EMRE’s Conversations: 3
We are offering to our worthy readers a conversation of Emre with a priest.*
Sait Doğan who is a student in Faculty of Economy requested to publish this conversation in the digest named “Inner Source”. However Emre had not allow to publish this conversation till now. But he couldn’t decline the request of this young man who is a lover and honest one; so he let it to be published.
We couldn’t remember all of the details because long time (six years) is passed after the conversation. For this reason we requested the details from the attendees. The seven attendees were: İsmail Emre, Celâl Çalım, Mahmut Kurdak, Galip Mansuroğlu, Salih İnan, Abdi Çakar and Şevket Kutkan.
Let’s hear that talk with the words of Abdi Çakar. Some details have been added to this conversation according to the memories of Emre, Galip Mansuroğlu, Mahmut Kurdak and Şevket Kutkan.
Abdi Çakar – The Priest have visited the store of Kerem Ali. When we were talking in the store with Kerem Ali and Hacı, the Priest said : “I will prove that Koran is not a verse of God and even The Prophet Mohammed is not a real prophet by means of Koran itself! Mullah, mufti, pilgrim, let’s call whoever wants to discuss “ .
When I arrived the store Hacı was so angry. Kerem Ali said : “oh, Abdi came “. When I asked the matter, they told me what the priest said.
Hacı was still angry. I tried to tell this couldn’t be solved with anxiety and cursing which points weakness. Then I said “maybe I can find someone to discuss with him.” After leaving them I asked some friends if they knew a hodja who is able to talk to him. They said “yes there is but we wonder if he wants to struggle with this mad man.“
Some of the hodjas and clerics heard these averments but none of them intended to talk to the priest. They only said : “If he had believed in Koran, then he would not speak like that.”
I was busy with this subject continuously through the next days. Some day the priest came to the store of Kerem Ali again. I asked if he said such things. He said “Yes darling. It’s written in Koran that ; “You Mohammed if a believed woman wants to offer herself, and if you want to marry with her, we permiss this only to you but not the other believers.” There is a verse as Ahzâb/50, can it be the remark of God?” When I came home, I searched Koran. Actually the verse was same as he said, I worried about that.
I don’t know why, previously, he didn’t enter the store and talked from outside. Someday I invited him to the store. He said:”Read that verse then, you will understand that Koran doesn’t belong to God, and Mehmed also is not a true Prophet.” He was calling Mehmet instead of The Prophet Mohammed because he had no belief and respect for him. Then he gathered the fingers of his right hand and knocked his breast and said “now darling with the aid of this verse, I switched a Lebanese muslim family to christian!”. At the end, he made a conclusion: “God is unique, his book is unique and that’s the Bible.”
I said; “before Bible, there was also Old Testament and Psalms…” He said : “they are not holy books”. I said: “Koran contains all those three books. Just like them Koran is also remark of God and is given to the last prophet Mohammed.” The Priest said; “Your understanding is not enough for this subject. Call your Mufti, lets talk this matter before the group of responsibles. I will assure him and prove my thesis.”
After then he was pressuring me more. He was asking “my son, what is going on? Did you mention Mufti about that matter? When will we talk to ?” I was very astonished. When the priest came and stared me meaningfully, I was sweating.
At the end, I opened this matter to Galip and said ; “Is there any hodja who is able to talk to this man ?”. Galip Mansuroğlu without any doubt said, “there is”. I asked “Who?” He said “Never mind who is he? You only say to the Priest that : “there is a man who will talk to you !” I said “you are saying that we have him but I can’t say to the priest without talking this man and taking promise. Go, talk to him, take promise and then I can promise to the priest”.
The day after Galip came and said ; “Ok! I met him. He said “which one do you prefer, either I come to his place or he would come to mine”.
Galip said this on friday night. I met the priest while I was walking to the Bebekli Church on Saturday night. He stared at me saying “what happened?” I said “Ok!”. He asked “Is he Mufti?”; I said “no”, “Hodja?” “no”, “ok, what type of man is he ?” I said “Don’t deal with that… your goal is talking to him, isn’t it? He will. Then you’ll try to persue him “ He said “ok, come here at two o’clock tomarrow” .
Galip came at the evening. I said him the priest will wait us the next day at two o’clock. Mahmut Kurdağ, informed that there will be a conversation with him on Sunday. He insisted to come. I denied. He said “I wonder that subject and I don’t give up to listen”.
