Foreword to the Second Edition
The establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union will be the salvation of everyone, of people of all faiths, all nations and all opinions, not just of the Islamic world. This union will bring love, brotherhood, friendship, plenty and abundance to the world. The Turkish-Islamic Union to be established under Turkish leadership will be instrumental in the world attaining an entirely new beauty, in a huge rise in plenty and abundance, in major progress in art and science, and in the construction of a powerful and deep-rooted civilization. By Allah's leave, the establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union is an absolute certainty. This is the destiny ordained by Allah.
Turkey will be the natural leader of this Union. All Turkic and Muslim countries sincerely accept and desire Turkish leadership. At the root of this lie Turkey's historic experience and the moral virtues of the Turkish nation, which have been proved over and over again. The Turkish nation's desire for the role of leader is not based on any idea of racial superiority. There are no irrational and illogical ideas behind this, ideas that would also run contrary to the moral values of the Qur'an, along the lines of "we want to be the leader and for everyone else to follow behind" or "we are superior, and all other races must follow us."
The superiority in question is a moral one. The leadership to be assumed is in fact a desire to assume suffering and responsibility in order to protect, watch over and serve others, to act as a kind of older brother.
One of the main proofs that the Turkish Nation will fulfill this historic responsibility is the way that in the hadith about the end times our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) makes particular reference to Istanbul and to Turkey. As revealed by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will be active in Istanbul, will construct the Turkish-Islamic Union by bringing the dispersed Turkic states back together, and will appear with the Sacred Trusts.
HAZRAT MAHDI (PBUH) WILL SPIRITUALLY CAPTURE ISTANBUL
Narrated by ibn 'Amr: … The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "O Ummah! Six things will happen before the Hour … The sixth is the conquest of Medina."
He was asked, "O Messenger of Allah, which medina [city]?"
He said, "Constantinople [Istanbul]."
(*) This is the conquest of Constantinople by Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). (Signs of the Last Day, p. 204; Ramuz al-Ahadith, 296)
Allah will capture Constantinople [Istanbul] through His beloved friends [Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)]. (Signs of the Last Day, p. 181)
Nations will come under his [Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)] command. Allah will make him the instrument of the [spiritual] capture of Constantinople [Istanbul]. (Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 56)
HAZRAT MAHDI (PBUH) WILL SERVE AMONG THE TURKS
Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will never leave Rum, the Turks [because Turkey used to be known as the region of Rum]. (Narrated from Ish'afu'r-Ragibin, Tilsimlar, p. 212)
A Tirmidhi hadith says that "the Hour will not come until Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) rules the Arabs" (Tirmidhi, Fitan: 43). This means he will not appear from among the Arabs because in order to rule over the Arabs he will have not to be one of them. (Signs of the Last Day, p. 170)
Some people will appear from the East and prepare the way for Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will be the ruler among them. (Ibn Majah, Kitabul Fitan: 35 (4088) This hadith shows that he will come from among a people existing in or coming from the east. This refers to the Turks, who were then living in the east and who subsequently settled in Anatolia, and Allah knows the truth. (Signs of the Last Day, p. 171)
Ibn Khaldun and al-Qurtubi record that Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will come from the Mashriq (the east), Khorasan (the area to the west of the Caspian Sea) and the Amu Darya (these being regions inhabited by Turks). (Macdonald, Encyclopedia of Islam, 7:478.)
