President of Religious Affairs and Turkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDV) Board of Trustees President Prof. Dr. Ali Erbas, named the recipients of this years 4th International Benevolence Awards.
President Erbas announced, at the press conference held in the conference hall of the High Council for Religious Affairs, that as a result of meticulous analysis, out of 1,500 benevolence stories from across the world, 7 people will be awarded.
As a result of Turkiye Diyanet Foundation’s joint work with its 1000 branches and benevolence partners in 140 countries that it has taken service to, Erbas stated that the award recipients have been determined: “As you all know, we have come together today with the aim to announce the award recipients of the International Benevolence Awards; a ceremony which we have made a tradition. To spread goodness and raise awareness, Turkiye Diyanet Foundation’s International Benevolence Awards program is once again going to award lived benevolence stories and benevolence pioneers. Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, with its 1000 branches and benevolence partners in 140 countries that it has taken service to, in joint work this year in determining its 4th, have received close to 1,500 stories of benevolence from altruistic activities, each of which have become legends in this world. With the ingenuity of commissions, these stories of benevolence have been thoroughly examined and from these, 7 have been chosen to be announced to our nation and also to humanity.”
“Muslims, have institutionalised the endless state of doing good through the ingenuity of foundations.”
By thanking everyone who have given their efforts and hearts in the cause of goodness at the beginning of his speech, Erbas expressed that Islamic civilisation is that of kindness and benevolence. Erbas continued his words as follows: “The religion of Islam, which has promised mankind peace in this world and in the hereafter, aims to live and enable values such as benevolence, kindness, helping one another, sharing, social justice and peace. Many verses in our life manual, the Holy Qur’an, encourage and instruct benevolence, helping one another and sharing. Prophet Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H) life and ahadith are also full of splendid practices of benevolence and sharing. We see the most beautiful examples of benevolence from the lives of his companions who grew besides him (P.B.U.H) and put into practice what they learnt from him in the best manner. With the guidance of our book, the Holy Qur’an, and Prophet Muhammad’s sunnah, Islamic civilisation, rising upon established foundations, have conveyed benevolence morality and the consciousness of beneficence to all societies it has touched. Muslims, have institutionalised the endless state of doing good through the ingenuity of foundations. In Islamic societies, services regarding many topics that are in need, are realised under the hands of foundations. For starters, education, health, urbanisation, charity services, religious and cultural services and many other social services that follow, are actualised under the heading of “foundations”. Maybe thousands of foundations have been established in Islamic history. The number of foundations in Anatolia alone have exceeded 7 thousand. Built upon this morality and etiquette and with the ideal of establishing this benevolence worldwide, Islamic civilisations are a foundation civilisation.
“Our aim is to establish benevolence in a world where consciences are held captive and, on an earth, encircled by evil”
Stressing that Turkiye Diyanet Foundation’s International Benevolence Awards program is not only an award ceremony, Erbas emphasised that the program carries the aim to establish benevolence in a world where consciences are held captive and, on an earth, surrounded by evil. President Erbas said, “Turkiye Diyanet Foundation’s International Benevolence Awards is not only an awards ceremony or a project to merely to award benevolent acts. Its aim is to establish benevolence in a world where consciences are held captive and, on an earth, surrounded by evil, and to create awareness in the minds and hearts, in an attempt to make benevolence the agenda. It is to begin a benevolence campaign. It is to beautify the earth and life through the consciousness and endeavours of benevolence. Of course, Allah (S.W.T) is going to give the greatest reward for acts of benevolence and it is only for His sake that these acts are done. Even if a grain of vanity or sanctimony mix with the acts of benevolence, it becomes ordinary and loses its trait of being benevolent. We all know that benevolence is fundamental in life and in human nature. If benevolence is displaced and neglected, evil will find itself growing grounds everywhere. It is for this reason that the best and rightest struggle against malevolence are the projects delivered to spread benevolence. Consequently, benevolence needs labour and effort. The measure of benevolence is that there be values that both the religion and the mind establish are right and add hope and beauty to the lives of others. Besides, the believer is the one can rejoice when he adds peace and happiness into the life of another. They cannot expect to reach benevolence through acts of selfishness, expecting something in return or acts done only after the person across you pleads. We are indebted to work to strengthen benevolence, unite benevolence, to bind benevolence gatherings together, convey the benevolence movement to every part of the world and leave no room for evil.
“Mothers and women deserve the greatest acts of benevolence.”