Galip, Salih İnan and Mahmut Kurdak were waiting in the cafe near the Kemeraltı mosque on Sunday after one o’clock. At just two o’clock I was waiting in front of old Şölen restaurant at Âbidinpaşa avenue. İsmail Emre, Celâl Çalım and Şevket Kutkan came from Âbidinpaşa avenue. I met them for the first time and then I attended them. We, four people walked to the church. The ones in cafe also stood up. I said them : “you don’t come, let us go. I will call you if the priest lets you to come “. Because there was no other person who is talking to the priest. He could be astained. They went back. We came to the door of the church, I knocked the door; a servant opened it. I said we want to see the priest. A bell or something rang from downstairs. The priest looked from upstairs and said with joy:”Did you come ?”; I said “Yes, we came”.
The priest said to the servant to invite us to the saloon, we entered and sat. Then he came. After a while I asked him to accept three more friends who want to attend the conversation just because of their high curiosity. He said ; “they may come darling with pleasure “. After our friends came, coffee is served.
Now let’s look at the Emre’s telling:
Emre– “While we were waiting the permission of the priest at door he was looking us from upstairs… I said to Mr. Celâl “enter before us, let the priest suppose you are İsmail Emre, then he’ll talk to you “. When Celâl hesitated and said “how can it be?” I replied: “it must be in this way”. When Celâl entered before us, the priest supposed him responsible and read the verses. This made Celâl keep silence for a long duration. Afterwards I asked the priest : “to whom you are talking ?”, he said “İsmail Emre.” I said “no, I am İsmail Emre !” Then he turned to me. I said:“We heard you avered that Koran is not verse of God. If it is true, we want to hear it from you then we can answer. I am a helpless one from the community of the Prophet Mohammed. I have no education, I’m an ignorant one. Bu if you can repeat your averments then I will reply you through the bond of my God”. The priest asked me ; “Are you a mufti?” I said no, “are you a hodja?” I said “no, I’m just a helpless person in the community of Mohammed. But I love him. Your remark about him made me upset. I will reply you bonding my God if you repeat what you said in store, bazaar. The priest said: ”no, not here. I only talk to you if you reserve a salon, invite audiences, journalists, arbitrators, government and security people “. I said him; “averment belongs to you, it’s your business to reserve a saloon. Yesterday you said Abdi :(come tomarrow at two o’clock then we can talk to). Why did you call us if you wouldn’t talk?”The priest again insisted to talk to in a saloon and I said: “this makes a very heavy weather of this subject. Because the ones who will attend to the conversation belong to the community of Mohammed, they love him very much, there may be conservative, intolerant people among them. Beside, you will attack Islam and the Prophet Mohammed with your words. Security powers can’t defend you from the aggression and anger of them. You even avoid to talk with us… Altough here we can make an interview with each other safe and secure.”
Abdi Çakar – Upon this, the priest said: “this place is narrow”. Emresaid “You say narrow for this place” -looking at yard through the window – let’s go to the outside, it’s wider than here. Upon this, the priest acted just like a back hander and said; “forget about this matter…”; he turned his face. When the priest repeated this action more than once, I couldn’t resist to say ; (you said to me continuously, “find one to talk to me!” Here is a man who will talk to you, why don’t you talk to ?). The Priest again doing the same action with his hand, said ;”Forget about this matter…”.
Galip Mansuroğlu – By saying that he was belittling Emre:”What’s the education of this man ?”
Emre – When the priest was talking to Celâl, while assuming him İsmail Emre, we learnt from his remark that he was 82 years old, borned and growned in Merzifon. His name was Artin, his education was in law. He knows six language, including Arabic which he learned in Saudi Arabia, and nowadays he was trying to learn English. He had some friends among the Turkish governers. He knows Koran very well, even he have attended some disputations on Koran with some worthy intellectuals.
Galip Mansuroğlu – When he was saying the birth place, the priest said ; “I am originally a Turkish man, but you assume that I am not, because I am a Christian. Nevertheless I belong to this country.” He said he is always reading Koran. Then he brought a French Koran and said “I have a Turkish one also but I couldn’t bring because it was hard to find. I have also an Arabic, starry Koran. But I don’t have it with me most of the time “.
