nCa News and Commentary
President Berdimuhamedov traveled on Friday (21 February 2020) to Turkmenabat, where he led the opening ceremony of the central mosque of the Lebap province.
The construction of the mosque started in 2015.
The ground floor of the mosque, with 3444 square meters of space, can accommodate 3000 male worshippers. The first floor has 1609 of space. It is designated for females.
The mosque complex occupies a land plot of 5 hectares. In addition to the prayer halls, it includes a hotel for 50 guests, car parking for 390 vehicles,
There are four minarets, each 63 meters in height. The height of the dome is 40 meters.
The mosque project was done by the local private company Altyn gül, with some work being subcontracted to the local companies Altyn bürgüt, Döwletli öý, and Demir gap. The design and plan was prepared by the private company Binýat taslama.
The president spoke to the clergy and later attended sadaka (ritual meal) given for the participants of the recemony. The expenses of sadaka were covered from the royalties earned by the president from the sale of his books.
nCa Commentary by Tariq Saeedi
Islam is basically a way of life. That is why it is called ‘Deen’ [Path].
Categorizing it as a religion severely restricts its relevance to the society. The basic principle is that Islam accepts what is good in every society and tries to change what is harmful to the people. In doing so, it provides ample space for the diversity of mankind in terms of geography, culture, and intellect.
As the mankind evolves, a religion may go stale and out of touch. A path remains germane.
The remarks of President Berdimuhamedov at the opening ceremony of the mosque complex in Turkmenabat on 21 February 2020 need to be explained in this context.
Without mentioning it directly, he countered the extremist interpretations and violent tendencies that have been introduced into Islam by certain people.
Here is the summary of the remarks of the Turkmen president in his conversation with the clergy and the participants of the opening ceremony:
The mosque has historically been the centre of the science and education in the Muslim world. It is at the heart of the spiritual life of the society.
We are building our present and our future according to the humanistic laws and high moral standards that has been left to us as the legacy of our ancestors.
The Turkmen state guarantees strict compliance with the constitutional rights and freedoms of the citizens including the freedom of religion. We support the believers in the performance of Hajj. The religious facilities serve to strengthen the civic harmony in the society, a continuation of the customs and traditions of the nation.
The Turkmen people have been able to carry and preserve their national traditions, customs, and cultural values through the ages. Islam is an integral part of this heritage.
Islam is very important in the education of people in the spirit of honesty, humanity and kindness, and in nurturing of the best human features. Therefore, the state ensures all conditions for the provision of the freedom of belief.
The government provides comprehensive support to all who wish to perform their duty and to make a pilgrimage to toe holy cities for Hajj. Hundreds of our fellow citizens visit sanctuary places every year. People are fasting in the month of Ramadan, give sadaka and say prayers.
Eid Al Adha and Eid Al Fitr are celebrated on the government level.
The Mufti Department of Turkmenistan publishes numerous books for our people to be able to study the true religious sciences, ethical standards and rites. All of this is an evidence of respect for our religion and believers.
All efforts are made for the citizens of Turkmenistan to be able to profess any religion, to live in peace and harmony, and improve their life.
The remarks of the Turkmen leader are precise, to the point, and timely.
With the negative interpretations and destructive ideologies floating around in the name of Islam, it is paramount to separate truth from falsehood.
This kind of work needs to be institutionalized at all levels. /// nCa, 24 February 2020