By pointing out that today is March 8th International Women’s Day, President Erbas highlighted that the generations’ problems and the malevolence that surrounds life in large affect women the most. He also said that women and mothers are deserving of the greatest acts of benevolence. “Another topic as you all know is that today is March 8th International Women’s Day. Of course, the value of women and the worth of mothers cannot be appreciated by allocating one day of the year to them. Thus, as our Prophet Muhammad specifies in the ahadith: women and mothers are most deserving of the greatest acts of benevolence. Attitudes towards women is the measure of benevolence, conscience, compassion, and of mankind. Unfortunately, it is women that are most affected by the generations’ problems and the evils that surround life. I hope and pray to Allah (S.W.T) for March 8th International Women’s Day to be a means and assistance in finding a solution to these problems and a gleam of hope for the women who are the victims of poverty and exiguity. As we are talking about the Benevolence Awards lets also express that the hearts, compassion and grace of women are the greatest opportunity to beautify the earth. The hand of a woman is able to dominate the world with benevolence. Because it is this motherly and compassionate hand that raises, educates and nurtures mankind. Can there be a hand better than this hand? This always reminds us of benevolence.” said Erbas.
“Turkiye Diyanet Foundation has become a universal charity organisation.”
By explaining the establishment of the Turkiye Diyanet Foundation in the year 1975, with the intention of relaying Islam’s goodness and blessings and with the consciousness of trust, our ancestors’ benevolence legacy to our time and to the future, Erbas articulated that with its 1000 branches in our nation and in 140 countries, TDV is the address of benevolence. “Today, with 1000 branches in our nation and in 140 countries the address of benevolence, TDV, has become a universal charity organisation. In the times where we are left face to face with the problems and hardships of humanity and the Islamic Ummah, The Presidency of Religious Affairs and TDV are lending a helping hand to those in need in all parts of the world regardless of their language, religion, race, sect and tradition. Many works of goodness are being performed, from social assistance to education, from the construction of mosques to the reviving of hearts. TDV continue to be the hope and joy of Muslim minorities, to the victims of war, occupations, natural disasters, and to the poor, homeless and helpless. TDV strives to raise generations who will bring mankind peace and tranquillity and raise generations possessing ideals of rights, justice, compassion, peace, upright faith, knowledge, consciousness and good morals in our nation and in the world.
TDV has made permanent investments in building a civilization of benevolence based on the foundations of knowledge and wisdom, with the scholars it has raised, vast works it has published and institutions it has established. And God Willing after this, TDV will continue to make lasting and growing investments. From the Philippines to Haiti, from Moscow to Syria, from Arakan to America, our country has become an effective civil society establishment by being our nations goodness bridge everywhere, signing on great projects and with the services it has given both in our nations and the Islamic geography. Since its inception, TDV has always kept in mind two major objectives: to be in the service of humanity in our country and in the seven continents and, to work for benevolence to prevail in earth”, said Erbas.
“Let’s publish news regarding benevolence”
By asking members of the press to publish news of goodness for benevolence to come on agenda Erbas said, “I would like to make a suggestion to the valued members of the press, let’s not neglect to publish news of goodness. Let’s publish news about benevolence. Let everyone do something in the cause of goodness. Because as good things are shared, they multiply, like happiness. Isn’t happiness also something that is obtained as a result of goodness? By publishing more news of goodness we need to bring benevolence to the agenda.
I again thank TDV for this beautiful work. Our foundation has a motto: ‘Benevolence will change the world.’ We believe that benevolence will change the world. Therefore, let each and everyone of us be a light of goodness until benevolence has dominated the world. I also have a recommendation for my friends, the members of the press. Please don’t neglect publishing news of goodness. Publish news regarding benevolence. Let each and everyone us try to do something in the cause of goodness.”
At the end of his talk, President of Religious Affairs and TDV Board of Trustees President Prof. Dr. Ali Erbas, prayed for God’s mercy for our martyrs, for the recovery and health of our veterans and for God’s help for the Mehmetcik’s who are conducting an epic struggle in Afrin.
The awards will be presented at the organsied ceremony with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday March 13th at 15:00 at the Congress and Culture Centre at the Presidential Complex.
Recipients of the 2018 International Benevolence Awards
The recipients of the 4th International Benevolence Awards were announced at a press conference organised together with President of Religious Affairs and Turkiye TDV Board of Trustees President Prof. Dr. Ali Erbas, Board of Trustrees 2nd President Ilyas Serenli and TDV Board of Trustees members Asst. Assoc. Dr. Selim Argun, Huseyin Kayapinar, Kadir Dinc, Sedide Akbulut and Macit Bulut.
HASAN KIZIL – MARDIN
One of the benevolence heroes, Hasan Kizil. Hasan, 22 years of age, is a benevolent young man living in Derik, Mardin. They call him ‘The Life Repairer’. Hasan Kizil, makes walkers and prosthetics for disabled animals with the means that he has. Hasan, who in the early days, tried to make walkers from toys and scraps of material he found, devotes himself to animals and serves them voluntarily. Until today, from all over Turkey he has made prosthetics for 200 animals, with two sent abroad. The young designer’s main goal is to develop bionic feet using biosensor technology for animals that cannot use their four legs.