Emre – The Priest said just because he had graduated from the Faculty of Law, he was dealing with the law business of churches in Turkey and came to Adana to complete this job. Upon this, I said to him ; “You have the right of being a lawyer, isn’t it? “ he said “yes “, “you will be an agent for whom you’ve accepted his/her case. I mean you will be an attorney for him, isn’t it ?” He replied “yes”, “If it is so, then The Prophet Mohammed also assigned me as an attorney for the case started by you. Now you will see The Prophet Mohammed in front of you instead of a weak person like me. Now then say what you think, I want to hear your averment just from your mouth. I will prove that Islam is the latest and the most progressive religion, and The Prophet Mohammed is the last and right prophet, Koran also is the verse of God and you will become silent”.
Şevket Kutkan –The Priest was surprised at those remarks. Although he asked as if he is undertaking Koran; “Ok, did Koran fall from the sky?” Emre replied him: “According to your belief, ascending of Jesus to the heaven with his full body form is understandable. Nevermore the fall of Koran from the sky as verses is false, isn’t it? Beside, neither Jesus had been ascended to the heaven, nor Koran had been fallen down from the sky. Those remarks are just symbols.” Upon this reply he became silent. He thought for a while looking to the floor then asked: “Jesus resurrected the bodies. What did Memed do?”
Upon this Emre said: “At the end didn’t the dead ones who are resurrected by Jesus, pass away? The important thing is to revive the mind, not the body. This is what The Prophet Mohammed did. Now he revived a dead person like me, then put against to you, so you can’t talk. That’s the miracle of The Prophet Mohammed. I am the attorney of Jesus, Moses and Mohammed! If you didn’t draw your sword againt our beloved, we would not come here. Come on, I am in front of you, ask whatever you wonder, say whatever you want.”
“The (Mighty ) who is saying through my mouth is eternal. If you accept that you are a living dead, now at this moment, I will revive you.” The Priest was looking at the floor astonished and silent.
Mahmut Kurdak – Upon this, Emre said: “If you don’t want to talk about the Prophet Mohammed, then let’s talk about Jesus and the previous prophets. We love them also beside the Prophet Mohammed.”
Abdi Çakar – The Priest was again looking at the floor. I was saying him continously “ come on, talk… “ by nudging his knee.
Şevket Kutkan – Once Emreasked the priest ; “Have you ever seen Jesus ?” How would the priest reply who is the attorney of Jesus… If he says “I’ve seen” , that’s not true. If he says “I haven’t “ what a strange state across an ignorant welder? He couldn’t reply immediately; he could only say “No, I hadn’t “ after a bit boggling. Then Emre asked him again an important question: “Do you want to see ?” This question was asked so explicitly we all had been excited. Emre was mistified to a divine and tremendous state. His face was pale just like the revelation times. His skin under the left eye and above his malar was beating with linear durations just like the pulses of this state. A grandness was appearing from Emre actually who has a gentle character. His face was warm and cute just like a spring sun. No one could look at his face safe and fearless. Especially the priest was always crestfallen shaking his head to both side just like saying “what a position I’ve faced”. But the question was so explicit : “Do you want to see Jesus ?” if he says “yes I do“ , it’s a case, if he says “I don’t” it’s another case. The priest was having hard times in a pit digged by himself. At the end he said softly “I do “. Emre: “Then, accept that you are a dead one, look at my eyes, I will show you Jesus. I am both Jesus and Messiah .“ The priest said quickly: “oho, oho, how dare you say it? Hush! Hush! You seem either a mad man or an intellectual “ . He got excited much with Emre’s remark “I am messiah”. He was angry about that word is easily said which must not be said. Whereas he was forgetting his aspertion against the Prophet Mohammed by calling him (Memed). However Emre’s remark was never a verbal injury.
He was astonished by the answers and he was under the influence of the weight of offer and then said to Emre “You are saying that you’re ignorant but you lie. Because you have knowledge beyond all of the sciences, you know it. Your remarks belong to the knowers of this knowledge “ . Upon this Emre said ; “If I have lied, I couldn’t make you quiet. I just vanished in one who has this knowledge. Accept that you are dead, look at my eyes, let me revive you.” The priest had forgotten that he was looking Emre’s face. Then he started to look at the floor. Upon thisEmre said : “Look, you even don’t have a power to look at my face, but you are insulting the Prophet Mohammed and Islam. “
Abdi Çakar – Then I said the priest by touching softly to his knee : “Master priest! He is saying that he will show you Jesus. Look at once for the sake of the beloved.” But in spite of this, he didn’t look. Anyhow Mahmut Hodja had lost his patience suddenly and raised his finger against to him saying : “I have an idea “ . The Priest said ; “say it”. Mahmut Kurdak, positioning Emre who is sitting on couch, said : “If you persue this man, we all seven people here will be christian “. Then I reminded him the family made christian by him in Lebanon : “These all have families. If you persue Emre seven muslim family will be christian also.”
