"If you intend to exterminate and win the right to kill every human being who is not a believer, than you have to change this part of Quran," an Islamic scholar told SETimes.
By Linda Karadaku for the Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 18/08/14
A man reads the Quran at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Muslims throughout southeast Europe and Turkey are opposed to efforts by ISIL to change the Quran to fit the terrorist group's philosophies. [AFP]
Islamic scholars and Muslims in southeast Europe and Turkey are rejecting changes to the Quran that the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) is attempting to make by removing what it calls "distorted" passages.
Scholars in the region are outraged by the changes, which they say is an attempt by ISIL to modify the Quran to serve its extremist agenda.
"At a time when it is said that the Quran has come out from the messenger of Allah … and who are those that have the right to change the verses of the Quran… Those who have stained their hands with the blood of innocent people. Their statements are really, very, very humiliating in general for those people who believe in the Muslim religion," Florije Ferati, a Kosovo citizen from Gjilan, told SETimes.
"The Quran is our holy and unchangeable book. According to it we live and pray. This is not something that should be adapted to people, but people need to adapt to it," Mirza Polovina, 57, told SETimes as she left the Bajrlakli mosque in Belgrade.
Esad Dzudzevic, president of the Bosniak National Council in Serbia, agreed. "The Quran is a book that should be respected and adhered to, not to be changed," Dzudzevic told SETimes.
"The Quran is the word of God. If you change any part of it, it wouldn't be the Quran anymore," Serdar Korucu, a 30-year-old news editor in Turkey, told SETimes.
Resul Rexhepi, general secretary for the Islamic Community in Kosovo, said the originality of the Quran has been protected for 14 centuries.
"Nobody has touched, not even a letter, not a word and not a verse of the Quran. Protecting the Quran in its original or identical form as it came down is guaranteed from the mighty Allah himself. Therefore, if somebody said or pretended, be it even from the so-called ISIL, that they would touch or change even a single word or a letter of the Quran, he cannot do that. Above all, he who only tries to do something like that … is not Muslim," Rexhepi told SETimes.
Genti Kruja, director of culture and editor-in-chief for "Zani I Nalte" (The Loud Voice) in the Islamic Community in Albania, said changes to the Quran are forbidden.
"In order to preserve this text without any mistake, the Prophet forbid people to write something else religious, as were his words, which have been memorised and written after the Prophet passed away," Kruja told SETimes.
Mehmet Vehbi Guler, retired Imam from Turkey's presidency of religious affairs, Diyanet, had a similar reaction to ISIL's actions.
"The Quran is a miraculous book. In no sense you can touch it. In no sense can you touch any of its periods, any of its commas. Any intervention would damage the meaning, would destroy the meaning. It is very sensitive. In Arabic there are 'hı' and 'ha' letters. You can read a sentence which means 'God created the world' with 'hı' and a dot on top of it. When you omit the dot on the letter 'hı' the sentence would mean, 'God destroyed the world, '" he told SETimes.
"I am 100 percent sure that the Quran will not be changed. ISIL won't succeed on that. I recommend to my brothers and sisters to read the Quran approved by the Turkey's presidency of religious affairs, Diyanet. At the end of each approved Quran, there is a stamp proving it. Please do not read any other Quran that has not passed from the examination of Diyanet," he said.
The media quoted the Afaq al-Iraq television network that ISIL wants to omit a verse in El-Kafirun that is addressed to non-believers and concludes with the words, "you have your religion, whereas I have my religion."
"In this verse, it is clearly stressed that anyone can believe in his religion. Muslims believe in Islam, Buddhists in Buddha, and Christians in Christianity, etc. This is one of the arguments for the religious tolerance as well. Meaning, the Muslim is Muslim and lives with his religion, does not touch anybody else or his religion. If you intend to exterminate and win the right to kill every human being who is not a believer, then you have to change this part of the Quran. The main point is that besides this verse, there are other verses and words of the Prophet that support the same issue," Kruja said.
Another section that ISIL plans to change is the Al-Kafirun (The Disbelievers).
Imam Guler said the change is inconsistent with Islam.
"It defines the right attitude to those who reject faith. There is no need to persecute or abuse anyone for his faith or belief. According to the Quran, whoever recites the kalima shahadah, 'God is one and Mohammad is his Prophet,' is Muslim. You cannot define people who drink alcohol as unbelievers, you become only guilty. They want to change this. The Prophet Mohammad said Muslims do not kill Muslims, do not kill any one, and do not kill animals. However ISIL has been killing whoever comes their way. They are not Muslims, they are not humans," he said.
ISIL is continuing a campaign of terror in Iraq after they entered from Syria, capturing major towns in the northern part of the country, killing, executing, forcing people to leave, establishing their own sharia rules and forcing Christians and Jews who still live there to pay a tax. The Islamic Communities in the Balkans and Turkey have been appealing to the youngsters not to join the terrorist group.
Guler appealed to the young Turkish people not to believe ISIL's discourse on jihad.
"First of all Islam says let people live, do not kill. Islam is not the name of a fearful system. It is the name of peace, love, tender, justice and kindness. Muslims make people laugh, not cry, Muslims help people. If you don't do this, you are not Muslim, no matter how much you claim you are Muslim," he said.
Correspondents Zeynep Cermen in Istanbul and Bojana Milovanovic in Belgrade contributed to this report.
What do you think will be the result of ISIL's attempt to change the Quran? Add your thoughts in the comment field.