Professor Dr. Mahmud Es’ad Coşan (Rh.a)
The religion of Allah has come to teach people the prosperity of two worlds. When a person becomes Muslim, he will both be happy in this world Alhamdulillah; peaceful, clean, not impure... His family, his personality, his spirit, his mind, his conscience and his society will be pure. He will be comfortable in the hereafter and be fortunate in this world. Islam has come to humanity to provide this.
And the most important duty of Islam, the greatest duty of the Muslims, is to convey this to others. The Prophet (pbuh) fulfilled this duty and in his farewell sermon, he said “Have I conveyed the commandments of Allah to you?” and when he received the answer “Yes you conveyed O Messenger of Allah!”, as a person who had completed his task he said “Witness this oh Lord!”
Now this duty was given to the Companions, it was passed on. We do not even know the professions of most of the Companions. Because their profession is spreading, teaching and conveying Islam; to preach Islam and to inform people; teaching Islam, educating people with Islamic morals.
We went to Uzbekistan, Bukhara, Samarkand. There are graves of the Companions in Samarkand, we visited these graves. They traveled to such distant lands! We went to the GAP region. We visited the places that will be covered by the dam lake. There are many graves of Companions here. There are also graves of the Companions in Istanbul.
To convey a message there. That is, for the duty of communication, conveying the truth and guidance.
So Islam is the religion of communication. Our Prophet (pbuh) came to inform people about Allah's commands; communication, our Prophet taught people Islam; communication, the duties of companions and Muslims to spread and teach Islam to others; communication... So, what we call communication is to transfer information to another party, correspondence, telecommunications or simply communication. Islam is largely based on this duty. I would like to underline this, and then I will return to the subject again later.
Of course, the content is important here. You will take something and convey this to someone else, you will transmit information, you will transmit news to another party, but what will you transmit? This information, the content to be transmitted, the material in communication is very important in Islam. For this reason, Muslims, the Companions of the Prophet were extremely careful, they were afraid of conveying the words of the Prophet incorrectly to others, constantly thinking “I wonder if I changed a word.” They remained silent for the rest of their lives in case they were unable to convey the words precisely although they knew it was correct, and conveyed this during the last moments of their lives because they knew that if someone had knowledge and do not teach this to others they would be punished. But they were stipulated to strict conditions. They preserved the Prophet’s words and recommendations. His daily life, private life, social life; his words, movements, approvals, appreciations, recommendations were all determined in the most perfect way. And convey this to others; “Convey from me even if it is a single verse.” Our scholars did this because this is what they were told to do by the Prophet.
After the Prophet, the duty of communication was transferred on to the scholars. Everyone has a profession; an engineer, doctor, farmer, etc. and so on ... But this duty, of conveying the truth of the most honorable Prophet, the word of truth, faith, the true message is the duty of scholars. Because this must be done with great care. This is not the duty of the ignorant; this is a burden the ignorant could never overcome. This is why scholars are called “the heirs of the Prophet” and they were honored with this title; they were granted this rank. And in Islam, knowledge is dominant in religion, both in this world and the hereafter. And religion also dominates knowledge. The Prophet said: “Whoever wants the life of this world, he must have knowledge and whoever wants the life in the hereafter, he must also have knowledge.”
So Islam: Is an important part of communication, of what is to be transmitted, the material. It ensured that the material was correct, the truth, it gave great importance to this and conveying this material was ascribed to the ummah as a duty. This was commanded to them by with the Qur’anic verses; Muslims must enjoin good, they must forbid what is wrong, they must make an effort and convey the message everywhere.
Islam revealed this 14 centuries ago. This is something all Muslims must know. Societies have developed, and when social scientists and sociologists classified societies, they categorized these according to their lifestyles, economic activities, and economic studies. They called these agricultural societies. Those who lives on agriculture alone by providing their needs in their own narrow environment; closed economies that survive by preparing the winter provisions from the summer, eating what they sow in winter, consuming the food they prepare in winter, and thus maintaining their life by this. This type of society were classified as primitive and called the agricultural society.
Then there were geographical discoveries; continents were discovered. Vessels and equipment was made for the transportation to the continents; knowledge became more widespread, the exchange of knowledge increased between societies... Islam played a significant role in this. Dr. Sigrid Hunke calls this the Islamic sun rising over Europe... In other words, Europe was a dark, black Europe, a place that doesn't know or see anything, but the sun of Islam rose over it. They learned everything from Muslims. The renaissance period emerged with the knowledge they obtained from Muslims. Even their religious reforms emerged because of their contact with Muslims. The source of Luther and the other reformists in Christianity is Islam and the knowledge of the Muslims, the thoughts of Muslims.