The Priest astonished and boggled against this defiant offer. Mahmut Kurdak couldn’t wait and said : “Look here! Don’t you want to increase the number of believers of Jesus ?”
The priest was in a serious trouble.
Emre, changed the subject in order to save the priest who bothers from this hard state. By showing a painting on the wall he asked : “What’s that ?”. In that painting mother was standing; carrying Jesus in her lap. The Priest, suddenly turned, look and said ; “You, fool muslims esteem we worship to an idol“. In order to show the falsity of our assumption, he showed his tongue between his lips with a sound like (pup!) from his mouth. And continued to talk : “You assume and infuse in this way by saying christians worship idols. You assume that we are such stupid people worshipping to the idols we made. Can’t we think that an idol does not correspond to God?”. I checked my watch, it was four o’clock. Mahmut Kurdak said to me : “No way, let’s go “. We stood up and came out at saloon to the garden. The priest was talking to Celâl Çalım and Şevket Kutkan. I came near to Emre. We entered together. I said to Emre : “there were a hodja of us, who is called as (half mad). This man is just like him. We came here for nothing “. Emre said “No, my son, this man is an intellect”. I replied “but, why didn’t he talk ?” He said “Can a man talk before us who defame God and the Prophet Mohammed we love? We came here only to please you, although we already said to the friends about the priest just a few nights ago.”
We stood up. When the priest saw that we are about to leave with Mahmut Kurdak, left them and came near to us. He tried to keeping us back; he didn’t let us to go. Upon this, Emre asked: “Could you please show us around the church ?”. The Priest said “ok “ then he entered the saloon with a swift action, he took the key, opened the side door of the church. We entered the garden. The priest crossed and knelt before the iconoclast of Jesus and then stood up. Emre also crossed before the same iconoclast. The priest astonished. He had never seen such a muslim. How was Emre crossing? Was it a miracle? Did Emre really become a christian? All of those thoughts were being read from his face. Because Emre was crossing so seriously. It couldn’t be a derision. Although if the priest knew Emre closely, he would have known that he never like the derision and irony.
Galip Mansuroğlu – Emre asked in order to abate the maze of priest: “while doing, do you know the meaning of what you did “. The Priest didn’t answer, Emre replied his confused look by saying : “Isn’t it more meaningful if we cross in such a way that God is neither at right, nor at left but he is in heart and brain of a believer.” The Priest didn’t answer.
Abdi Çakar – Upon this, I pointed the priest two iconoclast one is live the other is dead. There was a lamp in front of both. I asked: “why the lamp in front of this is live and the other isn’t?” He said : “My dear, being alive of this lamp shows the existence of God here.” I asked pointing outside : “Isn’t He exist over there ?” The priest said angrily ; “it’s not like that, my dear. ”
Emre – Then I asked the priest : “what do those candles mean?” He replied : “Jesus said: come to Jerusalem, take the light from here and never let it dead.” I said : “We have also superstitions like this. Those words are right but are misunderstood then they’ve turned to superstitions.” He asked “Like what ?” I said : ”We muslims also put candles in the place of pilgrimages. Both of us misunderstood. If you understood the remarks of Jesus, you would receive the light of Jesus through your eyes into your heart and never let it dead. “ When I said “Whereas those candles and bulbs can be broken and turned off “ he liked those words. Then he said “You aren’t an ignorant person, you seem an intelligent man. There is such a knowledge”. He was wondering some other subjects and he said “I wish to talk to you sometimes”. He was understanding and perceiving some of the remarks. But he was claiming because of his religious thoughts. After then he showed us the places around the church.
G. Mansuroğlu – While showing around the church he opened the subject of marriage. Just because he couldn’t answer our questions and make us convicted, time to time he had wanted to get rid off the weight of this state. For this reason he brought up some subjects which are important for him like Jesus’ singlehood.
Emre – He said ; “Memed has been married, that means he was sentenced to his flesh. Conversely Jesus did not married; me too.” I said him ; “If all the christians wouldn’t marry like you, could the population of christians multiply? So the marriage is necessary and it is a duty. The Prophet Mohammed took it as a duty. Jesus was wrong for staying single. He forgot his worldly duties. It is similar to have a single wing. The Prophet Mohammed said that (there is no priesthood in Islam. )We hold our duties.”