These things all show that Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will engage in intensive activities among the Turks. (Saban Dogen, Mehdi ve Deccal [The Mahdi and the Dajjal], p. 172)
Sayyid Ahmad Husamaddin (ra) says this about Hazrat Mahdi's (pbuh) birthplace in his Istihracname:
"An individual will come from among the Muslims, and the honor of that individual will be radiant like the rays of the Sun, shining around from the greatest peak of the Caucasus." (Osman Yuksel Serdengecti, City with No Temple, Serdengecti Publication: VI, p.107)
THE FRAGMENTED TURKISH STATES WILL BE UNITED BY HAZRAT MAHDI (PBUH)
... And dispersed Turkish flags will appear and help my son [Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)] in every nook and cranny. (al-Ghaybah al-Nomani, p. 323)
... Allah will cause him [Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)] to conquer Rum, Daylam, Sindh, India, Kabul and the Caspian. (Sheikh Muhammad bin Ibrahim Nomani, al-Ghaybah al-Nomani, p. 274)
According to a hadith of the Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will first appear from Turkey with the Turkish flag and will then become the spiritual ruler of other Islamic countries with their green flags. He will be instrumental in the founding of the Turkish-Islamic Union and will assume the spiritual leadership of it. The hadith is as follows:
In that year the disappearance of my son [Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)], who will have the red flag and afterwards the green flag, will be announced. (Sheikh Muhammad bin Ibrahim Nomani, al-Ghaybah al-Nomani, p. 170)
HAZRAT MAHDI (PBUH) WILL HAVE THE SACRED TRUSTS WITH HIM
The scholars who narrated the hadith about the end times spoke of the events of the end times being based in the centers of the caliphate of their own times. This is why, with regard to the place where Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will appear from, different scholars have cited such places as Iraq, Damascus, Kufa and Medina, which were the centers of the caliphate in their own times. However, the common feature of these accounts is that the events of the end times will take place in the center of the caliphate. The final center of the caliphate was "Istanbul." The caliphate was officially abolished at the beginning of the last century, and it was never transferred anywhere else after that time. Consequently, Istanbul is the only city to still bear this spiritual title. The two standards, sword and robe of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), together with other sacred trusts, are kept in Topkapi Palace, Istanbul.
It is related from Abdullah ibn Shurafa: "The banner of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) will be adorned, together with Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)." (Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-zaman, p. 65)
Nuaym ibn Hammad narrates from Abu Jafar; "Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will appear in the evening with the banner, robe, sword, signs, radiance and beautiful expression of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). (Mar'iy Ibn Yusuf Ibn Abi Baqr ibn Ahmad ibn Yusuf al-Maqdi'si Faraidu Fawaidi'l Fikr Fi'l Imam al-Mahdi al-Muntazar)
The Mahdi (pbuh) will appear with the banner of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). That banner is unstitched, black, and has four corners. It has never been unfurled since the death of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) but will be unfurled by Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). (The Book of Portents of the Awaited Mahdi, pp. 41-42, 52, 54)
As for signs, he [Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)] will have with him the shirt, the sword, and the banner of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). That banner has never been unfurled since the death of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). And, it will not be unfurled until the appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). (Portents of the Last Day, p. 164)
He will appear with the camel hair banner of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). That banner has four corners, is unstitched and black in color. There is a halo on it. It has not been unfurled since the death of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), but it will be opened when Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) appears. (Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-zaman, p. 23)
One important feature of this banner, which we are told will only be unfurled by Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) in the end times is that "it has never been unfurled since the death of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)." The banner has never been opened by any state, including the Ottoman Empire, out of respect for the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), and was never taken out of its cover even during the battles or during the ceremonies it was taken to. The banner, preserved in this way for 14 centuries, will be opened when the moral values of Islam rule the world, with the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh).
NO BLOOD WILL BE SHED IN THE WORLD WHEN THE TURKISH-ISLAMIC UNION IS ESTABLISHED
As set out in detail in the sections that follow, the Turkish-Islamic Union will be a union that is based on the moral values of the Qur'an, and therefore one of peace that treats people of all opinions, beliefs and nations with affection and understanding and that protects the rights of all and sets everyone at ease. The Turkish-Islamic Union will put a complete end to all conflicts, acts of terror and anarchy. With its establishment, all strife will come to an end. With the construction of this fine union, Jews and Christians will also attain an environment in which they can worship in security, do business as they wish, settle where they choose and feel themselves in complete safety. The foundation of the Turkish-Islamic Union will take place without a drop of blood being spilled, with Muslims coming together in love, and with the spread of friendship through affection, good words, wise and rational language.
