Opinion – Azhar Vadi – July 30, 2012
Are you one of the thousands if not millions of people who have read books written by an author called Harun Yahya? The chances are that if you haven’t perused one of the gloriously illustrated publications released under this author’s name, you have at least seen his books in many of the mushrooming Islamic stores and festivals around the world. But who is this man, what does he stand for and should we be reading his works?
To start off, Harun Yahya is a pen name, a pseudonym or fake name used by a man, Adnan Oktar who was born in 1956 in Ankara, Turkey. He has become one of the most widely read writers in the world with seemingly endless amounts of finances as he gives away books for free and much of his work is downloadable without any charge.
His popularity amongst Muslims can be attributed to his staunch view denouncing evolution and the use the Qur’an to disprove many of the theories propagated by modern science. His ideas have found fertile ground in the minds of Muslims, who for decades were unable to effectively counter the growing trend of Darwinism.
An alimah (female Islamic scholar) who graduated from an esteemed Islamic Seminary in Kwazulu-Natal recently told me about how she would voraciously consume the writings of Oktar, as supplementary reading material to the traditional courses on offer.
“At least two of my Moulanas (teachers) encouraged me to read the books of Harun Yahya. We never thought anything to be out of place as we read one book after the other. They even told us to watch his movies.”
But nothing could be further from the truth. Oktar’s true beliefs and understanding of world politics are laid bare in his very TV programmes and writings widely available on the internet.
In many of his studio interviews he is surrounded by a bevy of voluptuous young women dripping with more makeup than clothes, slurping up every word falling from his tongue. In their presence he discusses topics relating to Jannah and Jahannum, makes reference to the Messenger Muhammad (SAW), extracts Islamic rulings and makes predictions about the future based on the teachings of Islam.
Oktar also holds the belief that Muslims, Jews and Christians will all live in harmony towards the end of times. Available on his website are many video uploads in which he communicates only in the Turkish language. In this particular video entitled, “ Israel Channel 10 TV asks Mr. Adnan Oktar about the acceptance of Israel in the Muslim world”, Oktar justifies the occupation of Palestine.
He is asked by a questioner via video link up: “Tell me , you know that there was criticism about Palestinians are not willing to accept Israel as a Jewish state[sic]. What do you think about this concept?”
He answers: “Would such mindset be plausible? Those lands [Palestine] are the lands of your grandfathers, all the prophets. They belong to those forefathers of yours who were the prophets. Their graves are in those lands. Everything you possess are there. You will surely live there. In the Qur’an too Allah designated those lands to you. It is your land. You will live there in quite ease and beauty. It is out of the question. Allah settled you there. You will surely be there; as free people and at utter ease. You will be entitled to live freely everywhere in the world. The tension over you will be completely diffused. Because we are in the time of King Messaiah. The suffering of the Palestinians will also come to an end. The tension over our Arab brothers and all the Islamic world will be defused. And an age of peace and ease will come. You will see this.”
Oktar also speaks quite openly of his approval of pop singer, Madonna. At the age of 53 she is considered to be one of the “25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century” by Time magazine for being an influential figure in contemporary music. Her life is far from acceptable under Islamic rulings. She is an avid follower of the Kabbalah. The modern-day presentation of Kabbalah was developed by its current leader, Philip Berg (a traditionally trained orthodox rabbi who had left the religious clergy and became an insurance salesman before learning Kabbalah) and his wife, Karen Berg. The Kabbalah Centre includes Jewish and non-Jewish teachers and students. More information is available here.
Oktar has gone out of his way to try and justify some kind of goodness in Madonna, a person totally rejected by the Islamic faith. “When we met, we talked about love. The love of people for one another…We talked mainly about love with Madonna in that occasion. About loving everyone in the world; feeling affection, whether one is Christian or a Jew, whoever he may be. Let us approach everyone with compassion…You would be left breathless if you ever saw the respect they showed me. They showed tremendous respect despite the fact that I am Muslim. They believe in Kabbalah. They are presented by some as anti-Islam. Then what is this respect they showed to me? What is the affection they show me? They [followers of Kabbalah] want to cooperate with us for the reign of peace, of brotherhood in the world. They do not want any race or any religion to reign in the world. They do not want any mischief. They want Hazrat Mahdi to appear. They say they are followers of Mahdi and that they lay basis for Mahdi.”
It is very difficult to reconcile the presentation and understanding of Oktar with major teachings of Islam. Beware and conscious who you take your religious teachings from.