb places and spread savagery. Since such a union will eradicate all this, everyone will want it. Because it is very pleasant to live in a world with no oppression, to live in a world with no bloodshed, a paradise on earth. This is also set out in the Torah. It describes in great detail how there will be such a climate in the time of the Messiah. According to my belief, and there are also many indications of this in the Qur’an, but in my opinion, the person described in the Torah as the Messiah, the Messiah-King, is in fact Hazrat Mahdi (as). And people will live in happiness in that time, the venom of the snakes would be removed and the aggression of the wild animals would be tamed. That is also mentioned in the Bible. We are now longing for those days. Every rational person desires to get rid of an environment that is suffering from violence and oppression. That is an ideal for every Muslim, and that is how paradise is, as you know, a place where one lives in peace. It is to turn the world into a kind of paradise and then inshaAllah if Allah permits, if we achieve His approval, to go to paradise and live there in happiness forever. That is a delightful thing, but our sole aim, of course, is Allah’s approval.
JOEL RICHARDSON: You mentioned with regard to the Islamic Union that the various states would be able to maintain their secular form of government. But you also envision a time when the Turkish led Islamic Union will be governed by the Shariah as well.
ADNAN OKTAR: Every country can live as it wishes according to the decision of its people. Iran can live according to its own belief, but they will have a spiritual leader. In the same way that the Pope is the spiritual leader of Christians, Muslims will also have a spiritual leader. But there will be no system that interferes in anyone’s beliefs, and no such thing exists in the essence of the deen. There is a verse that clearly says there is no compulsion in the deen. People are free in their beliefs, and there is no compulsion in religion, and everyone can live as they wish. There will be people with no religion, atheists and Freemasons in society. There will be people who hold other beliefs, and all beliefs will be respected. The important thing is for beliefs to be respected, for beliefs to be placed under guarantee, for people to live in safety and for there to be no anarchy and terror.
JOEL RICHARDSON: You have also expressed that when the Mahdi comes that he would in essence reform Islam and bring many, many new things and that the Islam of history would be changed dramatically. To what degree do you believe that the Mahdi will change Islam and how much, to what degree do you expect to see this and is this something that is generally acknowledged by most Muslims who await the Mahdi.
ADNAN OKTAR: It will be like the time of the Companions. Like the time of our Prophet (saas), that is to say the conception of freedom, love and friendship of that time will be adopted. We need to look at the essence of the faith on this subject, which is to love and fear Allah, to believe in the hereafter, to believe that He will manifest justice and to be careful over what is lawful and unlawful. Someone who makes this a reality in his heart is an honest person, someone who behaves correctly.
JOEL RICHARDSON: I have also been very fascinated to learn that you have a vision and belief according to your traditions , that when the Mahdi comes, he will rebuilt the Mescit of Suleyman. The Palace of Solomon in Jerusalem that the Temple Mount will in essence be shared with Muslims and Jews as well. Could you tell me a little bit about this? And where do these particular traditions come from, are there some hadith that speak of this?
ADNAN OKTAR: There is of course no source for these in trustworthy books of hadith, but things that are right and true are also evident. For example, the building of Jerusalem, its being laid out and its being restored to its original form are very important matters, any intelligent person can understand this. The Palace of Solomon is a historically important palace and rebuilding of it is a very wonderful thing, something a normal, devout person, a regular Jew, a Christian or a Muslim will welcome this with enthusiasm. Every Muslim, everybeliever will want to return to those days, to experience those days again and, albeit partially, to bring the beauty of those days back to life. That is what I meant.
For example, it is a delightful and excellent thing to have the places where the Prophet Jesus walked restored and to keep them in order and kept them clean and for believers to go and eat, worship and pray there. A person lives this in his spirit anyway.
JOEL RICHARDSON: Final question: I was also fascinated to learn that you have been in dialogue with the Sanhedrin Rabbis of Jerusalem, of Israel. That you have been in contact with Rabbi Menachem Froman. And that you have a very warm relationship with these Rabbis and that they seem to be endorsing and commanding your call for a Turkish led Islamic union. Could you tell us a little bit about that? I was also interested to learn just before I came that this very influential Rabbi Menachem Froman had spoken with George Mitchel the Middle East envoy from the Obama administration and that he had personally appealed to Mr. Mitchel to utilize you as a significant peace negotiator for the Middle East. Would you be willing to share a few of those things? And then I will allow you to be released for the evening.
ADNAN OKTAR: Israel’s present position is not that comfortable, they are not comfortable there. Neither the Palestinians nor our Jewish brothers are comfortable there. Yet both are descended from the same line, from the line of Prophet Ibrahim. They are all the children of the Prophet Ibrahim. Of course our hearts want them all to live happily there. For example, there are huge walls in Israel, everywhere is surrounded by walls and they have imprisoned themselves behind them. Our hope is that those walls will come down in the time of Hazrat Mahdi (as). We hope that the region will open up and be at ease. And to let them live anywhere they like, let them, our Jewish and Christian brothers, to come to Jordan, to Turkey and come and live peacefully and happily in Turkey. Rather than squeezing them into a tiny space. The Armenians for instance, they are being squeezed into a very small country; let the borders be opened up and let them come to Turkey, as they are our brothers. Let us embrace them and let them live as they wish and be free, that is what we wish. Of course the Rabbis love me, that is the truth. They do love me a lot. They regard me as a good Muslim, as a good Muslim leader. But I do not regard myself as a future leader of the region in that sense, not as a Muslim leader with such a mission. I mean I do not have such a direction. However there are many people who can assume that leadership. Very worthy people. There are many people raised by Turkey. I can act as their advisor or even assistant, it could work like that, but we have many highly qualified people in Turkey who can serve as leader. Insha’Allah they will assume that task. Turkey will be the leader and my ideas will be the same as always, and I will contribute with my books and activities, insha’Allah.
In other words, I will never accept any political role, but if spiritual support or service is needed I will happily provide it. That is the purpose of my life, and I will do it even if they do not want me. However they love me and I love them back, to say the truth I have a profound affection for them. We have also Christian brothers here and I love them, too. There are Orthodox and Catholics and Evangelicals, and we sometimes dine together, and I love them very deeply. They are entrusted to us by Allah, so there is no reason for us not to love them. Of course we will love them.
JOEL RICHARDSON: Well you certainly have a friend in me and once again thank you very, very much for having me. For the invitation and if you’d allow me I would love just to close out and pray very briefly.
Lord, I thank You so much for Adnan and for everyone in the room. And Lord we just ask that Your blessing would rest on Adnan and on everyone here and that You will give us all a peaceful sleep and that Your presence will rest with us. And we thank You for that. In the name of Jesus.
ADNAN OKTAR: InshaAllah we will see those lovely days that Allah has promised. Let us all be followers of the Prophet Jesus inshaAllah, and embrace him and kiss his cheek, inshaAllah. InshaAllah we will all earn the approval of Allah.