It is a fact imparted by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) that in the time of the foundation of the Turkish-Islamic Union all conflicts will come to an end, all weapons will fall silent and people will live in peace and love. Our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has revealed that not one drop of blood will be shed in the time of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). We are told in hadith that when Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) appears and the Turkish-Islamic Union is established peace, justice, beauty and safety will enfold the world:
People will seek refuge in Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) as honey bees cluster around their sovereign. He will fill the world that was once full of cruelty, with justice. His justice will be as such that HE WILL NOT wake a sleeping person or EVEN SHED ONE DROP OF BLOOD. The earth will return to the age of happiness. (Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 29)
[Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)] will follow the way of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). HE WILL NOT wake up a sleeping person or SHED BLOOD. (Al-Barzanji, Pamuk Publishing, Istanbul, 2002, p. 163)
In the time of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) NO ONE WILL be woken up from their sleep or HAVE A BLEEDING NOSE. (Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 44)
Those obeying him [Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)] will pay homage to him between ruqun and maqam (near Qaba). THEY WILL not wake a sleeping person, NEVER SHED BLOOD. (Al-Haytami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 24)
This (Amr) [Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)] WILL FILL EARTH WITH JUSTICE, just as people previously filled it with cruelty. (Sunan Ibn Majah, 10/348)
The world filled with oppression and tyranny WILL OVERFLOW WITH JUSTICE AFTER HE [HAZRAT MAHDI (pbuh)] COMES. (Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 20)
THERE WILL BE SUCH AN ABUNDANCE OF JUSTICE IN THE HAZRAT MAHDI'S (pbuh) TIME that just as all the goods taken away by force will be returned to their owners. (Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 23)
HIS [THE MAHDI'S (pbuh)] JUSTICE WILL COVER ALL PLACES and he will rule among people with the Sunnah of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). He will even also call for one who is in need to be brought forward, and when that command is obeyed only one person will come. (Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 20)
If there were only one day left for the world, that day would be lengthened until a man from among the people of my household, was sent; just as the Earth is filled with cruelty, HE WILL FILL THE EARTH WITH JUSTICE. (Sunan Abu-Dawud, 5/92)
Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) is one of my people, and HE WILL FILL THE EARTH WITH TRUTH AND JUSTICE, just as it is now filled with cruelty and torture. (Sunan Abu-Dawud, 5/93)
Like the cup fills with water, SO WILL EARTH FILL WITH PEACE. THERE WILL BE NO ENMITY LEFT between any people. ALL HOSTILITY, FIGHTING, AND ENVY WILL DISAPPEAR. (Sahih Muslim, 1/136)
... In the same way that Almighty Allah started Islam with me, so He will end it with him (Hazrat Mahdi [pbuh]). In the same way that THEY WERE FREED FROM POLYTHEISM AND ENMITY AND THEIR HEARTS WERE FILLED WITH FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE THROUGH ME, SO IT WILL BE AGAIN [WITH THE COMING OF HAZRAT MAHDI (pbuh)]. (Portents of the Mahdi of the End Times, Jalaladdin as-Suyuti, p. 20)
... IN HIS [HAZRAT MAHDI (pbuh)] TIME THE GOOD BECOME EVEN BETTER, AND EVEN THE WICKED ONES ARE TREATED WELL. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-zaman, p. 17)
THE GREATEST RELIGIOUS OBLIGATION OF THE AGE IS ISLAMIC UNION
Bediüzzaman Said Nursi
For Muslims to be united and not to fall into division and fragmentation is a command that Allah reveals in the Qur'an. All Muslims are brothers, no matter what their language, race or sect. The closeness and friendship between them should therefore resemble that between brothers. No matter where in the world they may live, Muslims must love, protect and support one another like true brothers, in the same way that brothers never leave one another in difficulties, always run to help and support one another and protect and watch over each other.
If Muslims do not do this, if they do not love and protect one another like brothers, if they are not united in a spirit of solidarity, then they have disobeyed Allah's command. And that is a situation no Muslim will wish to find himself in. It is essential for every Muslim who loves and fears Allah and scrupulously obeys all His commands to strive and constantly pray for the unity of the Islamic world.
