Islam, August 1995
BENEFITS OF TRAVELING ABROAD
For the last two weeks, I have been traveling abroad and participating in "Family Education Camps" that our young and dear brothers have organized. We have spent a week in England and a week in the United States, participated two enjoyable, educational and beneficial camps and given talks. The participants and I are very pleased; we hope that these camps are repeated with larger organizations and participation in coming years. My travel and visit will last another week here in the United States.
America is a very large and interesting country; any Islamic work carried out by us here can lead to very fruitful results for the Islamic world and Muslims. Some American Muslims who visited us have requested material and spiritual support and help from us, from Turkey. Insha-Allah, stronger relationships and cooperation with them are realized in near future.
Praise to Allah, Islam is alive and spreading fast and strong in the United States. According to a book I am reading (American Jihad, Islam after Malcolm X, p. 9), there were 5-8 million Muslims living in the United States in 1993. (Recent estimates suggest over 10 million.) 42 % of them were African Americans; 24.4 %, from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh; 12.4 %, Arabic origin; 3.6 %, Iranians; 2.4 % Turks; and 1.6 % white Americans. In 1993, there were 200 000 Muslim-owned businesses, 1200 mosques (now, around 2500), 165 Islamic schools, 425 non-profit Islamic Organization, and 85 Islamic publications (they must be periodicals) in the United States. These numbers must have increased over the years.
In fact, Islam had reached America many years before Christopher Columbus. Abdullah Hakim Quick writes in his book, Deeper Roots (1990) that the famous Arab geographer Al-Idrisi had recorded in his book that sailors from Lisbon met Arabic-speaking natives in the Caribbean region of America. Around 800 A.D., a Moroccan ship crossed the Atlantic and reached America. In 889, Hash-Hash bin Sa'id bin Aswad of Cordoba crossed the Atlantic, reached America and returned.
It is also a proven fact that American Indians are related to Turks; they went to Alaska from Siberia when the Bering Sea was frozen, and then they spread down in the America continent.
These facts show that Turks have interesting historical relationships with America; insha-Allah, Islam will spread even more in America.
I value it as a beneficial development for our people to expose themselves to abroad for commercial, business, cultural or social reasons. We should encourage this and take part in such activities if possible. We are way behind in this endeavor; everybody else reached every corner of the world long time ago.
Alhamdulillah, there are Muslims on every part of the world; we should visit them and get to know them. We must establish commercial, social, cultural and religious relationships with them, and cooperate with them.
We should also travel in non-Muslim countries, see and get to know them better. This helps one to learn more and run into very pleasant surprises.
If we work hard, by the Will of Allah, we could lead many unaware and ignorant people to guidance and to Islam. This is more valuable and rewarding for us before Allah than possessing the wealth of the entire world is.
May Allah keep his Guidance in our company, strengthen and support us with his divine help, give us the opportunity to do good deeds and attain success, and make us honorable and happy in this world and in the hereafter. Amen!