The greatest disaster destroying the civilization perception of Islam and its image in our time and day is Daesh. The other religions and ideologies that consider Islam as an enemy, even they have not done such great harm.
Today, people associate Islam with poverty, ignorance, violence, terrorism and death. It is unfortunate that this perception and image is becoming increasingly widespread not only among Western communities, but also among Muslims.
Daesh’s violence in Iraq and Syria, their massacres, the terrorist attacks they committed in many countries, primarily Turkey, have estranged people from religion.
The Islamic civilization which was once shown as an alternative to the deep crisis in the West does not even come to anybody’s mind today.
THE GREATEST HARM TO ISLAM WAS DONE BY DAESH AND FETÖ
In Turkey, in addition to the Daesh disaster we need to add the Fetullah Terror Organization (FETÖ) disaster as well. The deeds of the FETÖ members, who have turned into murderous and ruthless robots, their killing our people during the coup attempt without batting an eye was a major blow to the Islamic understanding, perception of Muslims and to religious life.
As a result, there is a generation that is becoming estranged from religion, as a matter of fact, that is fast following in the direction of becoming deists and atheists.
A long period of time and intense efforts are going to be required to eliminate the damage caused by the Daesh and FETÖ mentalities, which do not represent Islam and are 100 percent contrary to traditional Islamic teachings. The depth and broadness of the damage will become clearer with time.
HOW DID THE IDEA OF ART AGAINST DAESH EMERGE?
I want to talk about a team that is contemplating this topic and is making efforts. This is an idea developed by calligrapher and intellectual Hüseyin Kutlu through years of efforts.
Kutlu’s philosophy can be summarized as:
“What represents Islamic civilization is knowledge and art.
Knowledge is symbolized by its holy book, the Quran, and art is symbolized by calligraphy. All values produced by our civilization for humanity have been manifested in these two symbols.”
He shares this view, for more than 30 years, with the students he has raised. He is raising new calligraphers, illuminators and music lovers.
He teaches that Islam is represented by knowledge and art, not by Daesh, FETÖ and other similar terrorist organizations, and he says that we proved this with the great civilization we established. “As the children of a lost civilization, we need to rediscover those values, we need to bring them out again and teach them to our children. Muslims cannot progress in any other way.” This is what he thinks.
TWO IMPORTANT PROJECTS IN THE FIELD OF ART
I have also been a part of this ideology for the last five years. I could not be an artist. To console me, Kutlu says, “You are the artist of communication.” I try to motivate myself as part of a team that is striving to reveal the treasures of a lost civilization.
We are carrying out two very important projects. One of them is the Islamic Civilization Art Garden we are establishing in Istanbul’s Beykoz district. I believe it is going to be Turkey’s biggest and most prominent Islamic arts center. This center is going to be opened in spring. It is going to contain many areas ranging from classic dervish lodges and mosques to Ottoman tents, to Andalusia garden examples and healing plant varieties.
The other is the Quran writing project, which Mr. Kutlu considers as the summary of his life. A new copy of the Quran, consisting of examples of the most important Qurans written in Islamic history, is being written. I will write on this important topic later.
We are raising students in both locations: at the art garden in Beykoz and at the library in Hekimoğlu Ali Paşa Camii complex located in Koca Mustafa Paşa. We have 600-700 students receiving training in all areas of traditional arts, in classical style and discipline.
WE HAVE AN OFFER FOR YOU
We have courses in 23 different areas, including calligraphy, illumination, water marbling, music theory, ethics, Ottoman Turkish, music, computer-supported art design. I guess there is no need to mention that each teacher is a gem.
I am telling you about this so that if you are sick of pure enmity, slogans and shallowness, if you want to do something, you too can start doing something like this. If you object to Islam being associated with ignorance, violence and terrorism. You have in front of you an area through which you can show how strong of a civilization Islam actually is.
We chose to explain the deep, established and respectable civilization we have through traditional arts. We are calling you to be a part of this too. You can visit our website (biksad.com) for information on our activities, join courses and become a part of this ideology. If not, you can become an audience and add a different viewpoint, a different meaning to your life.
The best response we can give Daesh, FETÖ and similar mentalities is the science and art that Islamic civilization possesses.