If the Islamic world wishes to construct a powerful, stable and prosperous civilization and to guide the world and lead the way in all spheres, then it must act as one. The lack of such unity, division and fragmentation among Muslim countries, the failure of the Islamic world to speak with one voice, leaves innocent Muslim peoples defenseless. Helpless and needy women, children and elderly people are waiting to be saved from oppression in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, East Turkestan, Moro and many other places. Responsibility for these innocent people lies with the Islamic world before anyone else. Muslims must never forget our Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) words, "A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor leaves him in danger."
Throughout his life the great Islamic scholar Bediuzzaman waged an intellectual struggle for the unification of the Muslim world and made Muslims aware of the importance of that union being established. Bediuzzaman, who said, "The greatest religious obligation of the age is Islamic Union...," expressed the importance of striving for the unity of the Islamic world in the wisest manner. In his Risalat an-Noor he frequently concentrated on Muslims loving and supporting one another, displaying solidarity and protecting and watching over one another, and himself always behaved in a reconciliatory and unificatory manner.
Today, too, it is most important for all Muslims to adopt this language of Bediuzzaman's as a role model, live by the joy and determination even more than he displayed for the unification of the Islamic world and to allow nobody to make them faint-hearted on this subject. It must not be forgotten that Muslim unity is a command of Allah's and, by His will, will certainly come about. As Bediuzzaman says: "Almighty Allah, Who fills and empties the world between the heavens and earth with clouds, and in an instant stills the storms of the sea, and in an hour in spring creates samples of the summer and in an hour in summer creates a winter storm, such an All-Powerful One of Glory can also scatter the darkness of the world of Islam by means of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). He has promised this, and certainly He will carry out His promise." (Letters / Twenty - Ninth Letter - Seventh Section - p.515) And by Allah's leave, these are tidings that the Islamic world will definitely be united, that it will be bound together like buildings welded with lead, that they will act like true brothers on the path of Allah and will be instrumental in people all over the world living by the moral values of the Qur'an.
Said Nursi describes Islamic Union as follows in his Damascus Sermon:
The way of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is free of all doubts and trickery, and therefore does not condescend to concealing things, which is suggestive of doubt and trickery. Anyway, such a mighty, extensive, all-embracing truth could in no way be hidden, especially from the people of this time. How could an ocean be concealed in a pitcher? I repeat: the means of unity of the Muhammadan Union, which in reality is Islamic Unity, is Divine Unity. Its oath and pledge is belief… Its membership consists of all believers. Its code of rules are the practices of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Its laws are the commands and prohibitions of the Shari‘a [the morality of the Qur'an]. THIS UNION IS NOT A TRADITION BUT A WORSHIP. (The Damascus Sermon / First Addendum / Third Part - p. 81)
In these words, Bediuzzaman clearly and explicitly describes the values that Muslims should base their union upon:
All Muslims who
- Believe in the One Allah,
- Follow the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and
- Have adopted the Qur'an and the Sunnah as their guides are brothers and have a responsibility to act together as one.
The fact that they live in different countries, belong to different races or cultures and possess different ideas or practices is no obstacle to their being brothers or united. On the contrary, each of these qualities is a blessing created by Allah, and a source of wealth for Muslims. As Bediuzzaman also says, Muslims must not regard the establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union as a pleasant hope, a good tradition or a political necessity, and must never forget that union is a religious obligation.
Bediuzzaman also notes that Muslims must have no hesitations or doubts regarding the fulfillment of this obligation and says that every Muslim who heeds the voice of his conscience has a great responsibility to strive for the establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union, "the greatest religious obligation":
Hiding and fear are both hypocrisy, but there is no hypocrisy in performing the obligatory acts of religion. The obligatory act of greatest importance at the present time is Islamic Unity. While the aim and goal of Unity is to stir into life the long, many- branched, far-reaching luminous chain which binds together the centers of Islam and their places of worship, to arouse those bound to it, and through the wishes and promptings of their consciences drive them to the way of progress. (The Damascus Sermon / First Addendum / Third Part - p. 81)
As Bediuzzaman also said Muslims must combine all the means at their disposal to strive for the unity of the Islamic world, work on that path with enthusiasm, fervor and determination and rouse all Muslims to establish this blessed union.