Christians begun to say Allah is one, not three. Of course, other Catholics slaughtered them, burned them The Unitarian sect emerged in societies that were in contact with the Ottomans. So, even in straw flames, and skinned them. How dare you say such a thing? These people fled to America. Even some of the leaders of America have become Unitarians, that is, who have accepted the unity of Allah..
The source of the reform and the renaissance that is not told to us, the source they avoid to reveal because interest in Islam will increase is the Islamic world; it is the European’s contact with the Islamic world. In his book, Sigrid Hunke describes these excellently. One by one, he lists and relates what Europeans earned from Muslims. We call this Moroccan seat; maroc means maghreb. In other words, the skins made by our Moroccan Muslim brothers were so beautiful that they found fame. There are also muslin socks. Muslin is the name given to very thin fabrics made in Mosul. That’s why these were called muslin socks. So, everything is the same. Medical science, physics, chemistry and other sciences all developed from contact with Muslims.
Then, there is industrial revolution, that is, the communities that increase production and engage in its marketing, and here too there was progress and development...
Now they were communities of knowledge, societies of knowledge. When the Europeans became familiar with the world, they established academies, science academies. They established academies because is not possible to grasp such things so easily. They began to allocate large amounts of money, collect all kinds of information from all over the world, encyclopedists began to appear, and all kinds of information and knowledge was gathered. And eventually they realized that this information was so vast, so extensive, and so useful that they tended towards this in a broader sense, and focused on this even more.
Since not only gathering information, but receiving and transferring information is a very important issue, it is said that the communities of people have become “information societies”, that is, societies of communication. The United States is conducting research-studies on a subject, England is working on a subject in laboratories, Japan, Germany and Russia is also carrying out such research. Sometimes we see a Russian discovers something concerning the same subject, but the others have no idea of this. Sometimes an American discovers something, sometimes a German discovers something, sometimes Japanese... And they steal this information from each other. Thieving, hijacking, gathering information; obtaining information regardless of the means is what they call espionage.
In fact, what we call communication is part of people's daily lives. It is an activity that occurred both among former societies and societies of the present. Many of our activities are actually based on communication. Our speech, signaling one another, correspondence, advice, sermons, articles etc.. These are all means of communication.
Europeans, Americans and Westerners understand the importance of communication. Books are even written on this issue. Specialized training is also given on the importance of communication and its usage methods, because the precondition for the organization of societies and forming a society is communication. Thus, without communication a perfect society, a perfect organization is not possible.
As you know, the Cyprus Operation was carried out. During the Cyprus Operation, a Turkish ship was sunk with bombs from Turkish planes. This is an example for us all demonstrating the huge costs of the lack of communication; error, and ignorance. Men, the crew were signaling from the deck of the destroyer “We are Turks!” Pilots of the Turkish airplanes said, “These are raising Turkish flags but they are really Greek; gosh, they are going to Cyprus to help the Greeks” so they continued to rain bombs. Who knows how many people died? So, we do not really know what happened. It’s a terrible example of miscommunication.
Philosophers described humans in various ways. One of them described humans as homo-economicus, in other words, the entity occupied in economic activities and who has a very strong economic aspect. We came to such a point now that we should say “homo-informaticus.” In other words, humans have become an existence who run their activities based on communication.
In this respect, we are facing an enormous explosion in technology. If the Ottoman Empire had this technology, it certainly would not have collapsed. It wasn’t able to communicate with the Balkans. But now, if a trivial incident happens somewhere in the world, news of this can be heard easily. With the pictures taken from a satellite, even a single ear of wheat in the field is visible. Even the species of wheat can be determined. When the photographs are enlarged, it is clear whether it is wheat, barley, oat, poppy or something else that was planted in the field. This is why satellites were launched into the sky. Television developed, it began to enter every house, then it became colored. It was portrayed so attractively to our people, and the government transferred this to the private sector to the extent that the village women sold their bracelets and gold to buy one. Television, video, music sets found their way into every house. There are various stages of information and communication. First, there is the generation of knowledge; there is the issue of discovering through scientific studies, researches, discoveries. Secondly, there is a matter of storing this information. Methods were also developed in this respect. Libraries in America have become so developed that you can even find paragraphs on a subject in the library to identify the names of books. So, if you're researching any topic and you know the keywords of that topic, you can find from which page of the book it begins to which page it ends.