“The marriages of Mohammed (no matter how many), are something like a political issue. For example when a commander overcame his enemy then he had owned the most beatiful woman of them. The other commanders also had intention on this woman. If Mohammed didn’t marry with this woman they would struggle with each other. “
“Then he tolerated multiple marriages, in order to increase the population of Muslim order to stregthen İslâm.”
Emre – Did the Prophet Mohammed have any disablement?
Priest – No.
Emre – If our healty prophet, had a sexual intent and have them only for his pleasure, wouldn’t there be one or two child from each of them?
Priest – ….
Emre – Didn’t Mohammed do mortification?
Priest – He did.
Emre – So, for a starving man, is it meaningful to gather those women for the sake of his sexual wish? So, there must be a purpose in doing this.
G. Mansuroğlu – Again the priest said ; “I am 82 years old, I never had an affair .” He said (blinking his eyes ): “how are you in this matter ?”
Emre – “I am married and have five children “. He said showing us ;“They’re also married. I forgot this matter since 11 years. Believe me it is no more than 100 times during my marriage. “
Upon this, holding Emre’s head with his two hands, the priest said “oh, you !”
After coming out at church, Mahmut Kurdak left by saying “this man has no intention for open discussion of thougths .”
Sometime the Priest said “I am serving Jesus for many years. Look, did I say (Hazret-The Prophet) for Mohammed? If I have said, it would mean to approve the highness of him. Even I don’t say Mohammed, I say Memed, Memed. Because I am bonded with Jesus with my whole existence.” Upon this remark, Emre turned us with pleasure on his face and said ; “beside his negative approach, I liked the faith of this man. I loved him so much “.
After that when Master Abdi said; “Let’s go, this man won’t talk“ Emrereplied: “You are wrong. Let’s make him able to talk, then see the result. Actually he is a great intellectual” . He asked him “Could you please serve us one more coffee?” The priest was very glad for this idea just like the chidren and said : “come here !” he leaded us with his opening cloaks. We entered the saloon again.
The priest wanted to say the servant to cook coffee, Master Abdi made him sit and said ; ”I’ll do it “ and went. After a while, he brougt the coffees then we drank.
During the second conversation the Priest was having pleasure which could be noticed easily. He had forgotten to look at Emre’s eyes. In this second conversation, Emre was making flattering remarks of his knowledge and listening to him saying short approval sentences (yes, ok ).This long conversation (two hours) passed depending on the subjects which are not related with the real subject.
Emre – While we were leaving, at the outside, near the door, nobody knows under which pressure, the priest said: “I lived as a Christian person since 82 years. I won’t be Muslim after all those years.” We said : “We didn’t come with an intention to make you Muslim. At least don’t offer the Prophet Mohammed and Islâm indignities. If you insist on, an ignorant one comes and makes you silent “. He again said : “You aren’t ignorant, you have an education .“ I said “no, we never lie !”
While coming out at the door he said to my ears whispering: “I wish to talk to you sometimes”. After coming out, the late Celâl asked “what did he said ?” and he insisted to get the answer then I said to him. Mr. Celâl then told everyone the priest’s wish to talk sometimes in order to show his failure in discussion. The late had liked such things. Someone have mentioned this subject to the priest. After five or six days we met at Âbidinpaşa Boulevard in front of old church. I said “So where’s we talk to ?” He said “You have mentioned everyone about my wish of talking to you.” He was right. He was a priest with Official Business and had a religious personality. He wouldn’t want our conversation is heard by some others. A remark just for the sake of pride, had broken the spiritual path of him. However he was deserving this knowledge just like everyone.
Captured by: Şevket Kutkan
* The real name of the Priest is Artin, he is called as “Per Paskal”
After then the priest started to pop in my store once or twice a day while he was going to the Court of Law. He was asking and pressuring me :”What is going on darling? Did you look at the Koran ?”
Mystical explanation for Nasreddin Hodja Anecdotes
Hodja’s transfer of blinds through the water
This universe is a canal passing through the river of time continuously. We are also blind if we don’t understand the truth, if we don’t see our God (Rab). That means the eye of mind is blind. Isn’t the same subject written in Koran? “The one who is blind here, will also be blind in the life to come.”
Ali says “I don’t worship God which I didn’t see. “
The Prophet Mohammed says: “If I didn’t have my tutor, I wouldn’t know my God”.
If we don’t hold the hand of a tutor, we can’t pass this canal. The value of the ones who couldn’t pass the canal is just two pences!