"Ümitvar olunuz, şu istikbal inkılâbı içinde en yüksek gür sada İslâm'ın sadası olacaktır."

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Said Nursi´s writings touch not only our mind but also our hearts

30 Eylül 2019, Pazartesi 12:16
Said Nursi´s works make people think about God and His existence and blessings in a beautiful way. His writings touch not only our mind but also our hearts and are very important for the human being nowadays and in the future too. I hope that more and more people will know him not only in the West but in the whole world too.

Yusuf Fernandez

İnterviewer: Erhan Akkaya

We had a brief conversation with Yusuf Fernandez, a Spanish Muslim and risale-i Nur translator who came to Istanbul for an international meeting, about his being a Muslim and his recognition of Bediüzzaman's works. Yusuf Fernandez was born in Spain, grew up in a Christian family, and became a Muslim by abandoning Christianity because he could not find answers to his questions. After that, he recognized Bediüzzaman and Risale-i Nur, and not only did he know them, he started to translate these works into Spanish. Fernandez, who has worked in various NGOs to promote Islam in Spain, also tries to serve Islam through the internet. On Friday, Fernandez and I had a Friday prayer at the Şehzadebaşı mosque, where we had the opportunity to chat in Istanbul. Fernandez also stated that he would speed up the translation of the Risale-i Nur into Spanish. Şemsettin Türkan and Faruk Çakir were also present during our conversation.

Could you introduce yourself for our readers?

I am a converted Muslim. I am secretary of the Muslim Federation of Spain. And I am member of the Islamic Commission of Spain, which is the body representing Muslims before the Spanish state. We negotiate with the Spanish state things such as, for example, visits by imams to hospitals, prisons and military quarters to give Islamic assistance to people there. We also promote Islamic education at schools in Spain. In Spain there is religious education at public schools and Catholics have taught their religion there for centuries.

In 1992, three agreements between the Spanish State and Islamic, Jewish and Protestant organizations were signed. They were all passed by the Parliament and became laws. That means that Muslims have the right to have Islamic İslâmic classes at publics school if there are enough applications by students. 

As a law, the Spanish state and regional governments are both obliged to respect it. But for years this law was not implemented and now we are still fighting to have Islamic classes at primary and high schools.

I think that the Spanish state is now more interested in implementing the agreement because the number of Muslims is growing. In Spain there are almost 2 million Muslims and more than 1.000 mosques. The number is increasing because of the immigration coming to Spain especially from Morocco and Africa. Secondly, we have to take into account the children of these immigrants, who have the Spanish nationality, and thirdly, there is a growing number of Spanish people converted to Islam. Due to all that, most Muslims in Spain have the Spanish nationality currently.

Many media still try to present Muslims as foreigners. But this is untrue because most Muslims are Spanish.

There are some media who attacks Muslims and promote Islamophobia all time in Spain and other parts of Europe. And there are also radical right-wing parties who try to gather support by attacking Muslims. In a recent election in Andalucia, a big region in the south of Spain, a radical party won 12 deputes in the regional parlament having 109 deputes.

Unfortunately, in all Europe anti-Muslim forces are gaining support at a time when Muslims are growing too. I think that this situation forces Muslims to participate in politics in their respective countries. Muslims should also become members of parties in order to protect their values and interests.

How and when did you became a Muslim?

My family relatives were all Christians. I live in Madrid, but I was born in Asturias, a northern region in Spain. It was one of the few regions in the country that were not incorporated to Al Andalus (the Muslim State) when Muslims conquered almost all the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century.

The Christianity in Europe is rapidly declining. Most Christian people do not practice their religion. I also left the Catholic church when I was 15 but I still believed in God.

I was member of an association of friendship with Palestine and I met some Muslims there. But my real contact with Islam was through books. Later, I met some Muslims from Spain and other countries so I started to know Islam. I saw that Islam was a very strong and easy religion.

In Christianity they worship Jesus like a god but I learned that in Islam Jesus is not god but he is God´s prophet. I did not believe that a human being can be a god so Islam sounded very logical to me. I think that Islam is the religion of logic and reason.

I became Muslim on 21 June 1989. I was very young that time and I have been member of İslâmic organizations and done Islamic work for almost 30 years.

When and how did you meet Bediüzzaman and Risale-i Nur?