University libraries are also connected to computers in homes. In other words, the student can reach the library from his seat, he can go through the pages of a book in the library simply by pressing buttons, no matter if the library is opened or closed, whether this is during working hours or not. This is the dimensions information has reached. Its storage has even reached astonishing dimensions. If you become a member today by paying a certain fee, you can also reach the library's branches using a computer from Turkey to America, you can use the books, you can find the necessary materials for your research.
This communication industry was established by the world's major news agencies, it is under their control. They made each country their subscribers. Private individuals could not easily subscribe to these because their fees had to be paid in cash and it was very expensive. The countries are their subscribers, and that’s how they make such great money, a great profit. Every day countries purchase news from these. And indirectly, this comes out of your or my money, our pockets.
And if they receive 1% news of their news from abroad, they export 5% of their news. And you are obliged to listen to the information they give. So, you are obliged to read their stories. You are informed with their news, and you are ignorant of the news they do not share. You’re being directed the wrong way because of the news they provide. So are the newspapers. Newspapers also subscribe to them; they write what they hear from these news sources. Therefore, they have taken control of the world in terms of information, management and transmission.
With organizations of this kind, currently the thing we call communication has come to the point that it occupies a prime role in our lives today. Maybe this is not the case with you. As you are Muslims, you have a particular frame of mind; you have the ability to filter information, you do not believe everything you hear; you learn different information from several sources, but this is not the case with 99.9% of the people. Most nations are not in this position; there is Africa, Asia, there are many undeveloped countries. These countries grow up with their tales of history, while the western culture exploits and invades the world with modern exploitation. Communication is the most important means of cultural invasion.
We want to serve the religion of Allah and gain Allah’s approval. It is our duty to guide people to the unity of Allah’s existence. We have the duty of enjoining good and prohibiting wrong. It is our duty to talk, defeat and persuade the enemies of Islam. In which case, we are the society that needs communication the most. In fact, bringing the communication mechanism to this level should have been accomplished by Islamic societies, because their duties were guidance and conveying the message of Islam. But they failed to achieve this. Since this is about technological development-underdevelopment, the others succeeded and took control of the world before we did.
So, we need to change our opinion of communication and the way we engage in communication. We also need to increase the budget we spend on communication activities way beyond the normal extent.
My dear brothers and sisters! Islamic societies fail to understand this problem. Islamic societies - we can openly say- are currently diseased. That is, they are diseased in terms of Islamic awareness. They have been influenced by other cultures. Those who read have grown up with foreign cultures, western culture. Those who do not read are completely deprived of Western culture. But there are very few people who are solely concerned with Islam, who work for Islam, and see all the issues from the Islamic perspective. There are very few people who can understand the true severity of issues.
Islamic societies are diseased. And again, the cure for the disease is communication. Because you will teach, you will explain the mistakes of others; you will give them correct information so they can learn. The enemies of Islam are on the attack. The Muslims are diseased, and the enemies of Islam are scheming a terrible attack, both from the inside and outside.
The phenomenon of information, communication; is to obtain information, to collect, to be informed, to transfer this information to the public -what we call mass media- and transfer this information to all masses through non-formal education, formal education and all kinds of education. This is informing the public; to modernize, to bring them to the level of a society of information, of communication. If there has been a new innovation, a discovery in Japan, then we should hear about this immediately. If there has been a new innovation, a discovery in Germany, then we must be in a position where we will hear about this immediately.
If we fail to succeed in accomplishing this, in the future we will suffer major difficulties. Our grandchildren will have no knowledge of Islam.
This is the duty that Allah expects, ascribes to us, and this is our duty…
* Compiled from Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es’ad Cosan’s Ankara speech dated 25.09.1992
Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi (GAP): Fırat-Dicle Havzası ile yukarı Mezopotamya ovalarında yer alan 9 ili (Adıyaman, Batman, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Kilis, Mardin, Siirt, Şanlıurfa, Şırnak) kapsayan projeye verilen ad.
“Islam is the Religion of Communication”
Professor Dr. Mahmud Es’ad Coşan (Rh.a)