Reis ul-ulema of Bosnia, His Eminence Dr. Mustafa Ceric
Talk in English delivered at Muslim Community Association November 3, 1997
|You are expecting for me to say how the state and situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina is. In one word, I can tell you. The situation is better than our enemies would like, and it is worse than our friends would like. So we would encourage our friends to help us improve, so that they also be happy. And who are the enemies of Bosnia-Herzegovina? The enemies of Bosnia-Herzegovina are those who are enemies of good, who are enemies of multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-national life, and who think that only one nation and one religion and one people can live on this planet. We are told in the Quran so many times, "If God wanted, he could create you to be one nation, but he wanted you to be different nations so that you can repeat." But Allah (swt) told us in the Quran as well, "You have been the best people in history," Why? "Because you were enjoining good and forbidding evil." So this principal of Islam is a universal principal that every Muslim should adopt. And we should, as Muslims, find and fight the evil wherever it is, and we should fight for good, and adopt the good, wherever it comes from. Therefore, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, we have experienced as a Muslim nation, as the Bosnian nation, with this Muslim identity, a great test. We were attacked, we were subject to genocide, our women and children were raped, our people were expelled from their homes, our mosques have been destroyed. By who? By evil people who did this, with no other reason than to expel and to hurt and to humiliate those who say that "our Lord is one God, and we want to worship Him". So those who helped us, during this trial, they didn't help a particular people, they helped the good. I am sure that Allah (swt), the Creator of the universe, will reward them for their effort and for their care of the people called Bosnian who were attacked and who were under great pressure to give up their religion.|
with Shaykh Hisham Kabbani,
Chairman of As-Sunna Foundation of America
I heard so many times that Islam has been spread by swords, because Islam is pictured in the West--not only in the West but also even in the East--as the religion of terrorism, fanaticism and so on. From what we have experienced in Bosnia we can say, that this argument, that Islam is spread by the sword is not right. Because they used the sword ON US to convert and to make us leave Islam, but we stood up and said, "No, we will not give up our Islam, but we will fight to stay and to be as we are." So the argument, that Islam is the religion of force is a false argument.
Of course Islam is the religion of force, but a different kind of force. The force that is called truth and justice. Because truth is the biggest force in the whole universe, and justice is the biggest force in the whole universe, and love is the biggest force in the universe. So Islam has force, but not the force of the sword, not the force of killing, not the force of bloodshed, but the force of beauty. Truth is beauty, and justice is beauty.
So of the two principles and two tasks, that our Prophet Mohammed (saw), as the last prophet to mankind had, the first was to create mental health in mankind, and the mental health is to believe in one God, whom you cannot describe, who is not begotten and did not beget anything, who cannot be resembled by anything or anyone, who is the God of all people, the same God. Because there is no Christian God, and Muslim God and Jewish God and Buddhist God. There is only one Creator, whose name is, as He told us it is, the Creator of the Universe and every thing.
So, Prophet Mohammed (saw) had the duty to bring us this mental health, so that if we are mentally healthy we will spread this health to others. And the second task of the Prophet (saw) was to establish justice on this planet, among the people. So when you have health in your mind, you will spread this health in the community, and when you have this community, which is based on justice, then the community is healthy. Then justice will produce love, cooperation, respect, harmony, and peace.
Therefore, Islam has two great tasks on this planet. It is to always be a witness to the truth of God, and to be a witness to justice among the people in the community. So, we posses a document, called the Quran, the last revelation from God, and we have the duty, as muslims, to carry out this revelation, this document to every one. This is the only legitimate document that we have. We have lost the institution of Khalifate, we have lost the institution of waqf, we lost many other institutions that we had in history, and we lost the unity, but we are united by one institution that could not be destroyed by the greatest tyrants in the earth. Many, many rulers wanted to change something in the Quran, but they couldn't.
So, we are the possessors of this document and we have the duty to present this document to every one, and every one has the right to share the happiness and the knowledge of this document. This document is the last revelation of God, which is the Quran , which was presented and reported by the last prophet, Prophet Mohammed (saw), which is the legitimate document which we have to adhere and listen, and which we have a contract with God, between man and God, as it is said in the Quran, "It was before the time that God invited Adam (as) and his progeny, and asked them, 'Am I not your Sustainer and your Creator?' They said, 'Yes, You are.'" [7: 172] So this was registered in his mind and in his genes, so every human being is born with this memory. Some loose this memory, some sustain this memory, and the Prophet Mohammed (saw), when he came, in the beginning of the 7th century, he didn't do anything but remind people of this first original, legitimate covenant between the Creator and the creature.
We are creatures of the Creator. We are not monkeys who are brought to this planet by chance. No, we Know where we belong to, this is why those who believe that their origin is from monkeys are imitating monkeys, which is to play at games. But those who know their origin is from God, the Creator, they like to imitate all of the good attributes of God, which is to be good, to be truthful, to be faithful, to be as what you are supposed to be, and you are supposed to be creatures, and you have the Creator.
So with these thoughts, I am sure that you who are living now in the United States in this great city of San Jose, that your duty is, wherever you go, first of all to be good examples. Because we cannot spread Islam by words, we can spread it by good examples. But why should we spread Islam? Because, if we don't do this, we are selfish. Islam is like a light, and every one has a right to enjoin and to share this light. We muslims sometimes are selfish and we don't want others to feel this light that is there.
You see, even those who are against Islam, are living on Islam. For example, Salman Rushdie is living on Islam because he would not be famous if he didn't attack our Prophet (saw). So, attacking Islam, meaning gaining some wealth, and those who attack Islam live on Islam and those who work for Islam also live on Islam. So this is a mercy that is being given to us and we have to appreciate it.
So dear brothers and sisters, I pray to Allah to guide us all on the right path, to give us strength, to give us wisdom, and to give us the sense of responsibility as we are entering the second millennium. We don't believe in the clashes of civilizations, we don't believe in the clashes of religions, we believe in the clashes of civilization and non-civilization. That's right, that we can accept: we believe in clashes between religion and non-religion, we believe in the clashes between good and evil, because it happens all the time. But we don't believe in the clashes of civilizations or clashes of religions. So we should look to the future with optimism, because there some people who are spreading pessimism among mankind. Saying that this is the end of history, the end of all civilization, the bad end. No one knows for sure when the end is except the One, the One who created the earth. He knows when the end is. It is up to us to work and God will judge. The salvation is in us, and the judgement is outside of us. So we have to prepare ourselves that the judgement of our deeds be good, and that we may pass our final exams. After all, we are all going there, whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not. May God give us faith, and give us optimism in the future and give us faith in the goodness of mankind.