An open letter to Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz - YASIN AKTAY

An open letter to Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz

I want to address you in this holy month of Ramadan, without any official title, as a poor servant of the two holy cities, Mecca and Medina, of which you are protector. As you know, the guardianship of these holy cities is a noble job. As you know, it does not consist solely of the maintenance and repair of the two cities, and what is more important, it also a responsibility toward all the members of the Muslim community who deem the place sacred.

These two noble cities are the two holy houses of all Muslims, and by assuming its guardianship, you are burdened with a grave task that requires you to feel responsible if even a single hair on a Muslim’s head were to be harmed.

The great wealth and blessings God has granted you give you more than ample opportunities to fulfill this responsibility to the fullest. The tragic contradiction between the wealth under your responsibility and the state of Muslims suffering from starvation and poverty across the world draws everyone’s attention. It is God, the owner of the two holy cities of which you are protector, that rules that the poor have a right over the wealth we own.

Let’s move on. Let Muslims continue to starve, God is the All-Giving. He is the one that gives us the opportunity to reach out and help the less fortunate and hence purify ourselves and elevate our status as Muslims. Those who take advantage of that opportunity will have rescued and purified themselves. Otherwise, of course God is the provider, we are just missing out on the opportunity.

Dear protector of the two holy cities;

I address you in this manner, because I want to warn you against a great danger that is currently approaching you. This threat is dragging both your worldly life and your life in the Hereafter to a great disaster. Please be very sure that I want your well-being and happiness alone. I do not have the slightest enmity toward you. However, as a brotherly duty towards you, I am warning you that what you personally and recently announced you would do is going to bring great disaster to you.

Your son, the crown prince, may not like me at all because of the issue of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered at the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, Turkey. He might be striving to present me as an enemy towards you and your country. But I would like to say in all sincerity, I swear to God, we never ever wished for ill-fortune to befall you. We never considered demanding justice in the Khashoggi matter as a way of committing an act of evil toward you. There is the case of a person who was cruelly and savagely murdered. It is a necessity of justice to find and punish whoever killed him or had him killed. Justice, when served, is what will revive us, even if it is against our self and loved ones. Why should we not respond to the call of God and His Messenger to that which will revive us?

What will bring disaster to you will never make us happy. We will be more upset than you, be sure of this.

That which will bring disaster to you is executing Islamic scholars, which was recently announced. Scholars are the inheritors of prophets, and each scholar is a world on their own. The death of a scholar is like the death of the world. The killing of a scholar is like the killing of the world.

Let us remember a command written for the children of Israel: He who kills one man is no different than one who kills all of humanity. For Cane, who killed humanity, the crime he committed brought disaster upon him and he was the first to lose.

You know very well that killing a scholar is like killing a prophet. The children of Israel were damned for unjustly killing their own prophets; and since then they haven't been able to recuperate, and were exiled from one place to another. Do not think they are at ease today. Even though they may make the “deal of the century” or the deal of the millennium, they will reap nothing but disappointment.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying pardon the scholars and do not kill them. I am simply saying do not sacrifice yourself by killing them.

I recently had the chance to meet Salman al-Awdah in person. I read his books and listened to his speeches. I swear to God, he does not bear a grain of the extravagance you attributed to him. While your official scholars were encouraging people to wage jihad in Afghanistan, he said, “What business do Saudi youth have in Afghanistan?” and stated there was no such way to wage jihad. While your official scholars claimed women were prohibited from driving, he said Muslim women rode camels and horses back in the time of our prophet, and that he did not understand why this was any different from driving a car. It was your official scholars that indoctrinated animosity when they said Muslims can never be friends with non-Muslims, while he said that being kind to and getting along well with non-Muslims who do not have animosity towards you, and co-existing in peace with them is the command of God.

The claim of extremism toward Salman al-Awdah is a great slander. On the contrary, he is an extremely sympathetic and logical Islamic scholar who has made Islam appealing to youth and modern-day people with his familiar discourse.

Dear guardian of Islam’s two holy cities;

I sense you say, “My citizens and country’s internal affairs are none of your business.” Of course. We will neither intervene nor meddle in your internal affairs with respect to any other topic. It is not our concern and we will respect it. However, the matter of Islamic scholars is not an internal affair. The scholars in question are assets who are acknowledged and revered by the whole Muslim community. They are not your subjects; they are our common treasures, whose advice we heed, and who are beacons of light with their knowledge and stance. The sin of detaining them even an hour in the dungeon, let alone executing them, is enough to destroy an entire life.

You follow Ahmad bin Hanbal’s school of thought. You know very well about his patience toward those who made him go through his well-known struggle, and who emerged victorious at the end of all it.

Dear Honorable King.

Your official scholars accuse Turkey day and night of dreaming about an Ottoman caliphate, and of having enmity towards Saudi Arabia, thus adding fuel to the fire of disorder. I am telling you in all frankness, I swear in the name of God, Turkey is not an enemy of Saudi Arabia. Be sure of Turkey. You will not be harmed by Turkey.

If you are disturbed by Turkey’s claim to the matters of the Muslim world, then please, you lay claim to them; if there is any such power or leadership arising from this, you can have it. I swear to God, you will only see respect and appreciation from Turkey in such a case, and nothing else. But let it be known that there is a mountain of problems requiring a solution in the Muslim world; let us solve them together.

Dear Honorable King.

Do yourself a favor in this holy month of Ramadan.

End the cruelty against the Ahmad bin Hanbals in your dungeons. Believe me, such torture will not harm them at all. Each of them has already been transformed into a hero. You may execute them or continue to hold them captive; they will go down in the pages of history and their souls will continue to harrow over those who did this to them for generations to come. Any kindness on your part will not be for them but will benefit you, be sure of it. Thus, may you be saved from the curse of the tribes that killed their prophets.

May God grant you success in all your endeavors that comply with His approval and bless you with a long life.

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