I met a Turkish friend, Şemseddin Turkan, during a travel to Libya and he gave me some books about Bediüzzaman. This was my first contact with the Risale-i Nur. And then I met other Turkish people in Madrid and I read some books by Bediüzzaman. But most of information I obtained was in English in Internet because there are few things translated into Spanish.

I have translated some parts of Risale-i Nur, especially some parts of the first Ten Words and some books on Said Nursi´s life. I also cooperate as a translator with a Turkish website publishing Said Nursi´s works in the Spanish language.

When did you start to translate Risale-i Nur?

Since a previous visit to Istanbul four years ago I have been translating Risale-i Nur from English into Spanish and I am studying now Turkish in the Madrid Autonoma University to translate books from Turkish language too. 

How many books have you translated so far?

I have translated 4 books and hundreds of articles. Most of them have been published in the Turkish site in Spanish.

I participated in a conference in Istanbul about Said Nursi´s works and we have held an event in Madrid about Said Nursi too. I plan to organize another conference in Madrid on Said Nursi´s thought next year.

What do you think about Said Nursi and his works?

I think that Said Nursi´s writings are very interesting for Muslims and people in general nowadays. He explains the Holy Qurán´s verses in a clear and deep way and he shows you how you can know God and see his works in this world. He does it in a very logical way and invites people to reason and think.

For example, he explains that the human beings´ bodies are very perfect and complex, much more than the most sophisticated machines. Our eyes and ears are very complex mechanisms and it is impossible that they are the result of a coincidence. The mathematic probabilities for a simple cell to be created by itself by coincidente is one against many trillions. That is, it is impossible.

Not only that. The Earth´s atmosphere has an ozone layer that is protecting us from the sun´s radiation. If it were a bit thinner, there would not have been life on the Earth. And many other thousands of things being necessary for life are present in our world. They are all too complex and sophisticated to be a coincidence and if some of them did not exist, there could not be life in our planet either. Is all this a coincidence? Of course not. It would be like saying that a computer or a smart phone can appear by themselves on a rocky mountain after some time. Nobody could believe that! However, some men prefer to forget these things and refuse to think about.

Said Nursi´s works make people think about God and His existence and blessings in a beautiful way. His writings touch not only our mind but also our hearts and are very important for the human being nowadays and in the future too. I hope that more and more people will know him not only in the West but in the whole world too.

Which books did you read from Risale-i Nur Collection?

I have read Sözler (Words)

How can Western people understand the benefits of the Islamic religion?

In our time, we need to give logical answer to questions that people are asking. Christianity is declining in the West and many societies there are now deeply secular. There are many people who believe in God but they do not know how this belief can be used to improve their lives. 

In our days, many people in the West are looking for a guide because they feel their lives are empty and hollow. I think Muslims should let them know Islam is a real solution for them because it gives them the rational answers to understand our world and universe and the beliefs that will make them happy in this life and the Hereafter.

What kind of problems do Muslims have? What is your opinion?

First of all, Muslims have to follow Islamic teachings and reject extremist ideologies that separate them from the rest of people and misguide them. Muslims should follow the Prophet Muhammad´s teachings saying that a Muslim is a person with whom a neighbour feels safe. Unfortunately, some Muslims coming to Western countries and are not interested in improving their image as group or the image of Islam by developing links with the societies of the countries where they live.

Muslims should focus on educating the new generations in Islamic values. Some do not know how to do so and, as a result, many young Muslims lose their beliefs or become radicalized people giving a bad image of Islam. Education is a very important issue for Muslims, especially in the West.

What do you think about the radicalism?

Radicalism is a problem for Muslims in all the world, especially for Muslims whose knowledge of Islam is low or incomplete. Radical people leave the right way and become misguided although they wrongly think that they are right. I think a good Islamic education and knowledge ared needed in order to fight against radicalism.

Radical people also play in the hands of the enemies of Islam who take advantage of radical groups to present a false image of Islam as a religion of chaos and violence and demonize Islam.

What do you think about Turkey and Turkish people?

I love Turkey. Turkish people are friendly, nice and highly educated. Turkey is a leading Muslim country and its activities can make people in the whole world understand Islam better and help Muslims in the West to fight against Islamophobia and bias.

For Turkish version: İspanyol Müslüman Yusuf Fernandez: Radikalizmle mücadele bilgi ile olur

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