Another matter that Bediuzzaman particularly stresses in discussing the Turkish-Islamic Union is that it will be a union of hearts, one of love and friendship. Muslims have a duty to tell others of the indispensable nature of this union, by way of love, knowledge and pleasant words. But there is no sense in entering on such an initiative without basing it on the power of faith, love for Allah, the moral values of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). That is because Allah would never permit such an initiative to be successful. But, by Allah's leave, those who act honestly, with love for Allah and the joy of faith and under the guidance of the moral virtues bestowed by the Qur'an and the hadiths, will definitely enjoy success on this path.
The way of this Union is love; its enmity is only for ignorance, poverty, and strife. Non-Muslims should feel sure that this Union attacks only those three facts. Our actions towards non-Muslims consist only of persuasion, for we know them to be civilized. And we suppose them to be fair-minded, so we should demonstrate that Islam is lovable and elevated. The lax and negligent should know that they cannot ingratiate themselves with the non-Muslims by being irreligious, for they only show that they are unprincipled. And no one likes unprincipledness and anarchy. Those who join this Union after due investigation will not leave it by blindly imitating such people. We present to public opinion the ideas, way, and reality of the Muhammadan Union, which is Islamic Unity. If anyone has any objections, let him voice them; we are ready to answer them. (The Damascus Sermon / First Addendum / Third Part - p. 81)
As Bediuzzaman describes with such wisdom, the Turkish-Islamic Union will also protect and watch over non-Muslims. As is set out in detail in the following sections of the book, the moral values of Islam make it essential to treat people of other faiths and beliefs with affection and compassion. A Muslim will preach Islam using wise, rational and pleasant language and strive to prevent evil and spread good, but he will be aware in so doing that "there is no compulsion in the religion." In an environment where people live by the moral values of Islam, everyone is free to practice his own faith, perform religious observances as he wishes and express his own ideas. As the embodiment of these requirements of Islamic moral values, the Turkish-Islamic Union will be democratic and attach great importance to human rights and will establish a climate in which freedom of expression prevails, in which the rights of Jews, Christians, people of other beliefs and even with no belief at all, and atheists are protected, and in which everyone is treated as a first-class citizen.
One subject that Bediuzzaman also concentrates on in the context of Islamic union it that this blessed union will come about through Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) and under that blessed individual's leadership. The fact that Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will bring about the union of the Turkish and Islamic world is revealed in the hadiths. Said Nursi sets this truth out as follows:
His Third Duty: ... THAT INDIVIDUAL WILL SEEK TO FULFILL THAT GREAT DUTY WITH THE SPIRITUAL ASSISTANCE OF ALL BELIEVERS, AND THE SOLIDARITY OF ISLAMIC UNION, AND ALL SCHOLARS AND LEARNED MEN, AND IN PARTICULAR WITH THE CONTRIBUTION OF MILLIONS OF DEVOTED SAYYIDS DESCENDED FROM THE LINE OF OUR PROPHET (MAY ALLAH BLESS HIM AND GRANT HIM PEACE). (Emirdag Addendum, p. 260)
As can clearly be seen in this passage from Bediuzzaman, one of the three duties Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will do is to unite all Muslims and establish the Turkish-Islamic Union. Therefore, at a time in which the moral values of the Qur'an are ignored, Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) will be instrumental in people returning to those values. He will found the Turkish-Islamic Union, and there will be many righteous individuals who support him in this work. Bediuzzaman reveals that this third task of Hazrat Mahdi's (pbuh) is very important and will be supported by a great mass of people. By referring to "THE SPIRITUAL ASSISTANCE OF ALL BELIEVERS," Bediuzzaman is saying that a union established through an alliance of "ALL MUSLIMS" will assist Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) in this task. Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh) and his helpers will be brave people who draw courage from love for Allah and joy of faith. The light of their faith will be instrumental in the illumination of the whole world. Support from such a wide-ranging alliance including all Muslims did not come about in Bediuzzaman's own day. As Bediuzzaman reveals, the spiritual help from this great mass of people will only come about in the End Times that we are currently living in and together with Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh), and it will play a major role in the fulfillment of his third task.