Hasan Kizil who is preparing for his university exams, wants to be a veterinarian to be able to deal with animals more closely.
SEVDE SEVAN USAK – ISTANBUL
Sevde Sevan Usak married a farmer from Maasai, Tanzania. Since then, she has been supporting the education of children and women in the region. Sevde doesn’t stop here; she plants trees in school gardens and fruit gardens for her neighbours. Because there was no electricy nor water in the area she lived in, Maasai, she consulted with NGOs in Turkey and prompted the NGOs to take action in building wells and also helped in opening 4 wells in this region. After some time, Sevde, took with her sorghum, common vetch and barley seeds to the region from Turkey to sow them there. Alongside these, to find a solution to the starvation in the region, again from Turkey, Sevde brought vegetable seeds and with her partner they sowed them on land which was close to one of wells. They also received very fruitful results here. As a result of the growing of the vegetables that they sowed, they were able to distribute vegetables to all the people of the region during the month of Ramadan for iftar. Recently, they are planting 160 fruit trees in a school’s garden in Africa and at this phase they plan to plant trees in all the schools in the region. If benevolence is the goal of our volunteer, by equipping Africa with 1 million trees we change the face of Africa.
KANBER BOZAN – ISTANBUL
Kanber Bozan is a 49 year old and owner of a milk bar in Üsküdar. He has turned a portion of the milk bar into a library where he distributes books to the local children and then gives them something they want for free in exchange for a book they have read. The Children’s dear Uncle Kanber, allows the children to exchange a book they have read with something they want from the milk bar to help them gain the habit of reading and to make it easier for those who are financially not in a situation to get what they want. The project which has received a lot of attention from social media as well, has received books from many states. In fact Kanber Bozan has reached 2 thousand books within the span of 5 to 6 months.
YAHYA HASHEMI / ALA ABDELRAZAQ JABUR – KANADA
In a Muslim restaurant in the city of Montreal in Canada, everyone who says that they don’t have money is given a free meal. This small restaurant’s owner Yahya Hashemi and his partner Ala Abdelrazaq advertised that they give free meals to those who don’t have money by hanging an English and French sign on the door of their workplace. The owners of the restaurant say, “To feed those who are hungry is a requirement of our faith; furthermore, this country gave us a lot of things and we wanted to give back to Canada. If someone says they don’t have money and would like to eat a meal, without asking the reasons or the causes of his poverty we offer him a meal with a smile on our face.” Even customers are contributing to this chain of help and are paying for the next free customer’s meal.
MAHMUT KARAMAN – SAKARYA
Asst. Assoc. Dr. Mahmut Karaman is a university lecturer by mornings. By the nights he is a benevolent helping hand to the homeless and helpless. And on his car, there is this thought-provoking sentence: “My neighbor will not go hungry.” Mahmut Karaman travels Istanbul by the night, street by street, and distributes soup to the homeless and especially to the Syrian refugees.
Mahmut Karaman, distributes soup and bread for about 500 people a day and by saying that “we should learn to help as an individual” he shows the Ashane Project as an example. Mr. Mahmut’s wife is also a benevolent volunteer. At the beginning they both together bought house furniture for the needy families and newly married however, in the last few years they have been renting houses for Syrian familes and furnishing the house with 2nd hand furniture. They are collecting these goods from the houses that will throw their old goods and taking them to the houses of the Syrian families. Mr. Mahmut says because they sleep on the concrete at times they are in need of even a scrap sofabed.
MUHAMMED BZEEK – USA
Originally from Libya, Mohammed Bzeek is 62 years old. He emigrated to the United States in 1978 and since then he has been adopting orphans. Out of the 80 children he has adopted he has lost 10. Muhammad Bzeek studied electrical engineering in Chicago and started to work in Los Angeles. In 1995, Mohammed and his wife decided to adopt only the children on their deathbed. From that day on, the doors of their homes have been open to tens of children who have been waiting for their death in cold beds in hospitals. Muhammad Bzeek’s wife lost her life in 2015. However, even after her death he continued to look after the children. He wants to be a light for terminally ill orphan children.
LEVENT UCKAN – ISTANBUL
Levent Uçkan is the religious officer of Kadıköy Historical Hasanpaşa Mosque. He is trying to find rehabilitation program for street children and the homeless. With the mosque locals, in certain times, he began to make region days (a day focusing on one of the regions of Turkey) and with this they are trying to protect the fabric of the neighbourhood. The service of the mosque does not finish with these. Many students go to Hasanpaşa Mosque for breakfast and dinner for 4 years thanks to the evening meals provided by the mukhtar (chief) and philanthropists.